What shoes to wear with a specific type of clothing isn’t always an easy choice. Some styles of shoes are glaringly wrong with certain types of pants, for instance, because pants lead the eye downward. We’ll be addressing men here since men wear a lot of pants.
To illustrate the point, men wouldn’t wear crocs with a business suit, but it’s a little different with chinos. Men’s wear is becoming more versatile, so men think carefully about what shoes go with what pants. What are chinos and what types of shoes go with them?
Chinos are a style of pant rather than a color such as khaki. They’re made of a cotton blend, usually with polyester, and with a twill finish. This ropy kind of finish makes the pants resemble some styles of blue jeans.
Chinos come in all colors of the spectrum. They come in flat front, pleated, slim cut, straight leg, and more. Chinos are most often compared to Dockers and go from the country club right into the board room.
With this background, what shoes should be worn with chinos?
Men’s shoes fall into three categories: casual, boots, and dress shoes. Since chinos can be and are worn at casual events as well as in the business arena, they can be worn with all three categories.
When you think of casual, you think of sneakers. Although there are dozens of styles of casual shoes, what styles of casual shoes go well with chinos?
These are topped with leather. They come in styles such as brogue, derby, and monk straps. The only thing they have in common with ordinary sneakers is rubber soles.
Loafers slip on the foot with no ties or buckles. They’re flat shoes with leather uppers. Some are decorated with tassels, kilts, penny keepers, and horse bits.
Back in the day, deck or boat shoes were worn to keep the feet firmly on deck. The soles feature splits that give the shoe a good grip and leather laces that do a 360 to keep the foot firmly in the shoe. Today, they’re made of leather, suede, or waterproof nylon.
Since men like to roll up the bottom of their chinos to make a cuff, that makes ankle boots the thing to wear with them.
The boot that is often worn with both chinos as well as with a business suit, Chelsea boots have been worn by everyone from the Beatles to the Stones to dozens of celebrities today. Chelsea boots are ankle boots, made of leather or suede, and with a tag at the back to help pull them on. Black, brown, and burgundy go with pretty much all chinos.
Styled along the lines of a chukka boot, this is the ankle-high boot worn by the Brits in WWII’s desert campaigns. Popular shoemaker Doc Marten desert boots are made of leather, well oiled, with the brand’s popular insole, along with the brand’s iconic stitching. Black and brown appear to be the only colors in which Doc Martens come, so they’ll go with any color chinos you wish.
The venerable slogging shoe has been upgraded to complement the most modern of looks. Some come to the ankle, some just above, and some rise up the shins. Their tread can take on anything from sidewalks to the side of mountains. Made of leather or suede, they come in two types of color: bright and earth-tone.
Bright-colored hiking boots are available in everything from glaring yellow to red, orange, and even Fuschia. Earth-tones are just what they say: browns, greens, and the colors of leaves in the fall.
You’ll mainly find dress shoes for men beneath suit pants, slacks, and even jeans. You’ll most certainly find them beneath chinos. These are three of the many styles of dress shoes paired with chinos.
This is the dressiest of dress shoes. Made of one continuous piece of leather, the laces don’t close over a tongue. They tuck under in a “closed” style of lace. Decorative stitching across the toe distinguishes the Oxford from other dress shoes. Oxfords come in black, shades of brown, blue, and burgundy. Pair them with chinos and a button-down shirt.
These look a lot like Oxfords, but they have a pattern of holes punched in the leather. Some brogues feature a closed vamp with the laces underneath, while others offer laces in a normal open vamp. Brogues come in black, multiple shades of brown, navy blue, dark green, and more.
Any shoe in any style (Oxford, Brogues) with a strap and buckle closure is called a Monk or Double Monk style shoe. Leather shoes with rubber heels, they come in black and brown, so they’ll go with any color chinos you wish.
The above are just a few styles of men’s shoes that can be worn with chinos. For other occasions, there are:
- King fu shoes
- Jodhpur boots
- Snow Boots
Pairing chinos with these less formal types of shoes depends on the event or locale you’re planning to visit. Sandals, for example, are great for sporting events, the beach, or a cookout. This goes for espadrilles and crocs as well.
Jodhpur boots make good riding and walking boots. The rest pretty much speak for themselves, but many men are mixing and matching their shoes and chinos for a very smart, individual look.