Grey shoes are a classy addition to any ensemble, both for men and women. They look excellent in formal environments, but they look especially dashing in the workplace, where grey stands out just enough to make a statement (but not too much). However, grey shoes might not seem as straightforward to style, especially when paired with other leather accessories.
Just like shoes, leather belts don’t appear in grey that often. Furthermore, you don’t want to wear grey belts (or grey shoes, even) with certain types of pants. In this article, we’ll go over essential style tips to know for what color belt to wear with grey shoes!
Believe it or not, grey shoes are rather easy to style. Because grey can come in warm or cool, light or dark, it can suit many different styles and colors. However, there are a few rules you must not break when wearing grey, too.
For one, remember that, if you’re wearing grey leather shoes with a leather belt, make sure they’re the same material – or at least that they look like it. For example, if your shoes have a glossy, shiny look, make sure your belt has the same gloss finish. If your shoes are more of a matte suede, it’s best that your belt is the same material (or at least the same finish).
If you’re wondering precisely what color belt to wear with grey shoes, the best answer is usually grey. Matching the color of your shoes to your belt always looks the most formal. However, grey can go with several other colors, too. Black, for example, still looks good with grey, and some shades of brown do, as well.
However, be aware that a brown belt with grey shoes is a bit less formal than wearing a grey belt with grey shoes. In the same way, a white belt can go well with grey shoes, but only in more relaxed settings.
More than anything, always make sure to match the color of both your belt and your shoes to your pants. Even if your shoes and belt match, if they don’t look good with the rest of your outfit, your efforts are wasted anyway!
Also, keep in mind that not all grey shoes are leather – not even all formal shoes are. There are many different attractive styles of cloth dress shoes, and they range in color from steel blue to warm chocolate grey.
Some patterned shoes can even look grey from far away, even if they aren’t up close; these are the most difficult shoes to style. Think of black and white houndstooth, for example. The pattern is black and white up close, but from across the room, it tends to blend into grey.
Other shoe patterns that can look excellent in grey (or black and white) include:
- Most any repeating pattern
If you’re wearing patterned shoes or shoes with multiple colors, the general rule of thumb is to pull one color out of the shoes and use that color in your belt, if possible. However, if you can’t use a color already present on your shoes, try to use something in the same color family. For example, if you’re wearing black and white shoes, a belt in a shade of light or dark grey is usually sufficient.
If all else fails, a black belt will match with most shoes. However, do keep in mind that certain color combinations will be more or less formal than others. Black and brown, for example (which many tend to disagree on whether they can be worn together or not), tend to be rather informal when paired together.
If you’re feeling adventurous, a patterned belt is not out of the question, either. However, do be careful when wearing a patterned belt with patterned shoes! This combination is typically a bit too visually interesting for formal or professional environments, but for parties and the like, it can be fun and appealing.
A patterned belt with plain shoes, on the other hand, works similarly to a plain belt with patterned shoes: try to choose a pattern and color that works well together, if you can.
There is one more thing to remember when pairing a colored belt with grey shoes: the more your belt color deviates from your shoes, the less formal your ensemble will appear. As we said, a grey belt with grey shoes will look the most precise.
However, if you’re going to a casual or semiformal event, you can experiment a bit more! Grey can complement virtually any color of the rainbow, so don’t be afraid to experiment and have some fun as long as it’s appropriate!
Grey Shoes with Brown Belts
Typically, brown is a rather difficult color to match, but when you’re pairing it with grey shoes, the entire process gets much more straightforward. Since grey can go with virtually any color, most brown belts should match well with a good pair of medium-grey shoes. However, be sure not to wear light grey shoes with a light brown or tan belt, as this can look a bit washed-out.
On the other hand, dark grey shoes and a dark brown belt are usually okay. Keep in mind that, since some people disagree on whether brown matches with black, you may not want to wear dark charcoal shoes with a dark brown belt. However, as long as you keep style and finish in mind, most other brown belts should complement your grey shoes exceedingly well.
Another appealing aspect of a good brown belt is the many textures, finishes, and designs it comes in. Braided leather belts are a common (and attractive) pairing for grey shoes, especially if they’re brogue-style. In the same way, a woven cloth belt can make an excellent pairing for canvas dress shoes, and brown cloth belts can even match with leather shoes in a casual environment.
If you’re looking for something a bit on the exciting side, but you’re not in a position to experiment too much, try a subtly-visual leather belt such as:
- Crocodile leather
- Lizard leather
- Leather-backed ribbon
- Tooled leather
You can still match the material and finish to your leather shoes with the above styles while adding a tiny bit more visual interest.
Grey Shoes with Grey Belts
Grey shoes and grey belts do come in leather, but they’re not nearly as universal as brown and black leather garments are. This is because pure grey isn’t a color that’s easy to achieve in leather. This is because leather starts as a tan or brown color. It’s much easier to make grey leather out of artificial or vegan hide, however.
Like we mentioned earlier, matching grey with grey is the most formal way to wear grey shoes. However, this can be difficult to achieve because of all of the materials, shades, and textures that you can find in belts (and shoes, too). And that’s not just leather, either! Cloth belts can arguably come in more colors, patterns, and textures than even leather can.
As such, if you can’t find the perfect shade of grey to go with your grey shoes, we recommend either going significantly darker (in the case of light or medium shoes), significantly lighter (in the case of dark shoes), or patterned. Since grey is the midpoint between white and black, a black and white belt (or any combination of grey, black, or white) will complement grey shoes and add visual interest at the same time.
However, because patterned belts can be a bit busy, they’re not always the best for every setting. Unless your belt is covered by a blazer or suit jacket, only wear a patterned belt during party events or events with a relaxed dress code.
Grey Shoes with Patterned Belts
The question isn’t always just what color belt to wear with grey shoes. Belts can come in different patterns, textures, and materials, too. Every color, detail, and texture difference can change the impact that a belt makes, so it’s essential to take this into consideration when choosing a belt to match.
When we say pattern, we don’t necessarily mean printed belts alone, either. While paisley is a well-recognized pattern, not everyone might realize that even something like corduroy fabric can be considered a pattern. In actuality, it’s more of a texture, but it has the same kind of visual effect.
While you’re not likely to see a corduroy belt too often (if you ever do at all), corduroy shoes have made their way back into style alongside several other flashy fabrics. Some of these include:
- Woven fibers
- Textured fabrics
- Environmentally-conscious fibers, such as hemp and bamboo
As we talked about in the brown belt section, leather belts can come with all sorts of patterns, too. Different animal leathers, for example, tend to have different innate patterns; ostrich leather, a popular luxury option, tends to come in many colors, and it comes with small feather holes that uniquely mark it as ostrich leather.
Crocodile leather and snakeskin, on the other hand, obviously have some unique patterns. While you may or may not want to get that adventurous with your belts or shoes, you can rest assured that they will match!
If you’re looking to stick to vegan leather, there are still a few options for you to choose from. Nowadays, you can get vegan leather in just about any design and finish. That includes tooled (or tooled-look) leather, too.
Grey Shoes with Colored Belts
While grey tends to look the most formal with neutral colors, it can look exciting and trendy with the addition of just a bit of color, too. If you have ever learned about painting or color theory, you likely already know that pure “neutral grey” is thought of as the midpoint between all colors.
As such, grey can complement any color under the sun! Red, blue, green, yellow, purple, pink – all of these colors and more can go with a good pair of neutral grey shoes. However, as always, make sure to keep your venue and your event in mind when deciding what color belt to wear with grey shoes!
It’s also good to keep the tone of your grey shoes in mind when accessorizing them with color. While grey will match with just about anything, it tends to look the sharpest with dark or desaturated shades (unless you are intentionally seeking to make a bold, eye-catching statement).
Consider the color red, for example. Red and grey make an excellent combination, but it tends to be too bright and flashy for most events. Instead, try accessorizing your grey shoes with a deeper burgundy or wine red. These darker, desaturated colors match the understated, almost delicate, yet fun nature of grey shoes.
Other options for understated colors to pair with grey include:
- Sage or olive green
- Navy blue
- Mustard yellow
Grey Shoes with Black or White Belts
As we touched on earlier, grey shoes usually work just fine with a black belt. Though a grey belt works better in very formal situations, a black belt is subtle enough not to ruin the look, too.
However, wearing a black belt with grey shoes can break up your outfit a bit. This is especially true if your gear itself contains either grey or black in it. White can cause this problem, too. Generally, unless you plan to wear all black everything, you should avoid wearing a white belt with white pants, or a grey belt with grey pants, and so on.
Belts aren’t a particularly dominating accessory. In fact, some people prefer to hide their belts altogether with long jackets or overcoats. However, it’s essential to know what belt works with your outfit best for those times that you won’t be covering your belt.
Consider a pair of black slacks, for example. Generally, it’s well-accepted to wear black pants, a black belt, and black shoes together to a formal setting. However, imagine the same thing in grey. It doesn’t look quite right, does it?
Now try envisioning navy slacks with grey shoes and a grey belt. This combination looks much more sophisticated and intentional. Now, try envisioning a black belt with that same pair of navy slacks and grey shoes. While the effect is a bit lacking, it’s still better than the alternative.
When mixing black or white belts with grey shoes, it’s essential to keep the shade of your pants in mind. Don’t match the color of your belt to your pants in this situation, as it will make the grey of your shoes stand out too much.
However, we do have one pro-tip to keep in mind when wearing a white or black belt with grey shoes: your shoelaces! By replacing your grey shoelaces with black or white to match your belt, you tie the color of your shoes in with your belt without washing them out too much. This strategy works best for black belts, but it can work with white, brown, or virtually any other color, too!
Matching Grey Shoes with Pants
While pairing grey shoes with a grey belt is pretty easy, knowing what color of pants (and, usually, the rest of the outfit, too) to pair with your shoes isn’t always so easy! For example, if you’re already planning to wear grey shoes and a grey belt, you should usually stay away from grey pants, unless the two are very different shades.
Light grey pants can work with charcoal grey shoes and belts, for example, but neutral grey and light grey might be too close to work together. However, unlike what you would do with black, try not to match your shoes and belt exactly with your outfit. While this strategy works with black, it tends to look a bit washed-out in most lighter shades of grey. Charcoal and other dark shades of gray may be able to pull this look off.
However, aside from that, grey shoes and a grey belt can work with virtually any trousers. As always, be sure to wear patterns with solids and vice versa – try not to double-up designs unless you’re very sure of your style. If you can, choose a grey that’s tinted slightly toward the color you’re trying to match with, but this is not required.
Something as simple as switching out the laces in a pair of good grey dress shoes can be enough to make them match with the color you want. For example, if you’re going to wear your medium-grey shoes with hunter green slacks, try adding a pair of sage-green laces to your grey shoes to bring them just a bit closer to that green color.
That being said, if you don’t feel comfortable getting adventurous with brighter colors, some of the safest, most attractive colors to pair with grey include:
- Charcoal (with a much lighter grey)
- Medium blue
Though it might seem difficult at first glance, matching grey shoes with a belt isn’t overly complicated. As long as you make sure to follow established fashion norms in business or formal situations, you can more or less style grey shoes however you want!