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Matching Your Belt And Shoes: Should They Always Match? – The Rules

Men's Style Guides
Wednesday, 14th November, 2018

Should You Match Your Belt With Your Shoes?

This is one of those questions which I’ve been asked a couple of times, and if you ask people or the Internet, you’re likely to get different answers. Some will be strict high class fashion etiquette, and some will be a more informal approach.

Should your belt match your shoes?

The answer is yes, and no. For me, it depends on the colour shoes you’re wearing. If you’re matching your belt and shoes, you should start with the shoes as a base point, and then match your belt and any other leather accessories to that.

To put it simply, brown shoes with a brown belt, and black shoes with a black belt. The more formal the occasion, the more strict this rule becomes.

Wearing a black suit with some black Oxfords will look dapper, but wrapping a tan belt around it will loose you some serious style points.

But what about other colour shoes? That’s where it can become a little tricky.

There’s a few different pairs of shoes you may own, and If you own an oxblood pair of shoes, you may not own an oxblood leather belt, so what do you do?

In this instance, I think that a brown belt combo would work. This is a colour which is quite close to the shoes, and should be fine. Of course, if you have a pair of oxblood shoes you love and wear a lot, you may want to invest in a matching colour belt, so your outfit is on point.

What Belt To Wear With Shades Of Brown (Tan, Light, Dark, Sand)

Is it just me, or does brown never seem to be universal? I have a couple of pairs of brown shoes, but they are completely different in colour. There’s the typical colours we know, which are dark brown, mid brown, light brown, tan and sand, which covers most colours.

But even those can come in a variety of shades, so how do you go about matching those?

As you have probably guessed, it’s really easy. You can just colour match the closest you can get. Matching a sand colour pair of chelsea boots with a brown belt will be fine.

What About Blue Shoes?

I actually own a pair of blue shoes, they’re not leather, but suede Uggs as you can see in this outfit post. I didn’t wear a belt here, but if I wanted to match up a belt, I’d go for black with the blue shoes.

Black is a more of a universal colour, and will work with blue shoes.

What About Other Colour Shoes? What Belts Should I Wear To Match?

You don’t need to go out an buy a leather belt for every pair of footwear you own. You will likely own shoes and belts which don’t colour match perfectly, they’ll be in-between, and you don’t need to own every shade of brown or red to cover your leather.

I wore my brown leather belt with my Loake Aldwych shoes which are also brown, and they worked very well. The colours may not be an exact match, however different browns will work fine together, if you’re looking to match up leathers.

Wearing an appropriate colour will be fine. You should always consider the outfit as a whole, especially the trousers or whatever you’re wearing on your lower half.

What About A Leather Wallet And A Leather Watch Strap? Should They Match?

As we’ve learnt above, you should match, if you can. If you own a black wallet along with a black leather strap watch, it makes perfect sense to wear them in an outfit with the black shoes and belt. But since the wallet is not on show so much, and the watch strap is quite discrete, it’s not mandatory, just preferential.

As with the advice above, if you can match the leather then it’s the stylish way to go, but you don’t need to invest in every colour leather in every piece; Use colours which are close to each other.


When it comes to black and brown leather, you should try to match them, and it becomes increasingly important the more formal you get with your clothing. If you don’t match your shoes with your leather belt, it will not be the end of the world, and you’ll not look terrible.

But you’ll loose that edge, that tiny style detail which can be crucial, and will be noticed whether you have it or not.

If you can’t get a match, try getting close.

What do you think about matching leathers? Let me know what colours you think should be matched, and which should be avoided.

Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger and T-shirt designer from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

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