Not All Shoes and Trousers Go Together, But These Combinations Sure Do

·5-min read

As someone who avoided wearing trousers for the best part of 20 years, I've always found it increasingly difficult to style them—particularly where shoes are concerned. Often, I'll compile my looks from head to toe, starting with a statement top, the accompanying bottom half and then the footwear. However, I tend to find myself slipping on every shoe style I own (trust me—there are a few), unconvinced that any of them suit my strides.

Some prove too chunky, while others make me feel frumpy. Either way, it's not a very enjoyable experience. As such, I set about to find out which shoe styles should be worn with which types of trousers once and for all. After lengthy try-on sessions and lots of IG scrolling, I think I've cracked the perfect footwear-and-trouser formulas. Below, you'll find four key trouser silhouettes, each boasting three shoe options that work specifically with them.

Keep scrolling to see my edit of stylish shoes to wear with trousers.


Culottes are one of the most versatile trouser shapes to style shoes with, as the higher hemline allows for a myriad of footwear options. This season's strappy sandals look best with them, as the cropped length of the trousers shows off the intricate straps in their entirety. Case in point: Tamu McPherson's outfit. Minimal mules also work, particularly if you want to elongate your legs. As far as flat shoes go, look to loafers to add a polished spin.

OPTION 1: Strappy Sandals

Charles & Keith Chalk Tie-Around Strappy Sandals (£55)

Yet another pair of Charles & Keith shoes to covet.

The Row Bare Mid-Heel Leather Sandals (£650)

The Row's Bare sandals continue to be best sellers.

OPTION 2: Loafers

Gucci Brixton Horsebit-Detail Loafers (£540)

Gucci gives its classic Horsebit loafers an update in chic ecru.

Zara Loafers with Buckles (£30)

Easy on the eyes and friendly on the purse strings.

OPTION 3: Mules

Marks and Spencer Leather Open Toe Mules (£40)

If you prefer your heels low, look no further than M&S's mules.

By Far Juju Leather Mules (£137)

Those who aren't afraid of heights should turn their attention to By Far's towering mule offerings.


Jeans make up the vast majority of our off-duty outfits, with straight-leg styles still proving to be increasingly popular. As far as shoes go, we're of the opinion denim looks best paired with sleek court shoes. For summer days, a pair of espadrilles will always serve you well, as the tapered leg of the jeans will offset the chunky wedges. Using this same logic, thick-soled sneakers also look the part with straight-leg jeans.

OPTION 1: Courts

Zara Leather Court Shoes (£30)

Patent finishes are going to be all the rage in autumn.

Manolo Blahnik BB 90 Pumps (£515)

This is the perfect heel height for days you know you're going to be on your feet a lot.

OPTION 2: Espadrilles

Sosandar Perla Cognac Valenciana Wedge Espadrilles (£65)

If you're going for an elongating look, try espadrilles close in colour to that of your skin tone so they blend with the rest of your leg, thus creating the illusion of longer pins.

Castañer Canvas Espadrilles (£85)

These black-and-beige espadrilles will also look excellent with cropped khaki trousers.

OPTION 3: Chunky Trainers

Gola Classics Eclipse Trident Sneakers (£80)

The pastel hues on these trainers will look gorgeous with pale-blue denim.

New Balance 2002R Trainers (£120)

Zara has one of the best chunky-trainer collections we've seen on the high street.


Wide-leg trousers are a summertime staple, but when it comes to footwear, they're notoriously tricky to style. Lately, we've spotted influencers giving them an off-duty overhaul with white trainers and a simple tee. That said, they also look good with open-toed shoes—often, closed-toed heels can look frumpy with billowing fabric around them. Then, of course, they also look the 2021 part worn with chunky sandals.

OPTION 1: Tennis Shoes

Superga Cotu Classic Trainers (£59)

Dresses, skirts, wide-leg trousers—these trainers will look sleek paired with them all.

Veja Esplar Trainers (£90)

Keep design details subtle—a flash of Veja's logo will do.

OPTION 2: Open-Toed Shoes

COS Open Toe Leather Shoes (£68)

The square toe and wrap-around detail feel so current.

Gucci Hockey Open Toe Shoes (£700)

Just the right amount of retro, these would look great with cream trousers for a nod to the '70s.

OPTION 3: Chunky Sandals

Teva Original Sandals (£40)

If you haven't already bought a pair of Tevas this summer, the time is now.

Marks and Spencer Leather Flatform Flip Flops (£40)

Chunky flip-flops are all the rage this summer, with M&S's frugal pair proving popular amongst those in the know.


Tailored trousers that sit just above the ankle always look sophisticated, as evidenced on Emili Sindlev. Make the most of the flesh on show by opting for sultry ankle-tie heels—or a pair of backless flats. If you're more of a boot person, stick to snug-fitting styles that'll further enhance the narrow silhouette the trouser creates.

OPTION 1: Ankle-Tie Sandals

Zara Tied Leather Heeled Sandals (£50)

Part of Zara's high-summer collection, these heels keep us up at night.

Charles & Keith Ankle-Tie Sandals (£45)

Make a mental note—sage is about to become a key autumn trend.

OPTION 2: Backless Flats

Malone Souliers Maureen Backless Flats (£425)

These shoes will look equally chic worn with dresses and trousers.

ASOS Latine Shoes (£20)

We keep seeing bow shoes all over Instagram.

OPTION 3: Form-Fitting Boots

Stradivarius Stiletto Boots (£30)

It's never to early to invest in a new pair of boots.

John Lewis & Partners Waverly Suede Shoe Boots (£85)

These boots have sell-out written all over them.

This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated.

Next Up: Autumn 2021 Trends: The Only Fashion Looks You Need to Know

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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