Skip to Content

What Shoes To Wear With Chinos? Go Formal Or Casual?

What Shoes To Wear With Chinos? Go Formal Or Casual?

A good ol’ pair of chinos should be a staple for every guy’s wardrobe. However, having a piece in your closet doesn’t mean much if you don’t know how to style it. If your pants have been collecting dust for months, it’s important to know what shoes to wear with chinos.

Once you learn how to style them, you’ll be able to wear these versatile pants in a number of ways. That’s the beauty of chinos. On top of looking incredible, they also match many clothing combos and styles. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for something casual or formal, your chinos have your back.

However, because they offer so many options, it can get a bit overwhelming – and that’s okay. The key is to know what pieces you should wear them with, and your shoes play a huge role in that. Knowing what pair to wear with a specific type of clothing is far from easy.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Yes, styling chinos can be a bit overwhelming because of all the choices you have, but we’ll show you that it’s no rocket science. We’ll cover most styles and shoes you can wear for a look you want to achieve, so you can finally start wearing your pair. Let’s wait no longer.

How and when to wear chinos?

What Shoes To Wear With Chinos? Go Formal Or Casual?

Before we start experimenting with different styles, it’s important to know how to wear these pants in the first place. Just like it’s the case with many other pieces of men’s clothing, it’s crucial that they’re the right fit.

Being able to pick chinos that fit you well is the first step in creating your ideal outfit. If you’re looking for a clean look that will compliment your figure, you’d want to go for a slim fit, athletic style, or tapered chinos. They’re super versatile, too, which means they’re much easier to style.

If you’re looking for something informal and casual, then skinny or baggy chinos are the right choice for you. On top of their style, you should also make sure that your pants are the right length. You don’t want them to be too long and end up bunching around your ankles, nor do you want them to be too short.

While these pants are super versatile and can be used to dress up or down, they’re still less formal than traditional dress trousers.

However, they’re still more formal than denim, for example, so you can wear them on a number of occasions. Especially if you’re looking for something stylish and comfortable. Just avoid wearing them to some super fancy events.

When deciding what shoes to wear with chinos, make sure you pay attention to colors and formality. Although there aren’t any major rules when it comes to shoes and chinos, there are some combinations that go well together.

For example, brown and white shoes go perfectly with tan chinos, while black shoes should be reserved for chinos of the same color. And don’t forget – it’s crucial that you match your shoes with the rest of your outfit.

What shoes to wear with chinos for a casual and smart-casual outfit?

Casual outfits are a great idea for an everyday look. But what if you wanted to spice it up a little bit? Maybe you’re dressing up for an interview or a team-building event that requires you to dress up a bit. Then, your best choice would be going for a smart-casual look.

Of course, the footwear you choose plays a huge role in how your outfit is perceived. But, don’t worry, we’ll go through the three most common types of shoes that you can wear for more laid-back events.

1. Dress sneakers

For a stylish casual look, smart or dress sneakers are an ideal choice. They’re not too casual or too smart, and you’ll feel super comfortable while looking your best. What else does a man need?

Smart sneakers are usually topped with leather, and they come in a number of styles, including derby, brogue, and monk straps. Just like regular sneakers, they have rubber soles, which is pretty much the only thing they have in common.

This type of sneaker works to reduce the formality of your outfit, while still keeping a level of class and style. With sneakers and casual outfits, you’re able to experiment a lot more. Add some unusual colors to your footwear and play around a little bit. Let your style show here.

Unlike other footwear we’ll talk about, sneakers come in almost every color you can imagine, so there’s something for everyone. This is great for people who have lighter-colored chinos. A pair of colored sneakers will be like a cherry on top. It’s a perfect finishing touch to your look.

Try matching them with the upper part of your outfit and see how your outfit transforms. Dress sneakers are a perfect addition to your wardrobe because they’re versatile and you can wear them throughout the year. You’ll hardly ever have to wonder what shoes to wear with chinos.

So, next time you’re looking for something casual and comfy, consider styling them with a pair of sneakers. Make sure you opt for dress sneakers rather than running shoes. Of course, classics such as Converse Chuck Taylors are always a good choice as well.

2. Military boots

What Shoes To Wear With Chinos? Go Formal Or Casual?

If you’d like to spice up your casual outfit, military boots go perfectly with chino pants. A lot of people stay away from wearing them because it takes some confidence to pull them off, which means they’ll enable you to stand out as one of the best-dressed men in the room.

Going for boots is a great choice if you want your outfit to be slightly more formal than it would be if you decided to wear sneakers. Don’t worry, they still fall into the “casual” category, but with a bit more formality to it.

Although you could go with a pair of black ones, brown boots would be a lot safer. Not only are they a lot easier to pair, but they’re also a lot more fitting for casual looks. On top of that, you might want to stay away from wearing sneakers during fall and winter, and boots would be a perfect choice for these seasons.

If you opt for this type of footwear, they’re a great choice for smart-casual or even casual events where you want to go a bit more stylish.

Don’t worry too much and experiment with different types of leather and colors. If you wear them with confidence, we’ll sure you’ll pull it off. And remember – make sure your chinos are always long enough to cover the top of your boots.

3. Chukka boots

You can hardly ever go wrong with a pair of Chukka boots. They’re a classic. When paired with chinos, these versatile boots bring just the right amount of formality to your outfit. They’ll make it a bit more serious than trainers or military boots, yet you’ll still stay on the casual side.

Because they maintain a slightly casual vibe, you can wear them to any semi-formal event, and they’re a great way for you to show off your personal style better. If you’re an older guy who’s over the whole sneakers craze, Chukka boots would be an ideal choice for you.

With this type of footwear, there are a lot of materials and colors you can choose from. Depending on what you opt for, you may create a more casual or a more formal look when styled with chinos.

Because black Chukkas are a bit more formal, it’s hard to style them with most chino outfits. That’s why you should play it safe and just get a pair of brown Chukka boots, made of either suede or regular leather, especially if you don’t want to appear too formal.

Since black Chukka boots are more formal and overall sleeker, they’re a better option if you want to wear a suit. A pair of brown ones are a smart-casual perfection. If you opt for suede, it’s a great way to prevent your outfit from getting too formal, while its style and shape keep it dressy.

Chukkas are ankle boots, which means they’re appropriate for wear throughout the whole year, except during summer. We can’t see a bad side to them, really.

4. Chelsea boots

What Shoes To Wear With Chinos? Go Formal Or Casual?

Similarly to Chukkas, Chelsea boots perform pretty much the same, but they’re a bit easier to wear with casual outfits. Yes, they’re stylish and sleek, but because they lack lacing, they’re a lot more casual.

Another difference between these two types of footwear is that black Chelsea boots are more appropriate and acceptable to wear with chinos. So you can get them in pretty much any color without having to worry about whether they’re too formal or not.

This opens up the choices of colors that you can explore while looking for combinations that best represent your style.

You should never ignore the length of your chinos. They must be the correct length and fall well into your boots. If you do this the right way, you’ll end up with a classy, streamlined figure. On top of that, it’ll protect you from water and dirt getting inside your footwear.

If you’re struggling with color matching, there are two things you can focus on: a complete contrast, or a close match.

If you opt for a close-match outfit, it will perfect your streamlined outfit because it provides an uninterrupted line, which further elongates your figure. A good example of this would be black Chelsea boots and navy chinos.

On the other hand, you can opt for a more contrasting look. For example, black Chelsea boots and putty chinos will draw attention to the lower part of your outfit. It’s a great choice to show off the smooth transition between your chinos and shoes.

Whatever you choose, it’s hard to make a mistake with Chelsea boots and chinos, you just have to make sure your pants are the right length. Because these boots are a bit higher up the foot, they would be an ideal choice for fall and winter. Not only will you look stylish, but your feet will be protected, too.

5. Boat shoes and moccasins

Another popular choice among the chinos wearers is boat shoes and moccasins. This outfit combination is becoming more and more frequent, as it’s a pretty easy way to achieve that effortless, yet super-trendy look.

If you’re a person whose outfits are usually more classic, this might be something out of your comfort zone. Boat shoes and moccasins with chinos are a great choice for those of you who like to experiment with your style, and like that “preppy” look.

But, no matter what kind of wearer you are, this combination is great for casual and smart-casual occasions. For more formal events, this might be a bit too simple.

A lot of people prefer wearing them with rolled-up or cuffed chinos because that works best with the casual nature of these shoes. Pants that are too long might fall into them with a slight break, creating an awkward fit.

Formal shoes to wear with chinos

There are plenty of options to choose from when you’re looking for a more casual outfit, but what shoes to wear with chinos when you want to go formal? Or at least keep your shoes in that category?

When looking for shoes that can turn your look from casual to formal, you won’t have as much freedom and options as was the case before. Of course, formal outfits have certain rules that you have to follow, so this comes as no surprise. Let’s see what are your choices.

1. Loafers

What Shoes To Wear With Chinos? Go Formal Or Casual?

If you’re looking for something that will make you feel comfortable yet dressed up, loafers are a perfect solution. They slip on your feet with no buckles or ties, and they feel super light.

These flat shoes are made of leather upper, and they’re a great way to finish off your look. Loafers are a great option for formal and semi-formal looks, as they’re capable to be either dressed up or down, depending on how you style them.

Leather loafers are super diverse and can fit anyone and any occasion depending on how they’re accessorized and worn. If you’re looking for a more formal look, traditional tasseled loafers would be an ideal choice for you.

Although you might not see a lot of people wearing them with their chinos, don’t let that stop you from trying them on for the next formal occasion you’ll have. If you do decide to wear them, pay attention to the length of your chinos.

Make sure that they’re not too short. Although it has a lot to do with taste, if you’re looking for a formal look – short pants might not be the best idea. Another thing you should keep in mind is that your chinos have a slim taper. Still, don’t overdo it and expose too much of your ankle.

2. Oxfords and Derbies

If you’re wondering what shoes to wear with chinos because you have a formal event coming up, then Oxfords and Derbies might be your answer. Whether you opt for half or full brogue, they’re always a good choice for dressy occasions.

The brogue detailing on these shoes isn’t there just for aesthetics. They lower the formality of the sleek design, making them suitable to wear with chinos on a variety of smart occasions.

Although the detailing on them dictates the formality, they’re undeniably too dressy for casual outfits. Dress shoes such as these ones are a perfect way to make chinos a bit more formal.

A pair of Oxfords should be a staple in every man’s wardrobe because they provide a classic formal look essential for strict dress codes. Derbies, on the other hand, can be dressed down a bit, making them super versatile.

Never forget to consider the color of your shoes as well, not just your chinos. Although black leather shoes are the most formal ones you can wear, they’re a lot less versatile than brown and tan shades.

Put on a nice button-down and a polished pair of Oxfords or Derbies and you’re good to go. You can’t go wrong with these ones.

3. Plain toe-capped Oxfords

What Shoes To Wear With Chinos? Go Formal Or Casual?

Lastly, the most formal shoes you can wear with your chinos are plain-toe Oxfords. They’re always a good choice when you want to enhance the formality of your chino pants.

Although most of the shoes we’ve mentioned are pretty versatile and can fit in both casual and semi-formal categories, plain Oxfords are classics that go best with a formal outfit.

Although they’re styled similarly to the brogue Oxfords, they can’t be worn with smart-casual outfits. They’re plainer and work best with situations that are in a more formal setting. You definitely can’t go wrong with them.

Shoes to avoid wearing with chinos

Now that we know what shoes to wear with chinos and how versatile these outfits can be, it’s only right to mention some things that can go wrong. Yes, chinos bring a lot of freedom for you to express your style and fashion sense, but there are still some things you’d want to avoid.

1. Leather sandals

Listen, fashion has no rules and you can do whatever you want, as long as you’re confident in the outfit that you’re wearing. However, don’t be surprised if you get a few weird looks from people if they see you wearing sandals with your chinos.

Although some people go for this look, there are plenty of them who absolutely despise it. After all, it’s your outfit and you should wear it with pride. Say you get a few weird looks – so what?! If you feel good in your skin when wearing this combination, then who are we to judge?

2. Running shoes

Although we’ve mentioned wearing sneakers with chinos for a more casual look, that doesn’t mean you should wear any pair you can find. For example, you should definitely stay away from running shoes. I mean, they’re called that for a reason.

It’s in their name – these shoes are designed for running and they should stay that way. We doubt you plan on wearing your chino pants when running… Because these sneakers are functional and VERY casual, they shouldn’t be worn with something that’s smart casual, such as chinos.

Yes, they’re both casual, but in their own ways. There’s no match when it comes to their formality, so keep your chino pants for something a bit more formal when it comes to footwear.

Of course, you can always go a bit alternative and trendy and pair your chinos with a pair of smart sneakers. For example, for summer days, all-white tennis shoes are an amazing choice that can make you look stylish while also keeping you comfortable.

If you’re not a fan of white shoes, Vans Old Skools go very well with chinos, too. They’ll add an urban feel to it that will turn your outfit from smart-casual to an everyday, casual look. Plus, you’ll feel great in them, too!

And, of course, the classic Converse Chuck Taylors. It seems like they go well with pretty much every outfit. As you can see, there are many options when it comes to sneakers and chinos – just stay away from running shoes.