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Shoe color formality
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Rapawalk’s Shoe Color Formality Scale

     While you all must have come across a lot of literature on what color shoes go well with what kind of color, we’ve received a lot of requests asking us about what color shoe for what occasion. So we decided to make a Shoe color index. Did you know the color of your shoes varies, according to the formality of the occasion, the seasonality of the weather and of course the clothes you decide to pair it with.

Below we compiled a list of shoe colors for you and what they stand for-

Black shoes image

Black Shoes

Hands down, no questions asked, black is the most formal shoe color. The only classic option for tuxedos and very commonly seen on business suits, black shoes are ubiquitous.

While all shoes must be well cared for to maintain their good looks, black leather in particular starts to look tired quickly and thus requires extra attention when polishing and storing.

Dark Brown shoes image

Dark Brown

Arguably just as dressy as black but offering superior style, dark brown shoes are one rung down the formality scale from black. Safe to say it’s not appropriate to wear dark brown with a tux. Brown shoes are beloved for the patina they acquire over time, and they pair well with everything black shoes pair with, except of course black. Brown shoes go well with dark blue suits, denims, light colored chinos but are a big no-no when it comes to black trousers.

Though they can be worn in any season, dark brown shoes work best in autumn and winter.

Burgundy shoes image


Both a material and a color, cordovan refers to a brown-ish burgundy shoe color. They pair with anything dark brown shoes pair with but are a touch less formal due to their lighter shade.

Navy Blue shoes image

Navy Blue

Though rare, navy blue as a shoe color is relatively dressy and formal due to its darkness. You will find men wearing them in office or at more formal occasions such as weddings. In a dress shoe situation, navy blue shoes pair well with navy and grey trousers. We recommend visualizing your outfit and how you would wear the shoes before buying them.

Charcoal Grey shoes image

Charcoal Grey

Charcoal Grey shoes are a rarer shoe color just like the Navy Blue shoes. Dark grey shoes sit on the same rung of the formality ladder as the navy blue shoes. They also pair with the same color trousers. Rapawalk recommends wearing your Charcoal Grey shoes with Grey trousers for a simple and elegant look.

Cocoa Brown shoes image

Cocoa Brown

Medium brown shoes are extremely versatile and pair with just about any trouser you can think of. They’re relatively informal due to the lightness of color. While they can be worn to work in many offices, you should opt for a darker shoe if going to a job interview or a formal business meeting.

Tan shoes image


Even in the dressiest silhouettes, tan shoes have an air of casualness about them. They rank low on the formality scale. However, Tan shoes pair beautifully with medium blue and light grey suits, making them great for warm weather weddings.

Rapawalk recommends – wearing your tan shoes in the spring and summer months.

Beige shoes image


Beige shoes are very informal and should only be worn in the most casual of situations. It’s also helpful to keep your wear frequency to a minimum, as Beige shoes get dirty very easily and require particular steps to clean.

Off Beat colors shoes image

Off Beat shoes colors (Oxblood, green, purple, etc.)

Other shoe colors like red, purple, green, or orange are the least formal available on the market. Essentially novelty colors, these are great for casual wear with denim and chinos. Off beat colors are great to add a quirky element to your otherwise standard outfit. These days, its all about experimentation and standing out and what better way to do it than colorful shoes? If you’re wearing a suit for a fun outing (think Barney from How I Met Your Mother) a dress shoe in one of these colors can really take your ensemble into the stratosphere, stylistically speaking.

Art Colors

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