What use is a pair of fancy dress socks if you’re just wearing them with sneakers? No, that just won’t do — to really get the best out of a pair of Boardroom Socks, you’ll need a pair of dress shoes to wear them with.

That’s why in addition to our usual blogs explaining the ins and outs of socks, we’re also running a series of articles on men’s dress shoes. In today’s edition, you’ll learn everything you need to know about brown dress shoes: The different styles you can wear, when to wear them, how to match your dress shoes and pants, and the best Boardroom Socks to tie those outfits together.

What Are Brown Dress Shoes, Exactly?

Dress shoes are defined by what they are in contrast to: Athletic shoes.

That means dress shoes:

  • Are made of leather, not synthetic materials
  • Have a thin profile, not bulky and padded
  • Focus on a refined aesthetic, not sport performance.

There are, however, many different styles of shoes that fit into those categories. Let’s take a look at each in closer detail.


man crossing his ankles wearing khaki dress socks with khaki pants and brown suede shoes


Types of Dress Shoes

Dress shoes of one type or another have probably been around since the 1600s — but they didn’t really get popular until the mid-1800s, when Oxford University adopted them as part of its dress code.

These aptly named “Oxford shoes” are still the most popular style of dress shoe today, and are regarded as the most appropriate for formal wear.

Monk strap dress shoes are next in line on the formality scale. They’re easily identifiable by their lack of laces (and presence of a strap, hence the name).

Derbies are a very popular option to wear in brown. They have a slightly less formal appearance than Oxfords, with a trademark open lacing and decorative perforations called brogueing.

Last but not least, there’s the comfortable and easy to wear loafer. They’re the least formal of the dress shoe spectrum, as you can slip them on and off with ease due to their lack of laces or buckles.

And that’s not even counting the distinct styles of dress boots! Chelseas, Chukkas, and the like deserve their own treatment in another article, so we’ll cover those elsewhere.

What Outfits to Wear With Brown Dress Shoes

When looking for an outfit to wear your brown dress shoes with, first ask: What style of dress shoe do you own? Oxfords are the most likely choice here, though any of the other options listed in the section above will look quite nice in brown as well (derbies in particular).

If you’re styling brown oxfords, a formal or business outfit is the best way to go. That means slacks, blazer, and tie in most cases.

More casual styles of brown dress shoes can liven up a semi-formal or even the most casual outfit. Brown loafers are particularly good for this, as they can easily be paired with shorts for a comfortable and homey outfit on warm spring and summer days. Derbies or monk straps can take a nice pair of blue jeans or chinos and elevate them to a classier level without going over the top.

How to Match Brown Dress Shoes and Pants

There’s one simple guideline to follow when you’re looking to make great looking formal outfits: Pair the color of your shoes with your pants.

Thankfully, brown dress shoes are a very versatile choice for pairing with different colors of pants. If you own just a pair of brown dress shoes and a pair of brown dress shoes, you can match with just about any color of pants you can imagine.

No matter what shade of brown your dress shoes are, they’ll pair best with earthy tones; think khaki, olive, and brown. But with the right socks to tie the two parts together, you can also wear brown dress shoes with gray or navy blue pants too — which we’ll explain in the next section.

The Best Socks to Pair With Brown Dress Shoes

Because of the wide range of pant colors that you can wear with brown dress shoes, you’ll find an equally large range of sock colors to pair with them.

what color socks do you wear with brown dress shoes

For an in-depth look at this topic, I’d like to point you to our big guide to matching your dress socks, shoes, and pants. It covers everything in great detail, with helpful styling tips for less common situations (like how to wear brown shoes with black socks).

But to summarize what’s written in that article, here are the main takeaways for pairing socks with brown dress shoes:

  • Earthy tones of socks match very well with earthy tones of pants, which both pair well with brown dress shoes.
  • Khaki, olive, and brown socks are your best bets with brown dress shoes.
  • If you want to pair brown dress shoes with gray or blue pants, consider using dark navy blue socks to bring the pairing together.

Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words — so why don’t you take a peek at some real life examples of our Boardroom Socks paired with brown shoes? If one of them catches your eye, just click on that shop button to check out our whole collection related to the color.


brown dress socks with brown dress shoes


Shop Brown Dress Socks


man wearing khaki dress socks with brown loafers and dark green trousers


Shop Khaki Dress Socks


navy dress socks with brown brogue oxfords and navy trousers


Shop Navy Dress Socks

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff

Our editorial staff is comprised of menswear experts dedicated to providing you with helpful information. Sharing everything from style tips to sock care instructions, these gentlemen are a wealth of knowledge for both our customers and the Boardroom Socks team.



Also in The Boardroom Memo

man wearing black suit wondering what color socks to wear
Socks for Black Suit? Top 5 Colors for Men

by Nathan James June 28, 2022

Wondering what color socks to wear with your black suit? This article outlines our top five picks and offers plenty of advice on how to look sharp in a black suit.
Read More
men's olive green business socks
The Boardroom Guide to Business Socks

by Nathan James June 15, 2022

This article will cover everything you need to know about business socks, including which are best, how to style them and proper care instructions.
Read More
black cap toe oxford dress shoes with navy dress socks and dark grey trousers
The Boardroom Socks Guide to Black Dress Shoes

by Editorial Staff June 11, 2022

Black dress shoes, the most classic color of all. This article will touch on the different styles of black dress shoes you can wear as well as what socks and outfits to pair with them.
Read More