How to Select Shoes to Wear With Jeans

By Bethany Williams

Jeans can offer almost any look you want -- from casual and relaxed to urban and sophisticated. It all depends on the cut and color of your jeans, as well as the footwear you pair with it. While you can wear everything from sneakers to stilettos with jeans, some shoes pair better with certain denim styles. Base your footwear choice for your jeans on what you're going to be doing and the image you'd like to project.

Glamour Presents
credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Actress Lucy Punch teams dark jeans with a cute pair of pumps.

Base It on Activity

What you'll be doing -- as well as the conditions you'll be doing them in -- will largely determine your choice of footwear. For a nature walk, comfortable shoes with a good tread is important. In this case, running or hiking shoes are your best bet. However, for a stroll downtown to do some window shopping you might choose a pair of stylish ballet flats or slip on leather loafers instead. For a more sophisticated outing, such as a night out at a trendy club, a pair of sky-high heels with dark denim may be just the thing.

Look at the Length

The length of your jeans will affect the type of shoe you choose to wear. According to "Lucky" magazine, the more fitted the jean, the greater the number of options you have for shoes. Straight-leg and skinny jeans can be worn with either heels or flats. For wider-leg jeans, such as boyfriend jeans, trouser styles, flared jeans and boot-cut jeans, a heel is recommended -- even if only a short one. The extra height from the heel keeps you from looking too bottom heavy. The recommendation for heels applies to both men and women, as men can opt for heeled boots or shoes with a slight lift.

Fashion Jean Styles

Jeans are necessarily casual, even if you get a designer label or a pair in a fashionable cut. Men should stick with a more casual dress shoe -- think oxfords or loafers. For fancier occasions, pair a well-polished, high-quality pair of leather dress shoes with your jeans. The same goes for women: Jeans can go from casual to dressy, so match your shoe choice to the occasion. For more sophisticated events, a pair of heels works well, while ballet flats are perfect for slipping on with your favorite pair of fashion jeans to go walking around town.

Casual Jean Styles

For more casual jeans, you can wear whatever shoe makes you feel comfortable, so long as they do not cause your hems to drag on the ground. Loose-fitting jeans are more casual -- for both men and women -- so choose more informal footwear, like running shoes or a pair of ballet flats. Just be sure the hem of the jean doesn't hit too short -- it's should cover the shoe just a bit.