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.
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.
References and ResourcesClarks: Choosing the Right Style
Lucky Mag: Where Should Your Pants Hem Hit Your Shoe?
Business Insider: Three Basic Rules for Wearing Dress Shoes With Jeans
Men's Health: In Your Jeans
Men's Health Style: Can I Tuck My Jeans Into My Boots?