As someone who avoided wearing trousers for the best part of 20 years, I've always found it increasingly difficult to style them—particularly where shoes are concerned. Often, I'll compile my looks from head to toe, starting with a statement top, the accompanying bottom half and then the footwear. However, I tend to find myself slipping on every shoe style I own (trust me—there are a few), unconvinced that any of them suit my strides.
Some prove too chunky, while others make me feel frumpy. Either way, it's not a very enjoyable experience. As such, I set about to find out which shoe styles should be worn with which types of trousers once and for all. After lengthy try-on sessions and lots of IG scrolling, I think I've cracked the perfect footwear-and-trouser formulas. Below, you'll find four key trouser silhouettes, each boasting three shoe options that work specifically with them.
Keep scrolling to see my edit of stylish shoes to wear with trousers.
Culottes are one of the most versatile trouser shapes to style shoes with, as the higher hemline allows for a myriad of footwear options. This season's strappy sandals look best with them, as the cropped length of the trousers shows off the intricate straps in their entirety. Case in point: Tamu McPherson's outfit. Minimal mules also work, particularly if you want to elongate your legs. As far as flat shoes go, look to loafers to add a polished spin.
OPTION 1: Strappy Sandals
Yet another pair of Charles & Keith shoes to covet.
The Row's Bare sandals continue to be best sellers.
OPTION 2: Loafers
Gucci gives its classic Horsebit loafers an update in chic ecru.
Easy on the eyes and friendly on the purse strings.
OPTION 3: Mules
If you prefer your heels low, look no further than M&S's mules.
Those who aren't afraid of heights should turn their attention to By Far's towering mule offerings.
Jeans make up the vast majority of our off-duty outfits, with straight-leg styles still proving to be increasingly popular. As far as shoes go, we're of the opinion denim looks best paired with sleek court shoes. For summer days, a pair of espadrilles will always serve you well, as the tapered leg of the jeans will offset the chunky wedges. Using this same logic, thick-soled sneakers also look the part with straight-leg jeans.
OPTION 1: Courts
Patent finishes are going to be all the rage in autumn.
This is the perfect heel height for days you know you're going to be on your feet a lot.
OPTION 2: Espadrilles
If you're going for an elongating look, try espadrilles close in colour to that of your skin tone so they blend with the rest of your leg, thus creating the illusion of longer pins.
These black-and-beige espadrilles will also look excellent with cropped khaki trousers.
OPTION 3: Chunky Trainers
The pastel hues on these trainers will look gorgeous with pale-blue denim.
Zara has one of the best chunky-trainer collections we've seen on the high street.
Wide-leg trousers are a summertime staple, but when it comes to footwear, they're notoriously tricky to style. Lately, we've spotted influencers giving them an off-duty overhaul with white trainers and a simple tee. That said, they also look good with open-toed shoes—often, closed-toed heels can look frumpy with billowing fabric around them. Then, of course, they also look the 2021 part worn with chunky sandals.
OPTION 1: Tennis Shoes
Dresses, skirts, wide-leg trousers—these trainers will look sleek paired with them all.
Keep design details subtle—a flash of Veja's logo will do.
OPTION 2: Open-Toed Shoes
The square toe and wrap-around detail feel so current.
Just the right amount of retro, these would look great with cream trousers for a nod to the '70s.
OPTION 3: Chunky Sandals
If you haven't already bought a pair of Tevas this summer, the time is now.
Chunky flip-flops are all the rage this summer, with M&S's frugal pair proving popular amongst those in the know.
Tailored trousers that sit just above the ankle always look sophisticated, as evidenced on Emili Sindlev. Make the most of the flesh on show by opting for sultry ankle-tie heels—or a pair of backless flats. If you're more of a boot person, stick to snug-fitting styles that'll further enhance the narrow silhouette the trouser creates.
OPTION 1: Ankle-Tie Sandals
Part of Zara's high-summer collection, these heels keep us up at night.
Make a mental note—sage is about to become a key autumn trend.
OPTION 2: Backless Flats
These shoes will look equally chic worn with dresses and trousers.
We keep seeing bow shoes all over Instagram.
OPTION 3: Form-Fitting Boots
It's never to early to invest in a new pair of boots.
These boots have sell-out written all over them.