how to wear red shoes

10 Ways to Wear Red Shoes

A few years ago, I wrote an article for another blog on how to wear red shoes, and I was quite surprised by some of the comments it got.

For me, you see, red shoes have always been a closet essential: I have more pairs of them than I care to think about, and I wear them so often I consider them almost as a “neutral”, as strange as that might sound. Not so the readers of that particular blog, though, apparently. Red shoes are risky, they told me in the comments section. They are challenging. Wearing them requires bravery, and – according to some charming male commenters, who were apparently telegraphing their comments from some time in the 1940s – make me look like a loose woman. Well, I’ve been called worse, to be totally honest with you…

Seriously, though: I know that clothes and colours often have meanings beyond the surface “that’s pretty!” or whatever, but I was still pretty depressed to find that some sections of society will still judge women based on the colour of their shoes, of all things. Despite that, though, I’m still wearing my red shoes with pride – and today I’m here to help you do the same: IF you want to, that is.

Here are 10 of my favourite ways to wear red shoes…

How to Wear Red Shoes

red shoes with red gingham skirt

With more red…

One of the most obvious ways to wear red shoes is with MOAR red. This can actually be trickier than it looks because, a) Not all reds are created equal, and if the two shades of red clash with each other, it’s not the best look, and b) Head-to-red (or any colour) can be tricky to pull off, but if you can find a red that works with your shoes, it’s an easy, no-effort way to wear them. I, unfortunately, look like a vampire if I wear red next to my face, but this skirt comes out every summer – and so do the red shoes…

red shoes with navy polka dot dress

Red shoes with navy

Red and navy is one of my favourite colour combinations: unlike the ‘red on red’ option above, it’s really hard to go wrong with this one: the red stops the navy from looking too corporate or staid (Not that this particular dress looks “corporate” obviously, but navy can sometimes look that way…), while the navy stops the red from looking too bold. Win-win.

red shoes with black and white dress

With black and white

I call this my “newspaper” look (What’s black and white and red all over? No?), and it’s another really easy way to wear red shoes without having to put too much thought into it. I won”t say that everything goes with black and white, because I don’t actually think that’s true, but most things do – and red shoes are one of those things.

Red shoes with blue jeans, Breton top and navy blazer

With jeans

If in doubt, wear jeans, right? If in MORE doubt? Wear stripes with your jeans: OBVIOUSLY. This is another go-to look for me, and if I’m wearing jeans with one of my many, many Breton stripe tops, I will almost invariably be reaching for a pair of red shoes to wear with them. I’m trying really, REALLY hard not to use the hackneyed phrase “a pop of colour” here, but … you can sense it struggling to get out, can’t you?

How to wear red shoes with head-to-toe black

With black

I very rarely wear head-to-toe black, and I didn’t here either, because, as you can see, I added a pair of red shoes to make the overall look a little bit less funereal. It might be a colour associated with funerals, and other Un-Fun things in life, though, but black can also be very dramatic, which is why I occasionally like to completely ignore all of that well-meaning style advice that says redheads/pale people shouldn’t wear it, and give it a go. With this particular outfit (and also the one above it), I’m also avoiding the advice that says you shouldn’t match your bag to your shoes: I don’t do it all the time, and don’t believe that accessories should always match, but I don’t think it’s as huge a crime of fashion as some people like to make out, either. Can you tell I’m not a fan of fashion “rules”?

how to wear red shoes with gingham capri pants

With gingham

These blue gingham print trousers were just crying out to be worn with a bright colour: don’t get me wrong, I love my neutrals, and nude or gold shoes are very close to red ones in my affections, but they’d have looked a little too plain with this look, which needed something fun to finish it off. Almost any bright colour would have worked here, but red, white and blue is always a winner in my book, so red, white and blue won the day!

how to wear red shoes with polka dots

With polka dots

OK, I’m cheating a bit here because this is really just a variation on the black and white look, above, but there’s something about polka dots – whatever colour they happen to come in – that makes them just perfect for red shoes: together, they create a bit of a pin-up inspired look, which I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of, no matter how many times I wear it.

how to wear red shoes with stripes

With stripes

Now take everything I just said about red shoes with polka dots, and apply it to stripes, too. This look is more preppy than pin-up, but the fact is, red shoes just work really well with stripes: they just do.

how to wear red shoes with baby blue

With blue

I’ve already talked about how to wear red shoes with navy, but they work with most other shades of blue, too: wear them with cobalt for a bold, vibrant look, or with a paler, baby-blue for a sweeter style.

how to wear red shoes with green

How to wear red shoes with green

I suspect a lot of people would answer the question, “How to wear red shoes with green?” by saying, “Er, you DON’T: or not unless you want to look like one of Santa’s little helpers, anyway.” I mostly concur with that: the two colours do work together, but I personally don’t wear bright red with bright green (even although I love both colours separately), purely because it feels a little too costumey/festive to me (If you can pull it off, though, more power to you!). If I do want to wear red shoes with green, though, I find the easiest way to do it is by toning down the colour palette a little: so, in this photo, I’m wearing mint green with a paler, coral red: that way the two colours don’t clash too much – plus, the fact that the coral shade also appears in the dress helps tie the two colours together.

10 ways to wear red shoes

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  • Rowena


    As soon as I saw this article in my facebook feed, I thought, “I almost see red as a neutral” and lo and behold, not a few sentences in. . .

    Glad you agree!

    One I would add for the very brave is red and fuchsia/other pinks. Tricky to get right but striking when you do!

    January 22, 2018
  • Some people don’t half come out with nonsense. Red shoes = loose woman? Silly boys! Mind you, wearing red seems to attract those comments, which makes me want to wear it even more. ?

    I’m a chicken when it comes to shoes though. I love wearing colours, but I tend to stick to black shoes and boots in the belief they go with everything. I’ve owned plenty of mad shoes in my life, but they’ve mostly been black-based. However, one day I saw some gorgeous red shoes by Miu Miu for sale on Ebay. They were only £50, so I bought them in my size and they arrived from New York. Too big! And there was nothing I could do because they were peep-toe. I ended up gifting them to my friend’s daughter.

    January 22, 2018
  • I love every one of these outfits!!! I mean, red shoes are a MUST!!! (Says someone who has been unable to replace her beloved red ballerinas since they fell apart 2 years ago) I love red shoes, they make any “boring” black or navy outfit look instantly cool <3

    xo, Rosie //Curvy Life stories

    January 22, 2018
  • stacie robertson


    I love red! I think it is a simple way to make a striking statement to an outfit.

    January 22, 2018
  • Myra Boyle


    I had a fab pair of red shoes – jus the right size of heel in postbox red. I lent them to a friend who couldn’t find the right shade of red for hrr Christmas outfit. She loved them. After Christmas she was diagnosed with lung cancer so I never quite found the right time to ask for them back following this. She died in late spring and I couldn’t then ask her widower for my shoes, but you can imagine my surprise when I found out she was being buried in that outfit and her lovely red shoes (my shoes?).
    Every time I think of her I can see her laughing at this absurdity. I never found another pair of red shoes.

    January 22, 2018
  • Ginger


    Wonderful ideas! I particularly like #9 and #10. I love mixing brights or darks with pastels anyway, and red with baby blue or mint green is a delicious combination. I’ve also worn red with apple green or lime green, and aqua. Wonderful combinations.

    January 22, 2018
  • Maria


    Lol, I will never understand people’s bigotry: I was wearing red lipstick once and I had an old spinster look at me like I was Hitler in a shop, and pass me while muttering ‘slut’ in a hush hush tone. I was so baffled I didn’t know what to say. Another time a friend of mine told me of that time she was dressed with boot cut jeans that covered most of her red, patent leather pumps, a simple cotton sweater and a jacket… She still had a man tell her at the bus stop at noon “Don’t complain if you get groped, with those shoes you’re wearing!”. She was so angry she asked him if she had to worry about him, since he took the effort to tell her she basically deserved to be sexually assaulted for the peek of red under her boot cut. He got so angry he started hurling abuse at her and she had to go away not to be insulted… And these are just the examples of bigots harassing people over a stupid color choice that I can think of right now… Psycho people are always looking for excuses to harass and belittle others, it’s not the colour that is problematic, it’s that THEY are the problem.

    January 22, 2018
  • In LOVE with this post — may just have the steal the idea myself, loving red shoes the way you do. But I’ve never managed to be clever enough to pair cherry red and mint green like you’ve done in the last outfit. It looks SMASHING!


    Ashley || Sed Bona

    January 22, 2018
  • lalie


    Lovely outfits as always. I like that I can wear any colour of shoes (and handbags), even ones that wouldn’t suit my own skin tone at all if I was wearing them as a piece of clothing.

    January 22, 2018
  • LOLZ at the line ‘not all reds are born equal’ – just spent a long time trying to explain to my other half why I STILL need a red clutch when my sister just bought me one for Christmas! The look on his face when I said it was more of a brick red when I need pillarbox red…

    January 22, 2018
  • Anna


    I adore red shoes (I blame Dorothy!) and wear them a lot. As I love red lipstick too I am often told I am very bright even if the rest of the outfit is black.

    I do like the red and navy cimbo but I have a mental block over navy (school uniform) so it doesn’t happen in my wardrobe but I may have to stop being silly and go for it. After all I left school twenty*mumble* years ago!

    January 22, 2018
  • Red shoes are the best. I still wouldn’t wear them with green but gingham, pale blue and polka dots are never out of style. My personal style anyway. I don’t think any colour shoes are risky as long as you have lots to go with them which I think most women do

    January 23, 2018
  • Lori


    Red shoes are my favorites! I begged my mom for a pair of red patent leather Mary Janes when I was two years old and haven’t looked back. Love this post!

    January 24, 2018
  • Hannah Clark


    I’m not currently cool enough to have red shoes- new goal- but I’ve always thought of red nails as neutral so I feel I’m on the same track here.

    February 19, 2018
  • Mariaelena Robles


    Thanks for sharing!

    March 18, 2019
  • Sabrina


    Red is my favorite color. If I could I would wear it everyday of my life. But I like my shoes to match my bags. LOL! I have about 60 pr of shoes. Not enough bags. About 20 bags. I believe you wear whatever makes you happy period!

    April 13, 2021