The best thing about chinos is their versatility. They are fit to wear to most events and occasions ranging from the office, to casual brunches.
What determines the level of formality or casualness of a pair of chinos is what you pair it up with. Shoes are particularly important.
Combine chinos with a pair of oxfords to achieve an office-ready smart casual look. Put on some boat shoes, and you’ll blend in any casual or semi-formal occasion. With a pair of sneakers, you are in full weekend mode.
In this fashion guide, we look at the shoes that go best with chinos.
Key Considerations When Choosing Shoes to Wear with Chinos
Type and Style of Shoes
Chinos go well with many different types of shoes, so you don’t need to worry about an embarrassing style mismatch.
What you need to be careful about is the occasion you are dressing for. One pairing, say chinos and loafers, works best in a casual setting while another, such as chinos and oxfords, is ideal for casual Fridays at work.
Here’s a quick summary of which shoes to wear for what occasion.
- Loafers – loafers and chinos are a perfect match for casual and semi-formal occasions. The minimalist laceless style of loafers goes well with most styles of chinos.
- Boat shoes – these close relatives of loafers are higher up on the dressy scale, making them great for smart casual and semi-formal occasions such as a golf club. The 360-degree lacing going around the heel adds great detail to the shoes.
- Moccasins – moccasins are also cousins to boat shoes and loafers. The main difference is that they have a thin sole that’s continuous from the toes to the heel. The low profile of moccasins makes for a great casual outfit when worn with chinos.
- Dress shoes – if you want a formal or semi-formal style, dress shoes are the way to go. These include Oxfords, Derbies, and Brogues. Some dress shoes like Oxfords are great for formal occasions like work or business, while others like Derbies allow you to tone down the formality while still looking smart and professional (great for cocktails and dinner dates).
- Boots – If you love boots, look for those with a slim style. They go best with the slim cut of most chinos. Depending on the style and detailing, you can easily find casual or semi-formal boots.
- Sneakers – sneakers and trainers are great for casual and smart casual occasions such as brunches, weekends in town, and casual Fridays at work. The best thing about sneakers, other than how comfy they are, is that there’s a wide range of colours and styles available ranging from plain white that go with any chinos, to rainbow sneakers if you want to stand out.
Chinos are known for their comfortable fit; make sure your chosen shoes fit just as well.
Double check the size of the shoe and check if it is extra-wide, slim, or normal. If you have any foot issues like bunions or flat feet, get shoes that accommodate your feet.
For example, if you have bunions you’ll need shoes with a wide toe box. If you have flat feet, get shoes that offer extra arch support.
Leather and suede are the best materials for shoes you plan to wear with chinos. The texture of these materials perfectly match that of most chinos.
Sneakers are an exception. While leather sneakers look great with chinos, other materials like canvas and synthetics also look great.
Most chinos come in subdued colours such as grey, black, brown, khaki (the colour, not the fabric), blue and others.
The best shoes for chinos come in the same toned down colours. If you want a pair of shoes that goes well with all your chinos, black or brown are the best colours especially for semi-formal and formal occasions.
If you want a casual or smart casual look, experiment with other colours.
Best Shoes to Wear With Chinos: Top 5 Reviews
1. Sperry Top-Sider Men’s O 2-Eye Plushwave Boat Shoe
Boat shoes blend well in smart casual and semi-formal occasions. Our favourite boat shoes are these ones by Sperry Top-Sider.
The 2-eyed men’s boat shoes balance perfectly between formal and casual. You can get them in several colours including tan, navy, grey, oatmeal, and bone – all toned down colours that match well with chinos.
The full grain leather material also goes well with chinos. It’s also super comfortable, and lasts a long time with good care.
The 360-degree lacing adds a nice formal style to the shoes, and provides a snug fit all round. The ortholite insole has ultra-soft cushioning, what the manufacturer calls PlushWave technology.
Combined with the high-traction rubber insole, you could wear the Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes all day long.
The low heel (1 inch), shock-absorbing heel cup, wide toe box and soft leather guarantees comfort even if you have foot problems such as flat feet or bunions.
What we like about it:
- Pairs well with chinos.
- Soft, comfortable and durable leather material.
- Ultra-soft insole.
- Comfortable for people with foot problems.
2. ECCO Men’s Soft 7 Sneaker
Prefer a more casual look? We recommend this pair of ECCO men’s sneakers. They are pricier than most sneakers, but that’s because they are made with leather.
The leather material plus the muted dark or brown colours make these sneakers great for semi-formal and smart casual occasions.
As for comfort, ECCO sneakers are several levels above synthetic low-cost sneakers. For one, the leather exterior is breathable and moulds to your foot, providing a snug fit and keeping you sweat-free.
The toe box is plenty wide, so no pinched toes. The sole has ECCO FLUIDFORM technology, where soft cushioning is injected directly into the sole for an extra-soft feel.
You can wear these sneakers all day long without any discomfort.
What we like about it:
- Beautiful minimalist styling.
- Soft cushioned sole.
- Durable and breathable leather material.
- Great for semi-formal and smart casual events.
3. Clarks Men’s Oakland Craft Derbys
If you are looking for a pair of shoes you can wear with chinos to the office or some other formal occasion, we recommend these Derbys from Clarks.
The Clarks Oakland Derbys are formal enough for an office or business setting, but still retain some casualness that goes great with chinos.
They are available in several chino-friendly colours including navy, black, beige, and blue.
The outer material is all-leather, either nubuck or full grain depending on the colour you choose. It not only looks great; it also matches chinos really well.
The inside is a soft synthetic textile and the sole is rubber.
These Clarks Derbys provide all-day comfort thanks to multiple comfort technologies.
The in-sole has ultra-soft EVA cushioning to absorb motion and cuddle your feet.
It also features variable density that provides customized pressure relief and support to different parts of your foot. This allows the shoes to adapt to the shape and contours of your feet, as well as your natural walking movement.
The footbed also has perforations to keep your feet cool and sweat-free. The upper leather material and the inner textile are also breathable, making these Derbys perfect for warm weather.
Overall, these are probably some of the most comfortable dress shoes you’ll find. They are pricey, but worth it.
What we like about it:
- Super comfortable pair of Derbys.
- Great for formal and semi-formal occasions.
- Durable leather material.
4. Dr. Martens CABRILLO Crazy Horse GAUCHO, Men’s Desert Boots
For casual, smart casual and semi-formal occasions, these Dr. Martens desert boots match perfectly with chinos.
They have a lower profile and more minimalist style compared to ordinary boots. So you don’t have to worry about overpowering your chinos. They have only two eyelets, and a low 1-inch heel.
What’s most surprising about these Dr. Martens is how light they are. Most cheaper boots are heavy on your feet. These are super light, making them great for everyday wear to work, town, shopping and events.
That said, these are not rough and tough work shoes. We do not recommend them for farmwork, hiking and other rough uses. They are not waterproof and the outer leather material scuffs easily.
As for comfort, the Dr. Martens desert boots feature air-cushioned in-soles. They are also breathable and have a low arch-supporting heel.
They have a medium-wide fit. Most people say they ordered their usual size and it fit fine. If you have slimmer than average feet, try a size bigger.
What we like about it:
- Stylish boots.
- Comfortable enough to wear all day long.
5. Clarks Men’s Ronnie Limit Derbys
If you want a pair that’s even more formal than the Clarks Men’s Oakland Craft Derbys we’ve reviewed above, the Ronnie Limit Derbys, also by Clarks, is a great alternative.
They are still not Oxfords-level formal, so you can still wear them to semi-formal and smart casual occasions like a dinner date.
You can get the Ronnie Limit Derbys in either brown tan or brown dark tan. Both colours are versatile enough to match most chino styles and colours.
These Derbys are well made. With good care, they should last you years. The outer material is leather, while the inner material is a soft textile. The sole is rubber.
As for comfort, the Ronnie Limit Derbys are lightweight. The soft cushioned insole feels great under your feet. You can wear the shoes for hours without any problem.
These are a standard fit, so most people should order their usual size. Use the laces to get a snug fit.
What we like about them:
- Great for office and work.
- Lightweight and comfortable.
- Soft cushioned insole.
- Durable leather construction.