Nothing makes me feel more powerful than putting on my favorite cherry red dress and hitting the town. That little number has been with me through countless nights of partying, several New Year’s Eve celebrations, and even a few weddings. Before I figured out what shoe color goes with a red dress, I probably spent hours trying to find the right pair of pumps to complete the look.
I thought there had to be a single pair that would always look good, but I was wrong. The more often I found myself wearing my little ruby dress, the more I realized that there’s no wrong answer to that question!
What Shoe Color Goes With a Red Dress? Ideas and Inspo
Wearing a red dress can signify so many different things. It can communicate your romantic nature or convey your passionate and fiery personality. The right shoes can help you clarify what you wanted your ensemble to say. So let’s go through a list of viable choices, going from the more conventional colors to the more daring ones you might opt for.
Go for the Easy A: Red
When I first asked myself what shoe color goes with a red dress, I immediately knew that red was the safest color I could possibly choose. On the one hand, you can be effortlessly stylish in your loose summer shift and red Converse. On the other, you can go for the full bombshell look with a bodycon and matching pumps.
I’m all for monochromatic ensembles, but the fact is that they can make you look like you’re playing it safe if you don’t do it right. So if your outfit feels too monotonous for your taste, break it up with an eye-catching accessory or some statement jewelry. I find that gold pieces always look stunning with an all-red combination!
On the other hand, you can also break it up by pairing your dress with an entirely different shade of red. Your candy apple gown would look marvelous with burgundy shoes. Generally, people rarely pair darker maroon dresses with bright scarlet shoes, but hey — you do you!
Keep It Classy: Black
Black shoes are another relatively safe choice to go for when you go looking for the perfect shoes to wear with your crimson dress. They’ll look marvelous with pretty much any shade of red and most other colors too! That’s why I make it a point to have several kinds of black shoes in my shoe rack.
The most obvious kind of black footwear you’d think to pair a red dress with is probably a pump or a strappy heel. But we’re trying to steer clear of obvious choices, aren’t we?
So instead, may I suggest a more surprising pick? A pair of Converse kicks or Vans slip-ons would enhance any outfit. They can make your casual slip dress look even cooler, but they can also provide an unexpected twist to a more feminine outfit. So don’t be afraid of wearing everyday shoes with formal gowns.
Of course, other casual shoe styles would have a similar effect. So if you wanted to dress down a burgundy gown, you might consider wearing black slides or mules.
On the other hand, you could do your best to channel your inner rocker chick by wearing black combat boots and a faux leather jacket with your red dress. Even wearing regular black ankle boots with your dress would lend it an edgier look.
Go for Gold: Metallics
If you had asked 20-year-old me what shoe color goes with a red dress, I would have enthusiastically explained why metallics were the only correct answer. At the time, I had a pair of gold strappy sandals that I’d wear every time I reached for my maroon dress. But what can I say — metallics look fantastic with all shades of red! Needless to say, my strappy sandals eventually fell apart, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t keep buying new metallic shoes!
After all, they’re essentially neutrals since you can conceivably pair them with any other color. Even wearing silver and brown, which I’d previously thought of as a bit of a flat combination, has its appeal now that I’m older and wiser. So, of course, metallics will go well with a ruby dress.
Most of the time, people tend to pair red gowns with rich gold or pale silver shoes. But there’s more to those colors than just those two shades. For example, you could reach for a light gold heel or a darker shade of silver for more gala occasions.
And you don’t just have to stick to the two most basic metallics. While I personally wouldn’t pair a red dress with rose gold shoes, you could consider a bronze or copper shade. As long as the shoes in question look good with the shade of your gown, you’re in the clear!
But whatever you do, don’t mix your metals. If you’re wearing gold pumps, don’t put on your favorite silver earrings. You’d be surprised how those details can affect the final look of the outfit, even if people don’t consciously notice them. So while you’re at it, make sure the metal parts on your other accessories match your shoes as well!
Show Some Leg: Nude and Brown
If you’re on top of the latest trends in the fashion and beauty industries, you probably know that “nude” is kind of a loaded term. It means different things to different people. One person’s nude may be a peachy cream shade, while another’s is more camel-colored. And, obviously, darker shades of tan and brown are someone’s nude too — which is why I’ve decided to put all of these hues in the same category.
So why are nude shoes one of the best options for those who don’t know what shoe color goes with a red dress? Well, there are several reasons for it. For one, like black and most metallic colors, nude shoes are entirely neutral. That means they’ll go with any outfit you decide to throw on.
Furthermore, because they should ideally be the same color as your skin tone, nude shoes will make your legs look a mile long, even if you don’t opt for high heels! Casual queens, rejoice! You’ll finally be able to rock your favorite burgundy dress with nude slides outside, without feeling like you forgot your shoes at home.
Now, I should also like to emphasize that brown shoes always look good with a red dress, no matter how dark or light your skin is. Brown footwear can make your outfit feel put-together and professional or charming and rustic. It all depends on the style of your gown and the shoes you choose to pair with it.
For example, brown oxfords can make just about any dress look vintage and whimsical, while brown sandals would give the outfit a more summery vibe. And, of course, mid-calf or knee-high boots can bring a whole new dimension to the outfit as well.
Make It Trendy: Transparent
Here’s one surprising way to answer the question of what shoe color goes with a red dress. Have you considered wearing completely transparent shoes? After all, it’s the ideal solution for those who can’t find the perfect shade of nude shoes.
Since the clear plastic would show the color of your skin, your legs would still look longer than if you had worn black shoes. Even though this may seem like a novel idea, see-through shoes have actually been in vogue for a few years now. I figure if they’re still popping up on runways and in stores, there has to be a reason they’re so popular. At this point, they come in all sorts of styles, from thigh-high boots to strappy sandals.
But as breathtaking and positively avant-garde you’ll look in your scarlet dress and plastic booties, there’s one thing you’ll have to do if you want to pull off the look — schedule your pedicure immediately!
Spice It Up: Textures, Prints, and Color Blocking
If you want to improve your outfit effortlessly, try putting on shoes with an interesting texture, print, or both! For example, leopard or cheetah print is always a fabulous choice for those who want to spice up their outfit. You could pair your ruby red dress with animal print ankle boots or mules. Is it too obvious that I’m very into the “slippers as outerwear” trend?
Of course, there are other prints you could play with aside from animal ones and florals. Namely, try something that combines prints and textures — like snakeskin. Actually, if you’re really trying to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, you’ll want to invest in crocodile skin shoes. I’ve had my eye on a pair of yellow faux croc shoes with chunky heels for weeks now!
Alternately, you could try a more watered-down version of this trend, which is a clean, color-blocked shoe. In this style, every section of the shoe is usually a distinct hue. So the toe area will be a different color than the heel — and sneakers will usually have a colored sole as well.
These kinds of shoes usually have blocks of primary colors, which gives the trend a bit of an ’80s vibe. But you don’t necessarily have to make it bright and poppy. Even white and tan color blocking might bring some interest to an otherwise ordinary shoe.
Needless to say, if you’re wearing a gingham-print ruby red dress, you should avoid mixing prints on your shoes. A good rule of thumb is to leave it at one print piece per outfit — then again, rules are meant to be broken.
Sophisticated or Casual: White
Honestly, people who say that you can’t wear white after Labor Day are much too conservative for my taste. When someone asks me what shoe color goes with a red dress, that’s one of the first suggestions I make. Even though white isn’t necessarily a color, it sure looks stunning with a scarlet dress!
White shoes are bold and attention-grabbing — so they’ll easily elevate any outfit. Bright, shiny heels will make your gown look even more sophisticated and elegant. But you can also make your outfit more casual with some white sneakers. As I always say, when in doubt, do whatever Rihanna is doing.
But if you really want to be fashion-forward, you’ll want to get the chunkiest dad sneakers you can find. After Balenciaga started making them bigger and bigger, most footwear brands followed suit. So you should have no problems finding a suitable pair.
Once you do, make sure to balance the outfit with other white pieces. My favorite kinds of accessories to complete this trend are oversized white sunglasses, bags, and chunky earrings.
Create Contrast: Yellow and Green
Yellow and green are both gorgeous colors to wear with a red dress. I’m especially partial to the way mustard yellow shoes look with pretty much any shade of red. But any kind of yellow shoes should have a similar effect!
On the other hand, you can go straight for the kill with green pumps or kicks. According to color theory, green and red are complementary hues — which essentially means that they’re on the opposite sides of the color wheel. But even within that framework, some shades are more suitable for each other than others.
For example, I love the way a more orange-red hue looks next to a leafier green color. The two are just a bit closer together on the color wheel since both pull toward the yellow end of the spectrum. Similarly, if you have a cooler maroon dress, you could pair it with deeper, emerald green. Both shades have some blue in the mix, which should make them mesh well.
On top of that, you can play around with the shoe style, shine, and texture — or even find prints with those colors incorporated in them.
Cool It Down: Blue and Purple
No matter what you’re wearing, primary colors are going to look fantastic together. So if you’re wondering what shoe color goes with a red dress, that’s where I’d start looking. Hey, there’s a reason most superhero costumes use these three colors. And it’s not just because those tones were the only ones they could print with back in the day!
When the Wonder Woman movie came out a few years ago, I was so excited to rock her signature colors. I practically ran to get my favorite red dress out of the closet and iron it in time for the premiere. I paired it with electric blue kitten-heel shoes to give the outfit a more vintage vibe.
After I had those basic pieces, it was only a matter of finding the right accessories to complete the look. Since blue and red are both primary colors, you can always wear them with yellow gold. That’s what our Amazon princess does!
But if you’re not into having all those primary colors, you can try a more natural shade of blue, like cyan or teal. You can also lean toward the reddish side of the spectrum and choose a deep violet shade.
Take a Chance: Magenta or Bubblegum Pink
Finally, let’s talk about some of the colors you may not think to pair with a red dress — pink and purple. Many people will tell you not to even think about wearing pink shoes with a maroon gown. But I’m nothing if not a rebel!
Besides, I happen to think that hot pink is a stellar companion to an orange-red shade. And there are plenty of shades of bubblegum that can look cute with a deeper wine red shade as well. So take a page out of Victoria Beckham’s playbook and pair your crimson dress with some pointy lilac heels! Throw caution to the wind and go with your gut!
So What Shoe Color Goes With a Red Dress? What We Learned
Whether you go for a safe option or a more daring alternative, the shoes you choose can change the look of your red dress entirely. Hopefully, that’s exactly what I’ve managed to convey with this article. So the next time you ask yourself what shoe color goes with a red dress, feel free to refer back to this list!