Best Shoe Colors to Wear With Navy Blue

Here's the Secret to Choosing the Perfect Color Footwear for a Navy-Blue Outfit

Because it's a traditional, versatile, and generally well-accepted alternative to black, navy blue is one of the most popular colors in both men's and women's clothing—especially in the workplace. When it comes to footwear, though, navy blue is far less common than black. Even if you are able to find navy-blue shoes in a style you like, shades of blue are just about infinite; finding footwear that matches your pants, suit, skirt or dress precisely is difficult. The old fail-safe option of just choosing shoes to match your outfit isn't always available. Consequently, you're relegated to wearing shoes in a different color.

The default choice, of course, is often black. It does work rather well with navy. It's just not that exciting of a choice, though. So, what's fashion-forward clotheshorse to do?

In short: To take a navy outfit to an entirely new level, experiment with new color combos you haven't tried or considered before. Here's a not-so-secret secret: Everything works with navy. Well, pretty much everything. There's really no terrible choice—unless, of course, you go crazy throwing in random bits of color and hue. If you stick to one color family and navy, however, you really can't go wrong. Here are a few tips for choosing navy outfit/shoe color combinations that stand out. (Here, we focus mainly on women. Guys, be sure to check out these tips for choosing the right men's shoe colors.)

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Shades of Green

Close-up of green suede pumps, as worn by actress Reese Witherspoon.
Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Believe it or not, nearly any shade of green looks fantastic with deep, dark blue, from the lightest of mints to the darkest of hunters.

Given that navy is such a dark shade, though, the real excitement lies in the contrast provided by light, bright shades of green like wintergreen, chartreuse, kelly and lime.

For a more harmonious, less contrasting look, choose shoes and accessories in darker shades of green, like hunter, forest, and emerald.

If you want to throw a third shade into the green/navy mix, try adding turquoise or aqua shades with darker greens; darker shades of teal and turquoise with lighter, mintier greens; or vivid blues with brighter shades of green.

Here are a few to consider: 

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Yellow and Orange Shoes: Dynamic with Navy

Detailed shot of yellow high heels, worn by actress Jenna Ushkowitz.
Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic / GettyImages

If you were to look at a basic, mid-tone color wheel, you'd notice that the different colors of blue sit opposite yellow or orange, depending on which shade you're looking at. Darken the color wheel until you have a shade of navy blue on one side, and you'll see those bright yellows and oranges turn to shades like spice, pumpkin, and mustard. Any and all of those yellow- and orange-based shades work wonderfully with navy.

Just as with green, the brighter the yellow or orange, the more contrast you're going to have in your outfit. And again, darker yellows and oranges will create a more toned-down look.

One look isn't better than the other, and there's no right or wrong. It's all just a matter of personal preference, and the type of look you're going for.

Seasonal trends may play a part in your decision, too. For example, in the fall and winter months, you might want to pair a navy suit with rust pumps. In spring and summer, lemon-yellow sandals might be just the ticket for that navy-blue maxi skirt.

However you slice it, shoes in shades of yellow and orange are a brilliant call for a navy-blue outfit. For a navy-based outfit that uses two accent colors, try yellow and orange together.

Check these out: 

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A Pop of Pink

Pink, suede, ankle strap sandals, worn by DJ Hannah Bronfman.
Jason Merritt / Getty Images for Take-Two / GettyImages

A navy outfit with pink accents is one of those combinations that appeals wildly to some and completely repels others. Try it before dismissing it out of hand.

Much like reds, pinks with red undertones provide natural contrast for the darkness of navy, and they add a bit of whimsy and femininity to what can otherwise be a rather stern color. Shoes in deep, hot, or true pink can be real standouts with navy.

If you choose pink shoes for a navy outfit, excellent accent colors include orange and yellow.

Blue-based pinks, or those that fall closer to light purples, also work wonderfully with navy, but they conjure up a completely different vibe of seduction, sophistication, and mystery.

Pale to mid-tone shades of blue and turquoise work well with a navy/light-purple combination.

Take a look at some great pink shoe choices:

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Light Neutrals

Close-up view of actress AnnaLynne McCord's nude Christian Louboutin shoes.
Gary Gershoff / WireImage / GettyImages

Less controversial than some of the more colorful options listed above, shoes in shades of cream, taupe, sand, ivory, and nude are also ideal for pairing with navy outfits, especially in warm months.

There's something a little sensual about the combination of light neutral shoes and navy. It's less predictable than black and navy, and it doesn't conjure up a nautical vibe the way white and navy can. Consequently, a lot of women will find shoes in these shades to be the most pleasing option.

Check out a few neutral-color shoe options: 

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Black, White, and Red

Red, pointy-toed pumps with suede uppers, as worn by actress Tatiana Maslany.
Christopher Polk / Getty Images for Critics' Choice Television Awards / GettyImages

Black, white, and red are the three colors that are most often paired with navy blue—the obvious picks, if you will (and not all at once!).

They're perfectly acceptable and equally wonderful choices. These combinations are so natural, in fact, that they hardly need any tips for wearing them.

One word of caution, though: When pairing navy with white, or with white and red, you run the danger of creating a nautical vibe. There's nothing wrong with that—unless, of course, it's not the look you want. As long as you're aware of the dynamic, though, it's an easy effect to counter.

Check out these options: 

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What About Brown?

Louise Bourgoin wearing brown shoes with a navy evening dress.
Pascal Le Segretain / GettyImages

The idea that you shouldn't wear brown with navy persists for some unknown reason. Let's clear up the question once and for all: Wearing navy clothing with brown shoes is perfectly acceptable. It may not be the most exciting combination on earth, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it.

These shoes and shades work especially well with navy blue: 

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One Last Tip: Choose Accessories in Similar Colors

Model walking down runway in navy dress and neutral sandals.
Johnny Louis / Getty Images

When it comes to the extras, here's a tip that guarantees success: Choose accessories that are in the same color family as your shoes. By limiting your outfit's palette to only two hues (navy, plus your accent color), you automatically have a winner.

Keep in mind that this is the easy approach, not the only one. If you find a two-color outfit too limiting, don't be afraid to experiment with multiple colors.

Next Time, Consider Navy

As you can see, choosing shoes that work with navy clothing isn't difficult at all. In fact, it's one of the easiest styling tasks you could have. So, the next time you're searching for an outfit to wear all your favorite colorful shoes with, you'll want to at least consider navy blue. It's a classic foundation that's lots of fun to work with.