What Color Shoes Should You Wear With a Red Dress?

Models wearing the Mallow Mule.

If you’ve got a stunning scarlet dress you’ve been itching to pull out of the closet, you may have run up against a classic styling stumbling block: exactly what color shoe is a match for red?

The good news is that a variety of shoe colors can help to bring out the best in your dress—without overshadowing it. Red dresses can pair beautifully with neutral colors, complementary colors, and even other shades of red. 

Picking what color shoes to wear with red dress styles doesn't have to be a challenge. You’ll be relieved that you have plenty of stylish solutions ahead of you. Let’s take a look at which shades to reach for to help you put together a bold, beautiful outfit that’s sure to paint the town red.

TOMS sandals.

#1 Neutrals

If you’ve chosen to welcome a red dress into your wardrobe, you're probably aiming to create a striking, eye-catching outfit. Wearing the red color is said to bring out a certain alluring quality, and some believe that the color red can invoke feelings of love and desire.

Pairing red with a pair of neutral shoes for women can allow your dress to keep its magnetic energy while balancing it with more subtle accessories. As for the shoe colors that can serve their purpose without stealing the spotlight, here’s a list of our favorites:

  • Black – A pair of black shoes works to elevate an outfit, giving your outfit a more formal feel. Pairing your red dress with a black flat would be ideal for an upscale or nighttime event. If you’re looking for a flirty or slightly edgier finish, try a black bootie or sandal. Whatever the occasion, a trusty black shoe color never fails to draw your outfit together for a polished look.
  • White – White and red together are an unstoppable duo, reminiscent of warmer seasons, the Fourth of July, and even vintage 60s fashions. Pay homage to the iconic mod color-blocking of the 60s by learning how to style white sneakers to go with your red shift dress. Or, if summer is calling your name, pair an airy red sundress with some white shoes like heeled strappy sandals for a vibrant, picnic-inspired look. 
  • Brown – A brown shoe color helps to ground the rush of color that comes with red, invoking feelings of warmth, comfort, and even fall leaves. Pair some brown, taupe, or beige flats with your casual red dress to bring out its warmth for an autumnal feel. Or, embrace a more western, cowboy influence by donning some brown booties and leather accessories to match.

Neutral tones are defined by their ability to complement and even enhance every other color you may be wearing—and red is no exception. 

With an impeccable pair of neutral-toned shoes (a nude shoe like the Jutti Neat flats, perhaps?) in your wardrobe, you’ll get the most mileage out of your shoes and give your red dress a timeless feel, no matter the shade. 

#2 Complementary Colors

If you gravitate toward vivid, highly saturated colors, it may be time to push on the boundaries of the color and implement some color theory into your wardrobe. 

According to color theory, complementary colors are those shades that lie directly across from another on the color wheel. They work to heighten the contrast between certain hues. In which case, the one color that can make your dress even more vibrant is red’s complementary color: green. 

Red's complementary color is the direct result of combining the other two primary colors: blue and yellow, which together make green. This is important because certain shades of green may serve to make your red dress sing more than others. Let's take a look at the impact different shades of red’s complementary color can have:

  • Red + True Green – If your dress is a true, siren red, the shade that will make it pop the most is a true emerald green. For a more understated, evergreen look, try pairing a red dress with a dark green shoe like the Mallow Heritage Canvas—an equal balance of blue and yellow tones, but with a touch of black.
  • Red + Blue-Green – Reds with an auburn or orange tone look gorgeous with blue-green shades of shoes. To combine these colors for maximum wearability, choose blue-green hues with plenty of white in them. We love a red dress paired with a pair of casual, light blue-green flat sandals or a pair of suede booties in an icy turquoise hue.
  • Red + Olive Green – Reds that have a slightly more violet, plum, or wine-colored tone are exquisite when paired with an olive-toned green shoe. Reds and yellowish greens like olive work especially well for summertime social occasions. Take some yellow-green platform sandals for a spin on the rooftop bar, or bring your favorite Mallow Heritage Canvas sneakers in Dark Ivy with you to a beach party. Be sure to check out some tips on how to wear sneakers with a dress for an effortless outfit idea.

TOMS Styling Tip: How To Ease Into Bright Color Combinations

Complementary colors can be an intimidating styling technique, especially if you’re used to wearing more neutral colors. To pull your outfit together, try adding touches of your complementary color by introducing accessories in the same color family to your ensemble. You can use:

  • Jackets and cardigans
  • Scarves
  • Colored tights
  • Handbags
  • Hats

In some cases, lending your makeup a flair of your complementary color can serve to foster even more cohesion. So if you’re leaning toward those sleek suede olive slides to go with your dress, why not reach for a sheeny olive eyeshadow to make your complementary color sparkle?

#3 Red

You’ve already got a little red dress waiting to be worn—why dim your shine now? Sometimes, a little red dress calls for a ravishing pair of matching red shoes like the Alpargata Recycled Cotton Canvas

The monochrome look is all the rage these days, from high fashion runways to the streets of some of the world’s most fashion-forward cities. It’s a powerful, bold look that will make every styling choice look intentional and immaculately put-together—and it works for more settings than you might think.

Take your all-red outfit anywhere, including:  

  • The beach – If you've got a red sundress or slip dress perfect for the beach, why let the fun stop there? Bring a red shoe like matching red sandals or slip-ons to make even more of a splash. Just remember to slather on some SPF, so your skin doesn’t join the party!
  • A date night – Wear some red booties or platform sandals to revel in the flush of a budding romance. With a slinky red dress and red peek-a-boo sandals, you’ll feel like an absolute rose (plus, there’s no harm in adding a little red lipstick, too!).
  • The office – You heard that right! Show your colleagues you mean business by pairing a professional red shift dress with red dress shoes like flats or booties. It’s a monochromatic power move that’s sure to turn heads and keep you feeling motivated to tackle your work day. 

Warm Vs. Cool Toned Reds

There is a technique to nailing the red-on-red look, and it comes down to knowing whether your red dress has cool or warm undertones. 

You can find out whether your red dress has warm or cool undertones by trying it on with silver and gold jewelry. If your dress looks better with silver baubles, it’s likely to be a cool-toned red. If it looks better in gold jewels, it’s likely your dress is a warmer tone.

While the pair of red shoes you opt for doesn’t need to match your dress’s exact shade, it should fall in the same tonal color family (warm or cool).

Model wearing TOMS sandals.

#4 Patterns

If the color red brings bold connotations, keep that momentum moving forward by tying off your bold red dress look with a patterned shoe style. 

Patterns are known for adding plenty of visual interest to ensembles. But depending on the type of pattern you pick, it’s possible to use that extra texture to diffuse the impact of red and channel more subtle textures into your look.

There’s no shortage of on-trend patterns sweeping the footwear design world today. Some popular patterns that can rock your red dress’s world include: 

  • Tartan and plaid
  • Color block 
  • Tie-Dye
  • Animal prints, like leopard or zebra
  • Batik
  • Ombre

Feel free to go big with the design if you have a solid red dress. If your red dress has a pattern of its own, zero in on a patterned shoe with a consistent, even design to add some visual interest without looking busy.

Whichever patterns you’re drawn to, let your prints do all the talking for you. 

Roses Are Red, TOMS Are For You

Now that you know the best color shoes to wear with a red dress, be sure you also know what color shoes to wear with a navy dress, too. Whether you’re looking to pair your cherry red sundress with white sneakers or seeking some red hot espadrilles to turn up the heat on date night, find fashionable footwear that never sacrifices comfort with TOMS.

Every TOMS design is built for a timeless, classic look to complement every different shade you’ve been waiting to weave into your wardrobe. With a wide range of colorful types of sandals, booties, flats, sneakers, and slides, TOMS footwear is designed to inspire—and designed to last. 

Discover more reasons to imbue your wardrobe with color and comfort by shopping the full range today. The spotlight is waiting. 

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Reviewed By Andrew David Stewart

Andrew David Stewart is the Manager of Digital Marketing at TOMS and has been working in the digital marketing and social media world for 6 years. Andrew is a lover of nature and the outdoors, and is passionate about telling stories through digital media.