When Is It Okay To Go Nude: how to wear nude shoes

You Pick Wednesday

One of the reader questions I received recently was about how and when to wear nude shoes.  Now, when I say “nude” I mean shoes that are one to two shades lighter than your skin tone no matter where it falls on the color spectrum. I only added nude shoes to my closet this past year when I realized that with some of my outfits black shoes just weren’t going to cut it.

Case in Point


Notice that the black shoes draw your eye down and almost make the shoes the focal point of the outfit. Whereas the nude shoes just blend in and draw your eye up so you notice the actual outfit itself.



Here’s another example.  Nude shoes are the best when your legs are bare.  When I’m wearing blackish gray hose and a black cardigan my black shoes balance out my outfit.  But when I’m bare-legged and wearing a brown jacket nude shows off my outfit (and my legs, if I say so myself) better.  I could have worn brown but, again, it might draw the eye downward.



These pants are interesting because these outfits could have gone either way with the shoes.  My burgundy shoes match my pants so they do tend to blend in more.  But since the top half of the outfit on the left looks heavier to my eye I think the heavier color shoe goes better with it.



Again, same pants, different shoes.  In this case both shoes would go well with either outfit. Sometimes you get the option!

So, when should you wear a nude shoe?

1. When you want the attention to be on your outfit

From ByBy Style Studio:  When you’re wearing colorful or busy print ensembles that you want to emphasize. The nude shoe will keep they eye focused above your feet.

2. When you want to look taller or more streamlined

From DivaVillage:  When you wear a pair of nude pumps with a dress or a pair of pants that are a similar color, your legs will actually look longer.

3. When another color just won’t work

From Girl Next Door: Your shoes should complement your [outfit], not compete with it.

And for more nude shoe inspiration, you can see all my posts where I’ve worn them here.

Need some nude shoes in your life? Here are some that caught my eye.


I hope that helps clarify when nude shoes are the best option. Or maybe it made it more murky!  Tell me in the comments. And, as always, if you have your own style questions let me know! I’m happy to help!


32 replies on “When Is It Okay To Go Nude: how to wear nude shoes

  1. kelsey

    omg great post! I’ve been whining to my coworker for months how I want to get some nude shoes. I actually saw some cute ones at Macy’s this weekend that I think I’m going to go back and get. I followed my “wait a few days to see if you really still want it or it’s an impulse buy” rule.

    I want them. A lot.

  2. Kelly @ Running Kellometers

    I only just bought nude shoes in the past 6 months and I absolutely love them! I don’t know why I haven’t owned them longer! I really love your photos here, toying with how they can make such a difference with a particular outfit combo!

  3. Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

    Hmm…nude shoes could definitely be a closet staple I’m missing. I really, really like your first two examples that show how much better they work with bold outfits and bare legs. And I’m always looking for an excuse to buy new shoes… 🙂

    Also, I put together an outfit today all by myself! It wasn’t one that I had a picture of or anything from Saturday! I mean, it’s VERY similar to ones I do have pictured (monochrome, purple on purple of course. This should be no surprise given my closet haha), but I’m still quite proud of myself 🙂 Every night this week when I’ve been laying out my outfit for the next day I’ve been all, “What shirt to I want to wear tomorrow?” and then immediately been like, “NO! STOP! Make an effort, woman, and turn it into an outfit!” It’s been great 🙂

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      Nude shoes are key for dress pants, skirts and dresses. Especially when you’re going bare-legged!

      And I’m glad that our consult is making you step of out the box a little bit! That means it worked!

  4. Lindsay

    I finally bought my first pair of nude shoes a month or so ago to wear with my rehearsal dress which has a nude/beige lining. I hunted all around for them for normal heels, nothing with a platform. JCP didn’t have them at all! Finally found them at Payless & they feel soooo nice! Was in JCP last night and they finally have a pair of decent looking pumps. Wish I would have waited now! But I saved about $20 by going with Payless instead.

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      I’ve heard really good things about Payless heels! Strangely, the Payless stores near me tend to be really picked over all the time. Which is too bad because I really want to try some of their shoes!

  5. Emily

    Thank you so much for taking my question!!! This post was EXTREMELY helpful. I had never thought about the full-length outfit considerations for nude shoes before. I always just thought that nude shoes should be worn with certain colors of pants, like navy blue pants. The pictures you shared are fantastic, too, and really helped to drive home the point – especially on the outfit with the green pants! I also think that nude shoes are just more stylish in general, and unique – EVERYONE wears black shoes, you know? My animal-print shoes, my red shoes, and my nude shoes are my three pairs of go-to shoes for pretty much all outfits now. =)

  6. Katie of Alaskan Weredork

    I had pretty much sworn off of nude shoes, they were starting to feel so Real Housewives. (But I think I just had it stuck in my head that all nude shoes were platform pumps.) Ever since I’ve seen you wearing your nude flats I’ve had a 180 turnaround on nude shoes though, those flats are so gorgeous and stylish! I love that you showed us examples of where a nude shoe works, that’s so helpful and I see what you mean about how a nude shoe can help with keeping the eye focused upward.

    Haha, I’m just going to go back to lusting over those flats now.

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      When I was doing some research for this post I found a lot of references to Kate Middleton. So, just think of her when you think of nude shoes instead of those crazy Real Housewives! Or, you know, it’s okay if you just keep thinking of me, too. I’m cool with that.

  7. Jamie

    I love a great nude shoe!!! I got mine from Target for Christmas and they have gotten a ridiculous amount of wear. You’re totally right – when nothing else looks quite right on your feet, you can always count on those nude heels working!!

  8. Joyce

    Thanks for this post! I just got a pair of nude ‘sandals’ from Payless for $20 — couldn’t resist — and now I have the confidence to wear them with more than just white or light pants or skirts. I love that your blog shows “midwest style!”

  9. Sarah

    Hi there,
    Great post! can you wear nude shoes with a red dress? Its for a black tie wedding at 11am?

    Thank you

  10. Anne Marie

    I like the grey pinstriped dress you are wearing in a couple of photos, Erin, but do you mind a dissenting view on the idea of nude shoes. I don’t like them, and I think they are distracting. Phew! And breathe! Thanks for letting me vent…See I just think that they are seldom truly ‘nude’ on anybody and thus add an additional colour to an ensemble. Perhaps a handbag and shoes matching in colour would be a better idea?

  11. Eve

    I’m planning on wearing a royal blue and yellow dress and I’m stuck wondering if I can pair them with nude shoes. any ideas?

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