The Worst Shoes to Wear With Jeans


(Image credit: @emilisindlev)

Calling all denim and shoe enthusiasts: Your summer-style tips have arrived. Jeans and shoes are a few of the most-loved, and most-worn, items in many closets, but which ones pair well together comes down to a bit of trial and error. With the plethora of styles out there, there are lots of possible combinations, but not all of them work.

Curious to find out what Who What Wear’s editors have learned, I asked them to weigh in on which shoes they would never wear with jeans. It turns out they all have great perspectives on the subject. Most of the advice comes down to which silhouettes and lengths don’t work with certain shoe styles. Ahead, they break down the specific pairings to avoid. Read on to find out which shoes you shouldn't wear with jeans and then shop our edit of the best combos to wear for the season ahead.


(Image credit: Kat Collings)

"Jeans on the baggier side (looser and long—i.e., not cropped) with mules that cover a lot of the foot are a combination I always try but end up not wearing. Maybe if I were model height it would be a different story, but I find it's not my favorite look on my 5’4” frame. Those types of jeans work better for me when you can see some foot, as with a pair of barely-there sandals.”


(Image credit: Kristen Nichols)

I'm tall, so I always avoid cropped jeans with ankle boots since I find the proportions always look off. Instead, I opt for cool mules.


(Image credit: Nicole Akhtarzad)

"I’m not a big fan of long, flared jeans with sneakers. In my opinion, they look exponentially better with heeled boots, pumps, or sandals. My favorite jeans-and-shoe combo would definitely be cropped jeans and ankle boots, as it’s the one I wear most often.”


(Image credit: Lauren Eggertsen)

"I would personally never wear over-the-knee boots with jeans. Not because of the way it looks, but because I am only 5’3” and I always feel like it’s just too much material going on for my short, little legs. Instead, I love wearing mid-calf boots with cropped jeans.”


(Image credit: Erin Fitzpatrick)

"I would never wear wide-leg jeans with flats. I think they’re the perfect jeans to wear with low-block heels (or something even higher) to take full advantage of their leg-lengthening effects.”


(Image credit: Allyson Payer)

“It looks cool on some people, but athletic sneakers and jeans don’t work for me. A look that I do wear all the time is kitten-heel mules with jeans.”


(Image credit: Anna LaPlaca )

"I’ve tried (and failed) on many occasions to wear my favorite pair of cropped jeans with ankle boots, and I’ve concluded it’s due to the awkward amount of leg that emerges between the jeans’ hem and the boots. Instead, I’ve had a major success story with mules (flat or heeled—it doesn’t matter) and my cropped jeans.”

This post was published at an earlier date and has since been updated. Now, the only five pairs of jeans you need in your closet.

Associate Director, Special Projects

Kristen Nichols is the Associate Director, Special Projects at Who What Wear with over a decade of experience in fashion, editorial, and publishing. She oversees luxury content and wedding features, and covers fashion within the luxury market, runway reporting, shopping features, trends, and interviews with leading industry experts. She also contributes to podcast recordings, social media, and branded content initiatives. Kristen has worked with brands including Prada, Chanel, MyTheresa, and Luisa Via Roma, and rising designers such as Refine and Tove, and her style has been featured in publications including, Vogue France, WWD, and the CFDA. Before Who What Wear, Kristen began her career at Rodarte, where she worked on assistant styling, photo shoots, and runway shows, and at Allure, where she moved into print and digital editorial. She graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied art history and business, and currently lives in New York.