What Shoes to Wear with Leggings


How to wear leggings seems to be a highly googled question, and what sorts of shoes work with leggings is a hot topic, so here is my 2c on the subject.
Ankle length (left) – work best with high vamp shoes and sandals, either in a colour that is similar or slightly darker than the legging, or if you have lighter hair, a lighter colour can work well too for some visual grouping.
7/8 length (middle) – work best with a low vamp shoe (that’s a shoe that exposes the top of the foot with no interruptions) or a high vamp skin-toned shoe so they don’t interrupt with too many horizontal details which can be very leg shortening.
Calf length or just under the knee (right) – work best with low vamp shoes unless you have long legs or very long calves. Ideally a ‘nude’ shoe is ideal as it blends with your leg colour and makes them look longer. If you want to wear an alternate colour look for a wedge or high heel to lengthen.
As leggings are hoisery they work best with lighter shoes such as ballet flats, peep toes and sandals, rather than heavy ‘trouser’ shoes such as loafers or sneakers. Given that leggings don’t cover the feet, wearing an open shoe such as a sandal or peep-toe highlights this and gives them a more summery feel.


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  • Oh Imogen, I´m just desperate about this leggings issue ! I now have a nice pair of Wolford´leggings with knitted lace-up effect 35 den., but am so unsure to even try them on. I have noticed, that leggings IMO, look best on Asian, small and slender women, who wear ballerinas. Usually they ( at least the ones I´ve seen here ) wear black from head to toe. I once saw a woman about 40´s wearing very light leggings in a neon yellow + yellow sweater and she looked like a clown. Maybe I should just give my leggings to my daughter. Your suggestions are good, but I simply can´t picture myself in them.

  • This is a marvelous post.I've been wondering about this for awhile and now I have the answer.
    I guess it's safe to assume that leggings with tall boots in the same color it's ok?

  • I am grateful for this post. I have tried and tried but leggings don't seem to suit me. I have very short, chunky legs which seem to look bigger and shorter in leggings. I will have one final try with your tips.

  • Excellent tips, I've never sussed out what shoes to wear with leggings. I always always just bung on flats… this gives me so many more options! Thank you

  • Thanks, nice shoes choice! It confirms me that if I find a pair of low vamp wedges, preferibly nude color, at least the wedge color itself. (Black wedges are heavy looking for me.) I'll jump on them. They are flatering! What do you think of wearing a high heel vamp shoe or sandal ( you know these new ones with a lot of stuff on the front), in a same color than the legging, worn to the ankle?

  • Oh good, at least if I finally pluck up courage to wear leggings, I can bring out my trusty ballet flats and be fairly sure they will work!

  • Luinae – nobody says you have to!

    LPC – not sure if Leggings are high wasp!

    Metscan – you may find that leggings work best when worn with other dark colours – but if they're not you – give them to your daughter!

    Nurmisur – as I see leggings as tights – yes you can wear with tall boots – but then you may as well just be wearing any old opaque tight.

    Jane – go for the full length with a shoe that blends with the legging, or just under the knee (darker skirt or lighter legging depending on what you're wearing) with a low vamp nude or your hair coloured shoe for greatest leg lengthening.

    Shopaholic- flats can be great – but there are other options.

    Sal – why not just wear a tight with feet if you're wearing boots? Don't you have to wear a sock as well then?

    Deja – hope they work for you!

    Anon – yes- as I pictured with the ankle length I like a high vamp shoe.

    Struggler – give it a go!

  • So glad I found your blog! I'm 40-something and usually quite on top of what's in style and how to wear it, but let me float this by you. I have a great pair of gray booties with three inch heels, not open toe that I want to wear with a patterned dress (to just above the knee) and gray leggings. The leggings come down to just above my ankles and there's an inch or two gap of exposed ankle before the booties start. Somehow, this just feels like a tights situation. Thoughts? It just seems like the gap is almost too small…

  • I am a male that wears leggings almost every day. Do you have any thoughts other then running shoes on the style of shoes a guy can wear with leggings.

  • HI,
    I was researching info on what shoes to wear with leggings and I found this blog. Thank you.
    I would love to wear low vamp flat shoes not just for leggings but for everyday wear but several I have tried at the store, they either hurt my heels or it is too wide, my feet slide when I take steps and walk. Also I don't like the fact that my feet will sweat wearing these closed shoes. I'm in FL so we pretty much wear sandals all year long except maybe 2 months in the winter. Do you have any other low vamp shoes in place of ballet flats that I can wear? Also what kinds of boots would be good for the winter time? (I'm slim, 5 ft. 2 in. tall).
    THank you for your blog.

    • Leanne – anyone can wear leggings, when they’re used as hoisery rather than as pants. So doesn’t matter your size. I find many women like them with a slightly shorter dress or tunic that they wouldn’t wear with exposed legs, as they feel way more covered up. I still personally prefer that the dress or tunic come to around mid-thigh rather than just under the bottom as it’s a more flattering length as it’s past the widest point of the thighs.

  • I love reading your posts. I have recently started personal styling as I am a colour consultant (for houses) and many of my clients have asked me to do their personal colours. I have studied personal styling and I read lots of blogs.

    Talking about leggings…I am short but slim and I just don’t look good in them at all. The only way I can look good in leggings is to wear black leggings, knee high black boots with a bit of heel, and a tunic/top that comes to mid thigh level or like a short skirt above the knee. I usually choose a dark but not black tunic top to create the length. I can then add a brighter coloured or patterned scarf which I leave flowing to also give me height but add some interest.

    Oh to be taller!!!

  • Your idea is perfect for matching shoes with leggings. knee high boots are also the most perfect to wear with leggings, but that can only be comfortable in winter.

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