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How to Wear & Style Leather Sneakers for Women

Leather shoes are a timeless staple in the world of footwear, and they're not just for men. But are you confident in your ability to style and wear them with flair? The reality is, there's no universal rulebook – the opportunities are endless when it comes to making leather shoes a statement piece in your wardrobe and customizing them to match your style. Whether you're striving for a laid-back, smart-casual look, or embracing the athleisure trend, leather shoes offer a world of possibilities. It all begins with discovering that perfect pair that's both comfortable and stylish.

Choosing the Right Leather Shoes

Choosing the right casual women’s leather shoes is the first step in the process, obviously. And only once you find that perfect pair can you start to consider different ways of wearing and styling them. With so many options available, it can be hard to sort through the noise and find exactly what you’re looking for. On top of their look, here are some things to keep in mind when selecting your leather shoes:

Type of Leather: Common options include full-grain leather, top-grain leather, and corrected-grain leather. Full-grain leather is the highest-quality leather available, as it’s the outermost layer of the hide. It’s durable and natural-looking, making it the preferred choice for many shoemakers. Top-grain leather offers a smoother finish and is cheaper to produce, though it lacks the same durability. Truthfully, any leather quality below these two isn’t worth mentioning; your shoes need to be rugged and durable enough to withstand daily wear and tear. Any faux/vegan or synthetic leathers won’t cut it – they’ll wear down in a matter of weeks. 

Style: Some popular options include oxfords, brogues, loafers, derbies, and boots. Oxfords are a timeless, formal option, brogues are sophisticated, loafers are versatile and comfortable, derbies lean towards a more casual vibe, and boots are rugged and edgy. But if you’re looking for something more casual, a simple pair of low or high-top leather sneakers can serve as your everyday shoe – that’s what we’ll cover in this guide.

Color: Black is a safe, yet versatile option for formal and casual occasions alike. But if you’re aiming for strictly casual, brown is your best bet. Experiment with different colors to match your outfits and personal style.

Fit and Comfort: Even above style, comfort is critical to a healthy footwear experience. Make sure that the shoes fit well, leaving enough room for your toes while also securing a snug fit around the heel. Try them on and walk around to assess their comfort level. Leather can take a bit to break in, so they may feel stiff initially. But within a few days, they’ll loosen up and start to conform to your foot.

Take your time to choose the right pair of leather shoes and you’ll be ready to create stylish and sophisticated outfits. Time to start styling.

Pairing Leather Sneakers with Different Types of Outfits

Leather sneakers can be worn with casual, professional, and even formal looks, with all kinds of colors and clothing types. Let’s cover a few basic ways to style them:

Casual Fits

Denim and Leather: Create a laid-back yet chic look by pairing your leather sneakers with skinny jeans or denim shorts. Throw on a plain white t-shirt and a leather jacket for a cool, edgy vibe.

Athleisure Style: Embrace the athleisure trend by combining your leather sneakers with leggings or joggers. Top it off with a trendy sweatshirt or hoodie for a comfortable and stylish ensemble.

Dresses and Skirts: Dresses and skirts can be sporty too. Pair them with a pair of leather shoes for a balanced, head-turning outfit. Opt for flowy maxi dresses or flirty mini skirts for the best look.

Professional & Work Outfits

Tailored Pants: High heels can cause foot pain if worn regularly, making comfortable leather sneakers all the more appealing. Choose a slim-fit or ankle-length style and pair it with a blouse or a structured blazer for a polished and modern look. And as a benefit, your feet won’t hurt at the end of the day.

Pencil Skirts: Pencil skirts and leather shoes are a fashion pairing as old as time. Go for the monochromatic look or experiment with contrasting colors to turn heads in the office.

Wide-Leg Pants: Embrace the trendy and comfortable style of wide-leg pants by pairing them with leather sneakers. Opt for high-waisted pants and tuck in a blouse or a fitted top for a chic and effortless look.

Formal & Evening Attire

Midi or Maxi Dresses: Heels are usually the footwear choice for women who wear midi and maxi dresses. But a pair of leather shoes, in addition to being more comfortable, will give you a unique and fashion-forward look that will stand out in any crowd.

Tailored Jumpsuits: Make a fashion statement by wearing leather sneakers with a tailored jumpsuit for a formal event. Opt for a sleek and well-fitted jumpsuit and accessorize with statement jewelry to complete the ensemble.

Suit Sets: Suits don’t have to be worn with heels. In fact, we encourage any other type of shoes that makes you feel comfortable and fashionable. Casual leather shoes are great for working women who are always on the go; stroll through busy city streets and skyscrapers without dealing with blisters or nagging foot pain. Opt for a tailored blazer and trousers or a pantsuit, and let your sneakers complement the outfit.

Hopefully you’ve already put together a few outfits in your head that you can wear with your new leather sneakers. But there are hundreds of other possible combinations which we don’t have time to cover. So to account for those, we’ve put together a basic styling guide for leather sneakers.

Other Styling Tips

In addition to pairing leather sneakers with different outfits, there are several other styling tips that can help enhance your overall look when wearing leather shoes. Let's explore these tips:

Accessorize Thoughtfully

Shoes can do a lot of heavy lifting for an outfit, but they can’t do it all. To tie the whole ensemble together, add a statement belt, a stylish handbag, or a fashionable hat. Pay attention to the colors and materials of your accessories to create a cohesive and polished look.

Experiment with Socks and Tights

Don't be afraid to experiment with socks and tights to add a unique touch to your leather shoes. Try wearing patterned or colorful socks with ankle boots or layering sheer or patterned tights with leather pumps.

Mix Textures

One way to create visual interest is by mixing different textures in your outfit. Pair your leather shoes with pieces made from fabrics like silk, lace, denim, or tweed to create a balanced and dynamic look. This combination can add depth and dimension to your overall outfit.

Play with Proportions

Experiment with different proportions to create a visually appealing outfit. For example, if you're wearing a flowy dress, try pairing it with chunky leather boots to create a contrast. Alternatively, if you're wearing a fitted outfit, opt for sleek and streamlined leather shoes to create a balanced silhouette.

Maintain and Care for Your Leather Shoes

Leather requires regular maintenance, just like any material. Regularly clean and condition them to prevent drying and cracking. Use a protective spray to shield them from moisture and invest in shoe trees to help maintain their shape. Following these care tips will ensure that your leather shoes last longer and continue to look stylish.

Leather shoes for women are a classic footwear choice that have far more range than most people think. From everyday wear to formal gatherings, there are countless ways to wear leather sneakers and style them to your liking. Be sure to experiment with different colors, accessories, and textures to tailor them to your one-of-a-kind fashion sense.