Looking for a pair of brown leather
While black and white
Part of the reason is that brown comes in a wider variety of shades, from Americana and professorial autumns to swanky and upscale ebony. Throw in the patina potentials, and you’ve got endless hues.
We’ve rounded up the eight best brown
Short on time? Here are our top three picks for the best brown leather
Best Brown Leather
Here they are in no particular order…
The Koio Capri boasts a lot of crossover appeal thanks to two special qualities. First, it’s a reigning champ in the value-for-price battle. Second, its tapered silhouette isn’t too inflated like Dunks, yet isn’t too flat like Converses.
Shape-wise, you can pair them with any outfit whether you’re going for a specific look or not.
The Castagna sports a classic tan shade, slightly darker laces, and white outsoles. It’s a traditional and versatile color combo for dress
The Mocha is a full-on dark umber from upper to outsole. It also has a slight sheen to it, reminiscent of patina on boots or the way light hits a Chesterfield couch. This refined aesthetic can be used in a more formal context.
However, its monochromatic palette can also be used as a substitute for all-blacks, meaning you can wear them as a statement piece or paired with a streetwear-inspired outfit.
Both the Castagna and the Mocha can be worn casually and smart casually, elevating your jeans look and adding a hip twist to your blazer look.
As far as its reputed high-value, the supple leather looks luxurious because it’s a vegetable-tanned full-grain, sourced from Marche, Italy. The outsoles are margom and the lining is a soft leather. The edges are hand-painted and the heel counters prevent slippage.
Beckett Simonon Morgen
The Beckett Simonon Morgens are authentically built like a classic German Army Trainer from the 70s. The utilitarian sectioned-off architecture contrasts with the slick and formal brown leather, to successful results.
The brown Morgens have a distinct refined look that, impressively, doesn’t take away from its practical aesthetic either.
The all-tans aren’t as starkly uninterrupted as darker monochrome shoes are. Their lighter shade makes all of the sections, layers and stitching more apparent. On top of that, the outsole has a napped quality, similar to crepe, which adds more variety to the overall look.
For both variations, the sole is natural gum, which is exceedingly supportive, bouncy, and shock-absorbent. Basically, they’re casual shoes, but they’re really nice casual shoes.
The dark browns boast a deep walnut hue. This classy color on a trainer, plus the tan collar lining and outsoles, makes for a fashion-forward combination that isn’t loud or attention-seeking.
Since the tans aren’t too bluntly monochromatic and the browns aren’t too high-contrast, the Morgens are a good moderate choice for brown shoes.
Also, the Leather Working Group gives Becket Simonon’s leather a gold-rating for their minimal impact on the environment.
You can see our review of the Morgens here.
Thursday Boot Co. Premier
If you’re looking for a variety of classic browns, the Thursday Boot Co. Premier has all of the combinations.
Their core line has a diverse enough arsenal, including a dark brown patina called “Coffee” and a monochrome “Old English” among many others. However, their Heritage Leather models come in truly distinct combinations.
The Cacaos are dark brown with tan outsoles. The lighter-colored sides of the rawhide lacing and the light-colored stitching throughout serve as accents. They also color-match the outsoles. This gives the shoe more dimension than the average contrast-sole shoe.
The Naturals are tan with an effervescent patina throughout for a unique and luxurious look.
The third Heritage Leather model is called Tan Essex, which is a delicate buff. It’s a buttery monochrome perfect for fair-toned spring outfits.
From the core line, the Pebble is the most uncommon, with a weather-safe Nubuck upper. Like the well-groomed coat of a chocolate Labrador, this one-color variation has a luscious and velvety aesthetic.
Whether nubuck top-grain or full-grain nappa, all of the shoes feature soft and bacteria-minimizing sheepskin interiors and a Vachetta leather insole with a shock-absorbent footbed.
Often used for designer bags including those from Prada and Burberry, Vachetta leather is breathable and temperature-regulating,
The Thursday Boot Co. Premiers have a clean and classically thin silhouette, which balances out the more exciting color combinations. Linking them to their Thursday work boot cousins, the Premiers also have solid hardware for eyelets to contain their rawhide laces.
Oliver Cabell Low 1
Oliver Cabell Low 1’s don’t just serve up the straightest silhouette in the game, but some of the most fun and fashion-forward browns on the list. The Lions are a straightforward and stylish brown, while The Camels feature an Italian soft split suede construction.
The Nomad is made from full-grain suede in a cool-toned light brown, with a contrasting white toe and tongue, similar to Reeboks. The black leather O on the sides, the leather last, and the decorative contrast stitch give the shoe a patchwork aesthetic reminiscent of a letterman or aviator jacket.
The Military features a warmer shade of brown. Their uppers have a worn nap that visually serves as a patina for suede. Meanwhile, The Cola sports an ebony brown suede with bright blue patches, for a perfect balance of fun and classy.
If you’re looking for a diverse collection of browns, the Low 1s are a good way to go. They have a slim shape that’s close to the foot but not super contoured. They’re hand-stitched and lasted in Marche, Italy.
sneakers right on their website, so you know you aren’t being overcharged.
Vans Old Skool
The pig suede Vans Old School shoes in brown give this classic model new life. It features the iconic stripe and the instantly recognizable wide toe cap that have consistently been popular since the late 70s.
However, the luxurious brown sugar-colored suede, along with its contrast white tongue, elevates the look without forsaking the skater boy style that made it famous. It’s definitely still a casual shoe, but one that you can wear on a ramp or with dark fitted selvedge jeans and a henley shirt.
Quality-wise, the soles are vulcanized, which means a sulfur treatment was used to make the rubber way more durable.
The Old Skool also comes in a warmer brown suede. This Dachshund model is distinct because its “jazz stripe” isn’t white, but a honey tan, giving the upper a pseudo-monochrome aesthetic that’ll fit comfortably with a streetwear-style outfit.
While not exactly brown, the Gum Old Skool in Oatmeal is also worth mentioning since its pale sandy fawn hue looks more like light tan than it does off-white. Moreover, you can substitute any brown shoe outfit with them, especially in the summer.
The Cuoio version of the Greats Royale is a high-value option in its price category. They’re significantly more affordable than the Koios, but still boast full-grain leather and a classic low-profile silhouette.
They’re a simple caramel shade with a white outsole, so you can basically wear them with any outfit. That being the case, if you’re looking for one brown shoe for your collection, I’d recommend going the low-profile leather route vs the athletic route.
For a hand-crafted leather shoe, the Royales are relatively affordable and are more versatile than a traditional trainer.
Aside from looking more expensive than it is, the Greats Royale also feature plenty of other premium qualities. The extra-cushioned footbed with antimicrobial properties provide comfort, odor-prevention, and hygiene. The leather lining is luxe yet breathable.
Additionally, the lining and uppers are all biodegradable and the shoes are placed in 100% recycled packaging.
Banana Republic Nicklas
You can always count on Banana Republic to make an excellent mid-tier, low-price version of a high-end sartorial staple. The Nicklas Leather Sneaker in cognac brown is standard but stylish, allowing it to easily make its way into any guy’s shoe collection.
Banana Republic isn’t specific about their leather, but it’s definitely thick yet flexible enough and doesn’t crease the way cheaper leathers do. Also, the shoes are made with a NASA-developed technology called Outlast, which regulates temperature whether you’re getting too warm or too cool.
The OrthoLite insoles are light, durable, and moisture-wicking. They include shock absorption in the heel and arch, plus extra flex on the toe pads. The flexible rubber outsole also reduces shock. Basically, these guys are usually pretty comfortable right out of the box.
Allen Edmonds Courtside
It’s Allen Edmonds, so you can always count on premium leather uppers.
The quality that makes the Courtside
This high-end construction is contrasted with a roomy fit and relaxed silhouette. It doesn’t cross the line into floppy though, and can therefore still be worn in the office on casual Fridays.
Another plus is that there’s zero branding on the uppers. This gives the craftsmanship room to shine, and also makes them more versatile. They’re essentially just a classically elegant derby with rubber outsoles and wider lines, easily dressed up or down.
It’s tough to choose just one pair of brown
Narrow them down to your preferred silhouette (thin, thick, or a middle-ground like the Koios?), preferred shade (darker or lighter?), and finally, where and when you plan one wearing them the most.
When all else fails, a full-grain medium brown with a light outsole is a classic option that you can’t go wrong with.