I think everyone aspires to own a pair of cargo pants because they are so versatile and just have so many pockets!
They need to be worn with just the right shoe, though. At least, that’s how it seems.
What shoes to wear with cargo pants
Cargo pants are a versatile garment and can be worn with just about any style of shoe. However, it does depend on the style of pants. Jogging cargo pants can be worn with trainers and even flip-flops. Every day cargo pants look great with chunky boots or slip-on mules. Slimline cargo pants can be made a little more formal by wearing heels, strappy sandals, or pumps.
What are Cargo Pants
Like many pieces in the fashion industry, also cargo or combat pants have their origin in the military.
They usually have two large patch pockets on both sides, therefore the name cargo as you can carry a lot of stuff in those pockets.
Outside of the military, cargo pants were mainly worn for outdoor activities, however, over the last couple of years, they found their place in almost every fast fashion retail shop.
Originally the cargo pants has a loose-fitting cut, however, the style got adapted to current trends, for example, skinny pants in cargo style.
Hiking Cargo Pants
Sometimes, it’s not all in the name. Just because you are wearing hiking cargo pants, doesn’t mean you have to wear hiking boots with them.
Of course, if you are going hiking, then this is the obvious choice.
If you are going to wear this very particular style of cargo pants, then consider your footwear carefully.
They look great with thick-soled shoes, but I don’t suggest wearing them with something more delicate, like pumps.
Funnily enough, I find hiking cargo pants great when I want to get down and dirty.
In that case, I wear old trainers with them or stronger shoes like an Australian workboot.
Slim-fit Cargo Pants
If there is a style of cargo pants that could be worn a little more formally than others, it is slim-fit cargo pants.
Wear them with closed heels and a button-down shirt. Throw a linen jacket over and you’ll have an outfit that has a degree of formality.
You may even consider wearing it to work.
Keep the look sleek by wearing strappy heels in summer, or ankle boots in winter.
You will always find an occasion to keep things a little more formal, but comfortable.
Of course, slim-fit cargo pants can easily be worn with slip-on mules, or pumps for a relaxed girl-about-town look.
In winter, turn up the cuffs and wear funky socks with low-cut sneakers. Swop the sneakers and socks for flip-flops in summer.
Cargo Jogger Pants
You might think that the name ‘cargo jogger pants’ tells you exactly what shoes to wear with this style.
Well, yes, trainers and sports shoes are the obvious choices, particularly if you are actually going to go jogging wearing these pants.
That’s not where it ends, though.
You’ll find that cargo jogger pants are a great choice for everyday wear too.
If you are going out for a casual lunch, or a picnic, you can pair your cargo pants with sneakers.
They can also make a fantastic cover-up on a cool summer evening when you are enjoying the sunset on the beach.
In that case, pair them with flip flops, or canvas slip-on sneakers.
For a relaxed day at the shops and perhaps coffee with a friend, wear cargo jogger pants with pumps. You can also add a blazer for a contrasting look.
On a rainy day, you can don your gumboots over them and go out in the rain.
Denim Cargo Pants
Denim cargo pants are not quite as adaptable as they sound. Jeans already have that look and style.
And they have lots of pockets of their own.
Don’t despair, though, denim cargo pants are just about the best style of pants to be really comfortable in.
You can wear them with sneakers for a day out shopping, or just slip on some mules when you are entertaining folks at home.
I find that any denim pants, cargo included, go very well with tennis shoes when I need to run some errands, or with pumps if I go drop in casually to visit friends.
Everyday Cargo Pants
Then there are cargo pants that don’t fit nicely into any of the other descriptions.
These are actually the most fun when it comes to considering your shoes because it’s kind of like ‘anything goes’.
Picture this: you are going to spend the day out and about with friends, shopping, doing coffee, and the like.
What better pants to wear than everyday cargo pants, with pockets and comfort?
And what better shoes to wear than those good old sneakers you keep when you value being comfortable most?
Then, you could be road-tripping and the best shoes by far to wear with those cargo pants are slip-on mules.
Take them off in the car, and slip them on when you stop. Convenience is the key when you are on the road.
If you are embarking on an adventure, like sky diving, then trainers or sneakers that do up tightly are a must with your cargo pants.
Dos and Don’ts
When you wear cargo pants, don’t try to go for the construction worker look by wearing big chunky boots.
If you do want to go for a more rugged work look, wear chunky trainers, or a slimmer ankle boot.
Do wear Doc Martens boots with slimline cargo pants, but not with the wider, everyday kind.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cargo Pants
Can I wear heels with cargo pants?
Yes, you can wear heels with cargo pants. They dress up the pants to make your outfit a little more formal. Heels are best worn with slimline or denim cargo pants.
What are the best boots to wear with everyday cargo pants?
Ankle boots are better to wear with everyday cargo pants than long boots. You can wear chunky boots with thick soles for a solid look, or slimmer, flat boots to keep the look a bit more relaxed.
Cargo pants are very versatile and can be worn with just about any type of shoe.
It does depend on the style of pants, though.
Don’t try to dress up hiking cargo pants with heels, when you can go for a slimline style.
Keep in mind your whole look when you choose the shoes.
If all else fails, go back to that great ol’ standby, the sneaker.