There are so many variations on the animal print shoe. From monochromatic, moc-croc leathers and subtle snake skins, to bold, high contrasting zebra, pony, giraffe and leopard patterns. Moc-croc and subtle snakeskin animal print shoes are easier to match up in outfits because they generally function as a solid colour. It’s the bolder animal print patterns, like these leopard and cheetah shoes, that require a little more thought. 

If you’re struggling with how to wear bold animal print footwear, follow these guidelines. Some approaches are obvious and classic, whereas others are more daring. Here are the pairing options:

Team Minimal

We’ll start by pairing bold animal print shoes with solid outfit pieces for Team Minimal.  

  • Similar toned neutrals: Easy! Pick up the same colours of the animal print in your outfit.
  • Blue denim and white/cream: These tones are always a good bet with bold animal print, and one of my favourite combinations.
  • A different neutral: For example, wear black and brown animal print shoes with ink blue, grey or olive green. Wear black and white zebra print shoes with a brown dress. Basically, you can wear any neutral with animal print shoes. 
  • Non-neutral colours: Keep the bottom neutral/denim and wear a solid non-neutral top. Or wear a solid non-neutral dress. Or wear a solid non-neutral top and bottom. Although this is not a must, extra outfit cohesion is achieved by wearing animal print shoes that bookend the colour of your hair. 

For the purposes of these guidelines you can think of highly textured items, like a grey furry vest or sequined top, as solids. The same goes for false plains like glen plaids.

Team Maximal

Team Maximal gets pictures because we need to show some pattern mixing options. You can go to town with these. It all depends on the level of your “daring-quotient”. Your two main pairing options are:

  • A complementary pattern: First, refresh your memory on how to successfully mix patterns. The polka dot blouse below works quite well with both animal print shoes because they are in a similar colour palette. The polka dot also acts as the “dominant print”. Stripes and florals will also work. 

  • A complementary animal print: My previous guideline was to wear one animal print item per outfit. We have moved on from that as hectic pattern mixing becomes more and more fashionable and on-trend. With this pairing, I prefer to see animal print tops (and dresses) matched with a different pattern of animal print footwear. For example, the leopard blouse below is paired with zebra or pony shoes. That way it’s not overly matchy-matchy. 

I’ve covered all these combinations in my own outfits at one point or another. Now that I bat for Team Minimal, I prefer to match my animal print shoes with solid pieces, both neutral and non-neutral. But I might sneak in the odd pattern mixed ensemble just for fun.

This post contains affiliate links that earn commissions for YLF.