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Are metallic shoes neutral?

Metallic shoes have become a major fashion trend in recent years. The shiny, eye-catching finishes like gold, silver, and rose gold have been seen on everything from sneakers to pumps to sandals. But an important question about metallic shoes is whether or not they can be considered a neutral shoe choice.

The Rise of Metallic Shoes

Metallic shoes first became popular in the 1920s and 1930s, when jazz music and the flapper era called for flashy fashions. The trend died down for decades but resurged in the 1960s and 1970s. However, metallic shoes were still seen as more of a novelty. It wasn’t until the late 2010s that metallics became a mainstream footwear choice.

Several factors led to the recent metallic shoe craze:

  • Improved technology for applying metallics to shoes
  • Minimalist fashion calling for accessories to make a statement
  • The rise of athleisure and sneaker culture
  • Metallics as an extension of the jewelry shoe trend

Now metallics can be found across all types of footwear – from designer heels to casual sandals. The possibilities are endless thanks to advanced production methods for metallic finishes. This expansion into mass market shoes is what propelled metallics from novelty to neutral staple.

What Makes a Shoe Neutral?

A neutral shoe is one that can be worn easily with a variety of outfits and styles. Neutral shoes act as a base for an outfit, rather than being the focal point. They blend in rather than stand out. The most common examples of neutral shoes are:

  • Black pumps or flats
  • Nude heels
  • Brown loafers
  • White sneakers

These styles are considered versatile basics for shoe wardrobes. But what makes them neutral? Generally, neutral shoes share these characteristics:

  • Simple silhouettes – No embellishments or loud patterns
  • Traditional colors – Black, brown, beige, white
  • Classic materials – Leather, suede, canvas
  • Minimal detailing – No oversized buckles, bows, etc.

By sticking to these criteria, neutral shoes don’t distract from an outfit. They simply finish a look without overpowering other pieces. The neutral shoe provides a foundation for highlighting other fashion elements like bright colors or bold patterns.

Can Metallic Shoes Be Neutral?

At first glance, metallic shoes seem far from neutral. The eye-catching shine and flash are intended to attract attention. However, metallics have become so commonplace that they can now serve as neutrals in some cases. Here are the scenarios where metallic shoes can work as neutral footwear:

Subtle Metallic Accents

Shoes with small splashes of metallic finish can still read as neutral. For example, a pair of otherwise plain black flats with a gold toe cap. Or a beige loafer with metallic leather laces. When metallics are used minimally as accents, the rest of the shoe remains neutral.

Monochrome Metallic Outfits

An all-over metallic look from head to toe can use metallic shoes as a neutral base. Matching metallic shoes to metallic pants or a metallic top creates a monochrome outfit. In this case, the shoe’s metallic finish blends in rather than standing out.

With Other Metallics

Metallic shoes pair perfectly with other metallic accessories for a coordinated look. They appear more neutral when part of a full metallic ensemble including jewelry, bag, belt, etc. The matching metallic details prevent the shoes from attracting too much attention alone.

In these situations, metallic shoes serve as neutral footwear rather than the main event. They provide a versatile base for an outfit just like traditional neutral shades. However, there are still cases when metallic shoes are too bold to wear as a neutral.

When Metallic Shoes Are Not Neutral

Certain styles and contexts make metallic shoes stand out too much to be considered a neutral choice:

  • Bright silver or gold shoes with casual everyday outfits
  • Chunky metallic sneakers that attract attention
  • Metallic shoes worn as the only shiny accessory
  • Formal outfits for work or special occasions

In these situations, metallic shoes tend to pull focus, act as a statement piece, and appear out of place with the rest of the look. Therefore, they can’t serve as a neutral foundation for the outfit.

How to Wear Metallic Shoes as Neutrals

Want to incorporate some metallic shoes into your wardrobe’s neutral rotation? Here are some tips:

  • Opt for rose gold, pewter or muted metallic shades rather than bright silver and gold.
  • Choose metallic shoes with classic silhouettes like loafers, ballet flats or oxfords.
  • Add other metallic accessories to create a coordinated look.
  • Save flashy metallic shoes for weekends and nights out.
  • Stick to low-key outfits in terms of colors and patterns.
  • Let other accessories like jewelry or bags pop more.

The key is balancing out the metallic shoes with more low-key pieces so they blend in. Stay away from wearing them with lots of colors, prints, or loud accessories competing for attention.

Examples of Metallic Shoes as Neutrals

Here are some examples of how to successfully wear metallic shoes as neutral wardrobe staples:

Rose Gold Flats

A muted rose gold ballet flat can substitute for a nude flat as a versatile neutral. Wear them with jeans, dresses, trousers and skirts for an easy, fashion-forward look.

Pewter Oxfords

An oxford-style flat in a matte pewter finish can provide a neutral base for menswear-inspired outfits. Pair them with tailored trousers, button-down shirts and blazers.

Silver Slide Sandals

For a casual daytime look, silver slide sandals work well with denim shorts, cotton dresses and oversized button-downs. Keep the rest of the look minimal.

Gold Loafers

A gold leather loafer adds interest while still remaining neutral. Work them into preppy, tailored looks with khakis, polos, sweaters and collared shirts.


Metallic shoes may seem like an eye-catching fashion choice, but they can also serve as neutral footwear. Muted metallics like rose gold and pewter work best to blend into outfits. Bright silver and gold often appear too bold. The key is balancing metallic shoes with quieter pieces in the rest of the look. When coordinated properly, they fade into the background as versatile neutral wardrobe staples.

So don’t be afraid to incorporate some metallic shoes into your closet. Just stick to these guidelines to turn flashy footwear into the perfect neutral base for any outfit.

The metallic shoe trend is here to stay. With the right styling, they can become your new neutrals.