Nude Shoes for All Skin Tones

nude-pumps-for-all-skintonesThis is an excellent question…

I am desperate for some nude shoes – they look incredible and well worth paying for. I’d like some classic courts or wedges – anything closed toe. The problem: I am African American. My googlefu has failed me as I’ve looked everywhere. Please do a post on nude shoes for different skin tones!

First: We love the word “Googlefu.” Second — we’re mostly going to have to pitch this one to the readers, as you’ve seen my pale “I love SPF and hate sunlight” skin.


Readers, what are the best skin-toned shoes for black skin? How about for Asian skin? (And: how many fellow pale ladies out there end up wearing pink instead of “beige” because your skin is so pale?)

(Also: here was our last attempt at rounding up beige-colored pumps.)

(Pictured:  We’re pretty sure these aren’t the answer, for oh so many reasons.)


  1. You can’t wear that to work! open toe, not slingback and clear. Just a weekend shoe, nothing corporate professional about it. Unless you work at a strip club.

    • Corporate Tool :

      Helen, I think that was kind of the point…

      As for “nude” I’d go to a conventional shoe store with a large selection (e.g. Bloomies, Saks, DSW), often they will have a variety of brown and tan shades (like “camel” and “mahogany”), which depending on your skin tone, could work well.

      I’d also suggest using, and other online shopping engines that let you search by color.

    • Honestly, I think C was just being a little “tounge in cheek” with that photo. Must we take everything so seriously.

  2. I guess I’m slow: Googlefu? The only thing I can think of is the last two letters as an unprintable abbreviation, and that doesn’t seem correct in context.

  3. has a great range of work appropriate shoes for a lot of different skin tones if you search for tan shoes:

    Also if you are anywhere near a DSW, they usually have a great selection of nude shoes in a lot of different shades.

  4. Wow! I’m the reader – you printed my email! Thanks Kat, you are amazing.

    Please help me guys because you’ve been so amazing before. You found me moisturisers without vitamin e in them (contact dermatitus). I also previously asked for weight loss motivation tips and I’ve lost an extra 8 pounds since then. Basically I’ve lost nearly 40 pounds since New Year and am just LOVING shopping at the moment. I’m an 0L who is hopefully on her way to Columbia Law School this year (thank you full ride!)

    Really – am dreaming about nude shoes for my skin tone. Please help!

    (ps.s – google fu is like your skill with google searching. Like kung fu.)

    • Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      Wow! I’m the reader – you printed my email! Thanks Kat, you are amazing.

      Please help me guys because you’ve been so amazing before. You found me moisturisers without vitamin e in them (contact dermatitus). I also previously asked for weight loss motivation tips and I’ve lost an extra 8 pounds since then. Basically I’ve lost nearly 40 pounds since New Year and am just LOVING shopping at the moment. I’m an 0L who is hopefully on her way to Columbia Law School this year (thank you full ride!)

      Really – am dreaming about nude shoes for my skin tone. Please help!

      (ps.s – google fu is like your skill with google searching. Like kung fu.)

    • Do you want shoes that match your skin tone? Are you darker or lighter-skinned? There’s a broad range of African-American skin tones.

      If you’re darker-skinned, I think you can wear a broader range of colors, especially yellow-toned or peachy browns or tans. I’d actually stay away from darker browns unless they match your skin tone (which would make your legs look longer). But an unmatched dark color could clash with your skin, and that doesn’t look good.

      • I’m South Asian, and I wear nude pumps by Ferragamo. They do have the faintest hint of pink but I find that they look good despite that. I have seen a lovely pair of nude pumps at Stuart Weitzman that I think would be great with my skin tone, or darker skin. Had I seen those before, I’d have chosen them over my pair. Perfect 2.5″ heel too.

        Agree with poster above – you’re better off with some contrast if you cannot get a perfect match (which seems an impossibility anyway). I prefer to splurge on nude/black pumps as they’re used most often (by me, anyway).

  5. For the original poster. I see that C’s attempt to cover this issue previously, got a little “touchy”. I am African American and I think we both know that our skin tones cover a wide spectrum from Vanessa Williams to Alek Wek, so your nude may not be my nude. I am pretty fair, so I don’t have the same issues with “nude” that some of my darker toned sisters do. Where do you fall in the shade range?

    I am not saying that the women here are not helpful, but have you posed this question on some of the fashion blogs that cater to women-of-color? I think that the woman who runs allaboutthepretty is African American and Tia Williams of shakeyourbeauty is now fashion blogging on the Essence website.

    That being said, I think you could search bronze, camel and taupe for some other color options.

  6. Both my earlier comments seem to be in moderation but I am the LW! So exciting.

    I’m fairly dark skinned and I DONT want this to get controversial and weird. I think this is a really supportive community and as I said in my earlier post which may or may not come through – it helped me find moisturiser that I’m not allergic to and motivation tips for exercise. I love this site.

    I’m not incredibly fashion-y (like I said I’m coming off 40+ pounds of weight loss) but I really like this trend. I guess I don’t really know how you are supposed to ‘wear’ them if you are dark skinned. Am I looking for shoes that are lighter or darker? Can women of color wear lighter beige tones without it looking too noticeable? Is it still considered professional? They are the kind of questions I was hoping Corporette could answer – though I will try those two women of color blogs that you mentioned! Thank you for the tip.

    • I think the idea behind matching your skin tone is that it makes your legs look longer. I don’t see any reason why women of color couldn’t also wear lighter beige shoes, just like pale women wear brown ones though. Someone else might disagree with me on that . . .

    • omg, how did you lose 40 pounds?

      • and that’s since New Year’s! that is INCREDIBLE! how did you do it?

        • Hi, I know it sounds simple but diet was the most important thing. I did some jogging but I basically switched to calorie counting (not extreme stuff but 1400 – 1700 cals a day) and the weight really did fall off. I cook meals in bulk and snack on things that I can fit into my calorie count. That means I still eat chocolate and desserts and stuff but I’ll eat lower cal options (so pavlova instead of cheesecake!)

          I have about 20 pounds left to lose and I want to lose it before law school in September. But while I can’t buy too many clothes yet I’m dying to splurge on things that I can wear. I’ve bought a ton of make up and have finally locked down a skin and hair routine that makes me look good. Now I need some gorgeous nude shoes!

          • Congrats and you are very smart to get your routines down pat before law school starts. Having these healthy habits in place will make it that much easier for you to stay on track during school. I wish I had done the same before I started… but now I’ve gotten into the habit of grabbing drive-through before or after class, especially when it comes to exam time. I’ve made several attempts to change my eating habits but when things get busy (I work full-time and take classes at night) I go back to my old ways just because it is easier. So keep up the good work!

          • Congratulations on the weight loss! You’re smart to buy some interim clothes — I found it hard to appreciate my hard work when I was still swathed in clothing that waaay too big. I like TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory for low priced, but still high quality finds… Especially since for interim clothing you realy only want a couple pairs of pnts and a few shirts so you can keep moving your wardrobe smaller

    • I think the shoe should go with or complement or kinda sorta match your skin tone. Obviously there’s not going to be a bluish peach that goes with my pasty white legs either :) I have found a pair of almost cream snake skin pumps from Nine West that complement my pale skin very well, and a pair of much warmer, a little darker, ones that go well with my skin when it’s tan. You can order online, but I almost prefer shopping in store to at least hold the shoe next to your skin. The closer it blends, the better. I *LOVE* Zappos’ color search, but I found my nudes under the pink heading – so you might want to check out some color names that might not sound like they match (burgundy or wine perhaps?) And congrats on 40 pounds already this year!! I’m impressed :) And the Columbia scholly … nice!

    • Well I am black with medium skin tone. I wear beige shoes that don’t match my skin. I think it looks noticeable, but not in a bad way — if that makes sense. I frequently get compliments on the shoes (got one just a couple days ago).. so they can’t be looking that crazy on me. I like to wear these shoes with my navy skirts (with a neutral top).
      I figure.. the shoes are a neutral color, so they doesn’t really need to “match” any thing, including my skin. I don’t have any real desire to make my legs look longer.
      I also like wearing shades of brown darker than my skin, and I don’t think this “clashes.”
      Maybe I am missing something though.

      • I don’t think a darker shade would necessarily clash either. It just depends on your skin tone. For instance, I’m white and pretty pale with pink undertones. If I wear pale yellow, it literally clashes with my skin. That color looks fine on a girl just as pale as I am but with golden undertones. I think where you need to be careful is if something is close to your skin color, but not quite the same.

    • First congrats on your weight loss
      I recently went on a shopping spree in cincinnati based on corporette’s readers’ helpful tips. Nothing beats the sweet feeling of post weightloss shopping; so enjoy!
      I am African (from North Africa) and I noticed that reds compliment my skin tone. You could also try bright colors as they look nice.
      If you must go nude, I like dark cognac (not sure about the spelling) leather shoes. They add a hint of color with underbase of yellow, and they get nicer with time as they get patine.

      • All this advice is so amazing – I knew Corporette would know. As a lawyer to be, I honestly don’t know where I would turn for answers to this kind of stuff without Corporette.

        I bought a set of camisoles last week for the first time in my life! I’m a grown up!

      • newassociate :

        Houda, were you the person who came to the US from Africa and had a one-day shopping spree? i seem to recall a rather long thread strategizing that shopper’s time, but now I can’t find it. If so, just wondering how it all turned out!

        • good memory – I am curious too!

        • Yes newassociate and Cat, this was a blessing and I owe it all to Corporette:
          I spent one glorious day of shopping at Kenwood.
          I am getting some great comments on my clothes and understated make up.
          I bought gifts and other clothes, but teh ones I used corporette’s advice on were the following:

          I started at Macy’s, got :
          – 2 Tommy Hilfiger v-necks,
          – Lauren by RL Black crested blazer
          – 2 LAuren by RL pants (black, tan)
          – a violet samsonite to hold all my shopping and to use it for my business trips

          Then moved to Dillards, got:
          – 1 BCBG Max Azria black skirt suit (cute)
          – 1 pinstripe gray pencil skirt
          – 1 Satin dress (for galas and the like) and it is fully lined so just great!

          Then Nordstorm (I have to say they have the best customer service I have ever seen!)
          – 2 pairs of Sofft pumps: black and brown, they just feel like butter on the feet!
          – 1 pair Citizens of Humanity dark jeans straight legs (for the odd days when I have to come to work in Jeans: team building, field work etc..)
          – 1 year supply of MAC makeup (I was so glad to find my shade).

          Ann Taylor, I couldn’t skip this shop for anything:
          – 5 ruffly/ silky shells (emerald, taupe, dark blue, gray, then a color I couldn’t describe)
          – 2 tanks with bow ties
          – One ruffle blouse in beige

          This is mainly what I have bought with corporette in mind.
          It was a budget strain, but definitely worth it.
          I will be enjoying the “oh” and “aaaah” from my colleagues for a long time !
          Thanks for caring :)

    • divaliscious11 :

      Yes, you can wear this look. Where are you on the color wheel-lol? I am, maybe a shade lighter than Sanaa, and a version* of this shoe all spring/summer and fall…

      *lower heel/sling back

  7. I’ve recently fallen in love with shoes that match my skin tone – and, in my search, I came across these pumps:

    I bought the “Sand,” but I wonder if the “Chianti” (which appears to be a lovely dark brown with a shimmer of deep purple) would work for darker skin tones?

  8. I’m of mixed ethnicity and, depending on the time of year, my skin tone can range from sort of a medium-dark olive to a super-dark tan. I find zappos has the best online search engine for this kind of thing. You can search for multiple colors at a time, so I usually include tan, brown, beige, neutral, bronze, taupe, olive, and gold (and anything else that seems like it could potentially describe my skin color…). From there, it’s just looking at the pictures and hoping for a fairly close match to my computer screen. If you want to try to find them in stores after that, that’s an option, but they also do free shipping and returns so I usually go that route. Sometimes with bigger brands you can also find a color that matches and then find the same leather in a different shoe at a different store or whatever.

  9. These are my nude shoes. Pricey, but I love them so much and wear them so often I feel they were a great deal. Yes, I am the palest, palest person you will ever see.

    • Gorgeous!

    • Are they truly comfortable? The heels are so high! The shoes are gorgeous and would be worth the high price, if I could really wear them all day without any pain.

      • They are the most comfortable heels ever! I actually think of them as mid-height rather than high heels. They are the only shoes I don’t automatically kick off under my desk – don’t bother me at all.

    • Very nice! I might need these.

      • In case it helps, I usually wear a 7.5 but wear a 38 in these.

        • Thanks for the tip. I have tried on Loubs twice in my life and barely been able to squeeze into a 38 (I usually wear 8, occassionally 8.5) and felt to sheepish (it was definitely before I could have bought them) to ask for help re sizes.

          • Thank you jcb. Net-a-porter didn’t have my size, but now that you’ve advised on sizing, I see that I can go up in size and purchase!

          • The size conversions on there are pretty far off, I think. I wear a size 10.5/11 in US sizes and, after moving to London almost 4 years ago, I’ve found it nigh on impossible to find shoes here or on the continent. An 11 is a UK 9, which you can never find, and most often a continental (I’ve done most of my European shoe shopping in Spain and Italy) 42. Just adds to the general annoyance of having big feet!

            Also, while I’m here – what kinds of clothes do you wear nude heels with? They remind me of character shoes that I wore in musical in high school, but I really like the idea of them!

    • divaliscious11 :

      I started to order these about 3 weeks ago when I got a pret email, but I couldn’t tell how shiny they were…

    • I guess I have met my match in paleness. My current “nudes” are a white-ish pink. These are absolutely gorgeous. The first time I’ve ever thought somewhat seriously about paying so much for shoes. I like that the red soles do give you a pop of color even while you get all the advantages of matching your skin tone. Alas, I’m too cheap in the end …

      • Ha! You have definitely met your match in paleness! Maybe you are a redhead like me? There seems to be an unusual concentration of redheads on this site.

        divaliscious11, they are patent (which doesn’t bother me at all, but I don’t really have the negative associations with patent that some others on this site have mentioned before).

  10. Since the color is a signficiant factor here, I would eschew online shopping where you’re dependent on the photography skill and tinting of a flash to translate a shade of color across your computer screen – which also could be adjusted – in favor of in person shopping. I love DSW, Famous Footwear, and, oddly, Macy’s shoe department (bring your coupon and Macy’s credit card to get the best price)

  11. Not for the OP, but for all those vampiresque girls, here is a great (comfortable!) pair that I just picked up. Not for my office (too casual), but great for weekends.

  12. I love those louibitians (sp?)!! So beautiful. I am sitting at my desk drooling over them! Nice pick!

  13. Are those clear plastic shoes with lucite heels? No, no, no. NEVER wear those to a professional office. Or any office that isn’t a strip club or porn production office.

  14. I think that this is something that is best addressed shopping in person. Luckily nude shoes are very “in” at the moment, and with spring/summer on the way there are loads of non-black shoes out there. Going to any place with a large shoe dept & just trying on loads of shoes is the best strategy for finding the best pair for you.

    And, to the original LW’s question re: lighter colored shoes on darker skinned women — I do not think that looks unprofessional at all, but not all colors (nude or otherwise) work well on all skin tones so I would evaluate it based on flattering vs not, and just keep the shoe basic otherwise (b/c a 5 inch heel rarely looks ‘professional’ on anyone — no matter what shade it comes in!).

  15. Random — Has anyone else noticed that the more time they spend on this blog, the more clothes/accessories they buy? My online purchases in particular have skyrocketed, and I think a need a solution here..

    • Yes. I think I have cleaned Ann Taylor out of its entire stock of spring clothes, not to mention the BR purchases and the new suits from the Classiques line at Nordstrom. *sigh*

    • I was a shopaholic to begin with. But I have tried stores I wouldn’t have tried before because they were recommended on here.

    • Always ask whether your shopping is a “need” vs a “want.” Then further justify purchases by noting which outfits lack something. For instance, if you never wear a certain pair of pants because you don’t have shoes to match, I put that in the “justified want” category. I also have a rule that for any online shopping over $100, I have to think about it for 24 hours. If it slips my mind, it wasn’t meant to be. If I can’t stop obsessing, I need it.

      I’ve also found, particularly in the past year, that the more you shop and know your sizes, the better you can snag bargains, because you know what fits you come sale-time in each branch. So I also subscribe to the “if it’s still available by sale time” mantra, then I will purchase, because, clearly, it’s destiny.

      Also remember who you are dressing for…for you? for a date? to impress your colleagues? to look professional? There’s a lot of different threshholds, and sometimes having the latest and greatest isn’t really necessary to, say, just look polished. But if you are going to a shower for a fashionista friend, maybe you need to step it up a bit!

      And finally, if you really can’t control yourself, set up an auto-debit for your clothing/shoe budget and only spend that amount. Period.

      It’s about willpower.

    • Yes, I agree! Unfortunately I have also discovered how to shop US stores online though not living in the US – that doesn’t help the bank balance any…….sigh!!

    • Hi
      I think I am blessed for living in Africa so I don’t have online shopping.
      But as soon as I got the change to come to America I went on a huge shopping spree. I had a tiny notebook with all items I liked on corporette and was very specific on what I wanted.
      I just got back two days ago to my office in Africa. Everybody thinks the wardrobe makeover was worth it. Thanks C/Kat

      btw: C. I don’t know why I always felt you were African American… I guess you’re just great at making everyone relate to you. Cheers Kat.

    • Yes for me too. With the coupon codes and new ideas, I find I often pop onto websites and order hundreds of dollars of clothes while at work now. One day, I needed to get started on a work related task, and like some sort of zombie I started going to the jane iredale website and ordering a bunch of make-up! I had to tell one of my friends that one for a laugh, I don’t know what came over me!

      • My rule is that I’m not allowed to purchase any clothing items while at the office (shoes, accessories etc are included).

        If I really want something, I will order it when I get home. Since I really enjoy coming home at the end of the day and not having to turn on my computer (and I don’t have a blackberry/smartphone), this means I don’t buy much :)

        Impulse purchases completely eliminated!

  16. BethInNY – Yes, I have absolutely noticed that! No solutions for you though.

    Delurker – I have these in grey. The chocolate color is beautiful IMO and may work for you.

  17. I’m Asian (Chinese) and find that Louboutin and Miu Miu do the best nudes (with the tiniest hint of pink, just enough to be flattering) for my skin tone.

  18. I’m Chinese (with medium tan skin), and I also find Christian Louboutin and Nine West’s nude shoes have the closest match to my skin tone.

  19. By the way, love the picture — the do match all skin tones (wink, wink, nudge nudge)

    What’s hysterical about them is I’m fairly certain I saw a pair of lucite heels in Elle (I think it was Elle, I could be wrong) last month… and couldn’t believe that a. they were still made and b. anyone who wear them ;-)

    • anon - chi :

      Yes! I’ve seen clear stuff in a bunch of magazines in the past few months. I don’t care how many magazines tell me that “transparency” is the newest and greatest thing – I am NOT buying it. Sort of like when womens’ magazines advise wearing dresses to the office that end four inches above the model’s knee …

      • Exactly! I’ve always wanted to be a fly on the wall of those magazine writer/editors when they came up with those plans! Also: Linen… they love linen, which wrinkles as soon as you look at it – I’m yet to see anyone wear linen drawstring trousers and not look like you should be gardening in the Hamptons circa 25 years ago a la the “wrinkly rich”

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