Keds Outfit Ideas: How to Style Keds (And What to Avoid)

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Taylor Swift How to Style Keds

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Last Updated on January 6, 2022

It is pretty much a known truth by now that I’m a fan of Keds. 

You probably got a faint suspicion at some point after I covered how Keds came to be, and what makes the brand tick. Then grew almost sure when I compared them to Converse, the King of low tops, and summarized how they measured against the very best of canvas sneakers.

And there was absolutely no doubt left by the time I reviewed their amazing comfort technology, which wasn’t easy at all! And then shared my favorite shoes from their Kate Spades collab.

If I did things right, chances are that you are now a fan too! So, writing about how you can style your new acquisitions was the only logical step! 

There is something magical about Keds and how you can choose them for absolutely any occasion and they somehow always work with any ensemble you can think of.  Read on to find out all my tricks to pair Keds with pants, chinos, skirts, party dresses, and even a wedding dress!

Are Keds in style right now?

You bet. Despite not being a super notorious brand, Keds has scored more than one huge collaboration with the likes of Taylor Swift, Kate Spade, Colette Doraemon, and Madewell, amongst others. 

As if that wasn’t enough of a popularity indicator, Kate Middleton, Megan Markle, Ariana Grande, Emily Ratajkowski, Shay Mitchell, Taylor Swift (of course!), and Jessica Alba also wear them!

They’re definitely celebrity-approved, but are they any good in the eyes of the common folk? In 2020, Keds was ranked 312 in sales in the US with 42 million dollars in net sales. Definitely not bad, but certainly not one of the most popular brands in the country. 

Still, the general opinion is that it is a solid brand that maintains its high quality throughout its offerings. With Keds, you get what you see, a lowkey canvas sneaker that is inconspicuous, delicate, comfortable, and flexible. And above all, a product that can last for years if treated right.

How to pair your favorite color Keds

What to wear with white Keds

White is one of the most used colors for Keds in all its models. Be it a slip-on, a platform sneaker, a Champion sneaker, or even a boot.

Keds’ white Champion is hands down the most iconic canvas sneaker of the brand and it continues to be the most chosen pair of low tops that people go for on social media. 

Maybe it’s something about their usability since there is no doubt that they are the easiest to combine. Here are some options for this chameleon of a shoe!

For in-between seasons weather

In Between Weather Keds Outfit with denim skirt, grey tartan blazer and yellow top
@cmd1004

You know those days that are neither cold nor hot…When it feels like you want to still wear your favorite summer shorts but it’s a tad chilly under the shadows, so you have to grab a long cardigan last minute, just to make sure you won’t feel the nipping cold breeze at an odd moment. 

Keds No Show Socks Outfit with boyfriend jeans and white t shirt
@riceandtravel

That’s the perfect moment for your Keds to shine. You can wear no-show socks or nothing at all, depending on how toasty you want your feet to be. And they can look as amazing with wide pants as they do with hot pants.

Go for rolled cutoffs and boxy T-shirts or open-knit sweaters and lacy tops. The marvel of Keds is that you can keep things as basic or as over the top as you want.

Read: How to Wear All Different Types of Socks with Keds

For colder days

The best way to suit up for that chilly breeze while wearing white Keds is to add no-show socks and a wooly top! This can translate to a soft cashmere cardigan over bootcut jeans or a warm alpaca blend sweater over white capri pants, with a tartan scarf for extra wintery vibes!

The key to knowing how to style any ensemble with white Keds is to always repeat their color in at least one of the other items you are wearing. For example, the white pants or white top make for great pairings that make the outfit gel together, even without being overly matchy-matchy.

What to wear with black Keds

Black Keds are as versatile as their white counterparts, despite not being nearly as popular. And, in my opinion, they are much better. No, wait! Hear me out:

Black doesn’t get dirty as fast as white. It hides stains. The rubber outsole won’t show as dirt or change colors slowly as it gets exposed to the sun (as the white will). Last but not least, black is much more inconspicuous so it will get less noticed, making it the perfect choice when you need to make do with just one pair of sneakers for a lot of different outfits. 

Street style ideas for black Keds

All Black High Top Keds with tartan scarf
@hallwaysrunways

Both all-black high-top Keds and white-soled low-top Keds are perfect for a quick and easy put-together outfit for daily chores or a city stroll. Pair them out with a grey sweater, black jeans, and a dark tartan scarf for a slightly dark look with a rocker vibe, or chill with a light tartan overshirt and straight over the ankle jeans with rolled-up cuffs for a chic style.

Light Tartan Overshirt Ankle Jeans Keds Outfit
@cherubinchats

Black keds outfits that are party-worthy

No one can keep Keds out of the party! Especially if we are talking about black or glitter Keds (like Kate Spade’s). You can easily swap your black pumps for your canvas sneakers, even if you are wearing a gold sparkly dress (and fishnet tights!) with a suede jacket or smart-looking shorts with a long 90s blazer. 

Long 90s Blazer Keds Outfit
@isabelfordkn

Read: How to Dress for a 90s Party

What to wear with grey Keds

Leather Matching Suit Keds Gray Sneakers
@yamilemuss

This might shock you, but all shades of beige, cream, tan and brown look amazing with warm greys that have a yellowish base.

I’ve previously discussed how greys are never purely greys but always tend to have a yellow, blue, or even red base which determines what shades will match naturally with it.

Case in point, this leather matching suit of straight pants and blazer over a white shirt, or the street-savvy sporty ensemble of grey high-tops, tan cargo pants, and a white long-sleeved shirt with cutouts. 

What to wear with navy blue Keds

Navy Blue Keds Outfit with leather skirt and leather jacket
@kathryniscool



Navy blue Keds are not one of my favorites. This glittery Kate Spade model is not bad, though. I like the combination with black wide leather trousers and a varsity jacket!

How to style red Keds

How to Style Red Keds
@santanauplift

Red is such a passionate color! And a striking one at that. Using red Keds will make your feet pop so it is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Plaid Shirt Winter Keds Outfit
@taylorrane14

It can totally transform a classic winter look into a vibrant outfit. Pair up a blazer or a top in a similar shade of red, and you are good to go. Bonus points for doing a print, plaid, or other texture using the color plus another item in the same shade. It elevates the whole look a notch or two!

Cute outfits with Keds

How to wear Keds with jeans or pants

Pairing up Keds and denim might be one of the easiest choices ever made. Rugged jeans, classic fits, wide or slim jeans, literally every type of pants work. And since Keds can accompany a wide range of styles, they manage to look great with a tie-dyed crop top, 90s orange shades, and rugged wide denim pants too. 

Slip-on Keds and slim over the ankle jeans are a classic staple to wear to the beach. It is worth noting that there is no age limit on this one! Go for a striped or printed slip-on for extra fan and keep the rest of the outfit neutral to emphasize the shoes as a focal point. 

Speaking of prints and Keds…Keep in mind that there are a ton of models to choose from with plaid, prints, and embroideries.

Always remember that the easiest trick to complete an outfit and make it look well put together is to use a similar shade or repeating shades in different items. In this case, the plaid in the shoes has a small (but important) presence of a cream/beige color. This is why they look so great without falling prey to the over-matching cliché.

Printed Pants and Pink Keds Outfit
@film_chatdao

Another great option is to use a printed pair of pants and match your sneakers to your top. In this case, both items fall within the palette of pinks, despite them being noticeably different.

Read:

Step Aside Skinny Jeans: These are the Best Bootcut Jeans for all Body Types

7 Best Mom Jeans we Absolutely Adore (With Styling Tips)

How To Wear Flared Jeans

How to wear Keds with dresses or skirts

Casual

Glittery Keds and Pink Tutu
@itsacharmedmomlife

Glittery Keds are one of my favorite heel replacements for parties. They are just so much fun! However, there is no rule that says you can’t use other classic Keds with any number of dresses or skirts and achieve amazing results.

From the flimsiness of a tutu skirt made of tulle to the flamboyant design of a pastel puffy dress, there is absolutely no reason not to wear either print or platforms Keds.

Party

As I said, glittery Keds would have been an expected option for this satin burnt orange dress and black leather jacket. This is why the white canvas sneakers look so stunning and surprising, adding a fun touch to an otherwise smothering and sexy attire.

The footwear manages to take back some of the allure of the ensemble and make it all about having fun or not taking itself too seriously. 

Wedding

Speaking of taking things in stride, there is no reason why Keds should be expected to sit weddings out.

Take the stress out of the equation, don’t worry about tripping, looking taller than your significant other, or traipsing down the courthouse’s stairs. Wear your trusty pair of white Keds and focus only on the importance and happiness of the moment.

Platform Keds outfit ideas

Platform Keds Outfit
@alexapeng

I dare say a couple of my shortest friends will swear by any shoe that sits on a platform, but according to them, Keds manages to still feel like Keds, even from atop a thick platform.

Somehow, it seems they retain their magic: they are lighter, more flexible, and comfortable than other similar sneakers with a platform.

For a demure and classic pairing, go with white platforms Keds with think ankle sockets, slim cotton jeans, and a crepe shirt with sleeves, or spice things up with a short pleated miniskirt, a lacy heart-shaped top in pink with a matching ribbon belt, and ruched over the knee socks.

Read: How To Wear Platform Shoes

How to style Keds scout boot

Keds Scout Shoe Plaid Fleece Outfit
@newenglandstyleguide

Imagine one of those chilly days during the fall or early winter. The air feels brisk and the breeze makes you tighten your plaid woolen overshirt around your body to avoid the nipping wind.

You’re struggling against the very idea of summer being over, but your cold feet demand something more than a pair of sandals.

Keds being the easygoing fellows that they are, provide the perfect solution. The scout boot might not be as winter-friendly as the Camp boot, but it can certainly work its magic! 

Thick Woollen Socks Keds Outfit with Nordic Green and White Sweater
@curly.curvy.candid

It’s surprisingly warm, especially when paired with thick woollen socks, leg warmers, a fair isle sweater, a beanie, and matching suede pants. Bonus points for keeping things color coordinated and looking five by five, so decide first on the pair of boots and their shade and work the magic building from there.

Winter Keds Outfit
@lindscatherine_

Keds FAQs

Can You Wash Keds?

Yup, you can wash Keds. However, as a general rule, I try not to throw them inside the washing machine just in case. They can usually take a little rough wash, but you can be 100% sure that nothing bad will happen to them if you spot wash them or at least do the washing by hand. This gentler approach guarantees no ungluing or unhewn edges. 

How to Lace Keds?

This is such an interesting question. No matter how descriptive I got I wouldn’t manage to convey anything to you, so here is an amazing video with a ton of examples. Some of which I can’t wait to try on myself!

How to Glitter Keds?

I would advise against glittering Keds. 

There are a bunch of beautiful glittery Kate Spade x Keds models in varying shades to choose from. But, if you are still set on glittering them, be aware that anything you glue on will eventually fall off. 

I would say embroidering might be too hard due to the thickness of the canvas but it is certainly the best approach if the shoe allows it.

How to Waterproof Keds?

Personally, I don’t see the issue in getting your Keds wet. But, two options that might work to make them waterproof are using a waterproof spray on them prior to wearing them and depending on the base material, applying wax on their upper part. If I had to choose, I would go with the spray. 

It is pretty easy to apply, with the shoe completely dry. You just spray it abundantly until you are certain you covered every nook and cranny of their surface. Then let it dry for as long as it takes. Wear and forget about water issues. Reapply every now and then to keep the protection going!

You May Like: 10 Shoes like Keds: Alternatives in Styles and Designs

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Lorena Lombardo is a fashion designer specialized in trend forecasting and fashion journalism. She studied at the UAL (University of London), ORT (Universidad ORT Uruguay), and taken various courses about traditional craftsmanship while living in Tokyo. Some of her favorite memories during the 90s include wearing bucket hats and trying to copy Rachel’s hairstyle. Her absolute favorite show was Buffy: the Vampire Slayer but she was also a huge fan of Clueless because of its amazing fashion choices. Her top track of the decade is currently disputed between How soon is Now? by the Smiths and Here with me by Dido. Both also happen to be the opening songs for two great 90s shows: Charmed and Roswell. Coincidence? I think not!

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