The Ultimate Women’s Shoe Buying Guide
Shoes are important wardrobe assets that sometimes don’t get the credit they deserve. They protect and support your feet from morning till night, have the potential to make or break an outfit, and we can all admit—they are so much fun to shop for. But in order to truly fall in love with your shoes, your collection has to work for both your taste and your lifestyle. No matter your go-to look, there’s a collection of shoes that will help you dress for the life you want—complete with happy feet and all. Here are the six styles you need to build your own perfect shoe wardrobe.
Warmer weather means sunshine, sundresses, a pair—or five—of shades, and of course, cute and comfy summer shoes. Opt for block heel sandals with a thin ankle strap for sipping drinks on the patio or enjoying an evening on the town, a comfortable and sturdy pair like Birkenstocks for playing outside with your little ones or tending to your garden, or a fashionable yet sophisticated style like platform sandals for work.
Flats are the ultimate multitasking shoe. Their low, consistent height is ideal for comfort, and with an endless variety of options to choose from, there’s a style for everyone. A classic ballet flat works with any outfit—from boyfriend jeans and a t-shirt to a tailored pantsuit at the office—and a more stylish option like a pair of D’Orsay flats has a chic pointed toe and cut-out design that is perfect for a fashionable business-casual style.
Then there are the flats that sometimes get overlooked in this category. There are menswear options with a modern twist, like brogues or oxfords that can be dressed up or down and add a sophisticated touch to any outfit—whether it’s jeans, leggings, shorts and tights, or a dress. Loafers and slip-ons can be as classic or as trendy as you desire. And then there are comfortable everyday flats like breezy espadrilles, light and flexible canvas shoes, and fun moccasins. Plus, a common myth many people believe about flats is that they have no support because they’re, well, flat…but this is not always true. Many styles now have arch support for ultimate comfort and foot health.
Sneakers are fun because they range from sporty athletic varieties to high-end fashion styles that are dominating the runway. Athletic sneakers have the support and structure you need for physical activity (like your morning jog or your grind-session at the gym) but the comfort you want for running errands and lounging in leggings. Some styles are even designed around specific activities, so you’ll have the support you want and need during your workout. Brands like Nike and Adidas are especially well-known for both high-intensity and athleisure purposes.
Fashion sneakers, on the other hand, are proving more versatile than ever. Models are sporting gucci sneakers on the runway, professionals are pairing slip-on sneakers or vintage trainers with suits at the office, and fashion-loving individuals are rocking platform sneakers with everything from jeans to dresses. These shoes truly are the best of both worlds. They have the comfort we all love about our fave sneakers with the style potential of more commonly known dressy shoes, even heels.
A pair of classic pumps, a pair of block heels, and a fun, fashionable pair based on your personal style are three absolute wardrobe essentials. This trio can take you from work to casual weekend outings to black-tie events. Classic pumps pair perfectly with business casual work attire or semi-formal outfits. They, as well as a simple, block heel sandal, can be dressed up or down to fit your outfit of the day. A pair of stilettos or colorful pumps are perfect for formal attire.
To pair heels with a more casual outfit, try wearing with skinny jeans and a sweater, rolled boyfriend jeans and a t-shirt, a trendy overall ensemble, or even a pair of black heels with gray sweatpants fitted at the ankle. Stiletto pumps and kitten heels work especially great with casual ensembles.
Love high heels but hate that end-of-the day foot pain that can come from wearing a pair for too long? Wedges might just be your new wardrobe best friend. They have the height of traditional heels but offer increased stability and comfort. Wedges can be worn with everything from jeans to dresses, and can be worn in any season. Try a strappy, summery style for warmer months and a pair of wedge booties for fall and winter. Wedges tend to pair best with casual outfits, but a more sophisticated style like wedge pumps can be worn with business casual or semi-formal attire as well.
Another year-round staple, boots excel at both function and fashion. Wardrobe essentials like a classic stacked bootie or flat bootie can be worn in any season with almost any outfit, while fun styles like over-the-knee boots can add a chic touch to a dress or slouchy sweater look.
And don’t forget about boots specifically designed to protect your feet from the elements. Rain boots, for example, keep out rain, but are also fun wardrobe additions available in surprisingly cute styles and patterns. Winter boots are another lifesaver when Mother Nature strikes before your winter walk to work, and a pair that is both comfortable and stylish won’t ruin your outfit.