The Five Best Essential Shoes

Jul 9, 2024

How many shoes does a woman really need? All of them. But how many does she need to get by? According to TikTok, just five pairs.

01. Something for Everyday // It’s summer, but that doesn’t mean I always want to wear sandals.  Sometimes, I just need a real shoe.  With Jellies being the shoe of the summer, I bought these Ancient Greek sandals in coral and then these Jeffrey Campbell shoes in clear.  I wear both pairs constantly.  They’re perfect for brunch, the pool, running errands.  

For something more affordable, try Old Navy.  Also, I only found this pair for wide feet.

02. Something Skinny // Silver shoes are in for every season.  These Dolce Vita mules were perfect for me because they make denim and dresses look their best.  I also love these square toe ballet flats if a pointy toe makes your feet hurt.  Wide feet?  Naturilzer’s 27 Edit line has you covered.

03. Something Dressy // I hardly wear pumps anymore, but I need a pair from time to time.  These tortoise slingbacks from Ann Taylor blend seamlessly into any look — they match with black, with light neutrals, and with most colors.  They’re also under-$100 right now.

Need more stability?  These block-heel Nine West slingbacks are classic.  Prefer a timeless heel?  Sam Edelman makes their simple Hazel heel in tortoise.

04. Something Chunky // These New Balance 327s (just restocked) were the best purchase I made this spring.  The vintage-style sneaker looks cool with dresses, shorts, or athletic wear.  Plus, they are so light when you wear them that you almost forget you have them on.  I loved them so much, I bought them in a lighter colorway as well.

05. Something Special // When I first spotted these Linea Paolo heels in the store, it took me a moment to truly appreciate them.  So often when we think of a neutral, versatile shoe, we think of a basic.  But these Yuki heels give you all the versatility of a neutral with the uniqueness and cool of something better than basic.  The cap toe, the gold detail on the heel, and the acetate vamp, make them a cool shoe that does the job of a basic pump.

If you’re not familiar with Linea Paolo, it’s a Nordstrom in-house line, and it is one of my favorites.  I also love these raffia wedges with a textured sole and these chic flats with a studded buckle.

So what are your essential shoes right now?  Leave your best pairs in the comments.

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  1. Chloe says:

    OK, concerned about how much your feet would sweat in BOTH the jellies and the Something Special. Anyone else fearing this?

  2. E says:

    About those sneakers. I have hesitated on them because of the white trim on the sole (and the lighter colorway). Are you just more careful and more coordinated than me, or is there some trick to keeping them free of dirt, scuffs, etc.? I absolutely do not want to sign myself up for any extra scrubbing with toothbrushes, mr. clean erasers, etc. and I think they would drive me crazy looking dirty. My few light colored shoes these days are all Rothys and a pop in the washer (easy and no physical labor) has them looking brand new.

  3. Cheryl says:

    Margaux Shoes makes my go-to dressier heeled sandals. Their City sandal and the lower heeled version are some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn–and I have wide feet with bunions. At $375 a pop (take good care of them), they are a worth-it investment for style with comfort.
    Classic cowboy boots–yes those–can be styled for office/professional work if you live in the West, and unutterably cool professional wear if you don’t. Hate to say it, but we get what we pay for, and Lucchese makes the best. Comfortable right out of the box, and again with wide feet and bunions, I size up one-half size. Their tall women’s boots are classic with a below-knee length dress. They have great customer service. Tecovas are a lower-priced well-crafted alternative, again with great customer service, and they are my everyday choice for a boot.

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