For some, it’s a chic pair of shades. For others, it’s a buzz-worthy It bag. But most fashion enthusiasts agree that it’s a show-stopping pair of shoes that truly makes an outfit — and that’s whether you’re rockin’ a band tee and cutoffs for weekend shenanigans or a slinky slip dress for GNO. We scoured Instagram to find the kicks most loved by the fashion set, as well as steppers you can scoop up RN to give your end-of-season look a street style-approved edge. From pom-pom sandals to statement sneakers, these are the nine pairs of shoes you need to step up your style game stat.
Sometimes, you just can’t beat a classic, and that’s definitely the case when it comes to Dr. Scholl’s clog slides. The iconic stepper has made a major comeback, popping up on some of the most stylish feet in the industry. And if they’re good enough for the Man Repeller, well, you know the drill.
1. Dr. Scholl’s for J.Crew Sandals in Gingham ($98): Full-on gingham might not be your thing, but these understated checked slides offer the perfect way to get your fix without having to embrace more in-your-face pieces. Toss ’em on with cropped jeans, a cold-shoulder blouse and an embellished straw bag for an effortless look that reads cool girl rather than preppy princess.
A summer without mules is like a beach day without sun, or that’s the idea you’d get scrolling through Insta as of late. The ’90s silhouette is a street style favorite, with vibrant, unconventional hues ruling supreme. This pretty pink pair sported by Chiara Ferragni are straight-up swoon-worthy.
2. Topshop Nino Suede Mules ($100): Gucci and Mansur Gavriel steppers might not be in the budget, but these Topshop numbers more than deliver. The watermelon suede and block heel styling are major #goals, and are guaranteed to give everything from statement dresses to everyday denim a serious boost.
Introducing the black flat 2.0. Between the on-trend slide silhouette and bodacious bow embellishment, these statement shoes possess serious transformative powers.
3. Zara Leather Slides With Bow ($90): A step above your basic ballerinas, these bow-embellished kicks have been flying off shelves since their debut. Run, don’t walk, to pick up a pair, then proceed to style with everything from structured shirt dresses to boyfriend jeans and bomber jackets.
Nailing your #OOTD doesn’t have to mean donning sky high pumps or strappy sandals. Style a pair of bright statement sneakers alongside a printed feminine frock and modern baubles for a runway-ready getup in seconds.
4. Adidas Originals Gazelle Sneaker ($80): Chartreuse suede? Yes, please! Be it a food truck fest or an afternoon of sight-seeing, these ultra bright trainers will give any on-the-go getup a bit of extra zing. Go all-out sports chic with a bomber jacket, distressed denim skirt and sleek stacking bracelets.
If you thought the obsession with “ugly” sandals wouldn’t last more than one season, think again. Consider this pic proof of their staying power. Whether it’s a pair of Tevas or classic Adidas pool slides, these arguably unattractive kicks have won serious street cred with the It crowd.
5. Charles & Keith Lace-Up Hugly Sandals ($49): Espadrilles? Please. Classic just isn’t your cup of tea, and that’s exactly what makes these ugly-pretty lace ups a must-have. Start racking up the style points the second you step out the door by tossing them on with a culotte jumpsuit, oversized sunglasses and a dramatic pout.
Ultra Modern Block Heels
These are not your grandma’s kitten heels. The mule-meets-Mary-Jane styling is undeniably iconic — just the thing for those times when you want to making a lasting impression (like galavanting around Europe’s fashionable streets).
6. Mango Metallic Heels ($60): When classic kitten heels and black pumps just aren’t going to cut it, pull out a pair of two-tone architectural heels and brace yourself for an onslaught of oohs and aahs. Their structured styling pairs perfectly with office-ready suits, and classes up understated wardrobe essentials with zero effort.
Who would have thought loafers could look this good? No longer an office-only style, loafers make a chic alternative to pumps, trainers and ballerinas, especially when paired with off-duty duds.
7. Jeffrey Campbell Apfel-TSL ($120): For a pair of kicks that have the whole transitional dressing thing down pat, scoop up a set of luxe loafers. This periwinkle pair is perfect for wearing now and later, and will add a punch of polish to everything from cutoffs to cotton dresses the second you slip ’em on.
New Age Mary Janes
A favorite of Alexa Chung and blogger Camille Charriere, Mary Janes have undergone a major makeover over the years, shedding their prissy reputation in favor of edgy shapes, striking colors and next-level materials.
8. Free People Bardot Block Heel ($138): These snakeskin stunners are anything but sweet. Ditch the stilettos on your next night out, styling these block heels with cropped white denim, a shimmery top and metallic smokey eye for an after-hours look that is straight-up fire.
Officially say sayonara to flip flips: Slingback sandals are everything. Not only do they add an instant laid-back cool vibe to dressier duds, but they also elevate closet basics to haute status like it ain’t no thing.
9. J.Crew Jules Metallic Leather Sandals ($118): A pair of metallic leather sandals this effortless is what every summer outfit needs. Take this rose gold set along for Saturday morning farmers’ market adventures (kimono and t-shirt dress in tow), or dress them up for date night with a swingy floral dress and glitzy drop earrings.
Follow us on Pinterest for more style inspo!
Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.