Keeping It Casual: 7 Low-Key Shoe Styles I'm Wearing Instead of Heels



I'm a heel person through and through. No matter how many days I've tortured my feet in a row, I'll still slide them into pumps or even platforms and be on my way. But lately, I've been noticing that flatter, more casual shoe styles have begun to pique my interest, something that almost never happens. Perhaps it's my mind playing tricks on me in an attempt to give my feet a break, or more likely, it's that footwear designers are stepping up their flat-shoe game. Either way, this season's comfortable and casual shoe styles have me storing away my heels for the first time in forever. 

Not just any flat shoes will do, though. For me to give up my beloved heels, even temporarily, the alternative must be good. Luckily, all seven of the casual styles ahead are just that—I might even call them great. From classic loafers and riding boots to trendy ballet flats and retro sneakers, check out all the low-key shoe styles that are worth ditching your heels for in 2023. Trust me—your feet will thank you. 


Loafers have resided in the sartorial spotlight for a while now, perhaps even being *the* top shoe style of the past few years. But until recently, the styles that ruled were chunky and statement making rather than classic. This season, however, we're finally seeing a timeless style reign supreme, which, in addition to being easier to style, is also a lot more comfortable. Goodbye, shin splints. Hello, 10,000 steps.

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If you want great-quality loafers for a good price, there really is no better option than Bass. 

I actually like these more than the Prada version.

I've just nearly bought these at least a dozen times. Looking at them now, I think I'll go and do it. 


If you're looking for shoes to slip on and go that won't dress down your outfit, this season's selection of mules is where it's at. Personally, I'm biased toward Wandler's Rosa mules (pictured above), which I own in two colors because they're just that good. But you really can't go wrong with any of the below styles, from the platform Uggs that Gigi Hadid loves to wear when she's off duty to the classic Birkenstock Boston clogs that will forever be in style. 

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Is color three on the way? I think yes.

It's not just Hadid who loves these. Elsa Hosk and Shanina Shaik are also fans. 

Ballet Flats

The Best Casual Shoes for Women in 2022



Ever since Miu Miu showed its F/W 22 collection in Paris, I've been hooked on ballet flats, specifically when paired with socks or tights or just plain with a pair of jeans or a miniskirt. I thought the lack of a true heel would bother me, but this dainty style has me completely enthralled. 

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The tiny top strap adds an especially adorable touch. 

Margaux knows what it's doing when it comes to ballet flats. In fact, the brand is known for them.

Ballet flats for under $60? I'll take five.

This pair would look so good with some straight-leg denim.

Retro Sneakers

Truth be told, the shoe style that really convinced me to hang up my heels, for the time being, was my Adidas Samba, sneakers I wore for indoor soccer practice in middle school and repurchased this winter. They're beyond comfortable, and as the photo above shows, they can be styled in countless ways. But it's not just Sambas: All retro sneakers are on the rise, from old-school Chuck Taylors to New Balance and Aimé Leon Dore's always-sold-out 550s

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If you love Sambas but want something a tad more stylized, these suede-and-leather sneakers from the Adidas x Wales Bonner collection are it. 

If you can get your hands on these, you won't regret it.

These will always be in vogue. I promise you that. 

I'm backing these as the next big sneakers to make it in fashion.

Slide Sandals

My co-worker Kristen is wholly responsible for my newfound interest in flatform slides, which I'm planning to wear on repeat all summer long. From the beach to the office, these ultra-comfy and easy-to-style shoes are good for any occasion. My tip: If you're ready to invest in a pair of slide sandals, go with something by Gia Borghini. As documented above, they're incredible. 

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Now that Kendall Jenner has officially endorsed the Y2K-inspired platform-flip-flop trend, it is destined for long-term success on the fashion circuit. Whether you go the designer route with the influencer-favorite Ginza sandals from The Row or save a few bucks with a pair from Zara or Charles & Keith, it doesn't much matter. Either way, you'll look and feel good with next to no effort. (Goals.)

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Name an influencer who doesn't own at least one pair of these. I'll wait. 

Brown and black are always a can't-miss color combo.

Jeffrey Campbell can do no wrong in my book.

Riding Boots

The Best Casual Shoes for Women in 2022



In my opinion, adding a pair of riding boots will automatically take almost any outfit up a notch (or three), especially if what you're wearing involves a skirt, a dress, or even tailored shorts. You get all the chic factor of heeled knee-high boots with none of the discomfort. Win-win. 

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If I didn't know any better, I'd think these boots are meant to be in a museum—they're a work of art.

Everyone's favorite cool-girl brand has certified cool-girl shoes.