A great pair of shoes has the power to make an outfit memorable. Even just jeans and a T-shirt can look and feel special if they're styled alongside an elegant pair of pumps or some sleek heeled boots. But these days, shoes, particularly those of the designer variety, don't come cheap. The days of Carrie Bradshaw buying new Manolos in the $400 range simply don't exist anymore, and investing in luxury shoes calls for a tad more backing from your bank account.
Because of that, most people, myself included, aren't likely to order a pair of expensive footwear on a whim. They want to do their research in the form of reading reviews, seeing how they look on other people, etc. That's where I come in. Last week, I took a break from scrolling to shop in person instead, popping into Nordstrom's NYC flagship to take over the designer-shoe salon and test-drive a handful of the retailer's most of-the-moment and sought-after offerings for fall. The result? An entirely perfect afternoon for a shopping-obsessed editor like myself and lots and lots of temptation.
Scroll down to find out everything you need to know about today's chicest designer shoes, including pairs by Prada, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, The Row, and more.
The Row Coco Bootie
I've never owned nor even tried on a pair of boots from The Row, but now that I have, I can see why so many fashion people count on the quiet-luxury brand for all of their footwear, especially in the fall and winter. Unlike many pairs of expensive shoes, The Row's boots fit like they're expensive. The Coco booties, in particular, slid right on without any tugging or adjusting necessary, and the back zipper zipped closed without a single issue. (Is there anything worse than an investment piece with a fast-fashion-grade zipper?) Oh, and did I mention how timeless and sophisticated they look IRL? Yeah, these are going on my wish list.
Prada Loop Bouquet Pointed Toe Flat
Prada's F/W 23 Bouquet and Bunny shoe styles have pretty much dominated my Instagram feed ever since they debuted at the Milan Fashion Week show last February. And while many of the items that go viral don't hold up in person, these aren't one of them. First off, the floral detailing is like a work of art with the ability to make any outfit look unique, no matter what it consists of. Second, the pointed toe allows these to be far more formal than most flats on the market that have a square or round toe, like a ballet style or a Mary Jane. As for sizing, I would recommend going down a half size, as I tried on my normal one and my heels had a tendency to slip out when I walked. Adding a pad on the backs of each shoe would also probably solve this problem.
Toteme The City Block Heel Chelsea Boot
One look at my fall mood board, and you'll see clearly that I'm very much into Westerncore for the season ahead, so when I saw that Nordstrom had this pair of suede boots from Toteme in stock in my size, I couldn't stop myself from trying them on. I would say that out of all the shoes I tried on, these were perhaps the most comfortable, which I find surprisingly more difficult to find in boots than even heels. The width of the boot is a bit narrow but in a very flattering, sleek way that I know would look so chic peeking out from under a pair of jeans. Apparently, though, I'm not the only person fangirling over these boots. Most of the sizes are sold out at Nordstrom. Though, there are links below for other sizes and colors at Net-a-Porter and MyTheresa.
Saint Laurent Blade Square Toe Slingback Sandal
If your winter style goal is Hailey Bieber, you pretty much need this pair of patent-leather slingbacks from Saint Laurent that she's constantly wearing for nights out in L.A., Paris, NYC, and more. And I can see why she likes them. These rhinestone-encrusted kitten heels make everything look cool and, surprisingly, despite the blade-like pointed toe, aren't terribly uncomfortable if you properly size the back strap to fit you (something I didn't do at first and could feel the difference).
Saint Laurent Diane Knee High Boot
For 28 years, I've been on a quest to find a knee-high boot that I didn't want to own, and after trying on this round-toed pair with tiny gold hardware from Saint Laurent, I'm fully convinced it'll never ever happen. But I'm fine with that, especially if it means that these can be mine. Admittedly, these particular boots are very tall, and because of that, they aren't a total breeze to walk in, or at least, I'd have to get used to the height before I embarked on any long walks in them. But a tall heel has never deterred me, and it probably won't anytime soon.
Bottega Veneta Wedge Pointed Toe Pump
One of the reasons that I never regret investing in shoes from Bottega Veneta is how wildly comfortable they are thanks to rubber pads that every pair has on the bottom, adding both tread and increased padding. I walk more than 10,000 steps on concrete every single day in New York, so I need my shoes to be able to handle that, especially since I have a rule about actually wearing my nice shoes regularly instead of letting them collect dust in a box for a fancy occasion. This particular pair is even better for this because the wedge shape adds a ton of stability that standard stilettos cannot offer.
Bottega Veneta Knot Mule
When I saw just how well these brown patent-leather mules with golden hardware paired with my new Andiamo bag, I simply had to see the duo together. Just like with all BV heels, these were super comfortable and easy to walk in despite the fairly tall heel, and the metallic detailing takes them from a simple yet still chic shoe choice into an eye-catching and compliment-warranting style that would get so much wear no matter the season.
Bottega Veneta Over-the-Knee Boots
I'll be the first person to admit that these aren't the most tame or approachable boots, but given how cool they look on celebrities like Margot Robbie as well as on the runways at Bottega Veneta's shows, I simply had to try them out for myself. Getting them on is a bit of workout, it's true, but immediately upon zipping them up, I felt genuinely on top of the world. The thigh-high shaft makes you look 10 feet tall, and though I was wearing a midi slip dress when I wore them, I just know that they'd look incredible with a minidress or oversize shirt worn as a dress.
The Row Zip Platform Bootie
I'm not usually a big chunky-boot person, preferring sleeker styles that can be easily dressed up and down, but the obvious luxe-factor associated with these soft-leather, bone-colored boots from The Row triggered something in me that practically forced me to try them on. Immediately, I knew that if I ended up owning these, I'd wear them constantly with chunky cashmere or wool socks and an oversize maxi coat all the way up until the first real day of spring.
The Row Canal Loafer
Loafers are famously uncomfortable and almost always give you blisters, especially if they're new. It's something that lovers of the style everywhere have seemingly just accepted as fact and a painful experience one must go through to benefit from their stylish, timeless attributes. But when I tell you that these soft-leather loafers from The Row couldn't possibly hurt you, I'm not lying to spare your feelings nor am I exaggerating to get you to buy them. For real, they felt like slippers.
Saint Laurent Cherish Pointed Toe Slingback Pump
For the coming holiday season, I can't think of a single shoe more perfect than these rhinestone-studded Saint Laurent slingbacks. They're just the right amount of festive without feeling kitschy and will pair immaculately with an LBD. As for wearability, the heel is so itty-bitty that walking in these is a breeze.
Shop more investment-worthy designer shoes at Nordstrom: