From Ballet Flats to Kitten Heels, These Are the Stylish Shoes French Women Deem Essential for Spring

While French women aren't afraid to try new trends or challenge the clichés that are often attached to the French aesthetic, there's no denying that they wear trend-proof pieces particularly well. Classic items that don't date year-on-year and that come in handy when styling the more statement clothes in their wardrobe. French women have helped me better understand the need for solid basics, pieces that work hard and can be worn with a multitude of outfits. And this is undoubtedly the case when it comes to their footwear selection.


(Image credit: @annalauremais)

As a confessed Francophile, I'm always looking for new ways to bestow my own looks with some Gallic charm. On the cusp of spring, I was particularly interested in finding out which spring shoes French girls are most likely to wear. It's a tricky time to make footwear decisions—one minute it's raining, and the next it's glorious blue skies, so I'm always looking for inspiration and guidance when selecting shoes between seasons.

In the name of research, I scrolled through dozens of profiles belonging to fashionable French influencers, and after looking at the imagery I amassed during this deep dive, I realised that eight specific shoe styles kept cropping up, some of which I expected, but others? Total curveballs. With everything from classic flats to their go-to details, keep scrolling to see the French-girl spring shoes influencers love to wear.



(Image credit: @lenafarl)

Style Notes: French women have long been fans of Mary Janes — particularly flat styles in fabrications such as velvet and satin. 

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(Image credit: @vikilefevre)

Style Notes: No one appreciates woven leather detailing quite like French women, who gravitate towards shoes featuring intricate finishes as soon as temperatures begin to rise. 

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(Image credit: @ruerodier)

Style Notes: No shoe style has been quite so prevalent over the past few years as chunky-strap flat sandals. It’s easy to assume French women would have swerved this trend, as stereotypes dictate they typically prefer their sandals to be more delicate, but I saw so many pairs—especially those with thick Velcro straps—whilst doing my research. 

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(Image credit: @leiasfez)

Style Notes: Clogs typically make a small comeback each spring. Although many of us find them to be divisive, French women, generally speaking, have a sweet spot for them. 

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(Image credit: @camillecharriere)

Style Notes: If you thought French women didn’t wear trainers, think again! Aside from chunky New Balance trainers, the kicks French women are most likely to wear in spring are Converse high-tops. I put this down to their chic, often-monochromatic colour palette and having the ideal dose of nostalgia. 

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(Image credit: @frannfyne)

Style Notes: Okay, so I know espadrilles may seem like a French fashion cliché, but they are on the feet of almost all French women come spring. Despite the fact that the shoes hail from Spain, French women have adopted the style as their own, wearing them with everything from floaty dresses and skirts to vintage denim. 

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(Image credit: @_sylviemus)

Style Notes: Although French women do wear high heels, I’m finding that more and more of the influencers I follow are opting for kitten heels to give their looks polish—specifically kitten-heel mules. 

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(Image credit: @tamaramory)

Style Notes: This is perhaps the biggest French style cliché of them all (aside from berets and Breton stripes that is). I was surprised to learn just how many French women wear ballet flats. It's one of the first things they reach for once boot season is over, and they tend to stick to traditional colours for a grown-up take. 

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Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over thirteen years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content specifically for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, leads the editorial team in their SEO strategy and keyword planning, works closely with the beauty team on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media, including her own Who What Wear UK TikTok franchise, French Style Fridays. Previously, Maxine appeared on ITV's This Morning in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship at Look magazine, she was offered a position on the brand's fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. Her passion and natural talent for writing and styling meant she swiftly rose through the ranks to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as’s fashion and beauty writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief, overseeing both print and digital, before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others.

Maxine is based remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh where she spends her downtime renovating her house, walking her dogs, hosting friends and trying to master the art of making Old Fashioned cocktails.