I Love Designer Shoes, But My Wallet Doesn't—22 Affordable Pairs That Still Hit



Most New Yorkers are shoe people, in part because we're constantly commuting. Naturally, the Who What Wear team has collected our fair share of designer shoes over the years to add to our growing wardrobes. While it's quite easy to justify investing in a great coat or timeless bag, convincing yourself to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of shoes that will see New York City's worst (e.g. the bottom of a subway car at 2 a.m.) is a hard pill to swallow. Thankfully, there are lots of affordable options that just might satisfy your needs in lieu of spending $1500 on a pair of boots.

Below, browse all of the designer shoes our editors are thinking about taking the plunge on—and the affordable options that are nearly as good at a fraction of the cost.

T-Bar Sandals

"I'm a total sucker for simple, chic footwear—something that The Row specializes in more than any other brand. Unfortunately, I haven't exactly budgeted this month for $890 shoes no matter how gorgeous they are. To maintain the same look without completely blowing through my monthly allowance, I'm eyeing these T-Bar sandals from Mango." — Eliza Huber, fashion editor

These are perfect for any minimalist.

If you're into chunkier heels, this a great option.

Sculpted Heels

"It's safe to say that Prada's warped Mary Jane pumps have permanently altered my brain chemistry. There's something so satisfying about the contrast between the Western stacked heel and the ultra-feminine Mary Jane style, but at $1320 a pop, it's not so satisfying for my wallet. This pair from Charles & Keith is doing a good job at filling the Prada-shaped hole in my heart at a mere fraction of the price. I bought them instead and have hardly looked back since. They're just as comfortable as they are cool." — Anna LaPlaca, fashion editor

Shop Other Sculpted Heels

The mule version is seamless for any beach-inspired outfit.

A much subtler take on the slanted-heel trend.

Sophisticated Slingbacks

"I've been coming back to these Saint Laurent slingbacks every other day, but the price keeps holding me back from actually adding them to my cart. After a little research, I came across this Marc Fisher pair that just might do the trick without draining my shopping budget." — Nicole Akhtarzad Eshaghpour, editor at large

Shop Other Slingback Heels

These Open Edit heels have been calling my name since I saw them earlier this year.

The thicker heel should make these more comfortable than the average.

Metallic Heels

"These ruched, silver Khaite slingbacks are my springtime dream shoe, but leave it to Zara to create a wonderful alternative. They're simpler than the Khaite pair, but they'll provide a similar trend-forward element to whatever outfits they're paired with." — Allyson Payer, senior fashion editor

Shop Other Metallic Shoes

I've never met a pair of metallic heels I didn't like.

The side cutout makes this pair feel ultra fresh.

Circular Cutouts

"Alaïa definitely falls into the less duplicatable of designer brands (there's so much intricate detail in every design), so when I fell in love with its sculptural mules, I didn't expect to find something similar within my price range. Jeffrey Campbell's version managed to nail the main elements of the Alaïa pair with a fun, modern twist of its own: an ankle strap and circle cutout." —Indya Brown, market editor

Shop Other Circular Cutout Shoes

The gold heel hardware on this pair is absolutely stunning.

Ballerina Flats

"Anyone who's anyone knows my love for ballerina flats. Frankly, they're the only thing I wear. And while I've shelled out an arm and a leg for not one, but two pairs of Miu Miu lace-up ballerinas, I can't justify buying a third pair even if they're slightly different with a satin finish and elastic strap. Maybe one day in the future I'll pick them up, but for now, I'll take the under-$150 Mango option. They have the same shape without being extremely out of my price range—a total win in my book." — Ana Escalante, assistant shopping editor

Shop Other Ballerina Flats

I'm very much here for the Tory Burch comeback.

At $50, these are an absolute steal.