The Shoe Styles That Always Break Us Out of a Fashion Rut

If you take pleasure in putting a look together but always feel indecisive about your shoes, it might be that you're lacking the failsafe styles to finish your outfit off. With our footwear, we buy into the seasonal trends, a bright color perhaps, as it's one of the easiest ways to update your wardrobe. However, you need to balance out those frivolous finds with classic shoes to ensure you have every sartorial base covered at all times. As such, they'll work in tandem to ensure that your outfits always look perfectly pulled-together. 

So which types of shoes are really worth buying into? We're glad you asked. We've taken the time to whittle down a well-rounded shoe capsule. So keep scrolling to see how many types of shoes you already own, and then set about filling in the blanks with our top picks.



(Image credit: @ada_oguntodu)

Style Notes: Backless mules have become effortless shorthand for easy elegance. They're summery without being too sandal-like. Mules are glamorous with none of the overstatement of strappy sandals, and you could easily wear a mid-heel pair every day of the week.

Classic Pumps


(Image credit: @styleheroine)

Style Notes: A pair of sleek black pumps in your closet will always serve you well. With the power to elevate jeans while simultaneously being able to neutralize statement printed dresses, there's no shoe quite like them. 



(Image credit: @brittanybathgate)

Style Notes: If there's a shoe style that makes us nostalgic for childhood, it's Mary Janes. However, these ankle-strap shoes do have a place in the grown-up world. These practical yet always playful shoes look great with trousers or straight-leg styles.

Wedge Espadrilles


(Image credit: @annelauremais)

Style Notes: Wedges are divisive, but everyone can agree on how comfortable they are. They're no longer just the reserve of a sun-soaked holiday. Anne Laure shows how you can make yours city-appropriate by adding a denim jumpsuit, a chic beret and chain-strap handbag.

White Sandals


(Image credit: @monikh)

Style Notes: They might be all the rage this summer, but there's very little about the white sandal that will date. Wraparound details feel very now while block heels will serve you well for a multitude of occasions. 

High-Top Trainers


(Image credit: @mari_malibu)

Style Notes: Trainer trends come and go, but Converse trainers are for life. Wear them with skirts and dresses (particularly those with a floral print) for a look that's very cool indeed. 



(Image credit: @eniswardrobe)

Style Notes: Before Gucci's horsebit-detail loafers came back into the fold, we were sporting suede tassled styles. While you can never go wrong with a black pair, tan and burgundy are equally as chic. From topping off workwear to flirty dresses, these loafers are the ultimate transitional shoes.

Tan Slides


(Image credit: @sarahtankelellis)

Style Notes: If summer were a shoe, it would be a tan slip-on sandal. The style is incredibly versatile and easy to wear, so you'll find yourself slipping them on at every given opportunity. 

Ankle-Strap Sandals


(Image credit: @shotfromthestreet)

Style Notes: Nothing elevates a look (quite literally) like a pair of towering heels. To help prove they're not just part of a night-out uniform, swap your sneakers for a pair of heels once a week.

4. Kitten Heels


(Image credit: @emilisindlev)

Style Notes: Kitten heels have enjoyed a comeback, and our favorite street style mavens provide ample inspiration for how to style them with plenty of edge. Emili Sindlev sports hers with a checked, button-side midi skirt and a printed tee, checking off more trends than we can count. 

Ballet Pumps


(Image credit: @jeannedamas)

Style Notes: Any shoe that makes us look even the tiniest bit French is okay by us. As such, we're making sure we stock up on ballet pumps this season. Wear them with skirts, dresses, jeans, shorts, pants… We digress. 

Brooch Heels


(Image credit: @tineandreaa)

Style Notes: Heeled pumps never date. If you're concerned about their power-dressing connotations or feel like they're just not very "you," seek out a pair that best reflects your style (think embellishments or a pop of color), and wear them with your signature bottoms for a fresh twist.



(Image credit: @umeromaan)

Style Notes: Traditional derby shoes and brogues are a chic alternative to loafers and will imbue your look with an effortlessly polished feel.

This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK. Up next, of all the shoes out there, these are the only seven I'd wear with jeans.

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.