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Eight Essential Shoes for Women

BY: Sarah Gorr | Jun 1, 2017

A good shoe can make or break an outfit, to be sure. But when perusing racks of shoes for women, there's a wide range of styles that seems to be growing all the time, so how do you know what to stock your closet with? I once prided myself on a minimal shoe collection, until I realized just how frustrating and impractical that was. I mean, did I really want to wear the same boring black flats to work every day until they fell apart? Did I really want to go through another winter without a single pair of stylish boots to save me from the monotony of my salt-encrusted snow boots? Heck no. But I also realized I didn't need to have a Carrie Bradshaw–level shoe closet, either. Instead, I focused on these eight essential styles, the shoes every woman should own.

Ballet Flats

Shop these Artful Ballet Flats Collection ballet flats (from $9.90) or find similar pairs here.

Flats are easily one of the best work shoes for women, and with good reason: they're comfortable enough to wear all day while still looking professional and polished. They're a safe swap for any sneaker on the weekend, and if you crave a little extra support, most will fit a comfy insert with no problem.


Shop these Form and Focus Quilted Slip-ons (from $24.99) or find similar pairs here.

Sneakers have come a long way since the days of middle-school gym class, so look for a pair that errs on the stylish side. These sneaks won't be worn to workouts (chances are you've already got a dedicated pair of trainers for those), but they are crucial for running around town.


Shop these Olive Street Dot Laser-Cut booties (from $27.99) or find similar pairs here.

Booties are a godsend for fall and winter wardrobes. They're sturdy enough to stand up to a bit of rain or snow, while still being fashionable enough to pair with skirts or wear out for a night on the town. They also pair better with midi-length skirts, printed pants, and light-colored jeans, which can make them more versatile than traditional knee-high boots (not to mention easier to pull on).


Shop these Sociology Triangle sandals (from $14.99) or find similar pairs here.

A summertime staple, sandals are a must for any wardrobe. After all, flip-flops will only get you so far. Instead, keep versatility in mind and go for a pair with secure, adjustable straps that can be easily dressed up or down. This'll save you some agony on the dance floor when those June weddings roll around.


Shop these Beston Chunky oxfords (from $18.99) or find similar pairs here.

A classic of men's wardrobes for decades, the oxford has been making a comeback in women's wardrobes recently, too. Their slightly masculine style adds a little edge to outfits while still being utilitarian enough for weekends and classy enough for work.

Kitten Heels

Shop these Beston Ankle-Strap Cut Out d'orsay dress pumps (from $21.99) or find similar pairs here.

Kitten heels are the saviors of both long work days and nights out dancing. Their sensibly low heel makes them far more comfortable when you need to be on your feet, but they maintain a polished look thanks to their height gain.


Shop these Dolli Greta Strapped high heels (from $24.99) or find similar pairs here.

You knew they had to be on here, because when it comes to shoes for women, they're the superstar. The accentuate the legs and take a T-shirt and jeans from weekend wear to wow in one swift move. Invest in a pair you love, because mediocre heels simply aren't worth the achy feet.

Statement Shoe

Shop these Simply U.B.U. Katrina Heels (from $109.99) or find similar pairs here.

Unlike the other styles on this list, think of the statement shoe as your wild card. It's the one shoe where you say "Screw it!" and just get whatever crazy pattern or style catches your eye without trying to justify how you'd wear it to work or make it work in multiple situations. It's a great way to make a splash, so think bright colors, fun patterns, studs, spikes, and metallics—just make sure you love it.