There's no part of my closet I'm pickier with than my shoes. As much as I Iove shopping for them, the reality is that I end up wearing my favorite few pairs over and over again and as such, I need every pair in my closet to really go the mile. The right footwear is arguably one of the key accessories to consider when getting dressed, so I tend to take my time vetting my options before making any purchases.
I recently sat down to do just that and dove into the best versatile shoes in existence. Whether it's a casual jeans-and-a-tee fit or something more elevated like a slip dress, I've done the legwork (AKA scrolled for hours on Instagram for styling inspiration), and I've come to the conclusion that the 20 shoe styles you're about to see here are the wisest investments you can make for your footwear collection.
White Court Sneakers
Clean and classic, a pair of white leather court sneakers is such a wise investment.
Black Heeled Ankle Boots
Is any wardrobe complete without a pair? I suggest opting for a pair with a walkable heel (block heels are always a sure bet), and you'll always reach for them first.
Classic Ballet Flats
Fans of French style are already well aware, but it really doesn't get any more timeless than a pair of pretty ballet flats, regardless of whether they're officially trending or not.
Simple Slide Sandals
Speaking of French style, another highly versatile pair you'll find in all their closets are simple leather slide sandals, which they wear with everything from denim shorts to trousers to dresses.
Structured Knee-High Boots
Speaking from personal experience, structured knee-highs are one of the best shoe investments you can make. I wear mine multiple times a week, and I'm especially into them with miniskirts.
Neutral Strappy Heels
The holy grail of versatile shoes has to be neutral strappy heels. The heel height, specific color, and style don't matter, as long as they go with your style and wardrobe staples.
Talk about timeless. I don't think a pair of pointed-toe pumps will ever feel irrelevant. They're perpetually chic and polished—yep, even with jeans and a tee.
Some may disagree here, but I'm adding Western boots to my list of versatile footwear. I've seen fashion folks wear theirs with enough cool ensembles including underneath dresses and with jeans tucked in to convince me of their utility.
Heeled Thong Sandals
Calling all minimalists: Heeled thongs are the wear-everywhere shoes your closet needs. Whether you go for The Row or Mango, look for a simple black pair with thin straps for the most value.
Throwback sneakers are the shoe "trend" that's proven to be more of a basic than a fleeting seasonal style becuase their flat soles and clean shape make them look good with any number of outfits from athleisure to suiting.
Pointed-toe slingbacks add a polished finish to everything from jeans to cocktail attire.
Try the punk staple with tailoring for a cool contrast or lean into the tough vibe with jeans and a leather jacket.
There's a reason espadrilles come back around every summer—they're just the "that girl" of warm-weather footwear.
Sporty sandals with Velcro straps and lug soles are trendy but surprisingly useful.
Wedding guest ensembles, cocktail attire, and date night—ankle-tie heels are the sultry shoes you'll always look extra elevated in, no matter the occasion.
"Barbie" heels, aka PVC platforms with a neutral sole, are made to look like they're not there at all, making it impossible for them to clash with anything.
Meet the ankle boots you'll wear nonstop from October to April. Flat Chelsea boots, especially in black, are like the white T-shirt of footwear. They're staples.
If fashion people are wearing heels, there's a good chance they're square-toe mules.
Platform Mary Janes will actually take you so far. French girls are really on to something with their classic shoes.
Any shoes that both make your outfits look more elevated and are actually comfortable to walk in are an immediate yes from me. Hence my fellow editors and I are all fans of kitten heel sandals.
Shout-out to The Row's Ginza sandals for putting the Y2K shoes back on the map and proving just how many ways there are to wear platform flip-flops.
Since PVC heels are mostly clear, you know they'll hardly clash with anything you wear them with and therefore rank high on our versatility scale.
Yep, wedges are coming back, and they're shocking us with how many ways there are to style them. Look for sleek and minimalist pairs in neutral tones.
Since metallic goes with nothing, it goes with everything. That's the rule with metallic heels, which are a great staple to have in your closet because they'll go with almost any color or print.