Well! The responses to this post about shoe basics made it pretty clear that you lovely folks would like some casual shoe-specific input. As I mentioned, my shoe collection is one of the bridging tools I use to create unity between my more formal work week looks and more casual weekend looks. So although I have certain pairs of shoes that are unlikely to make it into Monday through Thursday rotation, it’s been a long time since I’ve actively sought a great pair of casual shoes.
However, many of you have no need or use for heels, and others pointed out that great-looking casual shoes are FAR more difficult to find than great-looking dressy shoes. So here’s a short list of what I consider to be casual shoe basics, and some brand and style recommendations.
Ahh, boots. Durable, comfortable, and stylish. Those of you living in hot, humid climes may want to pass on this option, but for anyone dealing with seasons, a great pair of casual boots will serve you well for most of the year. Boots add polish to just about any casual ensemble in a way that flats or Mary Janes cannot, in my opinion. Opt for a classic, knee-high pair with a walkable (or non-existent) heel in a versatile neutral.
BRANDS TO EXPLORE: Frye, Born, John Fluevog, Merrell, Miz Mooz
I believe that ballet flats can transition beautifully from work to weekend, but picking up a casual pair will be beneficial if your non-work looks are quite different from your work looks. Personally, I don’t dig high vamp shoe styles like loafers and oxfords; As a skirt girl, I find these shoes inelegant and awkward. But if you’re all about jeans for casual wear, both can totally work. And low-vamp moccasins, sporty ballet flats, and flat Mary Janes all get the thumbs up from me.
BRANDS TO EXPLORE: Clarks, Puma, J-41, Ecco, Tsubo, Jambu
To be perfectly honest, I believe that sneakers/trainers should be worn in the gym or during exercise ONLY. But having a sporty, sneaker-like shoe on hand for super casual and/or rugged outfits is a good practice. Wedge sneaks like these are fabulous with jeans and pants, since they give you a bit of a lift but still have that dressed-down vibe. Converse low- and high-tops are a consistent fave. Non-athletic lace-ups with flat, cushy soles work well, too … just track down something that isn’t meant for running, cross-training, or tennis.
BRANDS TO EXPLORE: Puma, Tsubo, Converse, Camper
Although stylish, comfy sandals made it onto my original list, I’m gonna go ahead and repeat myself. Why? Because sandals are more likely to be uncomfortable than many other shoes styles, and it is ESSENTIAL to find a pair that feel as great as they look. Otherwise, your tootsies will suffer all summer long. And we can’t have that, can we?
BRANDS TO EXPLORE: Born, Clarks, Dansko, Kork-Ease, Naot, Sofft
Again, you won’t find snow boots, athletic shoes, hiking boots, or other activity-specific styles on this list because I’m assuming that if you engage in those activities, those shoes will naturally work their way into your collection.
So, let’s hear it: What do you think of this list? Have you got everything on it? Any styles or pairs you’d add? Do you think it’s important to have dressy, workweek shoes that are different from your knockabout weekend shoes? Do you feel that your clothing and shoe collections align, stylistically speaking?
Top image is a pair of Converse All Star .
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