9 Pairs of Shoes Every Woman Should Own

...do you?

After years of following fashion and trends, I am convinced that there are truly 9 pairs of shoes every woman should own–specifically every professional woman. That’s it. Really. I promise. If you’ve got these nine pairs of shoes in your closet, there is no event that you will not be prepared for.

(Quick caveat: as one reader pointed out to be, this list does not account for specific shoes you might need for any individual personal hobbies. For those, you’re the expect in what you need!)

Shoes are one of those accessories that can instantly make us feel better and we never have to worry about whether or not they’re going to flatter our curves or hug in the wrong places.

9 Pairs of Shoes Every Woman Should Own

Sturdy Neutral Flats

Looks great with: Jeans, Ankle Trousers, Casual Dresses and Skirts

Best Brand for Neutral Flats: Rothy’s (Click here for $20 Off)

Pointed-toe flats create the illusion of longer legs, similar to heels. They are great for those situations where heels are not practical. Rounded-toe, on the other hand, have a tendency to make legs look shorter and more stout. Almond toes are a nice compromise for something in the middle but, as someone who is only 5’2″, I prefer the pointed-toe. Rothy’s has been my favorite retailer for shoes since I purchased my first pair. All of their shoes are made from recycled plastics, require literally zero wear-in time, and can be thrown in the washing machine when they get a little too “fresh”.

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Classic Pumps

Best for: Any Corporate Setting, Professional Events, Dressy but Conservative Occasions

Best Brand for Classic Pumps: Nine West

You’ve seen me in these a few times. In my opinion, there is no shoe more classic or versatile than this one. They’ll take you through any professional event, but also work for church, weddings, and any other occasion that requires a dressed-up look.

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Ankle Boots

Best for: Professional events, casual nights out

Best Brand for Ankle Boots: J.Crew

J.Crew has truly perfected a casual/dressy ankle boot in their Sadie ankle boot. The almond toe and block heel are both timeless, and the lack of detailing keeps the whole style looking crisp and classic. If I’m being honest, I own this particular boot in the leopard and the suede brown because I think it’s that good. The sleek silhouette always leaves me feeling totally chic and put-together. I really love them in the snake print, but I’m going to reign myself in on getting a third pair.

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Versatile Casual Sneakers

Best for: Just about anything!

Best Brand for Casual Sneakers: Rothy’s (Click here for $20 Off)

In the summertime, I live in sneakers. I prefer an all-white pair for two reasons: (1) they go with everything, and (2) they are classic. A sleek pair of all-white casual sneakers, like Rothys or Converse, will never go out of style. I like the higher top versions but I’m also a big fan of the low ones for easy slipping on and off in a hurry (usually the case when I’m running after a toddler).

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Short Rain Boots

Wear with: Rain Coats and Wet Weather

Best Brand for Short Rain Boots: Alice + Whittle 

Rain boots are a must-have for those rainy days. No one likes to be sloshing around in wet sneakers or sliding out of sandals when the rain hits. I specifically recommend a shorter pair because tall boots can be difficult to wear with professional trousers, which is important for commuting in all sorts of weather. Tucking trousers into tall boots is not a good look, and neither are rain-splattered work pants. The shorter style covers your ankles and protects feet from wet weather. I actually wear these boots all the time, even when it’s not raining. They look so chic.

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Flat Leather Sandals

Wear with: Shorts, Jeans, Casual Dresses, Skirts

Best Brand for Leather Sandals: Madewell

A simple pair of leather flat sandals is a more put-together option than rubber flip-flops for days when you really just need something low-key and casual. I love a pair that can slide on without any fussing over buckles or straps.

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Winter Boots

Wear with: Anything when the temperature is below freezing

Best Brand for Winter Boots: L. L. Bean

If you’re from Western, PA. like I am then you know there’s no question that winter boots are a must. I’m not above wearing these with my work clothes when commuting to and from work. I would rather save my good shoes and be prepared for the elements. (I was always taught to dress as if your car might break down on your way home in bad weather, so that’s what I do!). Finding a pair that is waterproof and lined with a warm fabric, like shearling, is recommended.

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Leopard-Print Heels

Looks great with: Denim, trousers, dresses and skirts of all kinds

Best Brand for Leopard Heels: J.Crew

Block heels are a great option for occasions where you want to be dressed up but not too formal. A leopard version is a perfect option that can seamlessly transition from formal to casual outfits. For example, wear these with a leather jacket, pair of jeans, and graphic t-shirt for an edgy night out look. Or, wear them with a pair of trousers, a classic white blouse, and a blazer for the office. I cannot express how versatile these can be.

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Strappy Heels

Wear with: Formal Looks or Fancy Nights Out

Best Brand for Strappy Heels: Sam Edelmen

A simple heeled sandal is all that you need for formal events. I like this one in a neutral because it can be worn with anything. Ideally, you want to find a pair that blends in with the color of your skin so that your legs look very sleek and long. In a nude color, a pair of strappy heeled sandals will look incredibly chic. Don’t be afraid to wear these with skinny jeans, either. They can really dress up your look!

Shop Strappy Heels

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  1. 1.8.15
    Tara said:

    I really need to check out Nine West, dress shoes are really lacking in my closet. I think I might have one pair of heels and one pair of heeled sandals :/
    That being said, I spend a great deal of time outside and one of my favorite brands for field shoes is Patagonia. I’m also in love with Birkenstock sandals because they are so comfortable. For winter/rain boots I really like Bogs, they have fun designs and are truly weatherproof. My new brand obsession is Bedstu. I got a great pair of leather boots at a very reasonable price from Amazon a few months ago. I just love their cobbler series styles. If I had to pick one more brand it would be Timberland, they have some really great boots too. I really love their eco friendly EarthKeepers line.

    • 1.8.15
      Lauren said:

      These are great brands. I’ve recently been introduced to Patagonia and Bogs sounds like a really reliable option for Western, Pa walking! Timberland is definitely great–I have a pair for work when we’re in the field that are so durable. Great feedback!

    • 1.9.15
      Lauren said:

      Really liking the Bogs options, especially this one: http://www.bogsfootwear.com/shop/style/71423-001.html#ReviewHeader. They say waterproof, but are they snowproof? I am hesitant to order them with the fabric?

  2. 1.10.15
    laurenmazzotta said:

    I love the ankle bootie! I’ve been wanting one, but I have a hard time committing to shoes sometimes. Do you wear them out in the winter? I’m always hesitant to buy suede shoes in western PA…

    • 1.10.15
      Lauren said:

      I hear you! Suede and snow do not mix. I got the black leather pair, which can be weatherproofed. I think the style of these pair works especially well for petite frames because of the low cut ankle, to elongate the leg. These are perfect for a wide leg dress pant, skinny pant or tights. All of these options would elongate a shorter a frame if paired with a black pant.

  3. 4.4.19
    Jada said:

    Love this post! I recently bought my first pair of leopard heels and I feel like a new woman every time I wear them!!


    • 4.5.19

      That’s awesome!! I love the feeling of purchasing something that makes you feel awesome! Thank you for reading! ☺️

  4. 1.2.20
    Stava Basham Thomas said:

    I am tall(5’9″), therefore I need the opposite ideas for shoe and leg fashion options.

  5. 8.19.21
    Cianna Coleman said:

    Love your collection here and agree that these are definitely staples. The only point I disagree on is that these are the only shoes you need: true if you are a city dweller who never goes camping, as someone who is heavily involved in Scouting I must add a pair of sturdy comfortable Trail Shoes, and a pair of Hiking Sandals that double as water shoes.
    I think I need to upgrade my ankle boots though, the ones I have are chunky and I’m not sure they are really work appropriate.

    • 8.19.21
      Lauren said:

      Oh, I love that point–very true. I added a caveat up front that this list does not account for any personal hobbies. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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