Spring in your step: The best shoes for spring/summer

Prepare to bare some ankle with Corina Gaffey’s pick of the best ballet flats, loafers, Mary Janes and more

Changeable weather, rain-soaked days, and a chill that lasted well into April mean we might have been slow on the spring shoe uptake this year. But finally, warmer temperatures are heralding ankle-baring season.

Ballet flats, loafers, and Mary Janes offer the chance to bare a slight bit of leg without worrying about being pedi-ready, but equally, they pair well with opaques if the weather acts up.

Ballet flats are undoubtedly the most divisive, the flattest of all the options, often coming across as too cutesy or downright uncomfortable. But it hasn’t stopped everyone, from Amy Winehouse and Audrey Hepburn, to Alexa Chung and Kate Moss, from shuttling the flat shoe into the spotlight over the years, and they are bang on trend again this year.

The slip-on shoe is thriving this season, with Simone Rocha, Coach, and Miu Miu runways showcasing elevated, dazzling versions with crystal embellishment or metallic hardware. For a delicate balance between looking chic and not childish, avoid pairing the flat with anything too floaty, feminine or sweet; basically, anything that says ballet.


Instead, toughen them up with leather trousers or straight-leg denim. With the style box ticked, up the comfort factor by opting for cushioned footbeds, or do a DIY job and add insoles or arch supports to ensure you get the whole day’s wear out of them.

The Mary Jane, a very close relation of the ballet flat, also requires thoughtful and more juxtaposed styling. It’s been heralded as this year’s shoe, mainly by Prada, who featured a souped-up interpretation of the retro shoe heavily at their spring showcase. Bottega Veneta and Khaite further confirmed the Mary Jane resurgence. Whether you opt for a comfortable block heel iteration or stacked platform, style the Mary Jane with contemporary, sleek separates to quell nostalgic sensibilities.

In contrast to the prim, sweet and bright styles comes chunky punky footwear. Think hardware-adorned loafers, caged fishermen and trekking sandals. Quite possibly as discordant as the ballet flat, the clog comes clunking into spring/summer too. The chunky-soled loafer has gained traction for several seasons; it is an easy transitional shoe and the most practical for unpredictable weather. Bringing versatility, they swiftly switch between off-duty weekend wear and the office.

Another shoe synonymous with workwear is the pointed court, which goes far beyond the workplace this season. Take your pick of spindly stiletto, slingback, kitten or angled heels. A wide assortment of finishes, like metallics, pastels, and muted tones, also make them the ideal wear-everywhere shoe for the office, evening, and even full-day soirées.

With the warmer weather, naturally comes vivid shades, and sandals with thin straps or lace-up detail come decked out in saturated, sunshine shades that will brighten denim jeans or co-ordinate with spring-ready dresses.

With occasion season approaching, you have options if you’d rather be somewhat elevated but not sacrifice comfort. Enter the platform, the ultimate all-day until it’s hit-the-dance floor choice. Metallic is an all-round winner, pairing with every print or shade imaginable.

Also managing to merge comfort and style is the wedge heel. Forget the wedges of fashion past, and embrace the new-gen styles that are sleek, sculptural, and cutting edge. Or should we say cutting wedge?