10 Must Have Shoes for Women


The Essential Shoe Wardrobe

This post contains affiliate linksIf you’re getting rid of all the shoes you own and starting from scratch or trying to develop a shoe wardrobe that is versatile and workable, these are the 10 must have shoes you need in your arsenal.

With this core shoe selection, you’ll have a shoe for every occasion.

This is a minimal wardrobe, but it’s filled with timeless shoes that will last you for years. The key with investing in a core selection of shoes is quality. Quality, Quality, Quality! You cannot forsake quality because you only have 10 shoes to wear every day so you need to make sure they last! Would you rather have one PERFECT pair of shoes or 5 mediocre pairs of shoes? I think I know your answer.

With these 10 essential shoes you’re going to forsake the passing trends and opt for classic styling. By choosing timeless design, you’ll be prepared for a multitude of situations. Timeless shoes usually are made of quality materials and have simple clean lines with not a lot of frills, look for them in leather.

Essential Shoe Shopping Tips

When shopping for these essentials there are some things you need to keep in mind. You really want to maximize your budget and amount of times you’ll wear them, so remember these seven shoe shopping points:

  • Perfect fit: This might seem obvious, but they have to fit. Make sure you try them on and walk around in the store to feel their comfort level. If a shoe is too big or too small, you’ll never wear them.
  • The best materials: Remember, I mentioned that you’ll own these shoes for quite some time, so they need to be made of the best materials. I bought a pair of brown leather boots in 2009 while in Paris and I still have them and wear them every year. I wanted to find the perfect boots! It felt like I went to nearly every district and looked in over 15 stores. The boots are still in great shape and I love them as much as when I bought them.
  • Timelessness: In order for a shoe to make it in your 10 essentials, it needs to have timeless style. Stay away from trends. It needs to be stylish now and 7 years from now.
  • Leather lining and sole: This is important because the shoe cannot breath with synthetic lining. It will cause odor, break down quicker than leather and doesn’t mold to the shape of the foot. Make sure the label says “leather lining.”
  • Superior workmanship: How well was the shoes made? There should be no threads loose or crooked heels. The shoe must be exquisite! Inspect it until you’re sure there is nothing wrong with it.

If you can’t decide between black or brown, consider what each color signifies.

Black is always classic and chic. Black is a power color.

Brown is earthy and classic. Brown can be seen as grounded and down to earth.

Also, take into consideration the color palette you already have in your closet. Do you wear more green and earthy colors? If so, then you might want to go with brown as your base shoes.

When it comes to heel height, go for a mid- or high heel, but not kitten. Since these are the 10 essential shoes, I wouldn’t select any in a kitten heel. Kitten heels are not as comfortable as they appear and they give you no elongating benefits and no comfort. Find a comfortable height for you, something you could walk in for hours, because most likely you will.

Lastly, pointed or round toe shoes? Choosing one over the other really depends on your personal style and which you prefer and feel confident in. For example, round-toe shoes because look good with full-length skirts and create the illusion of smaller feet.

10 Must-Have Shoes

…and if you see something you like, you can click on the links and go shopping using our affiliate links. We love to help!

Must have shoes for women: black pumps

  • Black or brown pumps: These are essential if you work in an office. You’ll wear these or your loafers every day – so make sure they are comfortable. You’ll want a pair of pumps you can work in from 9am to 5pm and maybe even after work drinks. Shop for pumps.
  • Black Slingbacks: This sexy little shoe is the other office favorite. It’s versatile and can match just about any office outfit. These sexy shoes need to be seen so pair them with cropped trousers, knee length skirts and office-appropriate dresses. Shop for slingbacks.
  • Black or brown leather knee high boots: When you want make a fashion statement and bring up the level of your outfit look to knee high boots. They are versatile, stylish and can be worn with anything from skinny jeans to pencil skirts. If you love boots, you should check out my 20 ways to wear boots post or shop our favorite boots.

must have shoes for women: ankle booties

  • Black or brown ankle boots: Worn with tights, skinny jeans or with your jeans rolled up, ankle boots become your best friend in the Fall season. Look for a stacked heel as it’s sturdy and comfortable. Shop for ankle boots.
  • Everyday Flats: When you don’t want to wear sandals, heels, or boots and don’t want to go as casual as sneakers, flats are the shoe of choice. Find the right flat and you can practically wear them with every outfit. You can buy classic black flats or you can also look for a dark navy or even a leopard print. Just make sure you can wear the flats with various outfits. Shop for flats.must have shoes for women: dressy sandals
  • Evening shoes: This style of shoe can be a pump, t-strap, slingback, or ankle strap. The point is to have a pair of gorgeous shoes that you can go to when you need to dress up. Think d’orsay embellished pumps or sexy strappy sandals. Shop for evening shoes.
  • Dressy sandals: For those special occasions that call for a heeled sandal. Since most of the time you will wear these for events such as weddings, dates, black tie galas and the like look for dressy sandals in metallic gold or silver. Shop for dressy sandals.
  • Casual sandals: Great for those summer days wearing skirts, dresses and shorts. These are flat and comfortable. It’s your go-to shoes during the hot summer months. You can go with a black or brown but since it’s for summer you can also add change it up by adding a color. Shop for casual sandals.must have shoes for women: athletic shoes
  • Athletic shoes: For running, working out, and running errands the weekend athletic shoes are a must! Anytime you need to run a quick errand or go for a walk these are the shoes you’ll reach for. Shop for Athletic Shoes.
  • Bad-Weather (Rain) boots: These could be rain boots or riding boots. Personally, I prefer riding boots for my “rain” boots. It’s a step up from galoshes and you can wear them even when it’s not raining. If you’re going for a riding boot, find a good quality leather. Mine are from Ariat (see our pin!). Shop for Rain Boots.

These 10 shoes will be your shoe foundation. If you invest in the right shoes, you’ll have them for years and they’ll always be in style.

Which style is YOUR must-have shoe style?

Stay Stylish,


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Stylishlyme promises to provide you with advice and guidance. This blog offers how-to’s, style tips, guides, resources and tools in style, fitness, beauty and travel; each injected with a healthy dose of fun. Stylishlyme aims to inspire, motivate and ultimately make your life stylish from the inside out. I believe that every women should feel confident everyday and wearing the right outfit can change everything. I hope I encourage you to look at fashion in a new light and learn how to add style to your everyday!