Happy Spring! I can’t believe it but I actually timed this spring shoe guide post to be close to the first day of spring. Coincidence? ABSOLUTELY. I couldn’t have planned this better, my friends, because I would have never even thought about planning it to be on the first day of spring nor even close to it. Coincidence mixed with procrastination = chef’s kiss. You guys have told me time and time again you love a good shopping guide and I’m here to deliver. I’ve been thinking about the shoes that I’ve been needing mixed with the trends I’ve been seeing and want to try. I’ve got 16 styles for you to check out for spring. If you look under each shoe in the paragraphs below, I’ve linked extra options + price points for you as well!

My Recommendations for Spring


Adidas Blue Spezial | Vince Retro Sneaker | New Balance 9060 Sneaker | Chloe Nama Sneaker

Rag & Bone Astra Flat | Madewell Mary Jane | Jeffrey Campbell Flat | Buckle Slingback 

Jeffrey Campbell Mesh Mary Jane | Louboutin Pointed Toe Heel | Vince Slip On Heels | Vince Mule

 Madewell Studded Sandal | Fisherman Mules | Madewell Mary Jane PlatformMarc Fisher Platform

Let’s Break it Down!
The Blue Adidas

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*If you’re looking for a bold sneaker for spring.

Starting out strong, this bold choice is going to be a really fun shoe to wear for spring and summer. This blue is so agreeable, it’s almost denim like because it will go with just about anything. Anything you can wear your regular Adidas Sambas / Gazelles with, you can do a blue sneaker with just with a nice bold twist. If you are wanting a fun sneaker this spring, take the best of the trends with the Adidas Sambas / Gazelle craze and add in some color!

Find this pair here.

(via Pinterest) 

Low Profile Sneaker

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*if you’re looking for a long-term commitment from a sneaker

If you’re going for a more conservative look, this retro vibe, low profile sneaker is going to get you the most out of your wardrobe. I love this Vince one but there are so many options! (I find the Adidas Sambas or Veja’s works in this category, too!) If it’s been a few years since you’ve updated your white sneaker, go for one with a gumshoe sole, black accents or retro details. You can wear this shoe with the same outfits you were wearing your low profile all white sneaker with, but this time you’ve kicked your style up a notch. Find this pair here.

If like the look of the Adidas Sambas but feel like you’re late to the game (you’re not), I feel like the Nike Killshots II are a great alternative if you prefer a Nike over Adidas. Nike has a few more color options in gender-neutral sizing, but I love the navy as it feels a bit preppy or the all black leather with white accents. If you prefer a darker color or you tend to wear more neutrals, the black leather is a really cool vibe to bring into spring. You can find them here!

Chunky Dad Sneakers

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*if you’re a trendsetter with a vibe

If  the white retro sneaker is level one, then the blue adidas is level two and this sneaker is level three on the shoe boldness spectrum. If you want to level up to level three on your sneaker game, this is your next step up: a chunky dad sneaker. The reason they are level 3 is because — and I’ll be honest — they are kind of hard to style. You got to have a bit of rizz ok? And only you can know this about yourself; I am not in the business of handing out coolness ratings.

This sneaker is going to be a tiny bit more limited in what you can wear it with, stylistically speaking but overall a great choice for a casual sneaker. Pair this sneaker with a wide leg jean or a straight leg jean that hits right at the break of your shoe (skims the top of it!). You can also do the super cute look of the biker shorts, scrunched socks and a big sweatshirt (think Princess Diana in the 90s). And then of course pair it with a completely juxtaposed dress — a floral Reformation-like number, or a really feminine midi skirt, etc. But because this shoe is chunky, you’ll want to keep the rest of your outfit in check to keep it balanced. With a more feminine look, you’ll want to keep your dress fitted or a mini length, perhaps a midi skirt with a slit (again, think Reformation aesthetic but doesn’t have to be Reformation.) This is going to be a juxtaposed balance. Or you keep the outfit a bit more masculine to match the shoes, stay with a relaxed, wide leg jean or a relaxed trouser and an oversized casual top like a sweatshirt or a relaxed tee. You are staying in the same lane as the shoe, so it all works. If you want to pair these shoes with a straight jean, you can keep your top more tailored as well, like a more fitted tee.

I’ve linked a few other options, but I love the New Balance option here!

Knit Platform Sneakers

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*if you’re a grand millennial who loves a playful shoe

Just as a TW, the first two are the Chloe Nama platform sneaker and those are a large car payment. But sometimes I use this guide as my own vision board, so that’s why they are first. But Dolce Vita has a great option as does Target! I’ve linked them both.

This is the perfect sneaker if you really love some height (the platform) and you like to pair your sneakers more with dresses or pretty blouses, a real grand millennial vibe. Sneaker but make it fussy in the best way. I would say that if you have and wear those knotted headbands, this is your sneaker style. You can also pair with denim and a cute top, as well. This is a really versatile sneaker style, but probably not for your actual leisure wear. Keep it to your pretty dresses and cute outfits.

Denim Inspired Shoes

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*for the trendsetter or the neutral lover who wants to add some dimension to outfits

I’ve been seeing this trend slowly pop up and I have to say I love it. From handbags to shoes, I love the denim trend going into the accessories realm. It gives your outfit a cool, casual nod, even if there isn’t denim anywhere else on your outfit. Think of an all black look but a cool denim bag or shoe? So cool. I loved this pair of Rag & Bone flats because the hue of the denim is highly versatile but also I love the buckle trend running through this shoe. Two trends but it doesn’t seem overkill. But this pair is a bit pricey, so I found many other options if you scroll through from flats to a fun platform heel!

Mary Jane Flats

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*for everyone! if you’re looking for a great ‘everyday’ flat.

I am so glad this classic is back in rotation, I love a ballet flat (who had huge comeback last fall) and I love her sister, the Mary Jane. They share a shape but the MJ has that little strap over the top of the foot which gives a distinct yet delicate differentiation. I have found so many fun variations this spring that I had to include it in this guide. I love this buckled one from Madewell and I’m loving the cream hue for spring. A nice departure from the camel or nude hue we’ve seen over the past decade. The cream color would go really well this spring with denim and the neutrals we’ve been collecting over the past few years. Find this pair from Madewell here!

Pop of Color

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*if you love color and making bold statements with the lower 5% of your body

It is no surprise that I love a pop of color when it comes to a shoe. From the infamous poppy red heels of the ’10s to my purple clogs on yesterday’s post, I love me a bold shoe. I love this citron yellow, too. I think it would be a lovely — and unexpected — pop of color to neutrals this spring. I’ve gathered a few other color choices as well! Find the yellow pair here.

Oversized Buckles

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From flats to sandals to heels, the oversized buckle is coming in hot this spring. I find that it gives a shoe a nice preppy feel, especially in a slingback heel (like the one shown above!). I personally love the slingback and a nice flat sandal with a buckle for spring, just to break up the usual sandal look but the sky is the limit with this trend.

Mesh Ballet Flats

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*if you’re a trendsetter and gets regular pedicures! #noroughheels

I believe this mesh trend your seeing everywhere was started by the designer Khaite with their $950 mesh flats. This is very much a trend so keep that in mind, but if you were a jelly sandal gal in the 90s, this trend is for you. You know who you are — I’d go double or nothing that you had toe rings, too. (I was a jelly-shoe, toe ring girl.) Now at first I was like not into this trend but after researching, I realized this is a great idea for a flat. It’s cooling and chic. What more could we ask for in the spring? I rounded up lots of options and personally I prefer the nude color mesh but the black is great too! I also love the embellished ones too. Sky is the limit! Find this Madewell pair here!

Just keep those heels smooth because mesh + rough heel is like velcro. Definitely not speaking from personal experience, this is a pure guess.  

Pointed Toe Slingback

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*if you need a great, classic heel to wear with trousers or denim this spring!

This shoe is a classic, of course, but I feel like pointed toe heels came back with a vengeance last winter. Specifically the silver pointed toe slingback, which is still a team player this spring. But I’d like to suggest, if you need a great classic heel for spring, the pointed toe slingback in a nude or black hue. This shoe can do it all from the office to dressing up denim. If you want to buy one and be done, the go for a designer pair I linked first (full disclosure — I did because they’re just so darn pretty!) but if you’d like a less expensive option (same, girl) then go for a leather one from Jeffrey Campbell or Sam Edelman, etc. Leather will be your best bet for this look to keep it classic and always in style.

Side note: if you’re a thrifter, I find that pointed toe heels are usually a style that I find a lot in thrift or second hand shops. They were a staple in the 80s / 90s so maybe even go vintage!

Open Toe Slide-on Heels

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*everyone! This is a classic style and personal staple in my wardrobe.

This style is my biggest go-to for spring and summer — each year I either bring back the pair I’ve worn before or I’ll search for a new pair. I’m still rocking a Jeffrey Campbell pair from 2021 that’s in a nice soft camel hue, but I’ve rounded up many great options to get you through spring! I would say if you’re looking for an ‘everyday’ type heel, then keep it to a soft neutral like a camel, ivory or black for getting the most out of this style. I just recently picked up that mid-brown hue from Vince and I’m excited to see how versatile it can be. I also find that many times this type of open toe slide comes in a wedge, which is my highest recommendation. This is the easiest heel to wear and still get some height.

Slide-on Mules

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*if you’re missing your boots, but they’re a bit hot moving into spring.

This is another one of my favorite spring styles, albeit I haven’t worn this look in a few years. I saw all of these options again and remembered how much I love this style — I am here for anything you can slip right on and go. Spring is the perfect season for this style because it can handle cool weather, but not cold like a boot. This half bootie if you will, can go with anything your booties went with! Just about any hue will do but I sure love that vachetta color I see a lot in those slip on mules. Find this pair from Vince here.

Studded Sandals

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*if you’re looking to give your soft spring outfits some edge!

Now I will be doing a summer round up with more sandal and open toe options later this year, but I do think we can start to introduce sandals here pretty soon. (Definitely where I am it will be sandal season soon!) And I love this heavy sandal because let’s call it what it is — it’s heavy. I love this look in black too, which I think can be such a nice juxtaposition to a soft spring dress, as well. I look at this shoe in the same way I look at a Birkenstock sandal; you have to balance the weight of the shoe with the rest of your outfit. The studded sandal is not dainty nor subtle, so this sandal is going to give your outfit the edge you are wanting. Pair with stark white this spring, or a floral dress to give the right amount of ‘wrong shoe’ to the outfit. Or with a tee and trousers that hit right below your ankle, so you can still see your shoe — that will give your basic outfit a little lift. Find this pair here. 

Fisherman Sandals

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*if you’re tired of regular flats or ballet flats!

I personally love this trend and have a Tory Burch pair from 2 years ago that I really love. But I will say it’s a hard trend to commit to. You’ve really got to love fishing.

I’m sorry — I had to. The joke was just right there, I had to reach out and punch the line.

Now if I had to do it again, I would probably buy this trend in a less expensive brand and without a platform, even though they are so cute. I love the slip on ones from Madewell or Sam Edelman because those look comfortable and easy to wear. I love this trend as a flat because it can replace a simple nude flat or black flat with some interest in shape. If you wear a lot of denim, this is a nice shoe for you to just slip on for everyday.

Mary Jane Heels

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*If you wear more feminine pieces, this is the shoe for you!

The Mary Jane heel — specifically one with multiple straps so the Mary Mary Jane Jane heels have been showing up since last fall and I absolutely love them. I love the idea of wearing them with socks, too, a la J.Crew and Anthro styling but I personally look like a big baby. No shade to babies but hat’s something I’ve been trying to actively not look like for years, so I chose to wear this trend solo, no socks, raw foot only. If youth is on your side or funkiness is your vibe, I highly recommend this heel with cute socks. If you tend to look like a college basketball couch when you wear a sweatshirt and joggers and your hair pulled up*, then no socks for you. Find the Madewell pair here!

This trend is definitely leaning towards the whimsy or more feminine vibe and if that’s you, this is your heel. I love how Sezane styles them as well, with the slightly cropped wide leg jean or a mini skirt and sweater. I just think that it’s a fun look for spring. I personally would go with a color, but a nice black or nude is always a right path.

*it me.

Platform Heels

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*if you like height and you’ve got strong ankles.

Platforms — or even better the flatforms — are back and I love it. It’s giving early 00s in the best way. I love a nude option because I find it goes best with everything, but there are many different platforms you could find! If you like height and you’re bored with a simple wedge and you went to high school from ’99-04 this one is for you. Find this pair from Marc Fisher here.


Besides sandals (coming for summer!) which shoe trend are you seeing? What would you add to this guide? Let me know!

14 Responses

  1. Amazing post, thank you Kendi! I like the mesh flats and have been looking at a blue pair. I know it is probably a short term trend but i think they are so fun and different.

    1. I know!! At first I was like no way and then…I was like yeah… ok I like it, even if it is temporary lol

  2. I lol’ed at multiple parts of this post ahaha

    For some reason this part in particular “*if you love color and making bold statements with the lower 5% of your body” was really chortle-worthy.

    ANyway long-time follower of your blog here, always love visiting!

  3. Very good article; it provided me with a lot of useful knowledge. As a blog, please continue to share more. I’ve added it to my bookmarks so that I can keep up with you.

  4. What a happy coincidence! The spring shoe tutorial is always a highlight and your timing couldn’t be better. It’s like the universe That’s Not My Neighbor has conspired to combine your procrastination and the onset of spring perfectly. With 16 great styles to explore, this guide will have something for everyone. Thank you for another fun shopping inspiration!

  5. What a serendipitous blend of coincidence and procrastination! Kendi’s spring shoe guide is finally here, perfectly timed (or not) to the arrival of the season. With 16 fabulous styles to peruse, it’s a delightful mix of necessity and trendiness. Dive in for some serious shoephoria! And hey, if you’re itching for more shopping adventures, don’t forget to hop over to http://playmix.cc for some extra options and price points. Happy shoe hunting!

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