10 Classic Shoe Styles Every 30-Something Should Own

If there's one thing I can't get enough of (fashionably speaking, at least), it's shoes. So much so that my collection once boasted over 50 pairs. However, when an occasion requiring a pair of classic black courts presented itself, I realised I had no such option in my archive. Pink feathered sandals I had, grey suede pumps with brooch embellishment I had, but I found I lacked many of the key footwear pillars. So I set about rectifying that.

After undergoing a Marie Kondo–esque clear-out a few years back, I rid myself of countless pairs I'd never even worn, which I proceeded to flog on Gumtree, eBay and the like. I then used whatever money I had accumulated to invest in classic shoe styles that'll never date (and that I'll likely get more than four wears out of). Below, you'll find what has since become my shoe capsule. For the record, I now own around 20 pairs of shoes—10 of which are iterations of the below categories. From those courts I so desperately needed to the trainers I wear daily and the sandals I turn to every summer season, keep scrolling to see the classic shoe styles no 30-something should be without.

1. STILETTO COURTS

Almost every shoe dilemma can be sorted out with a pair of elegant court shoes. Black leather styles will serve you well, but if you keep the silhouette as clean as possible, you can experiment with different colours and prints (such as leopard) and they'll still look chic. 

2. WHITE PLIMSOLES

The allure of trainers is their ease of wear, which is why it pays to have a pair of white plimsolls to hand. Be it dresses or jeans, they'll go with everything you pull them on with. They'll probably be the comfiest shoes you own, too.

3. MARY-JANE HEELS

Okay, so you likely won't wear them as much as your court shoes, but Mary Jane heels will go with anything that your courts feel too prim with. Think bright cigarette trousers for a '50s feel or a tiered minidress. 

4. BALLERINA FLATS

Flat shoes have become more fanciful over recent years, but none are quite as versatile as ballerina pumps. Wear them with jeans and a long-sleeved Breton top and you'll soon see why they're Alexa Chung's shoes of choice. 

5. SLIP-ON SANDALS

When on holiday, the last thing you need to concern yourself with is fastening countless straps on your sandals. Which is why I suggest buying a pair of slip-ons. Leather styles always look premium, even in bright hues.

6. BLOCK-HEEL BOOTS

There are so many boot options out there, but I find the two I always come back to are Chelsea boots (more on those later) and block heels. Because they provide a bit of height (but not so much that it affects your ability to walk), I can always count on these boots to make me look polished while keeping the chill at bay.

7. DAINTY SLINGBACKS

The epitome of chic, slingbacks work with more delicate ensembles like chiffon dresses and lightweight culottes. Choose a pastel shade or timeless tan for a change from your black court shoes. 

8. CHELSEA BOOTS

I told you we'd get to Chelsea boots in good time. These come in handy for when you need shoes that are easy to walk in but also need to be more formal than white plimsoles. I wear mine with cropped jeans and checked miniskirts. 

9. BARELY THERE STRAPPY SANDALS

For flirtier ensembles and warmer climes, a pair of simple strap sandals will look elegant and sultry all at once. Again, you'll never regret buying black, but here, you can experiment with other hues too. This style is so minimalistic that they won't detract from the rest of your outfit.

10. LOAFERS

I never thought I was a loafer girl until I bought my first pair a year ago. Now they're easily the most-worn pair of shoes I own and instantly give any outfit an air of cool. Induct yourself into the loafer movement with this pair from Zara, or if you're already a fan, investing in Gucci may be a viable option.

Opening Image: @pernilleteisbaek

Now we've got the classics down, feast your eyes on this season's prettiest shoes