When it comes to transitioning into spring/summer dressing, there’s one wardrobe item that you can so easily switch out to instantly bring all your outfits up to date: shoes. That classic striped jumper, jeans and ankle boots look you haven’t taken off since February? Switch your tread-soles for ballet flats or loafers, and suddenly, you’re sporting a very chic spring look. All those midi dresses you’ve been wearing knee-highs with? Swap for fisherman sandals, and you’re ready for a cute picnic.
For most of us (myself included), it’s these easy, affordable switches that we lean on to make our wardrobes work as hard as possible. Not only is it cost-effective at a time when we’re all tightening our purse strings, but it’s also a great way to make our wardrobes more versatile and therefore sustainable.
It makes sense, then, that at this transitional time of year, my first purchase of the season tends to be a pair of shoes. Sometimes that’s a classic pair of leather sandals I know I’ll bring out again and again for the next few years, which I’ll likely invest a bit more in for the best quality. But for more trend-led styles that make the rest of my classics feel fresh, I usually head to the high street.
After all, there are so many great options out there (especially this year) that have you covered, from minimalist-approved flats to joyful heels to wear to all those weddings and events you have coming up. There are so many, in fact, that I thought it would be helpful to head to Oxford Street on a research trip and try on as many pairs of spring shoes as I could find to whittle it down to the very best ones to recommend to you.
I have to say, of all the stores I popped into, & Other Stories impressed me most, with a curated edit of perfect styles—from sandals that felt like walking on clouds to the best ballet flats I’ve seen on the high street. (They may or may not have come home with me.) M&S also really impressed me in the shoe department (no surprises there, I’ve been a long-time fan of its comfortable, excellent-quality footwear.) And, of course, H&M is great for budget-friendly, on-trend options.
Keep scrolling to see and shop the 12 styles I came away obsessing over and can’t recommend enough.
1. H&M Mules
I thought these looked so expensive for the price, and they would be such a versatile addition to any shoe collection. The material is super soft, and they're not too high, so they're perfect for the office or events like weddings. Plus, they also come in nude (below) and black.
I've been looking for the perfect black, chunky, strappy fisherman sandals for a while now, and I think I've found them in this pair. You could really feel the quality, and they were super comfy walking around the shop.
3. & Other Stories Slingback Heels
The perfect pop of colour for spring. These were so easy to wear, and I could see myself pairing them with wedding guest dresses as well as just jeans and a white shirt for meetings.
4. M&S Fisherman Sandals
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, M&S shoes are the most comfortable on the high street, hands down. These trendy fisherman sandals are affordable, too, given they're made using responsibly sourced leather. Both the white and black pairs have sold out once already this year, so I suggest adding them to your basket quickly to avoid disappointment.
5. Office Double Strap Sandals
When I saw these for the first time on Instagram recently, I though they were designer before I discovered they were from Office. Always a nice surprise. Of course, for only £30, the quality isn't quite the same as luxury brands or even classic Birkenstocks, but they certainly look the part if you're after an affordable option to add to all your spring outfits.
6. & Other Stories Pointed Ballet Flats
These were probably my favourite pair that I tried. They actually came home with me because I loved them so much. They're simple, fresh, classic and polished but not boring, and I loved how they looked with jeans (my day-to-day go-to). What's not to like?
7. River Island Chunky Strappy Sandals
Another great pair of chunky sandals for an affordable price. The track sole makes these feel particularly sturdy, which I loved. They come in a wide-fit option, too.
8. & Other Stories Leather Wedges
Something's come over me the last few weeks, and I'm suddenly obsessed with '90s-style wedge mules. These were my dream pair, especially because I'm a minimalist at heart. And honestly, they're so flattering on the ankle. They also come in black.
9. H&M Slides
Brown leather-look sandals in an expensive-looking crossover design for under £10? You can't go wrong. While trying these, three different people came up and asked me where I'd found them, so I have a feeling these sandals will sell out quickly. They would look so pretty with white dresses or any dresses, really.
10. & Other Stories Flatform Sandals
Honestly, these were like walking on a cloud. I wasn't really convinced with flatform/platform sandals before, but after trying these, I now want a pair. This buttery soft pair, to be exact.
11. H&M Strappy Heels
12. M&S Chunky Loafers
The perfect high-street loafers do exist, and you'll find them at M&S. These were so comfy I almost walked straight out of the shop in them, and I loved how they looked with blue denim.