The ultimate winter shoe guide

Start 2016 off on the right foot.

Start 2016 off on the right foot.

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” I believe Marylin Monroe got it right when she uttered these famous words. A great pair of shoes can give you a surge of self-confidence, and thankfully, a fabulous footwear collection can be used year after year despite your body’s up’s and down’s on the scale. Since shoes have such a long shelf life, it’s important to get it right when curating your own collection. Below is an easy winter shoe guide to help you pick and choose which winter shoes are right for your closet.

Flats & Low Heels:

Ballet Flats: Simple and comfortable, ballet flats can take you anywhere from the grocery store to a business casual event. Available in both pointed toe and rounded toe styles, these versatile shoes look great paired with a collared mini dress and tights. Be sure to grab a couple pairs of basic pointy-toed flats in neutral colors as a year-round wardrobe staple for many different kinds of outfits. The d’Orsay style flat, or two-piece flat, is also a stylish option, but typically is worn during warmer weather, accompanied by cropped pants or a skirt.

Loafers: Women’s loafers, or smoking slippers, are a stylish alternative to wearing boots. Since they cover more skin than a ballet flat, and have a slightly higher heel, loafers and oxford shoes are a fantastic choice for wet, chilly weather. Since loafers come in many styles, colors, and materials, they are a versatile go-to shoe, and well worth the investment. Smoking slippers will jazz up any causal or work wear outfit. For example, a work ensemble might include a pair of calf-hair leopard-print loafers with a classic white button-up shirt, black crop pants, and a camel trench.

Mary Janes: This iconic shoe made a major comeback last summer and will be sticking around through spring. Delicate ankle straps and heels ranging in width from slim to chunky signify the latest “grown-up” version of the classic Mary Jane. When purchasing Mary Janes, opt for black or nude, a round toe, and a slimmer heel. Add a feminine twist to an ordinary outfit by pairing Mary Janes with black or grey tights and a fitted sweater dress.

Boots & Booties:


Find a comfortable heel, you won’t feel like your confident self if they hurt your feet or feel too high.

Over-the-Knee Boots: These swanky, leg-lengthening boots have been on trend for more than a year now, and there’s no clear end in sight. Although over-the-knee boots are not as versatile as other knee-high boot styles, they do make a big impression, and can easily catapult a run-of-the-mill outfit into a runway-worthy ensemble. Wearing over-the-boots can be tricky at times, but it’s worth the fuss when you get it right. For a less dramatic look, wear low-heeled black boots with black leggings or jeans, and pair it with a sweater, leather jacket, and patterned blanket scarf. If you aren’t afraid to turn heads, show a little leg by pairing the boots with a romper and drape cardigan, or a cute mini dress. Play around with different outfits until you find a few styles that are in your comfort zone.

Booties: Bo-ho suede ankle booties made their debut last fall, and have held strong as a street wear staple. Cool and casual, they can be found in a variety of shades and materials, and with a variety of heels – from slim to chunky. These boots are a fantastic alternative to pumps, and can be slipped on with anything from dresses to leggings to denim. With booties this year, it’s all about the embellishments – fringe, cuffs, straps, and even small chains. Look for booties in neutral colors like taupe, black, and grey, and ones with unique touches. Wear your booties with leggings and a cardigan, a dress and tights, or cuffed jeans and a tunic top.

Evening Shoes:

Stilettoes: For evening affairs, high heels are always head-turner. Add even more glam to your evening gown by wearing stilettoes adorned with rhinestones or sparkles. Gold, metallic, and black are classic colors for stilettoes, and this year, thin ankle straps and bows behind the ankle have made a big splash on the runway. Peep-toe platform pumps are still very popular, and also sling backs with a jeweled toe. Shoes in neutral colors with a minimal amount of bling will stand the test of time, and can be worn with almost any evening gown.

In regards to shopping, January is a hot month for sales and you are likely to find an enormous assortment of items. Although some finds might not be the right fit for winter, don’t overlook timeless spring and summer styles as you are strolling past the clearance racks. Just be sure that the shoes you purchase are also comfortable – blisters can make even the most darling shoe seem unappealing!

Kristin Hauch-Melton

Kristin Hauch-Melton is a writer and communications consultant. She earned a degree in Communications and Business from University of North Florida, serves on the board for the Fayette Chamber of Commerce and lives in Peachtree City with her husband, horse, and dog.