Losing your shoe identity – and how to find it again

The season has shifted and your beloved winter boots don’t feel right anymore, but you’ve no idea what comes next? Frankie Graddon has a few suggestions

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By Frankie Graddon on

I received an email the other day, subject: Help. Existential Shoe Crisis. The email was from my fellow Pooler Zoe, who went on to explain that, over the past week, she’d completely lost her way when it came to shoes. “F, went to the shops on my dinner break and had a mini meltdown. I’ve realised I can’t wear my DMs forever but I don’t know what to wear instead.”

Losing your “shoe identity”. Been there, done that. It happened to me a couple of years ago when loafers were all the rage. No matter how many times I tried them on, I just couldn’t make them work. While everyone else was pegging around in their loafers and ankle-grazing jeans, I was left clutching at straws. Fortunately, I discovered clogs a few weeks later and order was restored.

This time of the year is chief for losing your way when it comes to footwear. Those trusty black boots that you’ve worn all winter? Yep, they’re feeling a bit, well, wintry all of a sudden, aren’t they? But it’s hardly time for flip-flops yet (despite them being in all the shops already?!) Shoes are the anchors of your wardrobe and when they go squiffy, it can be somewhat disorientating. So, what now?

I’m not going to pretend that there is a foolproof solution to this. We are in April, otherwise known as “let’s spend four weeks bouncing between sunshine and rain”, which makes choosing shoes a bugger and a half. But, if you have left your shoe identity somewhere in March and need a few ideas on where to go next, well, I’m your woman. Here are the options.

If you’re feeling cautious: spring plimsolls

If you’re not quite in the right frame of mind yet to consider going without socks, then a pair of spring plimsolls could be the way to go. I’m not talking about your bog-standard white Superstars, this spring it’s all about a flash of colour. Check out Superga’s latest collaboration with Alexa Chung, which includes a fabulous pair of sky-blue satin lace-ups (avoid puddles at all costs). Vans' daffodil yellow plimsolls will cheer up your blue jeans a treat and, for colour-phobes, check out the white trainers from John Lewis’ Kin label that have a discrete yellow stripe at the back.


If you’re feeling optimistic: jazzy flats

For those just about willing to peel off the socks, then welcome to the world of jazzy flats. A footwear perennial, this season jazzed-up flats are all over the place. Boden always ace this genre of shoe, this season offering fun, striped pumps, bejeweled slip-ons (great for wedding season) and tasselled slippers. If you don’t have the same loafer issues as me, then have a look at L.K. Bennett’s jacquard pair or, for a more minimal option, John Lewis’ silver pumps will work with pretty much any outfit.


If you’re feeling brave: woven shoes

Woven shoes are undoubtedly the break-out shoe trend of the season and actually aren’t as challenging to wear as they sound. Just don’t wear them when it’s raining as you’ll get wet feet – speaking from experience. I’ve got these and these from Topshop, who are the champions of woven shoes this spring. While the courts need some serious wearing in (wear them with socks around the house first), the black block heels are comfy from the get go. 


If you’re feeling very brave: backless slip-ons

My heels are nowhere near ready for public exposure yet, but if yours are then may I direct you to the backless slip-on. While the pool-slide variety may be a stretch too far for April, the closed-toe babouche slipper style feels more doable right now. Check out Mango’s smart tassel pair and & Other Stories’ leopard-spot pair.


If you’re feeling reckless: mules

Since tentatively returning to the fashion scene a couple of years ago, mules have worked their way up to fully fledged fashion-shoe status this season. If you can stand the click-clack then they do look rather lovely. Whistles and Uterqüe both have great options, with walkable heel heights. If mules are a bridge too far then have a look at Miista’s E8 range (which is slightly cheaper than the main line), particularly the Romeo suede sandals.


Click here for the spring shoe edit


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