This statement is hardly groundbreaking, but I love buying shoes.(I challenge you to find a fashion editor who doesn't.) What I don't love is spending tons of money on shoes, and I'm guessing that you don't either. That said, when I'm shopping for affordable shoes, in particular, I've learned over time (and lots of shoe shopping) that there's one detail that I tend to avoid, as it can look quite cheap unless done well and with high-quality (i.e., expensive) materials: hardware. Whether in the form of studs, chains, oversize buckles, or embellishments, hardware on shoes is tricky to get right. If you love it, it's better to invest in a pair that's on the pricier side.
What do I look for when shopping for affordable shoes that look expensive? For the most part, it's hardware-free neutral colors, preferably genuine materials like leather, suede, or calf hair, and unique details like a sculptural heel shape or square too (which are often found on more expensive styles). Or you could just scroll to shop some of my favorite (hardware-free) shoes on the market that only look expensive.
Topshop Maja Leather Black Sock Boots ($160)
No wonder our readers have been snapping these up—they look amazing with jeans.
Mango Heel Leather Shoes ($100)
The squared vamp and flared heel make these look designer.
Steven Lauryn Point Toe Mules ($109)
Tiger and zebra are the new leopard print.
Sam Edelman Rowena Boots ($162)
& Other Stories Squared Toe Snake Embossed Pumps ($129)
Fall 2019 is all about the square toes and snakeskin.
Staud Keith Sandals ($295)
Take it from me—Staud shoes are worth every penny.
Reformation Madeline Sandals ($198)
These new Reformation sandals literally go with everything.
Mango Leather High-Leg Boots ($150)
Good luck finding a more expensive-looking pair of knee boots at this price point.
Matiko Mille Mid Shaft Boots ($216)
These hardly look like faux leather (but they are).
& Other Stories Croc Embossed Block Heel Loafers ($129)
The freshest loafers to wear this season have a chunky sole.
Paige Epic Mule - Cow Print Leather ($328)
The easiest way to wear the cow-print trend is these perfect black-and-white mules.
Madewell The Marlo Slingback Clogs ($168)
FYI: Clogs are back.
H&M Leather Ankle Boots ($70)
Meet the boots you'll wear constantly for the next six months.
Topshop Saffron Zebra Print Chunky Sandals ($80)
No hardware needed to make a statement.
Vagabond Marja Cap Toe Booties ($175)
It doesn't get more timeless.
Schutz Keefa High-Heel Platform Sandals ($195)
Platforms are all over the S/S 20 runways.
Jeffrey Campbell Hera-Hi Sandals ($115)
Possibly the perfect late-summer/early-fall going out shoes.
Ganni Low Heel Flats ($280)
These set the bar high for flats.
Everlane The '90s Flat ($160)
The name alone is enough to make me want to buy these.
Dr. Martens 2976 Quad Chelsea Boots ($180)
I have a feeling everyone will swap their Dr. Martens combat boots for this Chelsea pair.
Charles & Keith Croc-Effect Pointed Toe Mary Jane Sculptural Heels ($49)
Proof that Mary Janes can look very grown-up.
Calvin Klein Pebbles Boots ($190)
White boots have become a classic, and this pair is pretty great.
Birkenstock Arizona Shearling Sandals - Narrow ($150)
Not ready to give up sandals just yet? Problem solved.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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