Designer shoes worth buying | CNN Underscored


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It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love a good steal — but there are a few pieces that are worth splurging on. For some, it’s an iconic handbag, and for others, it could be a piece of jewelry that they’ve been saving up for. Somehow, for editors and influencers alike, the one thing they’ll always shell out for is a great pair of shoes.

“When I invest in my wardrobe, shoes and bags are always my go-to,” says Kelsey Stiegman, a senior style editor at Seventeen. “I try to go for pieces that are either incredibly unique or timeless and classic — I think both are worth a splurge.” While she loves a good backless loafer, she’s not afraid to go big with a pair of timeless Prada slingbacks either. “If I can’t live without it, it’s worth the price.”

For Cortne Bonilla, an editor at New York Mag, it’s all about versatility. “For me, a splurge-worthy item comes down to its wearability,” she says. “I always ask myself: Can I wear this with a few different silhouettes? Can I transition this from season to season? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then I know it’s a smart purchase. I prefer minimal, neutral styles that work with a variety of different outfits and aesthetics — that way, nothing goes to waste in my wardrobe.”

Stylist Cassandra Dittmer, who focuses on sustainability within her work, takes a more practical approach. “I really try to do my research before any investment purchase so that I can ensure its not an impulse or situational buy,” she says. “There are a couple key questions I ask myself before making a large purchase. Can I style this new item into my current wardrobe seamlessly? I want to be able to make at least three new outfits that I really love with said item so that it doesn’t end up taking prime real estate on a shelf in the depths of my closet.”

Ahead, 24 pairs of shoes that top editors, influencers and stylists say are well worth their $$$ price tag.

Mango Knots Heel Sandals

Mango

Mango Knots Heel Sandals

“It’s Vaxxed Girl Summer and we’re wearing revenge heels all season long,” Stiegman jokes. “With an intricate woven design and a match-everything black colorway, you’ll get your money’s worth in just a few weeks.”

Intentionally Blank Kowloon Loafer Mule

Urban Outfitters

Intentionally Blank Kowloon Loafer Mule

“Chunky black mules have become Instagram’s shoe of the moment, and a white croc iteration feels like a fresh take, but are just as versatile,” she says.

Roam Velcro Slides

Shopbop

Roam Velcro Slides

“These chunky sandals combine comfort with a trendy, elevated print — like your house slippers, but way cuter,” says Stiegman, who loves a statement print.

Gucci Jolie Leather-Trimmed Slides

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Gucci Jolie Leather-Trimmed Slides

“The resale value of Gucci is exceptionally high, probably because the prints and silhouettes are often remastered and reclaimed,” says Bonilla. “These slides are a classic and perfect for spring, summer and fall.”

The Row Leather Ankle Boots

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The Row Leather Ankle Boots

“If you’re a fan of The Row, then you already know that the brand perfectly hones in on those that prefer timeless pieces,” she says. “This boot is deliberate, sleek and transitional — made of buttery leather that’ll still look good with a little wear.”

Gia Couture Rosie Sandals

Farfetch

Gia Couture Rosie Sandals

“A flat, comfortable shoe is a wardrobe essential, especially if you live in a city where walking is the main transportation,” says Bonilla, a New York City resident. “I’m obsessed with these smooth neutral babes from Gia Couture. You could wear them every single day with pleated dresses, oversized poplin maxis, jeans, joggers and even leggings.”

Tod's Heaven Loafers

The Outnet

Tod’s Heaven Loafers

“I have the phrase ‘black loafer fetishist’ in my Instagram bio because I can’t get enough of this boyish shoe,” says Bonilla (and it’s true!). “Tod’s has been around for a long, long time, and for good reason — every shoe is designed with comfort in mind and features that outlast current fads.”

Malone Souliers Vale Sandals 85mm

Shopbop

Malone Souliers Vale Sandals 85mm

“These Malone Souliers are perfectly sophisticated and will quickly be your next go-to date-night heel for years to come,” says Dittmer, who focuses on brands that prioritize sustainability. “These sandals are investment-worthy because they strike the balance of a classic shape with modern yet edgy details.”

Wandler Lina Slouch Boots

Shopbop

Wandler Lina Slouch Boots

“These Wandler boots are a jaw-dropping addition to any closet. I find midheight slouchy boots with an architectural heel to be very wearable and a great investment,” says Dittmer. “Bonus points that Wandler produces with sustainable and conscious practices within the leather industry.”

ATP Atelier Melitto Sandals

Shopbop

ATP Atelier Melitto Sandals

“I am loving square-toe thong sandals and think these ones feel very elevated and chic,” says Dittmer. “These are worth the price tag because the vegetable-tanned leather does not contain any toxic substances and gets better with age and proper care.”

Rejina Pyo 30mm Isla Sandals

Shopbop

Rejina Pyo 30mm Isla Sandals

“These Rejina Pyo slides are simple, modern and unexpectedly neutral in the ocre shade,” Dittmer says. “I am thinking of all the fun colored outfit combos this shoe can serve throughout the spring, summer and beyond. The aesthetic here is matched by quality and sustainability within the entire brand.”

Gucci Jordaan Loafers

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Gucci Jordaan Loafers

“These are such a timeless, versatile shoe that I, personally, wear almost every season,” says Christina Grasso, an editor who’s also known for her minimalist aesthetic on Instagram. “They’re comfortable, well made and add a touch of understated, classic polish to simple, everyday outfits.”

“I think every woman needs a good pair of classic black pumps, and these are my personal favorite,” says Grasso. “They are very comfortable but light enough to throw in a bag to change into for an after-work cocktail.”

New Balance 990V5 Sneaker

Nordstrom

New Balance 990V5 Sneaker

“I think the importance of a good pair of trainers is pretty self-explanatory, and I love a neutral pair that can be paired with a power suit for a more casual vibe,” says Grasso.

Margiela Tabi Boot

Farfetch

Margiela Tabi Boot

“The Tabi boot has a bit of a different silhouette, but I would still consider them to be a timeless shoe, albeit more of a whimsical one,” says Grasso of the iconic shoe. “I would consider them to be equal parts art and function.”

Prada Monolith Lug Sole Loafer

Nordstrom

Prada Monolith Lug Sole Loafer

“Black platforms are some of the most worn shoes in my wardrobe because they go with almost everything and are shockingly comfortable,” says Alyssa Coscarelli, a brand consultant and fashion influencer. “To me, they’re a staple you’ll always get your money’s worth for.”

The Row Gaia 1 Eoven Leather Sandals

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The Row Gaia 1 Eoven Leather Sandals

“The Row has a way of perfecting and refining shoe silhouettes in a way that makes them infinitely chic and endlessly wearable,” says Coscarelli. “Still, for me, it’s more about the item and its versatility and quality that justify the splurge, more so than the brand name.”

Gucci Brixton Horsebit Convertible Loafer

Nordstrom

Gucci Brixton Horsebit Convertible Loafer

“Anything convertible always justifies a good splurge because it’s as if you’re getting two for the price of one,” says Coscarelli. “With this convertible shoe, you’re getting both a mule and a loafer in one pair.”

Bottega Veneta Lug Leather Chelsea Boots

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Bottega Veneta Lug Leather Chelsea Boots

“Chelsea boots are one of those trends that never really go out of style,” Coscarelli says. “They’re equally stylish and practical, which isn’t always the case with, say, a pair of stilettos.”

The Row Constance Leather Slingback Sandals

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The Row Constance Leather Slingback Sandals

Summer’s most important shoe purchase will be a comfortable pair of sandals that also look luxe,” says Aemilia Madden, the senior fashion editor at TZR. “This minimalist style from The Row is an easy favorite.”

Saint Laurent Monogram Leather Loafers

Farfetch

Saint Laurent Monogram Leather Loafers

“Though I wear plenty of sneakers, a pair of simple loafers is my favorite flat alternative and the type of investment that will never go out of style,” says Madden.

Proenza Schouler Lace-Up Ankle Boots

Shopbop

Proenza Schouler Lace-Up Ankle Boots

“I purchased these Proenza Schouler boots three years ago and I still wear them all the time,” says Madden. “Lug sole boots aren’t a new trend, but they’ll definitely be a major style to try come fall.”

Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% Running Shoe

Nordstrom

Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% Running Shoe

“One place never to cut corners is with running shoes,” says Madden, an avid runner. “It’s shocking how fast Nike’s Next % sneakers make me, and they’re so comfy too.”

Prada Naplak Logo-Plaque Pumps

Farfetch

Prada Naplak Logo-Plaque Pumps

“In my opinion, anything with the famous Prada logo is worth the splurge,” says Stiegman. “These babies in particular — with a square toe, flat heel and a strappy slingback — are unique but still timeless.”



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