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The Shoes That Are Replacing Our Sneakers This Spring

written by EMILEE JANITZ

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Source: Aïda Badji
Source: Aïda Badji

Although there are plenty of trends and aesthetics circling the internet at any given moment in time, a recent fan favorite that has been particularly difficult to ignore is balletcore. And more specifically, the enduring trend that is the ballet flat. In 2023, the simple shoe skyrocketed to the top of our must-have lists and has held us in a chokehold ever since. This spring, instead of lacing up go-to pairs of sneakers day in and day out, the dainty, comfortable shoe is a seamless (and chic) swap. But not just any ballet flat, mind you. More specifically, my friends, grab yourself a pair of Mary Janes.

While the descriptor is pretty widely used and understood, if you need a quick refresher, Mary Jane ballet flats are those constructed with a strap (or two or three) that arcs across the top of the foot. Coquettish and practical (that strap serves a purpose, after all), the shoe has grown beyond cutesy twee roots and is now becoming a staple outfit piece for cool girls everywhere.

Source: Dolce Vita

With the spring season bringing warmer weather and the inspiration to get out of the house and do just about anything and everything (I don’t know about you, but where I live, wintertime cabin fever is real), there’s no better time to reach for this practical yet fashionable shoe. After all, who doesn’t want to look both adorable and chic while grabbing coffee, running errands, embarking on a springtime bike ride, or any other number of activities we throw ourselves into following a winter spent hibernating at home watching television and eating baked goods like it’s our job?

Officially sold on Mary Janes? Here are some styling ideas to get you started—plus 18 pairs that are worth adding to your collection before the first day of spring.

How to Style Mary Jane Flats

With relaxed jeans and a striped sweater

One serious perk to rocking the Mary Jane ballet flat is that while the shoe is just as comfortable as a sneaker (well, nearly), it dresses up an outfit in a way that a sneaker simply can’t. By adding these flats to your standard jeans and sweater combo, you’re elevating your outfit in a small but tangible way. The addition of a tote bag makes the ‘fit ideal for running errands on those weekend mornings when you feel like being both comfortable and put together.

With a black dress and sunglasses

A black dress is one of those items that will literally never go out of style and one that most of us have hanging in our closets. Unlike the olden days of fashion seasons past (and by “olden” I, of course, refer to years preceding 2023), society has collectively decided that yes, as a matter of fact, black is still a great color, even when it’s warm out. Accompanied by a pair of chic sunglasses, the combination simply could not get any cooler.

With a peasant blouse and shorts

Peasant blouses have an uncanny way of encapsulating the spring season. They’re light, romantic, and much more interesting than an everyday tee (not to knock the everyday tee—trust me, I own plenty). If you’re feeling inspired to channel a French-country-chic vibe this spring, a peasant blouse styled with Mary Janes is a winning duo. A rattan bag is a classic warm-weather wardrobe piece and can add an element of completeness to the ensemble.

With a pair of jeans and a button-down shirt

The jeans and button-down shirt combo is the definition of elevated casual. While loafers have been our go-to shoe for complimenting this outfit formula in recent seasons, Mary Jane ballet flats add an air of femininity. Rock the look around town or to the office.

With a denim skirt and white tee

Denim skirts and white tees are both time-honored classics that, when combined, can easily be layered to accommodate shifts in temperature. A sunny day in May? Rock the outfit (complete with Mary Janes) as-is. A wish-it-were-warmer afternoon in March? Throw on a jacket. Slouchy crew socks add an unexpected element to the ensemble and nod to the larger balletcore trend.

With a trench coat

While, of course, it would be wonderful if every spring day was sunny and mild, the reality is that the phrase “April showers” was coined and is used extensively for a very specific reason. A classic trench coat is well suited for said April showers and a wardrobe staple you can reach for year-round. A Mary Jane in a bright color is boldly feminine and can add some extra pep to your step on those days when your energy is lacking.

With a collared dress

As the sun emerges and we transition from winter to spring, many of us find ourselves packing away our winter coats and gleefully digging dresses out from storage. The good news? Mary Janes pair well with just about every kind of casual and business casual dress. A collared dress in a bright color feels seasonably on point and wears well both in the office and beyond.

The Best Mary Jane Flats of 2024

Matisse
Three Strap Mary Janes
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COACH
Double Buckle Mary Janes

2 colors available

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Dolce Vita
Bow Mary Janes

4 colors available

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Jeffrey Campbell
Metallic Mary Janes

4 colors available

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Either Or
Metallic Mary Janes
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Vicenza
Bow Mary Jane Flats

3 colors available

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Vivaia
Square Toe Mary Janes

12 colors available

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Stuart Weitzman
Pointed Toe Mary Janes

8 colors available

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Cole Haan
Mary Jane Ballet Flats

2 colors available

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Sam Edelman
Denim Mary Janes

15 colors available

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Madewell
Leopard Print Mary Janes

7 colors available

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Franco Sarto
Square Toe Ballet Flats

1o colors available

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Rothy’s
Square Mary Janes

7 colors available

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Zara
Buckle Mary Janes
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Everlane
The Day Mary Janes

4 colors available

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MANGO
Patent Leather Mary Janes
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Schutz
Mesh Mary Janes

2 colors available

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Reformation
Sheer Mesh Mary Janes

8 colors available

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