8 Types of Shoes That Go With Everything

The only shoes you need in your closet, right this way.

A woman wearing ballet flats

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When piecing together a capsule wardrobe, narrowing down your essential footwear is rarely the first order of business. Generally speaking, items like the idyllic white T-shirt, jeans that fit just right, a crisp pin-stripe button-down, and the perfect pair of trousers that look boardroom-ready but feel like pajamas take precedence. These are all pieces to find and cherish, but no fashionista should underestimate the value of finding shoes that go with everything, too.

Your first step to narrowing down your tried and trusted pairs is to assess the shoes already in your wardrobe and figure out what styles you need to fill in the blanks. Ahead, we’ve rounded up eight of our favorite styles of shoes that go with everything to spark some inspiration. 

01 of 08

White Sneakers

shoes that go with everything

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A crisp pair of clean white sneakers can go the distance in your wardrobe. Not only do they sharpen up a pair of lax denim and a t-shirt, but they bode fabulously well with skirts (all skirts) and sundresses (see Sandra Bullock in Practical Magic for reference). White sneakers are also a hit with brides for a reception shoe swap, and, depending on the dress code, you could get away with sporting the pair with a tailored suit for more formal occasions. Plus, white is neutral and seasonless; you can get a lot of wear from your favorite pair year-round.

02 of 08

Knee-High Boots

shoes that go with everything

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Knee-high boots have a reputation for being an autumnal and wintertime staple, but it’s ill-advised to store them away when the warm weather comes. Whether you opt for a sleek stiletto heel or a chunky sole, knee-high boots elevate any look, from dresses and jeans to jorts and jumpsuits. They’re fashionable meets functional in the cold weather months because they add an extra layer of warmth to your stems, but in the spring and summer, they’re just a straight-up style pawn. 

03 of 08

Ankle Boots

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Boots that are to the knee or higher can make a bold statement; ankle boots are the alternative to those who want a lift, but from a shoe that often compliments an ensemble, rather than overtaking it. Often paired with denim or leggings, the versatility of ankle boots runs the gamut.

04 of 08


shoes that go with everything

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We couldn’t be more thrilled that loafers have resurfaced in our wardrobes because this academic aesthetic is versatile. Reed has dubbed them the “work-to-weekend” shoe; they blend into the professional vibe of a corporate office, complete with a blazer and slacks, but they also come to play once you've clocked out for the day, switching to a lax state with a pair of lived-in denim.  

05 of 08

Chelsea Boots

A woman wearing Chelsea boots

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Another boot to have in your capsule collection is the Chelsea boot, and shopping expert, Jen Reed, founder of TheSisterStudioIG and Life in Lilac, concurs. “A Chelsea boot is such a staple season after season and can be worn so many ways,” Reed tells InStyle via email. Her go-to formula for sporting the footwear in the cooler months involves straight-leg denim, a bodysuit, and a puffer vest, but rest assured you can wear a pair with anything from a skort and half-tucked chunky knit to trousers and a long-sleeved tee. Once spring and summer roll around, the style can be paired with virtually anything in your wardrobe, including your athleisure.

Remember, Chelsea boots are made from durable materials, so they’re game to go adventuring; think music festivals, vineyards, light hiking trails, and even the beach. 

06 of 08

Ballet Flats

shoes that go with everything

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Let’s set the record straight: Ballet flats were a closet staple well before balletcore took over our social feeds. They’re not just a dance uniform essential, though the ballet is where the style originated. Rather, it gained popularity as a street shoe after Brigitte Bardot wore an everyday version of the flat in the film, Et Dieu Crea La Femme (And God Created Woman). The style has been reimagined a few times since, but it has served the same purpose: To provide its wearer with a comfortable shoe option that could transition from day to night with virtually every outfit change. 

07 of 08

Kitten Heels

shoes that go with everything

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Cunning heels are a mainstay for the wardrobe prepared for any occasion. While we’ll always have a place in our hearts (and space in our closets) for stilettos, a small pup that serves as just a hint of a lift works for the majority. First, they’re easier to walk in (kitten heels are generally between 1.5 and 2 inches tall), and second, they can step into formal and casual roles. You can wear them to the office but also happy hour, a loved one’s nuptials, and brunch on a Sunday morning. 

08 of 08

Sleek Sandals

shoes that go with everything

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Emphasis on the “sleek.” If when you think of sandals, flip-flops come to mind, erase that image and replace it with dressed-up slides, a strappy variation, block heels, t-straps, etc. The fewer bells and whistles the better, because the more neutral the sandal, the more versatile the shoe. As perfect as they are for sandy vacations, they’re just as sweet for a nice dinner or around the office.

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