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7 Pairs of Shoes You Need to Have in Your Closet This Summer

Believe it or not, summer is just a few short weeks away. While you may be scrambling to order bikinis and ruffle skirts in time for the warmer weather, it’s important not to overlook what is arguably the most important part of any outfit: your shoes. With a healthy mix of classics and innovative styles, we’ll make sure that your footwear wardrobe is better than ever this summer.


Perfect for loungewear, dressing up and everything in between, Birkenstocks are the epitome of a staple shoe. The $100+ investment for a pair of these babies is undoubtedly a little steep, but as someone who’s practically lived in Birks for the past three summers, I can promise that the quality is worth the price tag. If you’re wanting for a classic Birkenstock look, opt for a pair of the iconic Arizonas. On a budget and in need of water-friendly footwear for all of your upcoming pool days? The EVA collection has you covered. And if you’re like me and prioritize cruelty-free options in your shoe lineup, look no further than Birkenstock’s vegan edit. Best of all, Birkenstock offers Afterpay financing plans, so you can buy now and pay later, interest-free! What more could we ever ask for?

Cowboy boots

When this trendy boot made its way into fashion forecasts this past winter, I admittedly was a bit apprehensive. But, after I purchased a pair last month and realized how easily they can be dressed up or down, I was sold. Free People has an expansive lineup of vegan and premium leather styles alike, and ASOS is here with some offerings that have a western edge without looking too much like you just came back from a horseback ride.

Platform wedges

This espadrille-esque silhouette has been a staple for several summers now, and it’s here to stay. Heading to brunch with friends and want something to pair with a sundress? In search of the perfect addition to a light crop sweater and a boho-style skirt? Just looking to liven up a preppy top and jean combo? With a pair of iconic Steve Madden wedges, you simply can’t go wrong.

Strappy sandals

Versatility is the name of the game with the strappy look. Just take a look at the options! American Eagle has endless styles at a super affordable price, but if you want something on the higher-end side, look no further than Revolve. This classy yet simple style is a definite yes.

Chunky sneakers

In years past, big and bulky tennis shoes have been something of a fashion controversy, but if you’re not on board with the trend by now, it’s time to join the winning team. Chunky sneakers are destined to be the center of attention in your casual fits allllll summer long. Princess Polly has a sizable collection of these bold shoes and offers a 20% off discount for college students. Meanwhile, Urban Outfitters boasts an assortment of tennis shoes that includes the increasingly popular Converse Lugged High Top and tons of Nike and Fila styles. Here’s to style and comfort!

Kitten heels

Kitten heels, the go-to shoe of the early 2000s, are back and better than ever for summer 2021. With a heel significant enough to give you a boost in height but still so small as to not present a measurable threat of tripping, kitten heels pair perfectly alongside baggy jeans and a cute top. While the Internet is full of chic kitten heel styles, my personal favorites are these Billinis from Princess Polly.

Nike AF1s

Nike’s iconic Air Force 1 silhouette is a year-round staple at this point. Need I say more?

If you step into summer with these seven iconic shoe styles, you’re bound to be an instant trendsetter!

Sidney Ropp

Illinois State '24

Sidney is a sophomore Legal Studies student at Illinois State University, where she writes for both her collegiate chapter and the national Her Campus staff. She is deeply passionate about health, wellness, dietetics, and fashion. Sidney is so excited to be a part of Her Campus and have the opportunity to share her interests with the campus community!
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