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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

I have never been a huge shoe enthusiast, but I do like to be prepared for any occasion or weather when it comes to my shoes. I like to keep my shoe collection simple but conventional. For many years, I would buy random pairs of extravagant shoes that I never ended up wearing. I have learned that it is better to keep a collection of simple shoes that you can adjust to any outfit and wear for specific occasions or just everyday wear. When I started packing for my freshman year of college, I realized that I could not bring every single pair of shoes I owned. Instead, I narrowed down the shoes I was packing to the shoes that I thought would be adaptable for any situation. I ended up narrowing my shoe collection to only about 10 pairs of shoes and today I will be sharing my top 5 shoes that I believe every woman needs in their closet. These are shoes that are basic and essential to have for everyday use and the periodic special occasion. If you were to only have these 5 pairs of shoes in your closet, I believe you would be prepared for any occasion and be able to dress-up or dress-down your outfits.

White Shoes

We’re starting it off simple with one of the most basic shoes a girl can own…but I think it should be an essential part of every woman’s closet. A classic white shoe is perfect for any occasion whether it’s a casual hangout, going grocery shopping or just for everyday use. White shoes go with every outfit and can help tie the whole look together. My personal favorites include Nike Airforce1’s, Reebok Off White Club C 85 Vintage and also high top white Converse. If these recommendations are not your cup of tea, there are endless options of some plain white shoes on the market, so you are guaranteed to find the perfect fit for yourself.

Black Boots

A black boot is something that can be worn to elevate an outfit. A classic black Doc Marten can be worn for a night out, with a dress or just to add an extra spice to your everyday casual outfit. If a black Doc Marten is not your style, it is still essential to have a classic black boot in your closet, like a black bootie to pair with a dress or for fancier events that you will be attending. This kind of shoe can elevate your outfit to a different level and make you look more put together, edgy or dressed up. You can really take and adjust a black boot into any direction when putting an outfit together and that is why every girl should have a pair in their closet. It is important to stay prepared and always have a classic black boot on hand.


Now, if I am being honest, I never owned a pair of slippers before August of 2020, but I can now confidently say I am a slipper enthusiast. Slippers are essential, whether you are walking around your home or like myself, living in a college dorm. After almost being done with my freshman year of college, I have learned that slippers are something that are essential in my college closet. I wear them to get a quick bite at the dining hall or just to use the communal bathroom. Slippers save me a lot of time and effort since they are easy to throw on and best of all, super comfy. My personal favorites and the ones I currently own are the Ugg Coquette Suede slippers because they have enough thickness on the bottom of the slipper than can be used for walking outside. This is perfect for taking a quick trip to the dining hall or even running errands. There are also many other options for cheaper slippers or different styles of slippers so you are guaranteed to find your perfect fit.

Snow Boots

Since I am writing this from Madison, Wisconsin, it is only fair that I include having snow boots in my list of essential shoes. I grew up in Boulder, Colorado where we would get several inches of snow so it was essential to have a good pair of boots if you were planning on doing outside activities. Coming to Wisconsin, there isn’t as many inches of snow but it is still important to have a good pair of snow boots to keep your feet warm and dry. I currently use my Timberlands as my snow boots and can confidently say that they do keep my feet both warm and dry. If you prefer a higher snow boot, I recommend trying the Sorel snow boots which are lined with fur on the inside and are perfect if you will be in some high inches of snow as they come up to the high part of your calf.


Now I know sandals arent a lot of people’s favorite shoes but, I do think that they should be a part of your shoe collection. One of my favorite summertime sandals are the Steve Madden Kimmie Flatform Espadrille sandals. These sandals are not only comfortable, but they add a few inches to your height as well ;). Whenever I see these sandals, I picture myself in a flowy dress with these sandals in Hawaii on my way to a fancy beachside dinner. I think these sandals are the perfect staple shoe to have in your closet especially for the summer. You can wear these with your everyday casual outfit, a cute flowy skirt or even dressed up for a dinner like my hawaiian vision. If you are looking for something a little bit more casual, I recommend Birkenstocks. Now hear me out, I know a lot of people absolutely despise Birkenstocks, but I live in my Birkenstocks during the summer and think they are something everyone should have. My Birkenstocks are sort of like my summertime slippers. They are comfortable, super easy to throw on and can be used for everyday use. Hey, don’t knock it till you try it.

That wraps up my top 5 essential shoes I think every woman should have in their closet. As you can see, these shoes are just basics that you can build off of but with just these 5 shoes in your closet, you will be prepared for anything. This list is open to interpretation and of course made to be adjusted and changed with regard to your own personal style and needs. If none of these recommendations peaked your interest or resonated with you, then I hope it at least inspired you to make your own essential shoe list that fits with your own lifestyle. This list was of course made with my own personal experience so take and drop whatever inspiration you need from it!

Camila Rivero

Wisconsin '24

Hi! My name is Camila Rivero and I was born in raised in Boulder, Colorado. I am now attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison hoping to pursue my degree in strategic communications with a minor in digital studies.
Kate O’Leary

Wisconsin '23

Kate is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin Madison majoring in Biology, Psychology and Sociology. She is the proud co-president of Her Campus Wisconsin. Kate enjoys indoor cycling, spending time with friends, cheering on the Badgers and making the absolute best crepes ever!