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Stock Up Your Shoe Closet With These Back-To-School Essentials

Step into semester in style.

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Image: Notjessfashion.com

The best thing about going back to school? After discussing James Baldwin's essays in your literature course and eating Nutella crêpes in French class, it's got to be — you guessed it — shopping. We dutifully stock up on writing utensils and organizers, and swing by Sephora for our favorite mini-products to store in our lockers, but we know the real fun comes when we're ten racks deep into the fall collections, gathering up gems for the new season. While our pieces from last year will probably compliment any new finds we come across, our shoes have taken a beating after twelve months of running to class (and leaving on all sorts of adventures when school finally lets out).

There's no retail therapy better than shoe therapy — especially when the soles of your sneakers are peeling off. With that in mind, we've complied your definitive guide to the must-have shoes you'll need when heading back to school: styles that are cool, comfortable, fashion-forward and perfect for a future girl boss. They might even get you psyched for the first day of class.

Check out our selection of the best back-to-school shoes so you can step into semester in style:

Sneakers that aren't stan smiths


We consider sneakers the all-purpose shoe for the school year: they're casual, comfortable and the ultimate cool-girl staple. To stand out from the Stan Smith-wearing crowd, choose an alternative simple, OG style that'll go with anything, or a sassy pair with pops of color and surprising details. Sneakers go with pretty much everything, but if you want to channel that model-off-duty nonchalance, style them with some lightly distressed denim, tinted sunglasses and your comfiest cotton tee.
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adidas Originals LA Sneaker OG Sneakers In White BY9319 - $100
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adidas Originals FLB Primeknit Sneaker In Lilac - $120
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Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Monochrome High Top Sneaker - $70
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300 NB Grey - $100
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anything but basic Flats


Whether you prefer a pair of classic ballerinas or kitten heels (okay, they're almost flat), flats are for the days when you want to look a little more put-together, but still have to trek half a mile between classes. A pointed toe elongates your body line, so go ahead and show some ankle in our favorite denim kick-flare trend for the fall or a late-summer midi dress
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&Other Stories Leather Ballet Flats - $95
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&Other Stories Kitten Heel Pumps - $125
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ASOS LOOSE CANNON Ballet Flats - $32
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ASOS LATTER Loafer Ballet Flats - $18.50
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Couture-Inspired Boots


Without a doubt one of the most wearable trends from the recent Paris Haute Couture shows, ankle boots are the perfect way to bring the runway to the classroom. If you're rocking a pair with statement embroidery, keep the rest of your outfit relatively sleek and streamlined to put the focus on the boots. If you choose a pair that are more minimalist, take a page from Valentino's book, and add some bold color-blocking into the mix. A word to the wise: if your boots have a heel that's above the two-inch mark, save them for days when you know you won't be doing much walking: there's nothing more awkward than hobbling around campus in beautiful shoes. Contrary to popular belief, some boots just weren't made for it. 
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&Other Stories Studded Western Chelsea Suede Boots - $195
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Aldo Emely Boot - $125
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Topshop May Sock Boots - $150
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Steve Madden Grand Bootie - $130
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Not Your Mom's Loafers


Ideal for exams and job interviews — and pretty much anytime you need to dress for success — loafers will give you that Upper-East-Side-Prep-School focus you need to overcome any obstacle with intelligence and poise. Pair them with a slim-fit Capri pant and a beret to channel your inner French-girl elegance, or rock them with a statement shoulder blazer for that '80s working woman vibe.
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ASOS MUNCH Loafer Flat Shoes - $40
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&Other Stories Slipper Jacquard Loafers - $125
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Mango Embroidered Velvet Loafers - $100
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Nasty Gal Hit the Books Patent Vegan Leather Loafer - $50
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Homecoming Heels


Ah, homecoming, our last chance to bust out a cute pair of heels before wrapping our feet up in knee socks and furry boots for winter. You can never go wrong with a sophisticated strappy heel, but a pair of refined mules or slides might be even more on-trend and, depending on the height, last longer on the dance floor. If your school's dress code is more black tie, a longer dress with a subtle slit will draw the eye to your gorgeous shoes. However, if attire tends to be more casual, a mini shift-dress or a jumpsuit with a pair of cool-girl slides will guarantee you a place on the best-dressed list.
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Urban Outfitters Thin Ankle Strap Heel - $69
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Jeffrey Campbell Parr Embellished Slide Sandal - $150
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Aldo Consentini Heels - $65
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SARTO Abbington Ankle Strap Pump - $119
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