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11 best Mary Jane shoes for French cool-girl style in 2023: From flats to stylish heels

Mary Jane shoes are having a moment – here’s proof

best Mary Jane shoes
Carla Challis
Carla ChallisCommerce Partnerships Editor
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The humble Mary Jane shoe is experiencing a major renaissance – and I’m so here for it. Following on from the resurgence in sales of ballet flats, the cutesy Mary Jane is currently cladding every fashion editor under the sun at Fashion Week, and the shoe du jour for the likes of Katie Holmes, Olivia Rodrigo and Dua Lipa. 

You might remember begging your mum for a pair of Mary Janes at the start of each school term (I was overjoyed it was the shoe style my four-year-old was desperate for as she started school), or if you’re a Sex and The City stan like me, forever playing that iconic scene where Carrie got to explore the Vogue fashion closet. “Oh my god!” she screams, as she spots a pair of Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes. “I thought this was an urban myth!”

I’ve just bought a pair of flat Mary Jane shoes myself, totally inspired by Instagram and my child’s school shoes – inspiration strikes in the strangest places, doesn’t it?! I'm all for the Parisian vibes of the Mary Jane, and I'm parking my loafers in favour of the cutesy strapped flats.

Celebrities wearing Mary Jane shoes

From heeled to flat, Mary Janes are so popular among the A-list that you’d be forgiven for thinking no other shoe exists. Flat Mary Janes with lacy minis make for a cute combo from Rita Ora, and Olivia Rodrigo’s classic pair are giving Wednesday Adams-meets-schoolgirl chic. 

Celebrities wearing Mary Janes: Dua Lipa, Naomi Watts and Olivia Rodrigo
Dua Lipa, Naomi Watts and Olivia Rodrigo wearing Mary Jane shoes

My vibe would definitely be Dua Lipa’s, teaming a flat black Mary Jane with jeans and an oversized shirt, and Naomi Watts’ is making a case for Mary Jane heels as eveningwear – her metallic Mary Janes are heavenly.

How to wear Mary Jane shoes 

Treat a pair of Mary Janes as you would a loafer or ballet flat; with jeans, skirts, wide-leg trousers and party wear (heels or flats). Think of them as a smarter alternative to trainers for these in-between weather days, and a more interesting look for evening than a classic pump. 

Ysaora Thibus rocking Mary Janes at Paris Fashion Week
Ysaora Thibus rocking Mary Janes at Paris Fashion Week

The cool girls are wearing theirs with white socks, and eschewing the classic black style for Mary Jane shoes in silver or with studs. Square toes are also in vogue, but if in doubt, stick to the original round toe shape.

How I chose the best Mary Jane shoes

  • Style: I’ve searched the high street for both flat and heeled Mary Janes, in black leather as well as metallics, soft materials and studded.
  • Inclusivity: You’ll find Mary Jane shoes in standard width as well as wide fit, narrow fit and larger sizes too.
  • Comfort factor: Where possible, I’ve scrutinised the reviews of the Mary Janes listed to highlight the most comfortable pairs.
  • Price: You can bag a pair for as little as £32.99 and spend upwards of £120, so you'll find a range of prices in this edit.
  • Best Flat Mary Jane Shoes

    Cos Mary Jane shoes

    Cos Mary Jane Flats

    Editor's note: "I fell in love with these after seeing one of my favourite Instagrammers wearing them. They're an elevated shape for 2023, more square and angular than a traditional Mary Jane but just as sleek."

    Cos' modern take on the Mary Jane includes an almond-shaped toe and silver eyelets. These are selling fast, so shop quick.

  • M&S Mary Jane Shoes

    M&S Mary Jane Flats

    Editor's note: "These are just £35, and you always know what you're going to get with M&S - a comfy shoe! These come in silver too, and I think they'd make a fancy flat for the party season."

    Available in sizes 3-8, including half sizes, these M&S Mary Jane shoes score almost perfect marks in the reviews, with M&S shoppers calling them "stylish and comfortable."

  • Free People mary jane shoes

    Sam Edelman Gem Mary Jane Shoes

    Editor's note: "These fun embellished flats are a great pair if you want a bit of bling without being too twee."

    Sam Edelman's gem-encrusted Mary Jane flats are a modern take on the ballet silhouette, with embellishments and a chunky style.

  • Boden Mary Jane Shoes

    Boden Flat Mary Jane Shoes

    Editor's note: "There's something delightful about these bright red Mary Jane shoes, with their double straps and shiny finish. If red isn't for you, there's gold and black versions too."

    A modern take on the classic Mary Jane, these flats are available in sizes 3-9 and three different colours, with a patent finish.

  • John Lewis Mary Jane shoes

    John Lewis Mary Jane Flat Shoes

    Editor's note: "I'm not normally one for a metallic shoe, but I can see myself wearing these with denim and a tee for a laidback luxe look."

    John Lewis' Mary Jane shoes are available in gold, cream and black. Online reviews suggest they come up small, so might be worth sizing up or ordering two pairs to get the perfect fit.

  • Charles & Keith mary jane flats

    Charles & Keith Flat Mary Jane Shoes

    Editor's note: "A pearl buckle? They're really spoiling us! With a patent finish and fancy fastening, I'm thinking these Charles & Keith Mary Janes are ideal for those who like a smarter shoe without a heel."

    Charles & Keith's Mary Jane flats come in four colours, including this classic black patent with pearl-detailed buckle. Available in sizes 2-9.

  • Best Heeled Mary Jane Shoes

    New Look Mary Jane shoes

    New Look Mary Jane Heeled Shoes

    Editor's note: "These are a great buy if you want to tap into the look, as they're coming in under £40. New Look shoes are usually super comfortable too, so I have high hopes for this pair."

    A flared heel and double-strap elevate New Look's Mary Jane heels. Available in sizes 3-6.

  • H&M Mary Jane Shoes

    H&M Block-Heeled Mary Jane Shoes

    Editor's note: "The square toe and higher heel make H&M's Mary Jane heels a contemporary pair of shoes - and let's face it, they're pretty cool too."

    H&M's heeled Mary Jane shoes boast an 8.5cm block heel, square toe and patent finish. Available in sizes 2-9.

  • Jones Bootmaker Mary Janes

    Jones Bootmaker Heeled Mary Jane Shoes

    Editor's note: "This stiletto heeled pair are pure elegance - I could see Princess Kate wearing them to royal engagements."

    Described as being created from supple leather, these heeled Mary Janes have a 9cm stiletto heel and oversized buckle.

  • Mango Mary Jane Shoes

    Mango Heeled Mary Jane Shoes

    Editor's note: "The 5cm heel on these Mango Mary Janes make them a good choice for day or night. If black isn't bold enough for you, the silver hue should do it."

    Available in sizes 3-8, Mango's Mary Jane heels feature a flared heel and button-snap closure on the signature Mary Jane strap.

  • Stories Mary Jane Shoes

    & Other Stories Heeled Mary Jane Shoes

    Editor's note: "This cream pair of Mary Jane heels are giving me 60s vibes; wear with a mini skirt and knee high socks for a Mary Quant aesthetic."

    Head to & Other Stories for this double-buckle pair of Mary Janes, with block heel and square toe. 


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