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.
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.
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.