Image Alt

The Best Capsule Wardrobe Shoes, From A Woman Who Walks Everywhere

capsule wardrobe shoes

The Best Capsule Wardrobe Shoes, From A Woman Who Walks Everywhere

knee high boots outfit idea with neutral coat and mini skirt

Shoes, glorious capsule wardrobe shoes.

I’ve taken great care to fill my wardrobe with shoes that withstand any trek while remaining true to my personal style.

While not an easy feet (I’m so sorry for this but it made me laugh), I’m sharing my best ideas to build a shoe capsule wardrobe for those who are on their feet.  

Read on for must-have capsule wardrobe shoes, ample styling ideas, and a formula for finding your perfect heel height.

Table of Contents

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Shoes

Winter Capsule Wardrobe Shoes

12 Must-Have Shoes for Each Season

How to Pick Your Perfect Heel Height

How to Build a Shoe Capsule Wardrobe

Best Brands to Shop For Shoes

Capsule Shoe FAQs

How to Maintain Your Shoes

My Summer Capsule Wardrobe Shoes

capsule wardrobe shoes

I’m exercising. I’m avoiding wearisome traffic. I’m saving the environment. I’m getting some fresh air. I’m one with nature.

All of these thoughts pat me on the back when I decide to walk to any destination and, as someone whose superiority complex must be fed, I find myself walking often.

This means the shoes on my feet must be equipped to go on an unknown journey, nearly every day.

The following summer capsule wardrobe shoes keep me comfortable while on the go, without sacrificing style.

Scroll on for the go-to kicks for a versatile closet.

Flat Sandals  

woman in green dress and flat sandals capsule wardrobe

Sandals may seem the obvious summer shoe but they are not all created equal. When finding your perfect sandal for strolls, keep in mind arch support, comfy footbeds, and straps.

As you can see I have quite an affinity for straps. Why? Not only do they add a delicacy to footwear, but straps will keep your foot from slipping out mid-stride. Very important for those of you with long walks on the beach on your dating profile.


woman in pink woven espadrilles capsule wardrobe shoes

There’s no shoe more perfectly suited for the summer than the espadrille.

These earthy shoes are defined by their woven sole but can be found paired with cotton, leather, or suede, usually in the form of slip-on sneakers or chunky wedges.

This versatility means the right espadrille for you is out there! I’ve opted for an ankle-strapped espadrille with thin suede in a lavender hue to cover the tops of my feet.

Not every summer shoe has to showcase your pedicure (or whatever may be left after a day in salt water). 

White Sneaker

slip on sneakers and mini dress outfit

A white sneaker is a staple in a shoe capsule wardrobe, a safe finishing touch to virtually every outfit imaginable.

As a fastidious walker, I enjoy both slip-on and lace-up kicks, focusing on the comfort and support of the sneaker since the style is so classic it’s hard to go wrong there.

You’ll notice the white slip-on makes an appearance next to a bright heel and stunning summer dresses in this summer capsule wardrobe.  

Classic Heels

woman in classic black high heels and white dress

Year-round, I reach for the heels in my capsule wardrobe. As a walker and a fashion icon, I am torn between the impracticality of a heel and its indisputable beauty (and power, I mean there’s nothing like strutting down a walkway in a pair of heels).

When purchasing pumps you mean to walk some distance in, keep heel height in mind. There’s a helpful formula for finding your perfect heel height further below. Block heels and wedges will not let you down for about 6-8 hours, depending on personal endurance.

My Winter Capsule Wardrobe Shoes

winter shoe capsule wardrobe

If I may make a small confession, even though I will stand by summer as my favorite season, I secretly love the fashion winter brings just a smidge more (check out the full winter capsule wardrobe here).

It feels good to be my truest self with you all <3

Now that we’re all a little bit closer, I hope you’ll trust me when I say I have cracked the code for the best capsule wardrobe shoes for winter walkers. 

For superb winter capsule shoes and styling ideas, just keep reading.

Knee High Boots 

knee high boots outfit idea with neutral coat and mini skirt

Frigid temperatures are not so bad, because they hail the start of knee-high boots season. As walkers, we should steer clear of stiletto-heeled boots.

Opt for no-heel, barely-there equestrian heels, block heels, or lug soles instead.

Styling Idea: Pair your lengthy footwear with simple skinny jeans if you’re hoping to elongate your frame, or pair with a dress that shows some leg between the boot and the hemline.

Here, I’ve styled a cream-colored knee-high boot with a mini skirt and trench. 

Ankle Boots

woman in jeans and white ankle boots from shoe capsule wardrobe

You can wear ankle boots at the dawn of fall, all throughout winter, and into spring until the sunny days outnumber the rainy ones. 

For this reason my capsule wardrobe contains both a white, textured pair and a sock-style black pair of ankle boots. I take care to find water-resistant boots that will not tarnish in the rain or snow.

However, my best advice is to walk slowly no matter the shoe when the weather is inclement, or you may find yourself an enemy in the slick sidewalk.

Here, I’ve styled my booties here with straight-leg jeans.


black lug sole loafers

My favorite thing about loafers is the accompanying socks.

It is not necessary to style your loafer with socks but it is the pairing that forces me to walk to my nearest chic cafe so that the patrons can sip hot coffee and admire my ensemble.

Lug sole loafers have won the hearts of many in the past couple seasons for their durability and shape.

But other loafer looks include sleeker options with pointed toes, flatter soles, or even the heeled variety. 

Rain Boots

capsule wardrobe shoes for winter black rain boots

Depending on the weather in your city, you may be able to do without a dedicated rain boot in your capsule wardrobe.

However, I am not so lucky. I must keep rain boots in the shoe capsule wardrobe rotation.

Rain boots used to be known for bright yellow colors and an awkward fit, but today we can find completely waterproof boots that elevate our attire.

You can go for a classic calf-high black boot with a chunky platform sole to ground your look in a functional, yet trendy silhouette.

12 Must-Have Capsule Wardrobe Shoes 

Whether you’re a fan of the flat boot or prefer sliding into stilettos, you deserve shoes that carry you through life’s occasions. The must-have shoes below offer functionality without sacrificing fashion. 


Knee High Boots

Knee-high boots are the staple shoes that add warmth and style on chilly days. I love pairing them with skinny jeans in the same color for a nice dose of leg elongation. These capsule wardrobe shoes level up any look. 

How to Style Them: 

knee high boots shoe capsule wardrobe outfit with turtleneck and houndstooth coat

Classic Pumps

Elevate your winter ensembles (literally) with the help of a trusted pair of classic pumps. To ensure they are comfortable, use the formula below for finding the perfect heel height. 

How to Style Them: 

classic pumps outfit with silk midi skirt and off shoulder sweater

Waterproof Chelsea Boots

Rainy days call for functional shoes. Enter waterproof Chelsea boots. These must-have shoes pair prettily with sweater dresses, maxi skirts, and straight-leg denim.

How to Style Them: 

Chelsea Boots Outfit with light denim jeans and black cardigan 


Ballet Flats

While ballet flats are timeless shoes, they’re surging in popularity at the moment (thanks, balletcore). A classic pair topped with a little bow makes for a polished and extremely walkable shoe option. 

How to Style Them: 

ballet flats capsule wardrobe shoes outfit with linen shorts and silk blouse

Heeled Mules

Raise your hand if you want to look effortlessly chic. My advice? Slipping into leather mules will do the trick. Their versatility and comfort make them the perfect transition weather shoes.

How to Style Them: 

heeled mules outfit with silk top and straw bag for spring

White Sneakers

No shoe capsule wardrobe is complete without a pair of dazzling white sneakers. If your style trends toward the causal side of the spectrum, you’ll find yourself slipping into these staple shoes most days of the week. 

How to Style Them: 

how to style white sneakers with white jeans and striped sweater 

Flat Sandals 

Like a reliable SPF, sandals are an absolute must-have on sweltering summer days. These capsule wardrobe shoes work best in neutral colors like tan or black for easy mixing and matching. 

How to Style Them:

midi skirt and flat sandals outfit

Strappy Heels 

Summer parties and date nights call for elegant footwear. A strappy pair of heels fit the bill. To keep your feet happy, choose a pair at a comfortable height. The formula for that is below.

How to Style Them:

Outfit with strappy heels capsule wardrobe shoes and brown trousers

Woven Espadrilles

Espadrilles make me feel beachy and boho, no matter my location. Plus, there are lots of options from wedges to flats to ankle strap varieties. Versatility and effortless style? A summer shoe essential indeed. 

How to Style Them:

Woven Espadrilles Outfit with black linen shorts and button down top

Classic Loafers

If you explored my dark academia wardrobe, you know that loafers are capsule wardrobe shoes I wholeheartedly endorse. Since loafers easily go from professional to casual, they’re a shoe staple worth making space for in your autumnal rotation. 

How to Style Them: 

Lug Sole Loafers Outfit with trench coat and jeans

Ankle Booties

When the temperature starts to drop, ankle booties step in as your functional footwear. I pair these on repeat with midi skirts, denim, and chic sweater dresses. Need boots that are made for walking? Pick a low to medium heel.

How to Style Them: 

Ankle Booties capsule wardrobe shoes outfit with black off shoulder top and white pants

Knee High Boots

Boots reign supreme in the fall. Look for a knee-high pair with a side zipper that makes sliding in and out a quick process. 

How to Style Them: 

Knee High Boots Fall Outfit Idea with brown coat

How to Pick Your Perfect Heel Height 

Heels are essential shoes that give our legs (and our confidence levels) a nice lift. But how can you find the ideal pair? 

Here’s an easy-to-use formula for finding a comfortable heel height. 

1. Measure the full length of your foot in centimeters. 
2. Divide this number by 7. 
3. This number is your ideal heel height. 

Say your 7.5 size feet measure 25.5 centimeters. When you divide 25.5 by 7, you get approximately 3.64. This means that a heel height of around 3.5 to 4 inches would be your ideal and most comfortable heel height.

This formula comes courtesy of the lovely Audrey Coyne who serves up superb style videos on the regular. 

How to Build a Shoe Capsule Wardrobe

woman wearing lug sole loafers and jeans

Go Through Your Current Shoes 

Pull out all the shoes you own. Separate the ones you wear on repeat. Look for common themes between the pairs you love. These can be colors, materials, or styles that they share.  

Personally, my favorite shoes tend to be solid colored with great arch support and little details that make me smile. Think a small buckle, bow, or embroidery that gives my shoe personality while remaining classic enough to wear until the soles fall away. 

Match Shoes to Your Lifestyle 

If there’s any section of your wardrobe where functionality is king, it’s shoes. As you pick your capsule wardrobe shoes, consider how you spend most of your time. 

Are you on the go? Do you attend meetings? Are a lot of formal events on your calendar? Your shoes should serve your needs. So pick them accordingly. 

I frequent upscale restaurants and events. Naturally, a few pairs of heels are essentials in my shoe capsule. For casual days, I have a pair of reliable sneakers which is all I need.

3. Choose Timeless Styles 

To make outfit creation easy, invest in well-made shoes that serve as the foundation for a range of looks. These include:

  • Classic black pumps
  • Ballet flats
  • Ankle boots
  • White Sneakers 

Don’t get me wrong. There’s room for fun in your capsule wardrobe shoes. Pick a bright pair of heels or a funky set of sneakers if you so desire. Just ensure you have your bases covered with timeless basics too. 

4. Rotate Shoes with Seasons

Want a simple way to keep your shoe collection manageable? Swap your collection as the seasons change. A few basic styles like sneakers will work year-round. But others, like knee-high boots in the winter or strappy sandals in the summer, can move in and out. 

At the end of each season, evaluate the condition of your shoes and see which ones need repair. Ahem, those much-loved sandals may need to be resoled. Also, use this time to learn what shoes you actually wear and which ones are simply sitting pretty on your shoe rack. 

Whittle down the capsule wardrobe shoes for a clutter-free closet. 

Make Your Shoes Last: Capsule Shoe Maintenance

So you have your stellar shoe staples. Now let’s cover how to keep them in tip-top shape.

black leather booties

Clean Shoes Regularly

Keep dirt and scuffs at bay by routinely cleaning your shoes. Reach for a soft brush or cloth to wipe away surface dirt. If you run into stubborn stains, always consult the brand’s cleaning instructions before using any removal products. 

Use Shoe Trees

Creases can kill the look of even the chicest shoes. Fortunately, you can invest in wood or plastic shoe trees to maintain your shoes’ shape. 

Store Shoes Properly

If you’re not using a pair of shoes, store them in a cool dry place. Instead of crowding all your shoes on an overflowing rack, use boxes or dust bags to put them away. This extra effort is well worth the life extension your favorite soles will get. 

Repair Your Shoes

As we discussed in our sustainable capsule wardrobe guide, it’s best to repair items rather than toss them out.  If you notice signs of wear, scuffs, or damaged soles, take your shoes to a cobbler for timely repairs.

Brands to Shop for Capsule Wardrobe Shoes


Sandals should be comfortable. Birkenstock gets that. The classic sandal features cork footbeds with excellent arch support, and the buckled style seems to always ressurect as temperatures rise. 


Minimalist shoe lovers, find your match at Everlane. Here, you’ll find a range of capsule wardrobe shoes that are built to last. Take the day glove flats for example, a fan favorite for their all-day comfort and timeless style. 

New Balance 

Founded in 1906, New Balance is a fixture in the sneaker scene. The 624s, aptly dubbed dad shoes by the trendy elite, may look familiar. Or you may prefer the ultra comfy 574s which routinely gain praise for their versatility. 

Thursday Boot Company

On the lookout for quality shoes? Thursday blends the “durability of work boots and sophistication of fashion boots”into every pair from combat to Chelsea to cowboy. 


Shoes that perfectly complete an outfit? Amazing. Shoes that do it without causing foot pain? Perfection. Find flexible, comfortable, and yes stylish shoes at Aerosoles. Take a peek if you’re looking for heels that won’t leave your feet on fire by the end of the night. 


When adding a few designer options to your shoe capsule wardrobe, scroll through the scrumptious selection at Net-A-Porter. It’s an excellent place to discover high-end shoes that fit your capsule wardrobe criteria.

FAQs – Capsule Wardrobe Shoes

How many shoes should be in a capsule wardrobe?

For a minimalist capsule wardrobe, choose 5-7 pairs of shoes that can get you through life’s occasions and seasons. This breakdown could include a dressy pair of heels, casual sneakers, office-friendly flats, open-toe sandals, neutral ankle boots, sleek loafers, and a waterproof pair of boots. 

Can’t possibly pare down your shoe collection to that size?

If you prefer more flexibility from your shoe capsule wardrobe, aim to have 10-15 pairs of shoes. By keeping your selection manageable, you can hone in on the shoes that complement both your personal style and your activities.

Oh, and you’ll have much more floor space in your closet. 

Does a capsule wardrobe include shoes?

Yes, shoes are a foundational part of any wardrobe-including a capsule. As you curate your capsule wardrobe shoes, pull in styles that complement your existing wardrobe.

If you wear lots of professional clothing, add pumps and office flats. If casual looks are your bread and butter, add in a few sneaker and slide options. Whatever your needs are, shop for durable, well-crafted shoes. Designs that are built to last (not just to look cute) will carry you far.

Post a Comment

build your capsule wardrobe The Elegance Edit

Full closet but nothing to wear? I created this style blog to take the stress out of getting dressed. Learn how to simplify your closet and create pretty, polished outfits with ease. Welcome to The Elegance Edit.