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Where do mary janes get their name? As the story goes, the original Mary Jane was a young female character created by the American cartoonist Richard Felton Outcault in 1902 for his Buster Brown comic strip. She was based on Outcault’s daughter of the same name and wore little black shoes with a strap across the instep. When Outcault later licensed his characters to the Brown Shoe Company, the name stuck, and the shoe has been seen as a sort of sweet, childish style ever since.
Because they’ve been around for so long, mary janes are perennially in fashion but have a moment in the sun every so often. Now is one of those times. Labels from Miu Miu to Reformation have dropped their takes, and aficionados of the weird-girl and ballet-core aesthetics are finding inroads into the style as well — which now comes in so many varieties that even Mary Jane herself would be impressed.
The Classic Go-to
These are cute but in all the right ways — black, patent leather, and less than $50.
The Classic With a Metallic Twist
Get all the versatility that black mary janes are known for but with some iconic metal detailing.
The (Affordable) Square-Toe
Cute but with some edge (literally).
The Viral Square Toe
If these haven’t popped up on your FYP yet, they will as soon as you close this post. For less than $300, the patent-leather option is still in stock, but who knows for how long.
The Elevated House Slipper
What happens when a house slipper gets its wings.
The Sneaker Crossover
If you couldn’t get the Re/Done 90s Mary Jane Flats before they sold out, this is another solid option.
The Double Strap
To keep you extra snug.
The Triple Strap
These might test your patience while buckling, but they will complete any outfit.
The Denim Ones
Take your Canadian tuxedo to the next level by purchasing these denim mary-jane heels.
The Concert Shoe
With a double strap, this sturdy pair could survive a mosh pit. And the scruffs will just give you extra street cred.
So comfortable you’ll think you’re wearing socks.
The Subtle Luxury Ones
The Red Ones
The creeper–ballet-flat crossover you didn’t know you needed.
The It Shoe
The one that started it all … again.
The Sport Mode
A fun new take on a classic design.
The Satin Theater Shoe
A great WFH shoe that’s a little fancier than a slipper.
This is what happens when a loafer meets a fisherman sandal: You get this mary-jane option.
Alexa, play literally anything by Joy Division.
The Picnic Shoe
Perfect for your next party in the park. The heart-shaped Swarovski-crystal buckle will surely be a conversation starter.
The Silver Ones
If you can’t get your hands on the silver Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66s, these are a great alternative for tip-tapping down the sidewalk.
The Minimalist Dream
Leather like buuuuuuutter.
The Suede Shoe
Buttery soft suede and a padded footbed — a win-win.
All done up and everywhere to go.
Mary Jane is all grown up with a lot of disposable income.
Sans the actual fish.