always shopping

27 Cute (But Not Too Cute) Pairs of Mary Janes

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailers.

For more of the Cut’s favorite fashion, beauty, and home finds, sign up for the weekly Cut Shop Newsletter.

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

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

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.

The No-Break-In-Necessary

So comfortable you’ll think you’re wearing socks.

The Subtle Luxury Ones

This Spanish brand is known for its quality leather shoes (we love their fisherman sandals, too) and these mary janes aren’t the exception.

The Red Ones

Go all in with the color trend of the season and pair these with your newfound red tights once fall comes around.

The Flatform

The creeper–ballet-flat crossover you didn’t know you needed.

The It Shoe

The Sport Mode

The Satin Theater Shoe

A great WFH shoe that’s a little fancier than a slipper.

The Three-in-One

This is what happens when a loafer meets a fisherman sandal: You get this mary-jane option.

The Creeper

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

The Suede Shoe

Buttery soft suede and a padded footbed — a win-win.

The Lace-Up

The Mesh

Another “It”-girl shoe that will have your toes out and about all summer long.

The Splurge

Mary Jane is all grown up with a lot of disposable income.

The Fishnet

27 Cute (But Not Too Cute) Pairs of Mary Janes