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The 29 Best Mary Jane Shoes of 2022

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailers.

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

Endless versatility wrapped in velvet (or Italian leather if you opt for the black pair).

The French Girl Go-to

The T-strap

The Sport Mode

The Square-Toe

Cute but with some edge (literally).

The Satin Theater Shoe

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

The Elevated House Slipper

What happens when a house slipper gets its wings.

The Concert Shoe

With a double strap, this sturdy pair could survive a mosh pit.

The ‘Life’s a Party’ Party Shoe

Photo: Sungjune Jang

Wear them grocery shopping or to the office. Why not?

The Creeper

Alexa, play literally anything by Joy Division.

The Flatform

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

The ’90s Throwback

The Sneaker Crossover

If you couldn’t get the Nike Air Rift Breathe shoes before they sold out, this is another solid option.

The Double-Strap Heel

The Picnic Shoe

Perfect for your next party in the park.

The Minimalist Dream

The Golden Ones

The Wide Fit

Almond toes aren’t the easiest on the feet, but this option comes with a wider set and a functional buckle for comfort.

The No-Break-In-Necessary

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

The Pumps

The Triple-Strap

The Suede Shoe

$340

Buttery-soft suede, a padded footbed, and a comfortable one-inch heel — a win-win-win scenario.

The Steal

This shoe looks way more expensive than it is.

The Lace-Up

All done up and everywhere to go.

The Fishnet

The It Shoe

The Subtle Luxury Ones

This Spanish brand is known for its quality leather shoes, and these mary janes aren’t the exception.

The Splurge

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

The Warm-Weather Staple

Already planning your winter escape? Here’s the finishing touch to your full-linen Nancy Meyers rom-com look.

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