I can't keep track anymore of how many people have asked me for help with shoes over the last few years. The two main questions are, "What are comfy shoes I could wear that are not heels but are not sneakers?" and the more frequent question which goes something like, "I need help with shoes! I have no idea what to do with them or where to start!" So, not really a question, but a general plea for help.
I haven't really know how to help with the latter because I don't have clarity on what's confusing for those in need of help. While I love a pop of color in my shoes, at least 75% of the time I'm wearing cognac/tan shoes. My advice would simply be to start there.
Otherwise I've rounded up a few types of shoes that are basic building blocks to start with. All from Old Navy and Target. If you need shoes that have more padding or cushioning you should still be able to find similar styles at stores with more expensive shoes since these are all pretty basic.
Simple Heels: Option 1 | Option 2 | Option 3
Most basic options for workwear OR for going out and special occasions. I own pair #1, and there's a small platform in the toe box which makes them a lot more comfortable than a normal pump--the heel doesn't feel so high and doesn't put as much weight on your toes.
Options 2 and 3 are classic, sleek styles. Instead of having that shiny, patent leather look, these look more like suede, which I personally love for pumps. Something about the matte look works well for office type looks but also works really well with jeans without me feeling too dressy or fancy.
I love #3 and am considering ordering them but I'm waiting to see how my feet are after birth until I buy anymore shoes! I LOOOOVE that color though!
NOTE: These all come in black and other colors, even some leopard and snakeskin prints.
Solid Flats: Option 4 | Option 5 | Option 6
This group addresses shoes that aren't heels or sneakers. Any type of ballet flat is the easiest place to start if shoes confuse you. I own #4 and wear them as my go-to shoe. When all else fails, when I have to walk around a lot, when I don't want to think about shoes, I step into these and head out the door. (See them in action here.)
There are also pointy toed flats like #5 and #6 that can elongate your leg line, whether you're wearing jeans of any cut, straight legged slacks for work, or a skirt. Great alternative to a heel!
NOTE: All come in different colors.
Flats with Details: Option 7 | Option 8 | Option 9
Finally, flats that are neutrals and still somewhat basics but offer a little more than a plain flat. Details like quilted textures or small bow ties give more interest to the shoes without being anywhere near too much.
NOTE: All come in different colors. Option 6 comes in a two-toned white with black cap toe, kind of like Option 9 but with the quilted detail.
What's your favorite basic type of shoe? (Like the tan flats for me!)
Also, if you have specific shoe questions please leave them in the comments. I would love to help the people who've asked for shoe help, but I really need more clarity on what is confusing. The more specific the questions the more helpful I can be.