The 14 Best Mary Jane Shoes for Fall 2024

The shoe symbolizes high-power femininity.

two women wearing mary janes
(Image credit: Christian Vierig/Getty Images)

It's time to reacquaint yourself with the humble Mary Jane, as the silhouette is, indisputably, one of fall's leading shoe trends. Look to Bottega Veneta's sculptural and strappy stompers or Valentino's magenta platform pumps that took the shoe into the stratosphere (or should I say Barbie-sphere?). Khaite revisited the Mary Jane shoe for Fall/Winter 2022, too, albeit creative director Catherine Holstein opted for more of a space-age schoolgirl feel through lustrous silver textiles.

But why is the darling silhouette receiving such fervent industry-wide intrigue? Los Angeles-based fashion stylist Shea Daspin believes it to be because the shoes have a long history of being a perennial favorite. "People are drawn to Mary Janes because they have been around for over a century, and [we're] used to seeing them repurposed in a different way each decade," she details over email. They're familiar—they're the shoes you wore as a young girl for school days and family holiday gatherings. And, as we've seen time and time again, sentimentality plays an instrumental role in dictating the trend cycle (see: the steadfast Hot Aughts revival).

But you're not that little girl wearing velvet one-strapped flats as part of your middle school uniform anymore. You're a grown adult, who has access to credit cards and the ability to choose your own footwear now (take that, Mom!). So, ahead, you'll find a curated round-up of the best Mary Jane shoes of fall 2022, as well as more insight from Daspin on how to style the saccharine style.

What to Look For

It's simple, really. While Mary Janes are "as easy to reference as the stiletto,' the key difference is that the wearer isn’t limited to a heel shape or certain height," explains Daspin. "The strap across the front of the shoe is indicative enough that the style is a Mary Jane." In short, the only parameter you need to look for is the shoe's signature strap. Everything else—colorway, height, or sole—is up to personal preference.

How to Style Mary Janes

"Mary Janes are an iconic silhouette that's inherently girly, as they were named after a cartoon’s girlfriend in 1904," explains the stylist, referencing how the shoe's moniker is believed to be drawn from a character named Mary Jane in the 1902 comic strip, 'Buster Brown.' Daspin herself enjoys leaning into the shoe's intrinsic femininity: "My favorite way to style Mary Janes is with a frilly or knee-high sock! It pushes that Lolita feeling a little bit more. However," she cautions, "just be conscious of what bottoms you pair it with so the outfit doesn’t skew too young. For instance, I’d pair it with a pleated midi skirt and fitted top, with the option to throw a blazer or long vest over it all."

Daspin also encourages you to explore the other end of the gendered spectrum for an unexpected contrast of aesthetics. "It’s also fun to play with preconceived notions of what is feminine: Wearing the shoe with something masculine is a power move I’d love to see more of!"

Charles & Keith itzy campaign wearing mary jane shoes

(Image credit: Charles & Keith)

The Best Mary Janes

Meet the Experts

Shea Daspin
Shea Daspin

Shea Daspin is a fashion stylist with work that is vibrant and sparkly. Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, she moved to NYC as a teen to pursue fashion and attend university. She began her career as a Personal Shopper in NYC, later moving on to editorial, e-commerce, campaign, and red carpet work. She now lives on the East Side of Los Angeles with her four cats, dream closet, and a roster of celebrity clientele.

Marie Nilsson Peterzén
Marie Nilsson Peterzén

Marie Nilsson Peterzén started Vagabond Shoemakers together with her husband Mats Nilsson in 1993, and today is the Creative Director and Vice President of the company.

 “I met my husband and we decided that we should try to live together and do business together, so we moved to Italy where we lived for 4 years. There we got busy learning about shoemaking and started to apply our own design philosophy on-site, close to the best available skills within shoemaking in Portugal and Italy. During this time, Vagabond was truly acknowledged by a bigger audience and the first bestsellers hit the market. We then moved back to Varberg, Sweden and since then Vagabond has become one of Europe’s leading fashion shoe brands, selling shoes and accessories on 45+ markets all around the world.”

Emma Childs
Fashion Features Editor

Emma is the fashion features editor at Marie Claire, who writes everything from trend reports to fashion featurettes and long-form profiles. Previously, she was Marie Claire's style editor, writing shopping e-commerce guides, assisting with market for fashion photo shoots, and assigning and editing fashion celebrity news.

Emma also wrote for The Zoe Report, Editorialist, Elite Daily, Bustle, and Mission Magazine. She studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University Lincoln Center. When she's not writing fashion deep-dives, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage, reading literary fiction on her Kindle, and baking in her tiny NYC kitchen.