Best Transition Shoes for Spring

There are several questions I’ve been getting a lot lately, and one of those is about the best transition shoes for spring. Yes, despite the frigid temperatures outside, it is indeed springtime!

Now that it’s April, I’m dying to put away my winter shoes and start dressing for spring, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to break out the sandals and flip flops just yet. Our spring weather is pretty fickle here in Pennsylvania, and we can still get some chilly days well into April.

I keep a couple pairs of boots around just in case of an unexpected snow flurry, and to add some juxtaposition to some of my spring looks — ankle boots with a dress or short-sleeved tee is a fun way to walk the line between seasons on milder days — but more often than not, I’m wearing footwear that’s a little more transitional in nature. I figure, if I can’t wear short sleeves and cropped pants just yet, at least I can start switching up my footwear!

I’ve rounded up what I think are the 6 best transition shoes for spring and some good options at various price points.

Best Transition Shoes for Spring

#1. Mules

Mules are having a moment right now, and I’m not mad about it. I especially like the loafer-inspired mules like the ones pictured above. A traditional loafer can skew a little too masculine for my tastes, but the backless loafer mule is tailored with a touch of femininity.

I have these Sam Edelman Laurna mules in the white texture (above) and the buff nude leather (below). I love the white, but the buff nude leather is proving to be extremely versatile. I wear them several times a week.

Fit Tip: I sized down half in these mules. 

For mules that aren’t so tailored, I love these gold woven mules. I haven’t worn them a ton just yet because the woven material seems a little summery for our chilly spring weather, but these will be getting a lot of wear over the next few weeks and months.

These mules are lightweight and very comfortable — more so than the Laurna mules above. They also come in white, black, and pewter.

Fit Tip: I also sized down half in these.

This style of shoe looks best with cropped and ankle length jeans and pants, but you can wear them with skirts and dresses as well.

Shop mules for spring:

#2. Fashion Sneakers

If you’ve been around for very long, you know one of my favorite spring trends is the white fashion sneakers. I’ve tried on a bunch of different styles, and finally settled on the Veja Esplar for my go-to white sneaker for spring. They were a little stiff at first, but they broke in easily, and now I love them.

Fit Tip: These run slightly large. I purchased the size 39 (US Women’s 8) and I typically wear 8.5 in sneakers. 

There are tons of other great options out there as well. Some have more support, some area lot softer and easier to break in, and some are super budget-friendly like these Tommy Hilfiger Two Sneakers.

These shoes are less than $50 through 4/14 at the Macy’s The Great Shoe Sale, and they run true to size, or size up if in between. (I have the 8.5.)

For a canvas sneaker with some support and cushioning, the Taos Star is a good one. They also run true to size, or size up if in between.

Shop spring fashion sneakers:

#3. Loafers

Loafers and pointy-toe flats are a classic styles that are regaining popularity at the moment. You will see everything from super preppy, menswear inspired penny loafers to casual drivers, and everything in between. I like them all!

In the photo above, I’m wearing the Taryn Rose Faye, and they’re currently on sale at Lord + Taylor. These shoes have a lot of cushioning and are very comfortable, but I did have to size up a whole size to accommodate that pointy toe. (I have the 9.) Also, these are water resistant suede, so you can wear them if the weather is a little dicey.

Below I’m wearing the UGG moccasin from the #NSale last summer that everyone fell in love with. I have these in 2 colors, I like them so much. They’re great for casual looks, and so so so comfortable. They have good arch support and a memory foam footbed. This exact style sold out, but they brought back a similar driving loafer for 2019.

Another option I like a lot is the smoking slipper style of loafer. These are feminine while still having a tailored style, and they’re typically very comfortable.

Usually they come in suede, but not always. Below I’m wearing the J.Crew suede smoking slippers in dark Pacific, which is a great option for springtime. Yes, you can wear suede in the spring! These are TTS, or size up if in between. I have them in an 8H. (That is J.Crew’s version of 8.5.)

Shop loafers for spring:

#4. Open Toe Booties/Sandals

When the weather starts to warm up, I love to break out my open toe booties, especially for dressier occasions. Pumps are nice too, but open toe booties have an edgier, more modern look to them and are generally more comfortable and easy to walk in.

The Halogen shield sandals I’m wearing above are a great example of a transitional open toe bootie/sandal combo. Sometimes they call them sandals, sometimes booties, and it sort of depends on if they have the open heel with a back strap or not. Either way, they’re a nice transition shoe for the in-between seasons! They’re TTS; I have the 8.

I also like my Vince Camuto Lanaira sandals, and they’re a great price, but they’re starting to sell out. Any bootie with cut-outs or mesh details help give them a more transitional look.

Shop open toe booties/sandals:

#5. Espadrilles

The espadrille is another classic shoe that’s having a trendy moment this season, and I love an espadrille for springtime. These generally have a more casual look about them than some of the other styles, and you can wear them right through summer.

I have a pair of black leather flat espadrilles that I wear a ton, and I’m also loving the cap-toe versions that are hot right now. I’m thinking I need to get myself a lighter pair.

Then there are also the espadrille canvas wedges that are such a fun 80s throwback. I have a red pair from J.Crew that I love.

Espadrille wedges look particularly good with dresses and skirts, but they’re also nice with pants and jeans — especially cropped pants.

Shop espadrille flats/pumps:

#6. Ballet Flats

While I love all of the above, and I do wear them often, the style of shoe I still wear most this time of year is the ballet flat. These are the shoes I slip on when I’m at home all day or running errands around town — which is pretty much 5 days out of 7. For me, they’re simply the most practical and comfortable and versatile of all the spring transition shoes.

You can see the wear on my Sam Edelman Felicia flats. I’ve had these shoes for probably 5 years. They feel like putting on slippers right out of the box, and they’ve held up pretty well for such a soft leather and for all the wear and tear I’ve put on them.

The only ballet flat I wear more often is my Tory Burch Minnie.

I recently replaced my French Grey Minnies with the Goan Sand, and I love them. I’ve been wearing them almost every day. They color is so pretty and super versatile. For size reference, I take an 8 in the TB Minnies and an 8.5 in the SE Felicia flats.

The pointy toe ballet flats are seeing a resurgence in popularity, and they give an outfit a more sophisticated vibe. I wear these when I want to take a casual outfit up a notch. I’ve yet to find a pair as comfy as the traditional rounded toe styles, but I still love the pointy toe for my more dressed-up casual looks.

These J.Crew pointed-toe flats in leopard calf hair are gorgeous, and they can act as a neutral with any color you’re wearing.

I also have these d’orsay flats in the snakeskin print, and they’re also a fun way to elevate a basic outfit. I wear these when I want a dressier look but I don’t want to wear heels. The snakeskin print is also super on trend right now.

And you’ve also seen my cheetah print flats, which I guess can go in the ballet flat category. These are very comfortable, right out of the box, and they’re priced just under $100.

Shop ballet flats for spring: 

I hope this post on best transition shoes for spring is helpful as you start transitioning your wardrobe. We all have different challenges depending on the area of the country and the climate where we live, but most of the shoes in this post are extremely versatile and can be worn from early spring all the way through summer and beyond!

Which are your favorites???

This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through my links, it helps support my business (at no additional cost to you) so thank you!

photos: Alison Cornell

Join The Conversation

30 Responses

  1. Good morning-
    I just became aware of this & not sure if you know or not. Famous Footwear now carries lower price versions of Sam Edelman’s gigi sandal & Tory Burch’s miller sandal. The brands are called Circus by Sam Edelman cayden sandal & Report the genie sandal. For my feet these lower price ones work much better for my feet then the originals & you can’t beat the price!! If you readers are looking for a more
    Budget friendly versions you may want to direct them to Famous Footwear!


  2. Great post. Ordering the Sam Edleman mules in buff! I have a pair of black Frye mules that I’ve been disappointed with. I have to scuff my feet to keep them on. Also, I realized that I don’t like the stark black against my white feet! I’m hoping these will fit better. And they are even on sale!

    1. I ordered them on sale when Jo-Lynne first shared them. Got them yesterday and LOVE them! I walked around the office in them and they stayed on my feet 🙂 

  3. Perfect post and very timely – we are finally starting to see some spring weather in Calgary – so I am on the hunt for some new ballet flats! 🙂

  4. Thank you for this post!  You linked a pair of loafers at Target that I just ordered.  I’ve been on the hunt for some and hopefully these will be the ones.  I love my slip on sneakers, but need a pair of nicer looking slip ons when I don’t want to be as casual.  I loved the Ugg loafers, but they just didn’t work for my feet.

  5. Thank you for the post on transitional spring shoes. You show leopard print flats, and me being somewhat fashion dysfunctional, I always thought they were more a Fall shoe. Would you wear them only with jeans?

    1. They do seem fallish, but they are definitely a year-round print. I would wear them with any colored pant — they’re great with olive, of course black, or any of the neutrals that are in the shoe. I styled leopard slides last year with white jeans and an olive top: https://jolynneshane.com/sanctuary-sylvie-tiered-hem-linen-tee-spring-outfit.html

      This is a fall outfit but I’d wear it in spring – https://jolynneshane.com/26-days-of-fall-outfits-day-10.html

      Here I wore them with a black top and white shorts – https://jolynneshane.com/casual-summer-shorts-outfit.html

      Jeans and a rust top in summer – https://jolynneshane.com/tie-front-tank-in-portsmouth-nh.html

      Jeans and a magenta top in spring – https://jolynneshane.com/magenta-leopard-for-spring.html

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  6. Do you wear socks with any of your spring shoes? If so what kind of no show socks do you prefer? Also, if you don’t wear socks with the shoes, how do you keep them smelling fresh?

      1. Thanks for responding! I don’t wear socks with any of these shoe styles. I did wear the no shoe shoe liners with ballet flats, but they always seem to slip off. After long days of working, my feet sweat and my shoes, especially black flats get smelly.

        1. Hm, are they leather? The only thing I can think of is that I don’t usually wear mine that long. My 13-y/o daughter always wears those liners with her ballet flats, and no-show socks with her sneakers. She can’t stand to go barefoot in shoes. My 16-y/o is like me. I don’t think she owns a sock. Haha!

          1. Yeah I usually wear black leather ballet shoes for work, so that is probably the problem, and i have them on all day. I’ll have to switch shoes more often throughout the day. I prefer to not wear socks with shoes

  7. I’m with you, I do not like the look of the mules. They are so not feminine. Doubt that I will jump on that style band wagon. Lots of other cute options you have shared.

  8. Great post! You have such terrific taste in shoes. 🙂 I guess my favorites are the white sneakers (although I never thought I’d go there again!) and the driving loafers. For the life of me, I cannot keep ballet flats on my feet so I gave up on them long ago. And mules are hardly any better. They were trendy when I was in college and they still look dated to me even though I know they are really hot now.

  9. Great post. I love the options and have quite a few already. I just added a white leather sneaker to my spring wardrobe and a blush color suede sneaker shoe with the thicker sole ( after getting rid of plantar fasciitis)  I’ve not had it return in the last 5 plus years since paying more attention to my footwear. The flats are cute but I’d only be able to wear them for a very short time. Those Vince Camuto open toe shoes are wow!!! I have a similar pair but the design of those are pretty. I did buy s pair of the Tory Burch looks like Miller sandal last year in Florida at famous footwear… hard to see the difference and much better price lol..,

    1. Just a question? Was there a reason you didn’t style the sneaker shoe slip on or otherwise? Just curious as I wear mine the most in the transition period. Thanks 😀

  10. Thank you so much for this Jolynne!  Wondering if any of the ballet flats offer any support?  I have plantar fasciitis and unfortunately can’t go without support 😩

    1. Hello, I have a pair of ballet flats by Vionic with decent support. Having had Achilles tendonitis, plus hip/back issues I need to be selective with my footwear. These shoes are the most supportive flats I’ve seen.

  11. I think I’m going to try the open toe booties. I’ve been on the fence about buying a pie but I love the way you style them. As for the mules—I just can’t. I wasn’t a fan when they were popular 20 some years ago and they still don’t work for me 😂. I just don’t understand! 

    1. Haha! It really is an odd shoe, if you think abut it.😂 I don’t know why I love them, but I do. Fortunately there are tons of other options… something for everyone! 🙂

  12. I always LOVE your shoe posts lol!!! I got both the buff mule and the gold mule when you shared them in recent posts, love them both!! All great styles here!!

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