The Best Transition Shoes for Fall

Happy September, friends! Even though fall isn’t officially here until later this month, this is when I start to get excited for all of those fall fashions we’ve been talking about lately.

But here in Philly, it can stay warm well into October, so it can be a challenge to find appropriate shoes during this transition time. We’re ready to ditch the summer flip-flops, but booties can be too warm… so what’s a fashion-loving girl to do?

I’ve had some requests for transition shoes for fall, so I dug up this post from the archives and updated it with the latest trends and current links.

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The Best Transition Shoes for Fall

We’ve already discussed shoe and boot trends for fall 2022, but this post is specifically about the shoes that fall in between the boots and the sandals. Not that you can’t also wear booties and fall sandals right now; you can if you want. But these are the styles I typically reach for during this transition season.

#1. Loafers

photo credit: Nordstrom

Loafers are a classic shoe style that has been popular over the past few years, and they’re still going strong. Lug sole loafers and chunky styles are very much on trend, and they’re great for balancing out wider hips or a larger top half, but the sleeker styles are a little more versatile.

As always, wear what you like and what aligns best with your personal style. And if you don’t like loafers, you certainly don’t have to wear them. Keep reading for other options!

#2. Clogs

photo credit: Nordstrom

Love ’em or hate ’em, clogs have finally become mainstream, after we talked about them for the past couple of seasons. It took a while for them to really hit their stride, pun intended! I think that’s because they can be tricky to wear, but if you like them, now is the time to add a pair to your closet. Shearling lined clogs are also going to be big this season.

#3. Mules

photo credit: Nordstrom

Mules and clogs overlap slightly, but mules always have an open back, whereas clogs sometimes have a back strap or are completely closed. Also, clogs always have a wooden platform sole. Mules tend to be a little more refined, and we see them in all heel heights.

I still love a loafer mule, but the chunky heel mules with a pointy toe are gaining ground. I think it’s because they look so good with flares.

#4. Fashion Sneakers

photo credit: Nordstrom

I read one article that said the distinction between fashion sneakers and athletic sneakers is nearing nonexistent. Retro styles are taking hold, but that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your clean white sneakers or court styles. They’re all out there, and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

Just make sure you style them in a way that looks intentional and not like you just threw on your running shoes with your street clothes. There’s a fine line between looking frumpy and looking like you made a sartorial choice. I’m loving the ones in autumnal colors, especially suede.

#5. Ballet Flats

photo credit: Nordstrom

Word on the street is ballet flats are making a comeback this season. Evidently, this Miu Miu Satin Bow Ballerina Flat is the pair that is taking the fashion world by storm. The idea is to wear these with more rugged pieces such as a cargo skirt or leather bomber to “sweeten” the look.

I’ll be curious to see if this trend takes hold and becomes mainstream over the next few seasons or not. Since it’s a classic shoe that has been on the back burner for a while, I think we will; it just may not be such a literal interpretation of a ballet slipper as seen above.

As an aside: I’m also seeing pointy toe flats on the fringe, and I think they’ll be back in the mainstream by next year. They work really well with flares, so it makes sense!

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18 Responses

  1. Great post! Since Birkenstock’s have great arch support and options for my very narrow and paper thin feet, I will continue living in them as long as I can. When I wear my clogs I will have to wear my ankle brace, which does nothing for an outfit, but it’s a necessity. I am itching to get my containers of shoes, handbags, and clothes out of the attic, but with us still dealing with triple digit ‘feels like’ temps, I don’t need to be too hasty.

    1. Ginger, I’m with you on the Birks; they work so well for me. I’ll probably even wear the Arizona style with socks around the house as the weather cools.

  2. Whether jackets or shoes the trends this year just don’t work for me…. Except flares- I’m short and curvy and wear them whether in style or not! Guess that’s what I’ll focus on adding and mixing with my fitted tops, jackets and heels. I haven’t bought one fall item yet this year…

  3. Thank you for sharing this round-up of fall footwear trends. I am excited about it this year. I purchased some of these trends during the #NSale and probably won’t keep everything, but I got the Rag & Bone retro sneakers, a pair of loafers from Donald Pliner, a few lower heeled booties, and some clogs in a few different colors. I can’t wait until it cools down enough to try them with different outfits and see what works. I have worn the low-shaft booties for so long that it will be nice to try different things again.

  4. I am thoroughly enjoying thoughts of transitioning to fall clothes– even though it’s still in the high 80’s in Delaware every day still. Yesterday I pulled lots of tanks and shorts and put them in storage and added some short sleeve shirts and lightweight jeans. I like to ease out of a previous season and into another. I am liking the clog and “trainer” trends. Sneakers make sense with so many of my daily jean outfits– I work at home and run and play gaga ball with my grandchildren, so I am trying to change my mindset. Sneakers always felt like a “lazy” choice to me. But I’m starting to wrap my head around the idea. I have never been a flats girl– I have big feet (10 or 11) and a high arch and they are a no for me. And while I like the idea of loafers, I’ve never liked them. Over the years when I’ve bought them, they’ve ended up mostly sitting in my closet. I do like the lug sole styles though and would be open to giving them a try. Last year a brand had a dark green (or maybe olive?) pair and I debated over them until they were sold out. I can’t remember what brand they were. I think I’ll keep an eye out for something interesting like that.

  5. I’m excited for fall. I have heeled mules, a pair of clogs and 2 pairs of casual loafers (which I found on clearance!). I definitely will try flares but must decide on what to order. I will pass on the ballet flats.

    I never thought I would like loafers, but here we are! 😁

  6. As a former ballet student I can’t get on board with those Mui Mui Ballerina flats at all. My feet took years of abuse from ballet slippers and pointe shoes. I only stopped doing pointe about 4 years ago due to a shoulder injury and now that my feet have mostly recovered I have to wear shoes with some solid arch support. This trend I’ll be skipping but I’m keeping my eye out for some nice chunky loafers.

  7. For those who’ve tried them, how comfortable are the clogs? I still remember my Swedish pair from long ago–cute but hard-soled and unforgiving.

    1. Laura-
      I just got the Corks “Tammy Clog”. They’re comfy & very cute. I have finicky feet & though I wouldn’t wear these for 12 hrs, I would definitely recommend them.

  8. Out here in the Central Valley of California it is still over 100 degrees and creeping up to 113 by next week! I love clogs, they’re so easy to put on. I’m tempted to just walk around in a wet swimsuit with a light weight cover up and a pair of clogs as my nod to fall. 😏

  9. I like loafers, mules and clogs. NO for ballet flats. I never really have been a fan. I have a new pair of 2″ heel clogs coming in the mail that you recommended in a post from DSW shoes and hope to know how to style them. 🙂 They are a taupe color. Very nice neutral. I have a higher heel cognac type mule I wore a lot last Fall and still plan to this Fall. They go with a lot too.

  10. I think a post on how NOT to wear fashion sneakers would be well-received—aka, how not to look frumpy in them! When I wear them with my cropped/ankle jeans, they look modern and cute. But when I try to wear them with my “new for fall jeans”, like straight, boot, full length, I feel like they have a frumpy look, even though the jeans and shoes are “current.” Thanks!

    1. I second this idea! How to wear the retro sneakers and not look frumpy. I can see it with joggers but how do you wear them with jeans? Only with crop flares?

  11. Thank you for this post, not a fan of most of these – just can’t do lug soles or clogs and since I’m a personal trainer I opt not to wear any type of tennis shoe outside of the gym. But loving the mules and balet flats – such a great variety this fall, something for everyone

  12. My eye was caught by the Miu Miu ballet slippers. When I saw them the thought that they looked like actual dancewear instantly popped into my head. I loved the shiny copper color. Then I clicked the link and saw the price. No way!!

  13. Great post with lots of choices! I am a day behind in commenting, but I have a question: the ballet flats look interesting, but what jeans style would you wear with them? It seems like the full length flares would be too much? I guess I always thought of ballet flats with leggings/skinny jeans, as in a Audrey Hepburn look. Advise please?

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