Put some spring in your step with warm weather footwear

ShoesFinally, we can put the snow boots and wool socks away. But that also means the hunt is on to find the right fit for your feet, rain or shine.

“My opinion of shoes that are in right now is pointed-toe heels and flats,” shoe enthusiast and DePaul business student Chinenye Marcus said. Marcus, a saleswoman at DSW, is an upscale department store veteran, having also worked at Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. She started her own fashion blog last year and has a shoe collection spanning 100 to 200 pairs.

“Flats can dress up or down,” Marcus said. “They can be casual or business-wear. They’re very comfortable. I’ve seen a lot of people wear nude or black — black is very versatile. I’ve also seen light blue and suede.”

Josephine Roth, a member of the DePaul Fashion Society, said flats are dominating spring fashion this year.

“They’re not completely open-toed like sandals, but are still appropriate for the rising temperatures,” Roth said. “I love (the) styles from J.Crew, Anthropolgie and Banana Republic. They offer a nice variety for people with different styles and can even be worn straight from school to work, which is a huge plus.”

It’s no secret that flats have dominated the street scene for a while, but this year, Roman lace-up sandals have also made a comeback.

“(Gladiators) are very trendy. You can wear them in spring and summer,” Marcus said. Though the hype for those shoes died down a few years ago, they’re making a comeback both as sandals and also as flats, looking like a hybrid between the two shoes, with closed-toes and laces around the ankle.

“Flats are always a timeless piece and stores are always trying to come up with different ways to design and style them. I will say I’ve seen more metallic flats and pumps recently as well as embellished flats,” Roth said.

Both Roth and Marcus agreed that many brands are designing flats with comfort in mind. But for people who think flats fall,  well — flat, there are other safe, classic alternatives that are worth investing in and are guaranteed to last a while.

For Roth, slip-on sneakers are a good go-to.

“I always think it’s fun to have a white pair in your closet so that you can slowly reintroduce white into your wardrobe before Memorial Day,” Roth said. “Sneakers are also great because they have the same versatility of a flat but are more comfortable. They look great with dresses but also track pants and a cute sweatshirt.”

For Marcus, a trendy but classic alternative is a pair of Oxfords.

“They’re very popular year-round. Those would be a good investment,” Marcus said. “You can wear them in spring, summer and winter when there’s no snow. They’re a pair for every season. They don’t go out of style and they sell year round.”

Oxfords are also a great option for guys, DePaul student Paolo Mazza said. He plans his outfits by the campus he’s at that day, be it in the professional Loop or relaxed Lincoln Park.

“They come in many colors, are comfy, and most have a rubber sole so you don’t slip,” Mazza said. Loafters or boat shoes also fit the bill.  Speaking of bills, it’s all well and good to browse cute shoes online, but seeing the final bill in your online cart is a bleak reminder that nice shoes don’t mesh well with a student budget.

“Honestly, finding the balance between price and quality is something I struggle with,” Roth said. “I usually like to splurge on shoes because I wear them more often and poor quality materials tend to wear out quickly.”

Roth suggested investing in leather, and for spring, sticking with festive, lighter colors, or something versatile like black or white.

Luckily for city students, shoe inspiration is not far away. For more ideas about what to wear and how to wear it, perch on a bench in the quad and watch your peers walk by.