The 17 Best Mary Janes on the Market, From Classic Flats to Towering Platforms

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Shoe trends may come and go, but some styles transcend the ever-changing cycle. Case in point: the Mary Jane, which has remained a footwear mainstay since the early 20th century. Characterized by one or more instep straps, you likely had a shiny patent leather pair in your toddler days, or perhaps as part of your school uniform. Fast forward to today, and the timeless style is just as popular as ever, reimagined in every which way with plenty of grown-up iterations to choose from.

Plenty of brands are putting their twist on the classic preppy flat, buckle and all, but there are also Mary Janes with towering platforms heels, grunge-inspired serrated lug soles, and everything in between. That said, whether you’re looking to infuse a bit of sweetness or attitude into your look, trust that there’s an option for whatever style vibe you’re going for.

To find the very best Mary Janes available to shop right now, we did our research and read through countless customer reviews. We also tapped a team of experts—stylists, designers, historians, and more—to get their take on shopping for and styling this iconic shoe.

Best Overall

Reformation Adalynn Chunky Mary Jane

Reformation Adalynn Chunky Mary Jane


If our social feeds are any indication, the Y2K revival is continuing to dominate fashion trends across the board—which is why we’ve chosen this Reformation style as our number one pick. Designed with a chunky platform lug sole and a too-cute flower-shaped buckle, it’s equal parts grungy and girly, screaming “millennium” while still feeling modern. Plus, thanks to the low heel, it’s the perfect everyday shoe with plenty of styling versatility.

Price at time of publish: $278

Construction: Leather upper | Size Range: 5–11

Best Budget

Charles & Keith Metallic Buckle Patent Mary Janes

Charles & Keith Metallic Buckle Patent Mary Janes

Charles & Keith

When it comes to affordable on-trend footwear options, Charles & Keith never lets us down. Consider these chunky block-heeled Mary Janes a more elevated version of your go-to loafer. With a golden buckle, contrasting topstitching, and a subtly scalloped sole, these are truly a standout—plus, they look way more expensive than they are.

Price at time of publish: $73

Construction: Patent faux leather | Size Range: 5–11

Best Splurge

Prada Chocolate Mary Jane

Prada Chocolate Mary Jane


If you’re going to spend a good chunk of change on a designer shoe, make it a versatile pair that can fit a variety of different outfits. Inspired by school uniform shoes of the ‘70s, the fashion house reimagined them with a modern silhouette, T-strap instep, and a chunky ridged sole that resembles tiny chocolate bars—hence the name.

Price at time of publish: $1,120

Construction: Leather upper, lining; rubber sole | Size Range: 5–11

Best Everyday

Ganni Mary Jane Ballerina

Ganni Mary Jane Ballerina


For a no-fail Mary Jane that can be worn any day of the week, we’re looking at this pair from Ganni. Far from your basic flat, these feature a subtly chunky sole, a wide-welt square toe, and a glitzy embellished button that adds a touch of whimsy yet is still casual enough for every day. We’d pair these with a mini skirt and white ruffly socks, but really, they can work with anything.

Price at time of publish: $375

Construction: 100% calf leather upper; 100% biodegradable leather lining; and 100% microporous rubber sole | Size Range: 5–12

Best Statement

JW Anderson Bumper-Tube Leather Mary Jane Pumps

JW Anderson Bumper-Tube Leather Mary Jane Pumps


With padded detailing and an oversized round-toe silhouette, these daring JW Anderson stiletto Mary Janes are a favorite of stylist and creative consultant Reva Bhatt. “I absolutely love this fresh take on a classic Mary Jane—it feels so modern,” she says. If you prefer something a bit more pared-down, there’s also an all-black version

Price at time of publish: $850

Construction: 80% calfskin leather, 10% polyester, 10% polyurethane outer; 100% leather lining; 100% rubber sole | Size Range: IT37–41

Best Minimalist

The Row Ava Leather Mary Jane Ballet Flats

The Row Ava Leather Mary Jane Ballet Flats


The Row is beloved for its expertise in timeless luxury, which is why this pair comes recommended by stylist and creative consultant Dione Davis. A grown-up version of our childhood shoes, these are crafted in soft Italian leather with clean, minimalist lines and a softly squared toe. They’re an investment, sure, but one you’ll wear for years. 

Price at time of publish: $790

Construction: Goat leather | Size Range: IT35–IT42

Best Heeled

Schutz Mary Jane Pump

Schutz Mary Jane Pump


A great entryway into cowboy boots territory, this Western-inspired Mary Jane incorporates all the best elements without going full-on yeehaw. Featuring a gold-tipped pointed toe, Western buckle, and classic slanted cowboy heels, these pair perfectly with everything from flouncy sundresses to wide-leg denim.

Price at time of publish: $168

Construction: Leather upper and sole; synthetic lining | Size Range: 5–11

Best Platform

Larroudé Olivia Platform Mary Jane

Larroudé Olivia Platform Mary Jane


When it comes to platforms, Nordstrom shoes and accessories director Beth Kanfer is a fan of this pair from Larroudé. The classically sweet patent leather style gets an edgy makeover with an ultra-chunky rubber platform sole for a heel you can actually wear all day long. “A flatform-platform combo offers both fashion and comfort,” she says.

Price at time of publish: $315

Construction: Leather upper, lining; rubber sole | Size Range: 6.5–11

Best Embellished

Khaite Lorimer Pump

Khaite Lorimer Pump


Not your average pump, these sleek elastic Mary Janes from Khaite feature a rhinestone-studded block heel for a fun and unexpected hint of glamour. Not overly formal or fancy, these can easily pair with a party dress or your favorite mom jeans.

Price at time of publish: $980

Construction: Leather upper, lining; synthetic sole | Size Range: 5.5–10.5

Best Y2K

Vagabond Dorah Platform Mary Jane Pump

Vagabond Dorah Platform Mary Jane Pump


We love this style for its pared-down take on a ‘90s-inspired Mary Jane. “With its sturdy silhouette and details such as the hook-and-loop fastening instead of the traditional buckle, it gives the style a new spin—our signature Vagabond take,” says Vagabond founder Marie Nilsson Peterzén. They’re minimalist, yet still exude that ‘90s cool.

Price at time of publish: $165

Construction: Leather upper, lining; synthetic sole | Size Range: 6–11

Best Double-Strap

Nodaleto Bulla Babies Patent-Leather Platform Mary Jane Pumps

Nodaleto Bulla Babies Patent-Leather Platform Mary Jane Pumps


Two straps are better than one when it comes to these statement heels from buzzy Parisian footwear brand Nodaleto. Constructed in baby pink patent leather with a chunky retro heel, these are destined to be the most exciting shoe in your collection. 

Price at time of publish: $850

Construction: Patent leather | Size Range: IT35–41

Best White

Zou Xou Uchi Flat

Zou Xou Uchi Flat

Zou Xou

Sleek and simple, these flats still pack a punch. We love how the soft white leather pops against the chunky rubber lug sole, and the tortoiseshell buckle adds just the right amount of flair.

Price at time of publish: $295

Construction: Leather upper, lining, midsole; rubber outsole | Size Range: EU35–EU42

Best Lug Sole

Dr. Martens Audrick Nappa Lux Platform Mary Jane Shoes

Dr. Martens Audrick Nappa Lux Platform Mary Jane Shoes

Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens’ Mary Janes have remained a counter-culture staple since the ‘80s, and we love this souped-up iteration of its classic 8065 style. Featuring a singular T-bar strap instead of the traditional two, the smooth, round-toe style sits atop a chunky platform sole with deep cleats and an exaggerated side profile.

Price at time of publish: $160

Construction: Nappa leather | Size Range: 5–11

Best Square Toe

Aeyde Black Patent Uma

Aeyde Black Patent Uma


The original Mary Jane may have had a rounded toe, but we appreciate how a squared toe instantly makes the style feel new and fresh. Case in point: this sleek flat from Berlin-based brand Aeyde.

Price at time of publish: $295

Construction: Leather trim, hardware, footbed, and sole | Size Range: IT35–IT41

Best Occasion

Manolo Blahnik Satin Mary Jane Stiletto Mules

Manolo Blahnik Satin Mary Jane Stiletto Mules

Neiman Marcus

A satin stiletto mule with a crystal-embellished button (rather than the classic buckle) takes the Mary Jane into formal territory. Consider these the perfect match for cocktail dresses and silk slips—or for whenever you want to feel a little fancy.

Price at time of publish: $945

Construction: Satin; leather outsole and lining | Size Range: EU35–EU42

Best Flats

Sandy Liang Mary Jane Pointe Shoe

Sandy Liang Mary Jane Pointe Shoe

Sandy Liang

Calling all balletcore enthusiasts: New York-based designer Sandy Liang recently made her first foray into footwear with this ballet flat-Mary Jane hybrid. Inspired by pointe shoes (hence the boxy toe), they’re available in chic colorways like baby pink satin and buttery cream leather.

Price at time of publish: $495

Construction: Leather trim, hardware, footbed, and sole | Size Range: EU35–EU41

Best Patent

Sam Edelman Michaela Mary Jane Flat

Sam Edelman Michaela Mary Jane Flat


With a glossy black finish and subtly squared toe, this pair from Sam Edelman nods to retro styles of the past but with a modern feel. Gold jewelry lovers will also appreciate that the buckle is gold rather than classic silver. 

Price at time of publish: $130

Construction: Textile upper, lining, and sole | Size Range: 5–11

Final Verdict

Our top pick is Reformation’s Adalynn Chunky Mary Jane. Equal parts grungy and girly, it’s the perfect style for everyday wear and can be styled in a multitude of ways. If you’re willing to splurge on a designer pair, you can’t go wrong with Prada’s Chocolate Mary Jane.

Meet the Expert

  • Reva Bhatt is a stylist, creative consultant, and founder of Rooted, an event series-turned-creative agency championing South Asian culture, art, and community.
  • Dione Davis is a New York-based fashion stylist and creative consultant.
  • Beth Kanfer is the Fashion Director of Shoes and accessories at Nordstrom.
  • Elizabeth Semmelhack is the Director and Senior Curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada.
  • Marie Nilsson Peterzén is the founder, Creative Director, and Vice President of Vagabond Shoemakers.

What to Look for When Buying Mary Janes

The right style and hardware

Today’s Mary Janes come in all shapes and sizes (and heights and colors, but more on that below), so it’s helpful to be mindful of how you plan to wear them as you shop. Do you want a traditional black flat that you can pair with any outfit or a style you can wear on formal occasions? If you’d prefer more of a statement shoe, Bhatt suggests looking for fresh takes on the classic silhouette. “Look for a funky color, unique shape, or an interesting fabric,” she says. 

According to Davis, a shoe’s hardware, particularly the buckle, is equally important. When you think of the classic patent Mary Jane, it typically has a silver or matching patent buckle at the instep straps, but she suggests considering what works with the rest of your wardrobe. “The right hardware is imperative to building out looks—for example, if you don’t wear a lot of gold, don’t choose something with gold hardware.”

A comfortable fit

"First and foremost, any shoe needs to fit properly," says Kanfer. We're all familiar with the woes of wearing a shoe that's a half-size too big or too small, so make sure you take a quick lap in said shoes—whether around the house or the store—before deciding whether or not to make them yours. She notes that a shoe's pitch, or incline, can also determine whether or not a shoe will be comfortable. You can find a shoe's pitch by measuring the distance from the heel to the sole—the shorter the distance, the more weight that'll fall onto the balls of your feet and toes, which will lead to achy feet over the course of the day. "Supportive insoles are also key, and the strap (or multiple straps) should have a bit of give, allowing your foot to flex as you walk,” she says.


Comfort aside, the shoe should be as functional as possible for how you plan to wear them. Are these for the office only, or will you also wear them on your commute? Are these going-out shoes that need to withstand a night of dancing, or will you wear them to walk long distances? Bhatt always looks to the sole first. “A rugged, slip-poof sole is a key feature I look for—especially living in New York City. I want to be able to wear them throughout the year, rain or shine.” 

And, of course, make sure the straps are sturdy, as well as the buckles or any other hardware. Davis says to steer clear of anything with a faux buckle with a hidden hook to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions or, worse, slipping and falling. “Those are only going to detach while you walk,” she says.

  • What are Mary Jane shoes?

    Mary Janes are a style of closed-toe shoes with one or more straps across the instep, explains Elizabeth Semmelhack, director and senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum. While Mary Janes can greatly vary in style, especially today, the instep strap is a “non-negotiable,” she says.

    The style has a long history, even before the name Mary Jane was coined. “Instep strap shoes became popular in women’s fashion in the second half of the 19th century, but the classic Mary Jane emerged at the turn of the 20th century, made for little girls,” explains Semmelhack. “The name is derived from the early 20th century Buster Brown comics, Mary Jane being the object of Buster Brown’s affection.” It wasn’t until the 1960s that the Mary Jane evolved from a children’s shoe style to a mainstay of women’s footwear. “Women started wearing the style when the 1960s Youthquake hit, which is when fashion took inspiration from children’s dress.”

    It has since evolved beyond little girl’s shoes (or drawing inspiration from them), and today, you’ll find them in a wide variety of heel shapes and heights, strap details, and materials. “The range is wide as the trend applies to so many silhouettes to appeal to all customers,” says Kanfer. “Right now, trending Mary Jane styles include multiple straps, thick lug soles, or the perfect heel that can take you through day and night. They’ll continue to trend into fall, so there’s great longevity when investing in a pair now.”

  • How do you style Mary Janes?

    “The great thing about Mary Janes is that they’re a really versatile style,” says Peterzén. “They’re the ultimate transeasonal style, perfect for cooler days worn with socks or bare legs during the summer.” In short, the styling possibilities are endless. Because many Mary Janes tend to have a feminine feel, she keeps contrast in mind when styling them. “I might pair them with distressed jeans and a casual T-shirt or with a blazer and shorts. This way, it doesn’t become too ‘cute’ or ‘girly’ and keeps things interesting.”

    Davis is also a big fan of tailoring, naming a Mary Jane and slouchy suit a “winning pairing.” They’re also a great solution for too-long trousers. “If the strap is closer to the ankle, you can use it to tuck in longer pants and make them a bit less prone to picking up all the street seasoning,” adds Davis. “I also love a turtleneck, denim maxi skirt, chunky socks, and a Mary Jane in a contrasting color—it’s how I wish my elementary school teachers dressed in the ’90s.” Bhatt is also a fan of accessorizing from the calves down, adding that styling Mary Janes with leg warmers or a fun sock is her go-to styling tip.

Why Trust Byrdie 

Byrdie contributor Jenna Igneri has been working in fashion and beauty media for over a decade, and you can find her work in Refinery29, WhoWhatWear, The Zoe Report, Vice, Coveteur, and more. She’s been wearing different iterations of the Mary Jane for upwards of three decades, so she has a pretty good idea of what makes a good option. She also sorted through customer reviews and tapped a handful of experts to share their insights. 

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15 percent of products in our newly published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough Mary Janes from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of some we should consider, please email us at, and we will evaluate the product ASAP. 

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