I Never Buy Shoes With This Cheap-Looking Detail

This statement is hardly groundbreaking, but I love buying shoes.(I challenge you to find a fashion editor who doesn't.) What I don't love is spending tons of money on shoes, and I'm guessing that you don't either. That said, when I'm shopping for affordable shoes, in particular, I've learned over time (and lots of shoe shopping) that there's one detail that I tend to avoid, as it can look quite cheap unless done well and with high-quality (i.e., expensive) materials: hardware. Whether in the form of studs, chains, oversize buckles, or embellishments, hardware on shoes is tricky to get right. If you love it, it's better to invest in a pair that's on the pricier side.

What do I look for when shopping for affordable shoes that look expensive? For the most part, it's hardware-free neutral colors, preferably genuine materials like leather, suede, or calf hair, and unique details like a sculptural heel shape or square too (which are often found on more expensive styles). Or you could just scroll to shop some of my favorite (hardware-free) shoes on the market that only look expensive.

No wonder our readers have been snapping these up—they look amazing with jeans.

The squared vamp and flared heel make these look designer.

Tiger and zebra are the new leopard print.

I challenge you to find a more perfect pair of slouchy knee boots.

Fall 2019 is all about the square toes and snakeskin.

Take it from me—Staud shoes are worth every penny.

These new Reformation sandals literally go with everything.

Good luck finding a more expensive-looking pair of knee boots at this price point.

These hardly look like faux leather (but they are).

The freshest loafers to wear this season have a chunky sole.

The easiest way to wear the cow-print trend is these perfect black-and-white mules.

FYI: Clogs are back.

Meet the boots you'll wear constantly for the next six months.

No hardware needed to make a statement.

It doesn't get more timeless.

Platforms are all over the S/S 20 runways.

Possibly the perfect late-summer/early-fall going out shoes.

These set the bar high for flats.

The name alone is enough to make me want to buy these.

I have a feeling everyone will swap their Dr. Martens combat boots for this Chelsea pair.

Proof that Mary Janes can look very grown-up.

White boots have become a classic, and this pair is pretty great.

Not ready to give up sandals just yet? Problem solved.

Next up, the detail that makes your jewelry look cheaper.