The 4 Best Shoe Styles to Wear With Mom Jeans and Shoes to Avoid

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Mom jeans are our ride and die – and they’re back in vogue. TikTok has officially canceled skinny jeans, saying goodbye to the form-fitting jeans that were everywhere during the 2000s.

Mom jeans are the more laidback alternative that is back with a bang – and we couldn’t be happier!

While mom jeans are a classic style, it’s not always easy to know which shoes to wear with your new denim. Whether you’re buying your mom jeans pre-loved or from your favorite American brand, you don’t want to forget about your footwear.

While some shoes make the perfect match, like ankle boots, there are other styles you want to avoid.

Jennifer Garner, Lucy Hale, Lily Allen, Ashley Roberts, and Irina Shayk show how to style mom jeansJennifer Garner, Lucy Hale, Lily Allen, Ashley Roberts, and Irina Shayk show how to style mom jeans (Credit: Mega / WENN)

The secret to wearing any style of jeans is to know what shoes to match them with. The wrong shoes can make your legs appear shorter and give the illusion of a less flattering silhouette.

We’re sharing the ultimate guide on which shoes you can and can’t style with the TikTok-favourite jeans.

What are mom jeans?

Mom jeans are the high-waisted style that was everywhere in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The classic way of styling them was with an oversized t-shirt or sweatshirt tucked into the high waist and finished off with a belt.

They got the nickname ‘mom jeans’ for being the signature style worn by middle-aged American moms, even becoming an SNL skit.

Mom jeans were made fun of in a May 2003 Saturday Night Live skit written by Tina Fey for a fake brand of jeans called Mom Jeans (Credit: NBC)Mom jeans were made fun of in a May 2003 Saturday Night Live skit written by Tina Fey for a fake brand of jeans called Mom Jeans (Credit: NBC)

Fast forward to the early 2020s and the so-called mom jeans have been adopted by teenagers and twenty-somethings all over the world.

While TikTok can be credited for its success, the move towards mom jeans comes at a time when comfort-driven fashion is the aesthetic everyone is going for.

Warm vs. cold weather shoes

Before we jump into which shoes you should avoid wearing with mom jeans, it’s worth considering the seasons.

Some shoes work for every season and in almost any weather condition. Your favorite white sneakers will see you through everything except the snow.

During the warmer months, you can style your mom jeans with sandals for a minimalistic spring look. Birkenstocks are worth the investment, or you can keep it casual with slides.

Mom jeans paired with sandals, ankle boots, and sneakersMom jeans paired with sandals, ankle boots, and sneakers

When it comes to the cold weather, you need at least one style of ankle boots to reach for to wear with your mom boots. It’s worth looking for a style that you can comfortably slip your denim jeans over the shaft of.

If you’re looking for shoes that will work with your jeans all-yearlong for a night out, look no further than classic stilettoes or a contemporary mule.

1. Sneakers

When it comes to denim jeans, sneakers are always a failsafe and a guaranteed perfect match. You can never go wrong with your favorite sneakers, whether they’re sleek and minimalistic or make a bold statement.

If you want to create the illusion of a slimmer silhouette, you can switch out your sneakers for a style with a raised platform sole for extra height.

Bishop + Young Highline Turtleneck Sweater, BP. Slashed Mom Jeans, Monse x Both Corduroy Platform SneakersBishop + Young Highline Turtleneck Sweater, $79.95 at Zappos, BP. Slashed Mom Jeans, $39 at Nordstrom, Monse x Both Corduroy Platform Sneakers, $610 at Mytheresa

For a more casual and laidback look, you can opt for athleisure sneakers by a brand like Veja for a Meghan Markle-inspired look.

If you’re planning to spend the day running errands or doing chores, you can even style them with running sneakers for ultimate comfort.

Nili Lotan Arlette Striped Cotton-Jersey Top, Levi's Womens's High-Waisted Taper Jeans, Veja V-10 SneakersNili Lotan Arlette Striped Cotton-Jersey Top, $256 at Matches Fashion, Levi’s Women’s High-Waisted Taper Jeans, $69.50 at Zappos, Veja V-10 Sneakers, $150 at Nordstrom

2. Versatile sandals

If you like to keep your toes out, it’s worth investing in minimalistic sandals that you can wear for any occasion during the summer.

While we love a bold moment, the best sandals you can buy for your mom jeans are easy slip-on silhouettes with an understated color palette.

BP. High Waist Button Fly Mom Jeans, Vintage Havana Girl's Tie-Dye Print Cropped T-Shirt, Birkenstock Arizona Birko-FlorBP. High Waist Button Fly Mom Jeans, $45 at Nordstrom, Vintage Havana Girl’s Tie-Dye Print Cropped T-Shirt, $48 at Saks Fifth Avenue, Birkenstock Arizona Birko-Flor, $99.95 at Zappos

Birkenstocks are a classic choice for mom jeans and allow you to recreate the signature ‘90s look. These shoes will take you from the first signs of spring through to the end of autumn.

If you want a style that will take you from day to night, look out for sandals with a chunky platform for another ‘90s inspired look.

Don’t forget about slides. While they’re no longer the most trend-worthy shoes, they’re still a must-have for your denim closet. If you want a more elevated style, look out for slides that use leather instead of rubber.

BDG Urban Outfitters High-Waist Mom Jeans, Karl Lagerfeld White Shirt Scenic Logo, Bottega Veneta Crossover-Strap Leather SlidesBDG Urban Outfitters High-Waist Mom Jeans, $69 at Nordstrom, Karl Lagerfeld White Shirt Scenic Logo, $89.50 at Zappos, Bottega Veneta Crossover-Strap Leather Slides, $760 at Matches Fashion

3. Ankle boots

The shoes you’ll find us reaching for most to wear with mom jeans is ankle boots. The edgier the style, the better!

These everyday shoes are a staple for your closet and add an effortlessly chic feel to your outfit.

Spring Step Dealey Bootie, Wrangler Mom Jeans, Mother Busy Doin Nothing Graphic T-ShirtSpring Step Dealey Bootie, $99.95 at Nordstrom, Wrangler Mom Jeans, $98 at Nordstrom, Mother Busy Doin Nothing Graphic T-Shirt, $95 at Saks Fifth Avenue

Choose ankle boots with a mid-height heel for extra versatility that you can wear to any occasion. The right ankle boots will see you through every season and almost every weather condition, come rain or shine.

4. Ballet flats

Channel your inner Alexa Chung or reimagine a contemporary Audrey Hepburn look with ballet flats. These shoes are a year-round staple and effortlessly chic with a Parisian feel.

If you want to be a ‘cool’ mom, these are the shoes you’ll want to have out on rotation with your favorite

Reformation Cashmere & Wool Crop Roll Neck Sweater, Tory Burch Minnie Travel Ballet Flats, Madewell The Perfect Vintage Jean in Ainsworth WashReformation Cashmere & Wool Crop Roll Neck Sweater, $148 at Nordstrom, Tory Burch Minnie Travel Ballet Flats, $228 – $248 at Nordstrom, Madewell The Perfect Vintage Jean in Ainsworth Wash, $128 at Zappos

Which shoes you should avoid wearing with mom jeans

While we love to talk about which shoes you should be wearing with your mom jeans, it’s also worth picking up on which shoes you want to avoid.

The best rule of thumb when considering which shoes won’t work with mom jeans is to think about your silhouette. Avoid wearing shoes that shorten the appearance of your legs and make them look larger than they really are.

While knee-high boots are perfect for skinny jeans, they don’t work with the looser-fitting silhouette of mom jeans.

You want to avoid jeans that you’ll have to tuck inside your boots. The extra fabric of mom jeans gives the illusion of wider hips and larger calves while also making you appear shorter.

While we love wearing mom jeans, they’re not as easy to style with shoes as skinny jeans are. You want to consider how the shoes make your legs appear and whether they shorten the appearance of your legs. Our golden rule is to stick with short shoes that are ankle length or lower.

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