The Wide Range Of Mary Jane Shoes

Amy Reece

Posted on December 04 2018

While, there once was only one style, these days there are countless Mary Jane variants that take their own spin on a classic. These shoes are essentially timeless and have been worn for over a century, typically by young girls, but were once popular with boys as well. However, in recent years the Mary Jane has come back strong and can even be worn by women looking for something timeless and practical.

The original version of this shoe has a short heel and was made from either leather or patent leather. It consisted of one strap that went across the instep and had a rounded, closed toe. Our Hailey shoe is a perfect example of a classic Mary Jane:


Many people once referred to this style as doll shoes or bar shoes as they were often worn to be a dressy, yet comfortable shoe that could be practical for someone dancing or kids at play.

The variations that have come in recent years typically do not stray too far from the original. One of the most common variations is to offer a variety of colors that enable the wearer to match them to their favorite outfit.  Our Hailey shoe as mentioned above comes in a variety of colors (reds, yellow, pink, purple, green, blues) and also with the choice of adding a decorative bow, for example:    

Another one of the common Mary Jane shoe modern variants is to add a pattern to the shoe. This could be flowers like our Suzie flowers shoe, sequins, or just about anything that a designer can imagine. Check out our Shona shoe for a huge variety of color combinations, colorful block color with an array of trim colors to choose from such as Shona shoes in yellow with red trim.  Again, they are still considered a Mary Jane due to their shape and heel, but can add a little color and flair to an outfit. This is a great way to create a unique look while sticking to a classic shoe.


One of the Mary Jane shoe modern variants is to play with the actual design of the shoe. The differences are relatively small, so they are still recognized as being the original style, just with a little twist to them. This can be done in a number of ways. One of the most common is changing the height of the heel. In the original version you would expect the heel to be relatively short, as little as half of an inch. However, modern variations can lead to the heel being as high as three inches - our Megan shoe with its 3” heel is a good example.


There are also variations to the strap. Originally it would be a buckle that secured one strap. Now you might find that it has more than one strap, different ways to secure it and even a crisscross pattern to two or more straps. Our Suzie shoe with it’s T-bar strap showcases a modern twist on the Mary Jane style.  



Finally, the toe may be shaped differently as well. One common way that the design is altered is to leave a slight open toe at the tip of the shoe. This only allows one or two toes to be visible, but adds a little more to the shoe making it more appropriate to match with evening wear. Another alteration is to change the shape of the toe slightly, but it can't be too extreme that it loses the look of the classic Mary Jane.

There are countless things that can be done with this classic shoe that allows it to retain its timeless look.

If you are in the market for a shoe that can be worn for both casual and evening attire this is definitely an option to consider. You can get them in any style to match your personal preferences. The best part is that you can keep them in your closet without wondering when they will go out of style. This shoe has shown that it stands the test of time being that they have been sold and worn around the world for over a century. Take a look for yourself to see just how much of a staple this classic remains today.

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