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What Shoes to Wear with Mom Jeans (from an actual mom)

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One of the questions I get most often as it relates to fashion content is about what shoes to wear with non-skinny jeans. I completely understand the confusion because when I first tried on non-skinny jeans, they felt SO weird and difficult to style.

When you’re used to a very slim fitting pant and then try something looser, it definitely feels different. But now that I’m used to them, I LOVE mom jeans. They’re more comfortable, flattering, easier to dress up and down, and definitely on-trend. I haven’t worn skinny denim jeans in months because I love mom jeans so much.

But I also understand that learning what shoes look best with them feels a little challenging at first (mostly because you’re also getting used to how the new jeans look and feel on your frame!). In this post, I’m going to share how I style the mom jeans in my closet, what shoes I don’t like to wear with them, and give you a few ideas mom jeans outfit ideas. While I’m not quite back into my regular jeans yet (I just had a baby!) I’m getting SO excited to wear the items in my closet again. I thought it’d be fun to refresh this post as I’m looking at my own closet and dreaming of fun outfits.

The below video also shows you how various shoes look with my longest pair of mom jeans and what shoes NOT to wear!

What Shoes to Wear with Mom Jeans

What are mom jeans?

Before we jump right into the shoes I like to wear with my mom jeans, we should define what mom jeans are. When you google “mom jeans”, you’ll see a TON of different styles pop up. But in general, mom jeans are high waisted jeans that are fitted in the waist and bum and looser down the leg. If you think back to the early 90’s, mom jeans are what you’d see Kelly Kapowski wearing in the high school halls of Saved by the Bell. They aren’t quite baggy (those are usually called Boyfriend jeans), but they’re looser fitting than skinny jeans, and have a very traditional shape that tapers down the leg. They can be dressed up or down.

While I’m focusing on mom jeans in this post, if you want more ideas of jeans to wear that are NOT skinny jeans, be sure to check out this post where I share 5 jean styles that aren’t skinny jeans. 

My all time favorite style of mom jeans is the Abercrombie Ultra High Rise 90s Straight Jean. They’re high waisted, which makes them easy to pair with crop tops without my belly showing. (I feel like so many of the tops on the market right now are cropped short and that’s not the look I’m going for at this point in life!)

Now that we’ve established what a pair of mom jeans looks like, let’s chat about what shoe styles to wear with them.

Loafers

I wear loafers with my mom jeans most often. But to be fair, I wear loafers with all of my jeans most often! I love the polished look and comfortable fit of loafers, and I find that they look great with all styles of pants, including mom jeans.

My favorite loafers are the Loraine style by Sam Edelman. They look very similar to the ever classic Gucci loafers, and they break in with wear to become incredibly comfortable.

If a traditional loafer feels too polished or pulled together, try the slide version of the Sam Edelman loafers. The slide version is more casual and laid back, but still looks polished.

Sneakers

The next pair of shoes I wear with mom jeans most often are sneakers. However (and hear me out on this), they MUST be cute, fashion sneakers. We are not talking about your running shoes here. My favorite white sneakers are Vejas (I have two styles). They’re a low profile, flat sneaker without lift. I have three different styles of Vejas, and I think I like the Veja Recife style best if I had to choose. If you don’t like the look of velcro though, go for the Esplar or Campos styles. They are similar to eachother but the Esplar is just slightly less chunky on the bottom.

You could also wear a platform sneaker, but I find that a low profile sneaker feels the most flattering and age appropriate (I’m nearing 40, and I’m not super into the big white chunky sneaker look that the younger kids are into!).

A long puffer coat looks great with these straight leg jeans, and I also really love the look of sneakers with a cropped black leather jacket too.

long puffer coat with straight leg jeans

Heels

Heels are probably simplest thing to pair with mom jeans! Since mom jeans are not typically cropped, I find that they’re usually the perfect length for heels (never too short). I love that heels elongate my legs and dress these, otherwise casual, jeans up a tad. You can wear both open toed sandals like these Kia Block heels from Sam Edelman and traditional block heel pump like my favorite Zala heels with these jeans.

Booties

Next up, booties. I find that ankle booties like these Calabria Steve Madden booties are a great way to dress up a mom jean for a more polished look. I’ve also found that a slightly pointy toe looks better than a really round toe. This may be preference. I don’t recommend pairing mom jeans with knee high boots since the jeans wouldn’t fit well inside of the boot shaft.

Ballet Flats

I can’t believe this, but I don’t actually own ballet flats anymore, and that’s not good considering how popular they are these days! I love the look of a slimmer fit mom jean with ballet flats, so I may just need to invest! Also, I don’t think I’d like ballet flats with the Abercrombie pair of jeans above since they’re long, so I’d likely buy a pair of straight leg jeans like this Liza Ultra High Rise Straight pair. They’re slightly cropped at the ankle bone and tapered throughout the leg, which would look great with ballet flats like these from Rothy’s.

What Shoes Pair Best with Mom Jeans In Winter?

Since it’s currently winter when I’m sharing this post, all of the shoes above apply! In the summer, I’ll still wear loafers and fashion sneakers and will also wear them with slide sandals once it warms up. But, once the the Southern humidity kicks in, then I’ll trade my mom jeans for my favorite Abercomrbie denim shorts!

  • Loafers – Pair them with socks if you’re cold!
  • Sneakers
  • Booties – This is probably the easiest way to wear them in the winter for warmth purposes.
  • Ballet flats

What Shoes Look Best With Black Mom Jeans?

Now comes the question of black jeans. What should you wear with them? While black mom jeans aren’t quite as common as the traditional blue jeans, they’re still amazing. They’re the perfect wash for the colder months, and they can also be a great dressy option. I find that I prefer to dress black jeans up rather than wear them with more relaxed outfits, but there’s no wrong way to wear them. You can easily pair black jeans with all of the shoes from above. But I prefer a black shoe with black jeans to create a more streamlined, polished look.

Black booties

The key to this look is to make sure the shaft of the booties is tall enough that you don’t see your leg. If your jeans are already long, then this won’t be an issue. If you’re wearing cropped mom jeans, this is when you’ll want to wear a skinny ankle bootie that fits into the pant. Ideally, you’ll also want a very slim fitting bootie so that your ankle doesn’t look super wide!

Any color ballet flats

I’d prefer to wear a cropped pair of mom jeans with ballet flats for a super chic (almost European) look. I’m eyeing this pair of Rothy’s ballet flats.

Sneakers

This goes without saying! Just a pair of cute fashion sneakers.

Clogs

I LOVE clogs for colder weather, and I find they look great with a slightly cropped jean. These aren’t technically “true” mom jeans (who makes the rules?) but they aren’t skinny or flare jeans so I’m including them here.

clogs with jeans
  • Black heels or pumps – This is probably the simplest way to wear black mom jeans. The pair I’m wearing below is also from Abercrombie and has a fun leather moment on the bottom. My black heeled sandals are the Kia Block from Sam Edelman.
black heels with denim and leather

I hope this post helps you feel confident when you’re wearing mom jeans!

If it feels strange at first, that’s normal. I was so used to skinny jeans for so long that I needed a few people to affirm that mom jeans did indeed look good on me before I felt totally confident. I feel like that’s a pretty normal experience for anything that’s different than your norm: a new haircut or hair part, a new makeup look, etc. Figuring out your personal style is always a little bit of a challenge. But I hope these shoe recommendations give you a good starting point for styling your mom jeans outfits.

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