16 Outfits That Prove the “Wrong Shoe Theory” Right


Ever stand in front of your jam-packed closet, staring at more than enough clothing options, and think: I have nothing to wear? Same. But perhaps the issue isn’t that you’re out of viable outfit choices. You just need a fresh dose of inspiration to help you see your wardrobe in a new way — say: using the wrong shoe theory. That’s where Outfit Dump comes in. We supply you with enough outfit ideas to fuel your style until the next drop comes along.

If your FYP looks anything like ours, then you’ve been seeing TikTok after TikTok of people styling outfits with shoes that appear to be aesthetic opposites — at least on the surface. Dubbed the “wrong shoe theory” by stylist Allison Bornstein, it’s the idea that you should wear a shoe that would traditionally be considered antithetical to your given outfit to create a more interesting look. Think: flip-flops with tailored trousers, heels with sweatpants, dad sneakers with maxi dresses, or any other combo that sounds “wrong” when you think of it, but, in practice, is just…right

There’s a method to the madness, and it’s approved by fashion’s most stylish insiders. 
Ahead, we’ve rounded up a few Instagrammable takes on the theory that will help inspire your own wrong shoe looks. 

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: PJs and Heels 

Dress up a pajama-style matching set with a pair of heels, bringing a whole new meaning to “just woke up like this” style. Bonus points for fluffy trimmings, like the one on the Sleeper set pictured here.

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: A Dress and Combat Boots 

In the canon of “wrong shoe theory” outfits, it’s hard to go wrong when combining the softness of a summer dress and the edginess of your fave combat boots. 

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: A Dress and Chunky Loafer

But if it’s too hot to stomach wearing heavy boots, pairing your frilliest dress with your chunkiest loafers will work just as well. 

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Cargo Pants and Ballet Flats

Enjoy the functionality of on-trend denim cargo pants — one of this season’s most coveted pieces — while still bringing a touch of femininity with a pair of pretty ballet flats. Bonus points if it’s in a soft pink hue like this one.

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Cargo Pants and Heels

Or fancy up your street style-ready utilitarian look with a pair of pumps. We love the silver metallic hue pictured here — it’s one of the must-try colors of the year.

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Mismatched Prints 

Opt for clashing prints that only you would think of pairing together for some added personal flair. To keep the outfit from looking too “wrong,” stick to prints in the same color family. 

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Shorts and Heels

Running errands? No one ever said you can’t add some style to your comfy cargo-esque shorts with a pair of runway-ready sandals

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Denim Shorts and Strappy Sandals 

Or try wearing a pair of strappy heeled sandals with your casual everyday jean shorts. The pink and green color combo here makes the outfit all the more striking.

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Mini Skirt and Cowboy Boots

Trust us, you don’t have to don a head-to-toe yeehaw look in order to wear an eye-catching pair of cowboy boots. A pink mini skirt and printed shirt and statement jewelry offset the Western-style look.

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Midi Dress and Sneakers 

Take care of your style and your feet by matching your fanciest dresses with your most walkable sneakers. This midi dress and sneaker combo is perfect for warm-weather style.

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Maxi Dress With Sneakers 

If midi dresses aren’t your thing, try styling a maxi dress with a pair of sneakers instead.

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Suit and  Sneakers  

Or rock them with a power suit that will have you walking into meetings with unmatched cool factor.

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Skirt and Sneakers 

Monochrome looks are an effortless way to look chic and put together, but adding a pair of sneakers in a completely different shade will create an outfit with dimension and intrigue with just as much ease.

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Sweatshirt and Pointed-Toe Flats 

On days when you just want to throw on a sweatshirt and shorts, opt for a pair of chic pointed-toe flats to pull your outfit together. And, yes, socks are a bold must.

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Crocs and Skirt 

If you’re on the pro-Crocs side of TikTok, you know that these soft and lightweight shoes can be styled with anything and everything, including this preppy skirt. Don’t forget to accessorize with your favorite charms to complete the ‘fit.

“Wrong Shoe Theory” Outfit Idea: Flip-Flops and Trousers

Are your flip-flops adding a breezy casualness to your tailored look, or are your classic trousers bringing your flip-flops to new heights? That’s for you to decide.

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