We’ll preface this by saying that we often come across (and buy) Zara shoes that are so good it hurts, but as is the case with all brands, there are some things that Zara does better than others, including certain shoe styles (in our opinion). Now, don’t get us wrong; shoes are one of the categories that Zara excels at, but within that, specific styles and trends don’t measure up quite as well to other brands.
The thing is it’s hard to make certain shoe styles at as low of a cost as Zara sells them for. There’s no arguing with that. Certain styles are tricky to make comfortable versions of to begin with, so when lower-cost materials are being used, comfort can be sacrificed in addition to quality. While we certainly won’t stop buying Zara shoes in general anytime soon, we turn to other brands when seeking these nine styles but go right back to Zara when we’re in need of something like strappy sandals or mules, both of which the brand does exceptionally well.
Curious and seeking some shoe-brand shopping advice? Scroll for the nine shoe styles we avoid buying from Zara, shop the nine brands we buy them from instead, and scroll all the way to the end to shop a few shoes we would buy from Zara.
“I never buy flat sandals from Zara. They always leave my feet cramping from no support and blistered from the cheap straps. Instead, I love sandals from Dear Frances. As a New Yorker who is constantly walking, I can assure you these are my most used sandals of the summer.” — Lauren Eggertsen, editor
“Ballet flats are something I haven’t ever bought at Zara, because I often find they’re too cutesy or dated-feeling. These days, I like my ballet flats with a choked-up throat line, aka a full-coverage ballet flat. There’s something much more forward about that shape.” — Kat Collings, editor in chief
“I won’t buy white sneakers from Zara since its selection is usually pretty trend-driven. I’m a big fan of Nike’s Air Force 1 sneakers. They’re crisp, classic, and last for years.” — Anna LaPlaca, assistant editor
“Zara doesn’t typically stock slippers, so I buy those elsewhere. I live in slippers once I get home and recently have been favoring these from Sleeper.” — Kristen Nichols, managing editor
“I play tennis and would never buy tennis shoes from Zara. I need a brand that’s specifically designed for the sport and made for performance, so for that reason, I love Fila sneakers.” — Erin Fitzpatrick, senior news editor
“I love Zara’s shoe selection, but I’ve always had more luck with its flat sandals and boots over heels. Instead, Gianvito Rossi is one of my go-tos for dressier options.” — Nicole Akhtarzad Eshaghpour, market editor
Even though it’s hard to resist the prices sometimes, I avoid buying faux-leather Zara shoes. The material tends to be stiff and uncomfortable. Its leather shoes look so much more expensive, but they honestly don’t cost that much more. For good faux-leather shoes, look no further than Nanushka. Its vegan leather is even better than leather itself.
“I’ve never had much luck with finding comfortable espadrille wedges at Zara. Instead, I stick to Castañer for variety and comfort.” — Judith Jones, market editor
“Never have I ever bought a sneaker from Zara. I’m strictly a Vans/Converse/Nike kind of girl and have been creeping on Bandier’s sneaker shop a lot lately. Right now, I have my eye on these.” — Erin Jahns, associate beauty editor