Best Leopard Print Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Style
There are precious few fashion trends that truly withstand the tests of time. Leopard print (and animal prints, in general) is one of them. Although the modern-day look of leopard print can be traced to a 1960s Bohemian style boom, its history extends much further back. Ancient royalty and other members of the wealthy elite often chose leopard print accessories to make a show of their riches; that’s part of the reason leopard print remains a coveted fashion look today.
- Sam Edelman Felicia
- Elastic Topline
- Kaitlyn Pan Rockstud
- Adjustable Ankle Straps
- Dolce Vita Jasmyn
- 100% Calf Hair
Leopard print means many things to many people. Some believe the print is imbued with the traits of its source — African and Asian leopards — and is wild, exotic, and sexy. Others simply find leopard print to be cheap, trashy and even offensive — due, in large part, to anti-fur movements.
Nevertheless, after decades of flip-flopping between trendy and tacky, 2018 has resurrected leopard print as a trendy fashion neutral. It’s the perfect time to experiment with leopard print in your wardrobe. And what is easier to experiment with than shoes? So if you’re ready, we’re ready! Here is our guide to the best leopard print shoes.
10 Best Leopard Print Shoes
Sam Edelman Felicia
The Sam Edelman Felicia ballet flat features an elastic topline for easy slip-on and off wearing. The elasticity also helps create a snug and customized fit. And while the elastic for the Felicia may not stretch enough to accommodate wider feet normally, it is a shoe that comes in wide widths too.
The large, light brown leopard print of the Felicia ballet flat is subtly accented with gold trimming around the footbed, a complementary and dainty black bow, and a gold Sam Edelman logo charm. Whether you’re looking to dress this flat up or down, the mini stacked heel and round-toe silhouette will give you the lowkey chicness you’re looking for.
The Sam Edelman Felicia is a fairly expensive shoe, but it is durable — the leather soles, inside and out, are abrasion resistant. Stylistically, leopard print is here to stay as a closet staple, making the Felicia a great investment shoe.
Wide widths available
Large sizes available
True to size
Not for extended walking
Kaitlyn Pan Rockstud
However, there is one caveat when considering the Kaitlyn Pan Rockstud. The Rockstud sandals do not come in size 8; instead, there is the option of 7.5 or 8.5.
The black triple T straps of the Kaitlyn Pan Rockstud are decorated with shiny, contrasting gold studs. The straps are adjustable near the ankle, so the rest of the shoe hardware is a matching gold. Studs also line the beginning of the vamp, drawing highlight to the leopard print tapered pointy toe. Oh, and don’t worry about missing studs — these shoes come with a small bag of replacement studs on the off-chance you lose one.
Mixed Media Construction
In looking for the best word to describe the Kaitlyn Pan Rockstud, we all settled on: lush. These sandals feature genuine leather uppers, a genuine lambskin footbed, and anti-slip rubber soling. Not only will your feet sink comfortably into the lambskin insole, the tops of your feet will only brush up against soft microfiber leather. Brought together, the different fabrics of the Rockstud lend themselves to a trendy, breathable sandal.
The Kaitlyn Pan Rockstud sandal is marginally more expensive than the Sam Edelman Felicia, but with twice the pizzazz. If these shoes being a near-perfect dupe of the Valentino Rockstud (for a fraction of the price) isn’t selling you, consider the longevity of a strappy sandal made of leather and lambskin. The Kaitlyn Pan Rockstud is a sandal that makes it worth it to step outside of your comfort zone.
Slip-resistant rubber sole
Runs half-size large
Adjustable ankle straps
Roomy heel cup
Dolce Vita Jasmyn
Dolce Vita, which is ‘sweet life’ in Italian, is all about being fashion forward and trend driven.
Whether your feet are narrow or wide, width is not an issue with the Dolce Vita Jasmyn. Featuring thin leather laces, the Jasmyn pairs the look of latticework with moderate adjustability. Though this incarnation of the Dolce Vita Jasmyn is missing a zipper in the back for easy wearing, the laces are long enough to be creative with front or back tying.
If the dress code is relaxed or casual, you’ll find the Dolce Vita Jasmyn to be the ideal companion shoe to your outfit. The Jasmyn has an open toe and heel for breathability and a synthetic sole for durability; this makes the Jasmyn an incredibly vacation-friendly shoe.
Also, while the footbed for these sandals is thin, it is wide enough to accommodate an insert for comfort.
The Dolce Vita Jasmyn sandal is approximately half the cost of the Kaitlyn Pan Rockstud and the Sam Edelman Felicia, so it fits right in the sweet spot for budget-friendly shoes. These sandals are perfectly priced for experimentation and make an excellent introduction to the world of leopard print fashion.
Runs half-size large
Miniature .25” heel
100% calf hair upper
Needs professional cleaning
No back zipper
Steve Madden Inca
If leopard print alone isn’t exotic enough for your tastes, the Steve Madden Inca sandal might be for you. The Inca features a wild, studded floral applique across the heel and up the back of the shoe. While that does mean there’s no back zipper for easy wear, the detailing of the applique makes up for it.
Make a (Comfortable) Statement
The velvety texture of the Steve Madden Inca sandal uppers gives off a subtle furry look without any actual fur. The textile upper is lined with a soft fabric; that includes the adjustable ankle strap. The Inca sandal works best as a bold finishing touch; it will give a touch of sex appeal to any outfit, no matter how bland.
Priced the same as the Dolce Vita Jasmyn, the Steve Madden Inca sandal is another perfect segue into adoring your closet with bold leopard print. The versatility of the Inca, able to shift seamlessly from day to night wear, makes it an optimal choice.
True to size
Sturdy heel cup
Requires breaking in
Guilty Shoes Stiletto
The leopard print of the Guilty Shoes stiletto is cocoa bean brown, with a medium spot pattern. It is very close to the ‘stereotypical’ leopard print pattern but without any garishness.
Another shoe that can take you from day to night, the Guilty Shoes stiletto can be paired with any kind of outfit. The band across the toes is thick enough to be modestly worn to work, yet sexy enough for a night out on the town. These sandals have a clean and classic silhouette for timeless wearability.
The Guilty Shoes leopard print stilettos are made of synthetic materials for an ultra-lightweight design and feature a back zipper (finally!) for easy wearing. The ankle strap is elasticized for a somewhat customized fit, so those of us with wider ankles can still indulge in this minimalist leopard print look.
Guilty Shoes’ stilettos are half the price of the Steve Madden Inca, and a quarter of the price of the Kaitlyn Pan Rockstud. How’s that for affordability? These sandals are both trendy and budget-friendly; throw ‘comfortable’ on top of that and this Guilty Shoes stiletto is a clear winner.
True to size
No breaking in
Easy to clean
Half sizes available
Bulky on narrow ankles
DREAM PAIRS Sole-Fina
Want to know a secret? The adjustable ankle strap for the DREAM PAIRS Sole-Fina ballet flat is fully removable. Unbuckled it, slip it out of the heel loop, and off you go! The Sole-Fina also comes with lacing ribbons for further versatility. Transitioning from casual to cutesy can’t get any easier than these flats.
The best part of the DREAM PAIRS Sole-Fina ballet flat is the footbed. For ultimate comfort, the footbed is lightly cushioned and made of premium latex (allergy warning!). The lining, as well as the shoe’s upper, is an ultrasoft faux suede. The Sole-Fina also features a super flexible, yet not slip-resistant, rubber outsole.
The DREAM PAIRS Sole-Fina is the most affordable option in this guide thus far. It’s comparable in price to a large supreme pizza. Or three lattes, if you prefer to count in coffee. Nevertheless, the definition of budget-friendly should feature a picture of these shoes as an example.
No toe cleavage
Small, 0.15” heel
Includes ribbon laces
Runs half-size small
PUMA Basket Classic
The leopard print pattern for the PUMA Basket sneaker is small and dense and overlays a khaki canvas base. From a distance, the canvas also imparts the furry look that commonly complements leopard print.
The PUMA Basket classic sneaker first became available in the 1960s (again!) as a warm-up shoe for basketball. With such a lineage, it makes perfect sense that the Basket sneaker would feature uppers with abrasion resistance and a durable rubber outsole. That means these shoes are built for play,
You didn’t hear this from us, but this shoe is technically limited edition; it’s a collaboration between PUMA and the House of Hackney fashion line. Although these shoes feature the ‘House of Hackney’ logo emblazoned across the tongue, don’t worry. The PUMA logo is still visible, embroidered in gold along the eyestay border.
For a brand that has partnered with pop stars like Rihanna, PUMA remains affordable. In price, the Basket classic sneaker settles between the Dolce Vita Jasmyn and the Guilty Shoes stiletto. Pair them with an athleisure outfit for a sporty, contemporary look.
Good ankle support
Only lists men’s sizes
Foremost, the Cocoa flip flop features a wide strap across the vamp for stability and comfort. The thong portion of the flip-flop, where it sits between the toes, is also coated for comfortable wearing. The footbed for the Kali Cocoa is lightly padded and features bold, contrast stitching.
Fashion Carbon Copy
As anyone can wear leopard print, it’s only somewhat surprising that the Kali Cocoa flip-flop has childrens sizing too. Both this and the children’s version of the Cocoa flip-flop run narrow in width, yet true to size in length.
Flip flops, in general, aren’t very expensive; this extends to the Kali Cocoa too. Supremely wallet-friendly, the Cocoa flip-flop is cheaper than even the DREAM PAIRS Sole-Fina flats. Cheap and casual, the Kali Cocoa is an even more modest introduction to wearing leopard print.
True to size
No half sizes
Wild Diva Pippa 35
The Wild Diva Pippa 35 features a double T-strap style closure with straps across the vamp and around the ankle. Both straps are adjustable, using gold belt buckle-like detailing that matches the surrounding studs. The straps are adjustable enough to keep the Pippa 35 on narrow feet comfortably.
Retro Punk Style
With gold studs reminiscent of rebellious punk fashion, the Wild Diva Pippa 35 is a statement shoe all its own. Pippa 35 proves that high heels aren’t the only way to make leopard print edgy and bold. Plus, as a flat shoe with a classically popular pointy toe, these can easily transition from day to night wear.
The Wild Diva Pippa 35 is scarcely more expensive than the PUMA Basket classic sneaker. In comparison to the designer flats the Pippa 35 duplicates, these flats are dirt cheap. And if the kitten heel of the Kaitlyn Pan Rockstud made you think twice, these are for you.
Lightly padded footbed
Stops at size 8
Requires breaking in
DESIGNS Creative Eye
These sneakers boast a different leopard print than most shoes, opting for large, densely packed spots. The yellow-orange hue is a successful attempt at capturing the authenticity of leopard print. Made with a breathable mesh upper, the Creative Eye sneaker is good for any casual occasion that involves a bit of walking. Turn heads at the park, gym, the supermarket, and more.
The DESIGNS Creative Eye sneaker features a multifunctional rocker-style platform wedge heel. Designed to accommodate forward motion, the wedge heel also serves as a supportive base that can alleviate mild foot pain. The lace-up style lends to a personalized fit across the vamp; you’ll get a shoe that feels as sturdy as it looks.
Priced comparably to the Wild Diva Pippa 35 flat, the DESIGNS Creative Eye sneaker is a leopard print option that won’t break the bank. Easy to wear and built to go anywhere, the Creative Eye is a fashionably frugal alternative to the similarly-shaped Skechers Shape-Ups.
Wide toe box
Now that you have an idea of the best leopard print shoes to add to your wardrobe, it’s time to go out and be your most fashionable self! We hope that this guide has provided everything you need to be at the forefront of today’s trends. Oh, and just one more thing:
No leopards were harmed in the writing of this guide.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Leopard Print Shoes
While we tried our best to take the trouble out of it, picking out the best leopard print shoes can still be daunting. Straddling the line between chic and cheap, while remaining true to your fashion sense, isn’t the most straightforward task. It can be made easier, however. There are a few points to consider when shopping for leopard print shoes.
Large, small, medium — leopard print shoes come in a multitude of pattern sizes and densities. Density, in this sense, is how tightly packed the spots are. The leopard print pattern closest to nature appears to be medium in both spot size and density. Thus the further you stray away from this combination, the trickier leopard print becomes to mix and match with your other accessories.
When it comes to leopard print, hue is everything. Leopard print in shades of brown is the most natural, the most popular, and the easiest to accessorize. Nevertheless, leopard print is found in hues ranging from pastel to neon. Flashy leopard print shades, such as rainbow or ombre purple, are more likely to garner distaste. If you can’t resist those ocean blue leopard print sneakers, pair them with solids — it’s the simplest way to go from a fashion no-no to fashion nouveau.
It should go without saying, but the material your leopard print shoe is made of is an important consideration. Often, to get the most genuine look of fur, leopard print shoes are made with (real and faux) suede leather or velvet. Rarely will you find an authentic leopard skin print shoe (for a good reason, they’re critically endangered!).
However, shoes made of suede and velvet require more care than a leopard print shoe made of canvas or mesh. In integrating leopard print into your wardrobe, you will want to choose shoes made of fabrics you’ll care for and wear. Part of successfully styling with leopard print is that the item must be impeccable — it’s the focal point.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What colors should I wear with leopard print?
A: While you can wear any color with leopard print and make it work — it’s a neutral now, remember! — leopard print, most popularly, is paired with other neutrals. Black, brown, and white. Gold, too, is a popular color that is complementary to leopard print. Also, for an unexpected pop of style, leopard print is sometimes paired with vibrant reds. Still, these are just suggestions. Wearing leopard print is, foremost, about being bold; don’t limit your creativity.
Q: What is the difference between leopard print and cheetah print?
A: The difference between leopard and cheetah print is stark. Cheetah spots tend to be equally spaced and solid black. Leopard print, on the other hand, is more involved in both pattern and color. Leopard print spots, known as rosettes, are a mix of brown and black spots rather than just one large spot.
Q: When should I wear leopard print?
A: Any time and anywhere! Leopard print is as seasonless as it is timeless, so there is always room for it in your wardrobe. Leopard print boots are a favorite in fall/winter seasons, while sneakers, sandals, and pumps dominate spring/summer seasons.
Leopard print shoes can help you tackle any occasion fashionably. Weddings (especially your own!), date night, beachside — the places, and opportunities, to wear leopard print is nigh endless.
Q: How much leopard print is too much?
A: …That depends. Mostly on the occasion, but it depends. The general rule of thumb for leopard print is to stick to statement pieces or sets. For example, wearing a leopard print pant would be a statement; but wearing a leopard print scarf, hat, and jacket? That’s a set.
If you’re new to wearing leopard print, it’s best to start with a single item on any occasion. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with wearing leopard print shoes, adding other leopard print accessories will be easy. A word of caution, however: avoid mixing different leopard prints. Outfits with disparate leopard print patterns quickly become overwhelming and unsightly.
Q: Can leopard print be professional?
A: Absolutely! In professional settings, where demure fashion still reigns, leopard print seems like a terrible choice — but it’s not. The only thing to keep in mind when dressing sharply in leopard print is that the print should be the focal point of your outfit, just not to the point of being overwhelming. That makes a pair of shoes your best bet for rocking leopard print professionally.