Shoes are one wardrobe piece that you can always count on to rapidly update all of your ensembles as you make the switch to spring/summer wearing. You’ve been wearing that timeless ensemble of a blazer, trousers, and ankle boots since February.

A quick switch to ballerina flats or loafers will transform your chunky-soled ankle boots into a really stylish spring ensemble. With each and every midi dress you’ve been donning knee-highs? You can go on a charming picnic by switching to fisherman’s sandals.

The majority of us (including myself) rely on these simple, inexpensive switches to make our wardrobes as efficient as possible. It’s not only affordable at a time when everyone is trying to stretch their budgets, but it’s also a good idea. It makes sense, then, that at this transitional time of year, my first purchase of the season tends to be a pair of shoes. Sometimes that’s a classic pair of leather sandals I know I’ll bring out again and again for the next few years, which I’ll likely invest a bit more in for the best quality. But for more trend-led styles that make the rest of my classics feel fresh, I usually head to the high street.

After all, there are so many great options out there (especially this year) that have you covered, from minimalist-approved flats to joyful heels to wear to all those weddings and events you have coming up. There are so many, in fact, that I thought it would be helpful to head to Oxford Street on a research trip and try on as many pairs of spring shoes as I could find to whittle it down to the very best ones to recommend to you.

I have to say, of all the stores I popped into, H&M impressed me most, with a curated edit of perfect styles—from comfy heeled sandals that felt like walking on clouds to the best wedges I’ve seen on the high street. (They may or may not have come home with me.) M&S also really impressed me in the shoe department (no surprises there, I’ve been a long-time fan of its comfortable, excellent-quality footwear.) And, of course, Zara is great for budget-friendly, on-trend options.