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PUMPS and Circumstance: Shoes for Graduation

Stephanie Orpilla / Daily Bruin

Graduation season: The time when countless of Bruins anxiously await the day that is the culmination of their UCLA experience. It is around this time that countless questions start to arise: Did I meet all of my requirements? Have I purchased my cap and gown? Am I going to pass this last class I need to graduate (uh-oh)? But none of these questions are as worrisome and important as, WHAT SHOES AM I GOING TO WEAR? 

Shoes are probably the most important item you wear at graduation, only second to the iconic UCLA sash. Seriously. Shoes can make or break your graduation experience (or your leg if you trip and fall on stage, but let’s all hope that doesn’t happen). They are more than a simple fashion item, they are a bold statement that encompasses your entire being. They are more than just shoes. They are life.

The struggles we face when we have to decide which shoes to wear is beyond complicated. I am clearly not a fashion guru, but in order to make life easier for some of you, I came up with some pros and cons for four different styles of shoes you can wear to graduation. (cue Pomp and Circumstance)

1. Wedges



– Support! Wedges provide support for your entire body. Say “byeeeee” to back pain and “hello” to comfort and style.

– So many different styles to choose from, same classic wedge look.

– You can’t go wrong with wedges. Plain and simple.

– And with wedges, there’s an 80-ish percent chance that you won’t trip on stage … but don’t quote me on that.


– Wedges are the go-to shoe for graduation. So if you’re all about individuality and uniqueness, then this shoe is probably not for you.

– Not the best shoes if you are looking to make a statement, because literally everyone is going to be wearing them.

– I would call them #basic, but I guess I’ll refer to them as “graduation classics.”

2. Stilettos 



– Height. If you want to tower over everyone, these are the shoes for you.

– Stilettos tend to be loud. If you want your family to spot you from the stands, tell them to search by listening for the click-clack of your shoes.


– I can think of so many more cons for stilettos. When I think of stilettos I think of models falling on the runway, and I laugh, but also feel super bad at the same time. If you’re not a pro at walking in heels, these shoes may not be the best choice for you.

– Great for self-defense and punching holes in the grass, but maybe not the best shoe to wear to graduation. (But if you choose these as your grad shoes then yaaaaaasss, you do you!)

– You might trip and fall, so watch your step.

3. Flats



– Everything. Seriously everything.

– You can never go wrong with flats.

– Comfort to the max.

– Stability. Your feet are obviously flat on the ground, so if you happen to be clumsy and trip, the fall won’t be too bad. (You hope.)


– People might tower over you. Given that you don’t have the extra inches that other shoes provide, everyone around you might be super giant compared to you. (But there’s definitely nothing wrong with that.)

– Hmmm, yeah I definitely cannot think of any other cons for flats because they rock.

4. The Classics: TOMS or Converse 



– I know what you’re thinking. “Who would wear Converse or TOMS to their college graduation?” Well, as a person who wore TOMS to her high school graduation and loved it, I can vouch for how perfect these shoes are.

– If you want to stand out and really don’t care about the societal standards applied to graduation shoes and simply care about comfort, these are the best option for you!

– Who else will wear this style of shoe to graduation? Not many people. Instant hipster gratification.

– The cool factor for these shoes is beyond cool.


– They are not dressy shoes.

– Maybe not the best option for your college graduation, but ehhhh – you worked hard, you deserve to wear whatever you want.

The shoe options are endless! So wear what you want. And own it. You are graduating from one of the best universities in the world, so you should wear whatever the heck you want! Because you deserve it.

What shoes will you be wearing on this special day? Comment below or tweet us @dbmojo!

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