2020 was a mixed bag in more ways than one but especially in the shoe category. Comfort was king for 2020, and that didn’t, and still won’t, go anywhere in 2021. Between working from home, no parties, and limited traveling, slippers and classic sneakers have reigned supreme, and that carried over into the beginning of 2021, when the lockdown was still in full force. I mean, who wants to wear heels with nowhere to go? Still, as people entered the new year in search of normalcy and hope — and as restrictions have lessened in several parts of the world, you may be ready for something more fun to spice up your footwear. And the biggest 2021 shoe trends will definitely break up the monotony.
So, what do you get when you mix a general yearning to return to over-the-top with 2020's emphasis on practicality? Think: elevated comfort. Stilettos may be out, but super-tall, flat platforms are in. Uncomfortable, skin-tight, over-the-knee boots aren't exactly what you want to throw on while WFH, but clogs offer a similar sense of structure and professionalism. Sure, you probably won’t be falling right back into all of your 2020 events in 2021, but you can still walk into the new year and beyond feeling like your most fashionable self, even if it's with a new pair of treaded slippers.
The styles below will take you all the way from winter to spring to summer and to fall. No how you're feeling about rest of 2021 that still lies ahead, these must-try 2021 shoe trends might just make you excited about finishing this trip around the sun.
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2021 Shoe Trend: Clogs
Hermes, Stella McCartney, and Batsheva included classic clogs in their spring ready-to-wear collections. And what's not to love about it? The style is comfortable, professional, and couldn't be easier to slip on for an immediately sharp look.
2021 Shoe Trend: Platforms
You don't have to sacrifice height for comfort and vice versa. Rather than familiar stilettos, thick, leveled platforms dotted the runways at Versace, Molly Goddard, Erdem, and Altuzarra. Since I love being just a little taller than I am, platforms are everything to me. The flat sole keeps pain and the risk of tripping to a minimum. Add unexpected colors, textures, and extra cushioning to the mix, and you've got a winner.
2021 Shoe Trend: Sport Sandals
Throwback '90s and early 2000s sandals are making a swift comeback as 2020's terrors have us all collectively yearning for simpler times. Velcro sandals similar to the Tevas you wore as a kid appeared in Anna Sui's and Jason Wu's 2021 shows, though these versions were more tricked out with modern updates, like platforms, ribbons, or animal print.
2021 Shoe Trend: Shoe Jewelry
2021 is going to be a tricked-out year. One simple way designers elevated tried-and-true silhouettes for 2021 involved simple embellishments, which took classic boots, buckles, and flats from plain to over-the-top in the best way. Valentino decked its shoes out with studs, Simone Rocha added pearls to its Mary Janes, and Miu Miu bejeweled its mules to perfection.
2021 Shoe Trend: Ballet Slippers
Even though we should all walk into 2021 quietly (don't touch nothin') ballet slippers are another revived throwback look for those who'd prefer to grande jeté into the new year. Simone Rocha, Dolce and Gabbana, and Prada were just a few of the brands to display the timeless, French-girl staple on their runways.
2021 Shoe Trend: Kitten Heels
If you're determined to keep heels in rotation, have you considered the kitten heel? Yet another nostalgic silhouette having an unlikely renaissance, the kitten heel boasts all the elegance of a taller heel but is far more comfortable and easier to walk in. Need more convincing? Major fashion houses like Valentino, Prada, and Miu Miu all showed off short heels for 2021.
2021 Shoe Trend: Fuzzy Textures
Remember how I said comfort is sticking around for 2021? Yeah, I was serious. Several runways featured a variety of takes on fuzzy, fur, feathered, and all-around textured shoes. You don’t necessarily have to search for teddy stilettos to get in on this trend, though. Maintain optimal comfort levels with a fuzzy platform slipper instead.
2021 Shoe Trend: Geometric Lines
Budapest Select’s fall runway was full of geometric, checkered prints all the way down to the shoes. If you’re reluctant to delve into a full on optical illusion wardrobe, a checkered, plaid, or otherwise graphic patterned shoe will ease you in.
2021 Shoe Trend: Moon Boots
Believe it or not, the moon boots of decades past are making a renaissance once again. See on various runways for fall 2021, including Chloé and Kenzo, the divisive shoe is just as big, bold, and ostentatious as it always has been. Regardless of your opinions on the shoe, you’ve got to admit, they look stupidly comfy and warm for cold weather.
2021 Shoe Trend: Y2K Paradise Sandals
I could kiss the Moschino runways for unearthing a trend I know we all missed: the frilly, bow- or feather-ladden high-heeled sandals of Y2K. Think: Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. The trend is a slightly more formal, eccentric one, but it’s loaded with nostalgia and makes an outfit infinitely more fun. If I’m confident about one thing, it’s the fact that the below fuzzy heels from Jeremy Campbell could not encapsulate this trend more.
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