Who among us doesn’t have a soft spot for footwear? Since fall’s NYFW, we’ve been taking notes and making forecasts about which shoe trends would dominate the coming months. What lies ahead is equal parts whimsical and rustic, nostalgic and futuristic. Get ready for stylish cowboy boots and couture clogs. From models on catwalks to It Girls on crosswalks, trendsetters around the world are making us all believe that rent will have to somehow pay itself, because I might die without those Mary Janes. Below, read up on the shoe trends you’re bound to see everywhere for spring 2023.
Far and away, the biggest shoe trend of note right now is ballet flats. If you thought you had seen the last of these with Blair Waldorf, you thought wrong. Between New York and Copenhagen fashion weeks, flats were everywhere for spring/summer 2023 showings. They provided the foundation for looks at Remain, Foo and Foo, Coach, Dauphinette, and Victor Glemaud. Obviously, no Tory Burch show is complete without the designer’s iconic slippers. Even Sandy Liang got in on the flat action. After spending the winter months in boots and wool socks, a simple pair of slip-ons might be just what you need.
Remember the knee-high wrap-up gladiator sandals of yesteryear? Well, a shocking number of shows this season gave the style a chic upgrade. We saw traditional sandals, platforms fit for the discotheque, and pumps like those at Prabal Gurung. They might take a little more effort to fasten than a single ankle strap or slip-on loafer, but the look? She pays off.
From winter fashion to spring bag trends, the current landscape is all about standing out. In 2023, we’re ready to be seen, honey. Sneakers are great for the airport and neutrals are perfect for wall paint, but when it comes to the shoes you step out in? It’s time to make a statement. Per Khaite, LaQuan Smith, and Victor Glemaud, a statement that shines is the only one worth making.
Rounded toes? Been there, done that. Square? Eh. Your style is sharp, and your toebox should be, too. Take this season’s other shoe trends, such as Tory Burch flats, western boots, or lace-up styles, and narrow it down further (literally) to pointed-toe options for footwear that is truly on-point. Okay, I’ll stop, but seriously, Christian Siriano, Prabal Gurung, and Victor Glemaud are all among the labels making a case for pointed toes this spring.
These are not your father’s Merrells, nor are they your standard Birkenstock Bostons or Crocs—although we love those, too. Perhaps one of the more polarizing styles, allow the enviable variety shown by Simon Miller or the funky renditions Fendi offered up this month to convince you that clogs absolutely deserve a moment in the spotlight. The crossroads of comfort, orthotic support, and high fashion? That’s where I’ll be living this spring.
And just like that, slouchy boots are back in style. It feels like it happened overnight, no? Suddenly, well-dressed women everywhere are walking tall in slouching shoes. For early spring, when we’re still phasing out of the cold winter months and you’re not quite ready for open-toe sandals, this trend will be your best friend.
The Mary Jane is the Gemini of shoes. That is to say, it’s a two-sided style. At a cursory glance, Mary Janes are feminine—coquettish, even. Look closer and you’ll find the strapped silhouette is actually quite versatile. From flat-soled shoes and funky sneakers to stilettos and sandals, there’s one to fit your wardrobe.
The jury is out on whether we have Bella Hadid or Harry Styles to thank for this trend (choose your fighter!), but I’m not mad about it either way. If you’re tired of your Air Force 1s or can’t get that grass stain out of your Supergas, why not try a sportier style to fulfill your trainer needs? And if you need intel on where to buy Adidas Sambas, we’ve got you covered.
Elevated Cowboy Boots
Paging captain obvious: If you left the house at all last year, you probably witnessed this trend in the wild at least a time or two. The western boot trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Even if you don’t consider yourself a down-home broad, this style is admittedly fun for all. It can be executed in subtle ways, too, so don’t worry about being mistaken for a rancher. Just look at the spin Ganni took. (When it’s on a Ganni runway, you know it’s cool.) Get on board with cowgirl couture, y’all.
Associate Fashion Commerce Editor
Meg Donohue is the Associate Fashion Commerce Editor at ELLE.com. Her passions include spicy foods, sustainability, and the Y2K remake of Charlie’s Angels. She will never stop hoping for a One Direction reunion tour.