Putting Your Best Foot Forward
By Caitlin Brown
After 2020, never say never. I said I would never wear a Birkenstock— a legitimate house shoe if ever there was one— and then I did. A few months later, I bought another pair. The house shoe, which became a legitimate thing last year, is having an encore in 2021. It’s a trend with treads.
What happened to me, I’m guessing, happened to many of you: I got used to being comfortable and bought a lot more stay-at-home wear, because I was stuck at home.
Before Covid, I didn’t even own slippers. I thought they were an ugly and unnecessary investment. Next thing, I not only owned them, but went out in them.
Most new shoes are not a thing of beauty, but they are comfortable, practical, and functional, catering to the humans we have become, coming out of our caves. Most of us aren’t ready for heels. And guess what: If you haven’t already bought into the house shoe thing — lug soles, Birk-like sandals, clogs, fuzzy sandals/slides, mules, or the like — you may just find yourself ending up in a pair this year. They will be everywhere.
Here are some of the styles to look out for to put your best foot forward and transition from winter to spring.
They’re easy and great for comfort and speed, and they’re being spruced up in new and unexpected ways to offer personality, too.
Spotted everywhere and not just with the expected casual culprits (sweats, leggings… um pjs.). I hope this one goes away.
Many designers will be giving this classic shape a chic upgrade with leather and thick rubber soles. Look for colors, textures, new details… for all occasions.
Last summer, chunky thongs took off and it looks like they’re still here. Now they’re adorned with special details like delicate buckles and cushy straps.
Tried and True
Look for over-the-top embellishments — pearls, jewels — on tried–and–true silhouettes.
Hermes, Stella McCartney, and many other high–end brands included classic clogs in their spring ready-to-wear collections. And what’s not to love about them? The style is comfortable and couldn’t be easier to slip on for an immediately sharp look.
This manifestation of the house shoe is great for those that crave the height. Here, unlike a stiletto, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for altitude. Thick, leveled platforms dotted the runways at Erdem, Altuzarra, Gabriella Hearst, and more. They can be found in unexpected textures, colors, and extra cushioning to treat your home-manicured feet.
The classic thong sandal gets an upgrade. Once considered a fashion faux pas, or reserved for the beach, thongs now flaunt the chicest heels, texture, and embellishments. Not to mention, they are ideal for showing off a fresh pedicure.
They are heavy and comfortable, but an acquired taste. These seeped in last year on the 90s trends coming back. They are still here.
Loafers, mules, Mary Janes… oh my! Check out ones from Gucci, Tods, Zara, adding socks to make the look all the more chic.
Vintage Sneakers/Nostalgia Shoes
Throwbacks from the 1990s and early 2000s are making a swift comeback as we collectively yearn 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 tricked out with modern updates, like platforms, ribbons, or animal print in fancy silks and other fabrications. While the Teva thing frightens me and I hope goes away, the nostalgia sneaker is something I’ve embraced. This is a going back to the classics—maybe Nikes from our high school days. Oh, and the kitten heel of the past… that’s paying us a visit too… a heel that’s not out of the Covid woods yet.
Whatever you end up wearing on your feet, enjoy the comfort of having your feet firmly planted on the ground.