The 10 Biggest Shoe Trends of 2020

Footwear trends are like any other trend in that they tend to mirror fashion at large. As the shoe goes, so goes the rest of the department store. This year, we’re seeing apparel—and, therefore, shoes—remain firmly planted in casual and athleisure, but things are moving steadily back into more dressy and overstated styles. But don’t worry! Your crisp, white slip-ons are still trendy. You just may want to add a few pairs of loafers and heels to your footwear stash to keep it fresh.

A pair of cute shoes is a simple and splashy way to give your outfit a fashion-forward flair, but picking the right ones can be daunting if you don’t know what’s in style. Here’s our list of the 10 biggest shoe trends to keep an eye on this year.

  • Strappy Leather Sandals—Once reserved exclusively for comfort retailers and hiking shops, Birkenstock-inspired sandals are now a staple at basically every trendy boutique. Taking cues from the eco-conscious VSCO girl look, uber-practical two-strap sandals are the “woke” dresser’s summertime essential. Pair them with a long, flowy skirt and a Hydro Flask if you want to be really on-trend.
  • Square-Toed Heels—Seeking something a tad bit more grown-up? Square-toed heels are the perfect option. Proving that fashion comes in cycles, the square toe is making a big resurgence after lying somewhat dormant since the ‘90s. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since all fashion trends of the moment seem to be deeply rooted in the Clinton generation.  We’ll see the square toe appear in many silhouettes, most notably the classic pump.
  • Pointy Heeled Boots—Just because square is in doesn’t mean pointy is out! In fact, we’re projecting that fall of 2020 will be packed with plenty of pointy-heeled boots and booties and, with this trend, it’s the bolder, the better. Think: funky patterns and over-the-top embellishments. We’ll still see a preference towards ankle boots this year, but don’t be surprised if the knee-high pointy boot makes a big resurgence on the streets, especially styles with stiletto heels.
  • Heeled Clogs—Yes, we’re here to report that clogs are coming back in style and we are definitely not mad about it. The round-toed, European mainstay has gotten a designer upgrade by some of the biggest fashion houses this year, with animal prints and loafer-inspired hardware giving old-school clogs a modern-day update. The heeled, wooden clog proves that the sleek and pointy and the round and clunky can co-exist peacefully in the world of trendy shoes! 
  • Recycled Materials—Any apparel made with eco-conscious materials are definitely going to be preferred among consumers this year. Many of the big-name shoe manufacturers have already made massive shifts towards the sustainable, but we will start to see eco-friendly and recycled materials become the standard rather than the exception. Some of the trendiest recycled materials in footwear include recycled plastic bottles and old rubber tires.
  • Platform Flats—With the ‘90s resurgence in all things fashion, we’ve seen plenty of new takes on old classics, including the platform flat. We love this style because it adds a couple of extra inches to your look but doesn’t come with the discomfort of high heels, so it’s a win-win for stylish shorties! Look out for platform flats in all the trendiest styles—loafers, strappy sandals, sneakers and Mary Janes, especially.
  • Heeled Loafers—Loafers in general are being hailed  as one of the year’s biggest footwear trends, sported by fashion icons like Emma Stone. But where last year’s loafers were soft and sneaker-inspired (and before that, nautical), this year’s are all-around dressy. We’re seeing the classic loafer silhouette done up in all sorts of dazzling ways. There’s snappy snakeskin, shiny patent leather and—our personal fave—heeled! Because who says a loafer can’t go with an evening gown?
  • Peep-Toe Booties—Peep-toe booties are the best because they give a typical fall and winter shoe a trendy warm-weather upgrade. And sometimes you just want to rock a solid boot with your fave summer maxis and skirts. This trend is expected to stay in style right alongside the 7/8 pants trend—a little sliver of skin at the ankle looks amazing with a pair of booties that are the perfect height.
  • Futuristic Sneakers—Keep your eyes peeled for cartoon-ish sneakers that look like they came straight out of the year 2500. We’re talking about both lifestyle and athletic shoes featuring sleek, ergonomic lines,  sci-fi inspired straps and colors that look inspired by space. Sneakers as a whole will remain very much in style for the next year—and, realistically, probably a lot longer—with the simple, white sneaker still reigning supreme in everyday street fashion.
  • T-Strap Heels—Athleisure is in, but so is retro-dainty. The T-strap heel is back in a big way and we are happy to embrace it. While the simple ankle strap heel has dominated for the past few years, the T-strap will bring a little extra intrigue and excitement coupled with a little retro flair. This style of shoe was actually super-trendy in the original roaring twenties—they were definitely a fave among flapper girls—so it’s fitting that they’re making a reappearance at the dawn of the new twenties.

Borrowing from the Past and the Future

Given the fashion world’s obsession with retro style, it’s no surprise that a lot of the current footwear trends are being borrowed from the past. Whether it’s the strappy heels worn by flappers or the platform shoes worn by the Spice Girls, no footwear trend is too passé for the modern dresser. At the same time, designers are tapping into imaginative visions of the future and prioritizing sustainability in a way that’s never been done before. The result is an exciting new footwear landscape that fuses past, present and future every step of the way.