LA Designers Share the 9 Shoe Trends to Watch Out For This Year

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Your shoes represent more than just a surface-level fashion choice. It's what keeps you grounded, gets you from point A to point B, and right now, with movement (or lack thereof) seemingly in flux, what you put on your feet actually feels quite significant. For west coast designers, LA shoe trends for 2021 run the gamut from comfortable staples that work for both indoors and outside all the way to colorful palettes and eccentric silhouettes to brighten the mood. Chunky sandals à la '90s, house shoes crafted in luxe fabrics, brightly-hued platforms, and other wearable picks are all at top of mind for the stylish LA set.

Naturally, these west coast sensibilities differ slightly from their New York City or Parisian (or Italian!) counterparts, which is why it's especially intriguing to find out what's trending in the golden state where the sun is shining bright and spring feels just around the corner. Ahead, hear from nine designers behind some of your favorite brands including Cult Gaia, Chelsea Paris, and Tamara Mellon to get the download on all of the shoe trends you can expect to see in the coming months as well as where to shop them for your own wardrobe.

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Shoe Trend: Neutral-Hued Statement Heels

"While neutrals have always been a closet staple, we've been seeing an increase in demand and reintroduced them in a fresh way," Cult Gaia Founder Jasmin Larian tells TZR. Her Los Angeles-based brand is a go-to for sculptural characteristics and earth tone color combinations, so it's only natural she'd lead the charge with this footwear trend, namely with the Vita Sandal and Meta Heel.

"With these styles, the heels themselves have eye-catching stacking elements while the invisible [acrylic] upper creates a floating illusion. It provides a clean look with a little extra something and is versatile enough to be worn with more things." If shoes that are inspired by "curves of desert dunes and the purity of clear blue skies" sound appealing, add these to your cart.

Shoe Trend: Casual and Chunky

For Labucq Founder and Designer Lauren Bucquet, trends aren't confined to just one year. "They're usually quite fluid and change gradually over time, so I don’t think that just because it’s a new year, what you wore in 2020 will be out in 2021," she explains. "I believe chunky shoes are here to stay, and that overall style will remain more casual than dressy."

"Our Boomer sandal was a huge hit last summer, and we’re coming back with it in some new colors, as well as a new thong upper on the same chunky bottom that I think people will love (thongs are also super on-trend ATM)," Bucquet shares. The Boomer's success is in large part thanks to its versatility. "It's a great mix of that on-trend chunky silhouette that can be easily dressed up or down due to the clean leather," she says. "We also have a great new flatform loafer mule that I’m really excited about coming mid March."

Shoe Trend: Chunky Platforms

Chelsea Paris Founder Theresa Ebagua has a playful prediction for 2021. "We will see a lot more of the chunky heel and platform look in the footwear space," she shares with TZR. The designer incorporated this splashy silhouette in the brand's upcoming spring/summer collection, which can only mean one thing: you're about to see this style permeate your Instagram feed for the months to come.

Shoe Trend: House Shoes

LoQ Co-founders Valerie Quant and Keren Longkumer are embracing the necessity of house shoes in 2021, "for restful days staying in or stepping out," Quant says. "The focus is ultra-soft padded insoles and pliable uppers for luxurious comfort, while also looking elegant for a quick market run." Whether you're working from home or coming back at the end of the day in need of relaxation, "as we emphasize the home — grounding starts with the feet,” Longkumer adds.

Shoe Trend: Comfort Is King

Emme Parsons's well-crafted, relaxed assortment of footwear feels suited for the current mood. Right now, the designer (who recently relocated to Florida but maintains a team in Los Angeles) is prioritizing comfort. "It will continue to be a major trend in footwear," she tells TZR. "We've seen a tremendous amount of success with our fussbett styles and do not foresee that changing."

Shoe Trend: Fun, Optimistic Styles

Intentionally Blank Founder and Creative Director Ty McBride is approaching 2021 with optimism. "But not blindly so," he tells TZR. "As we get closer to being vaccinated and merging into old routines, people are going to feel reborn after this long dormant period of being shut in. In this rebirth, I think we're going to see a tendency towards bold choices, over-the-top fun in styling, and a sense of making everything count. No holding back!"

His LA brand is known for its carefree and playful attitude, and that hasn't changed throughout all of this. "We are not a brand who started doing pool slippers, slides, or house shoes during the pandemic, we have stuck true to our DNA and we will go even more so in our own direction for 2021." What to expect? "Fun, expect color, and dare I say it, a bit of kooky? We are not out of the woods yet, but I say toss on a flat form with your sweats and go grab some almond milk in style," he adds.

Shoe Trend: Casual Shape, Luxe Materials

Courtesy of Freda Salvador

Comfortable footwear almost feels like a non-negotiable at this point, but Freda Salvador has plans for how to kick that up a notch. "We feel like people are going to want to dress up again, but they will no longer sacrifice the comfort they have become accustomed to," Co-founder Megan Papay tells TZR. "Therefore, they will be drawn to dressier, more luxury materials like black embossed croc, but they will want it in a bouncy lug sole boot, as opposed to a more structured flat or heel."

Shoe Trend: Comfort Or Joy

For 2021, designer Tamara Mellon is focusing on two key objectives for women: comfort or joy. "For comfort, one of my current favorites is my new platform clog that is lined with cozy shearling," she shares. As for joy, she's leaning into a bright boot, like her New Frontier style. "While it’s not a stay-at-home boot, seeing the color in my closet is an instant mood booster and very uplifting."

Shoe Trend: Mesh Texture

For designer Jessica Rich, comfortable-yet-trendy shoes that offer versatility is the trend that never dies. "Women want to be comfortable and sexy at the same time," she tells TZR. Her solve? A mesh pump for 2021. If it's anything like her previous styles that include Jennifer Lopez and Kylie Jenner as fans, this new texture is set to take off.

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