When my friend texted me “are flats still cool [in 2022]?” I told her, quite simply, yes they are. Like most footwear in fashion, this style has ebbed and flowed with the trend cycle — one season they’re in and the next they’re out. This season, they’re in. You only need to look at the recent hype around Prada’s chunky loafers or street style icon Zoë Kravitz in her Mary Janes to see that everyone is ready to embrace the anti-heel (if they haven’t already). February’s Fashion Month, in particular, gave a good prediction on where the flats trend for fall 2022 is headed. (You can expect lots of shearling offerings and embellished Mary Janes.)
“Simply put, we’re seeing women not wanting to give up their flats. They’re now looking for something more refined than a sneaker or a lug sole boot ... We’re also noticing an emphasis on flats and sandals serving as a way to add a pop of color, which gives the look a fashion statement without giving up comfort,” says Lisa Aiken, fashion and lifestyle director of Neiman Marcus.
The pop of color by way of flats was evident in the fall collection of Social Work and 3.1 Phillip Lim where models wore wine-colored shoes styled with more neutral-hued garments. Come fall, Lim will also release a shearling version of its popular ballerinas. In terms of refinement, Simone Rocha’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection, which debuted during London Fashion Week, perfected this aesthetic via a pair of fringe and beaded ladylike flats. (It gave off Bridgerton meets Blair Waldorf vibes.)
In the very same lineup, Rocha also showcased a sneaker-flat hybrid dubbed the “Ivory Pearl and Crystal Beaded Round Toe Criss-Cross Low Trek Ballerinas.” (Say that five times fast.) The shoe provided an energizing glimpse into the evolution of flats in 2022, namely that it can take on an avant-garde shape. Minimalist ballerinas of the Mansur Gavriel era will always remain a wardrobe staple, but it’s refreshing to see out-of-the-box designs like that from Rocha. It completely speaks to the current trend of leisurewear. “Working off past trends of athleisure and comfort that dominated the past few years due to the pandemic and work-from-home culture, comfortable flats are the perfect transition piece as we start going out more,” says Helen Zhang, founder of Social Work.
Loafers and ballerinas aside, lest you forget about other flat styles like the timeless oxford and derby, Tanner Richie and Fletcher Kasell brought these back into play. The co-founders of the genderless label Tanner Fletcher tapped into a ‘60s and ‘70s fashion aesthetic for their debut Fall/Winter 2022 collection at New York Fashion Week. To go along with this, they showcased clean-cut white oxfords (styled with velvet floral co-ords) and derby shoes with various ensembles.
“We feel that these traditional styles are really interesting, especially when seen through a more transgressive lens like genderless fashion, so we could see them becoming more and more popular on the runway and the streets alike,” they said.
The future looks bright for flats next season, whether you’re still on the chunky loafer train or you’re ready to dive right into a fuzzy teddybear-like slipper. If you can’t wait to shop, TZR found a few fall-approved styles on the market that you can purchase this instant. That way, you can consider yourself ahead of everyone else when it comes to wearing the flats trend.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.