Fashion month has officially come to a close, which means it’s time to digest all that the season had to offer. So let’s take a moment to look back at some of the season’s most memorable footwear, shall we? What was most striking about the shoe trends of Spring/Summer 2023 was the balance between practicality and statement-making touches across every city.
Unusual fabrications took center spotlight, like plastic and PVC (seen at Simone Rocha, Valentino, and Coach) and hosiery-inspired, netted mesh styles (at Bally, Chanel, and Stella McCartney). Even Loewe’s red pumps, made from layers of latex balloons, garnered a second peek when parading down the Paris catwalk.
Shine was a recurring theme as well. Metallic silver was a stand out at Bottega Veneta’s scene-stealing show, where Matthieu Blazy offered pointy wedges (a trend in and of itself for the season) and intrecciato woven boots in space age shine. Satin-sheen picked up speed, also nodding to the slightly futuristic, especially when garnered in the knee-high sock boot, seen across the runways of both Jil Sander and Sportmax.
But alongside all that celestial glamour came downright earth-friendly options, like the wide-set thong sandals — this season’s answer to flip-flops, solidified by Miu Miu’s utilitarian interpretation — and yes, flatforms, but in a more refined, classic version, rather than the Y2K-inspired iterations of 2022. One thing’s for certain: spring can’t come soon enough.
Keep reading to see the shoes that’ll be everywhere in six months.
Nothing But Net
Mesh got a lot of play in general this season, but the most interesting takes centered around the fabric were shoes. Hosiery-inspired designs, many resembling fishnets, made a splash by way of Chanel’s throwback-inspired, hybrid boot, Bally’s thigh-high stunners, and Stella McCartney’s tightly knit heels warranted high marks. For a more wearable approach, consider Nensi Dojaka’s woven basket net flats and kitten heels. They’ll capture your heart — hook, line, and sinker.
Frills & Fancy Free
Frills and flou, oh my! Flouncy flourishes are back and making for some truly show-stopping pieces. Collina Strada’s hot pink velvet lug sole creations, trimmed with ruffles and bows galore, made waves in New York, whereas Dries Van Noten channeled the rosette trend with flouncy layers of patterned chiffon atop slip-on mule heels in Paris. But the biggest stir of all came from Loewe’s bold red pump, entirely adorned with latex balloons, mimicking a sort of fabric ruching worthy of the couture catwalks.
Life In Plastic
We saw a return to the jelly sandal this past summer, but the trend isn’t going anywhere soon. There were rave-ready lace-ups aplenty at Simone Rocha, while a clean, PVC flat at Loewe offered a more modernist take on the material. And yes, Coach’s fisherman-style jellies in every color of the rainbow are already in our mental shopping basket, proving plastic is actually fantastic.
Let Me See That Thong
There is no question that flip-flops have been trending for awhile, but this season, the thong sandal got the runway treatment with a thick, wider strap. The bold band harkens back to the ‘00s gladiator moment we had last season, but with a utilitarian approach. Miu Miu styled nearly every look in the collection with this shoe-meets-sandal hybrid, from ankle length block heels to skin-tight knee-highs — and Max Mara’s flatform nodded to ancient Greek designs, but with a modern twist.
Metallics are making a shining comeback and we can’t get enough of the ultra-wearable styles. Bottega Veneta’s curved heel takes on the wedge silhouette with an artful spin, whereas Chloé’s pewter clog slip-on nods to the free-spirited, ‘70s attitude the heritage brand is known for. Meanwhile, Tory Burch’s pointed peep-toe flats demonstrate how easily metallic can be styled for everyday moments.
Wedge Me In
There is something about the wedge this season that feels just right. Fendi’s show solidified the movement, offering both slip-on platform sandals and sky high boots, in a rubberized material that seemed to bounce down the runway. Dries Van Noten and Salvatore Ferragamo pushed the boundaries too, with cut and crafted styles that played with materials in fresh ways.
In Milan, Prada sent nearly every look down the runway with a heeled Mary Jane shoe — and if that is not enough of a reason for you to invest in the trend, I don’t know what is. Or if Chanel’s more your speed, the maison put a twist on the style reminiscent of a 1920’s tap shoe, while Coach sent glossy heeled designs out with mini dresses and socks for a retro, baby doll feel.
Puffy shoes got the 2023 reboot — this time, in the form of sandals that are ready to party. Just take a look at JW Anderson’s squishy slide sandals, embellished with rows of crystals, or Proenza Schouler’s soft, rounded heels in vibrant, cobalt blue. Stella McCartney also featured laced-up sandals with volume that are the perfect fit for that long list of weddings you have next summer.
Steppin’ In Satin
Satin is one of those sumptuous fabrics that really can make you feel luxe. Typically reserved for ready-to-wear, designers played with the fabric in some unexpected footwear shapes, like the platform clog shapes at both Ports 1961 and Etro. But what styles took the proverbial cake? The futuristic sock boots at Jil Sander and Sportmax, in an array of pastel colors.
There is something so easy about a flatform sandal, so it comes as little surprise that it’s having another banner season across the runways. For Spring 2023, however, it’s about a clean and classic vibe, with artisanal-worthy detailing, like Ulla Johnson’s woven leather options, featuring an espadrille bottom. Jonathan Simkhai and Max Mara’s strappy shoes in neutral palettes also make this style noteworthy.