Love them, hate them, or stand steadfastly ambiguous, square-toe shoes are a trend back in full force. As hints of the '90s keep making their way back into the fashion conversation, it's only fitting that this chunky of-the-era style is deemed cool again. Now, both established and emerging designers are giving modern twists to the throwback shoe.
Part of the re-emergence could be credited to Bottega Veneta's luxe heels — popular styles include its Stretch Pumps and Padded Sandals. Likewise, Wandler Isa's Sandal became another industry favorite quickly after it launched last year. Now other trendsetting labels are showing pieces just as cult-status worthy as these adored square-toe creations.
"When we launched Studio Amelia just ten months ago, the square-toe was already a firm fixture, but we found that it was often presented in a very literal, retro narrative, like something you'd see in Clueless with chunky heels and patents colors," Emily Amelia Inglis, founder of Studio Amelia tells TZR. The up-and-coming designer decided to take a more refined, timeless approach to the silhouette. In Studio Amelia's lineup you'll find sophisticated square-toe flats and heels. "There is certainly an attraction to the novelty of that '90s narrative, which the square-toe is famous for, and it also presents a less traditional and more interesting way to accessorize; a curved toe will always be more traditionally feminine after all," she explains.
If you're having *major* square-toe fever, below find five different styles to try out, and consider experimenting with a few.
Square-Toe Shoe: Low Sandals
A minimal flat in a square-toe is still on-trend, but not overly trendy. But, don't be afraid to dress it up the simple shoe. Inglis says the label's customers are city-based professionals, so she sees many sporting the square-toe styles with suiting and sharper silhouettes. "It strikes that perfect balance between classical and contemporary." Plus, it's certainly the most comfortable way to try out the silhouette.
Square-Toe Shoe: Heeled-Sandals
Take a square-toe heel to the next level by dabbling in other shoe trends, too. If you aren't ready to let go of the "barely there" strappy heel, look to Staud's Gita Sandal. Or as high- heel flip-flops are showing up left and right, Neous' iteration is right on track with the craze. "Our most popular style for Spring/Summer 2020 which has a square-toe is the Florae, it's a thong heeled sandal that features a prominent square-toe," Vanissa Antonious, founder and creative director of Neous, tells TZR. "We have bought this out in a range of colors from a soft banana to the warm shade of brick."
Square-Toe Shoe: Loafers
Want to try a more conservative approach to the trend? A loafer is inevitably polished, while being both appropriate for the office and put-together for weekends. And the juxtaposition of a square-toe loafer makes the nostalgic silhouette feel modern. Pair Loewe's Loafer with a short-set for work (if permitted), or Martine Rose's Brown Snake Square Toe Boot Loafers with a mini dress for a casual Saturday afternoon ensemble.
Square-Toe Shoe: Mules
If you're not keen on a thong or strappy sandal, opt for a mule. Your foot easily slips into the shoe, and there's no feeling between your toes or around your feet. Play with textures by pairing a shiny patent square-toe mule, like Shop Peche's above, with a velvet sock.
Square-Toe Shoe: Boots
Boots are prime in the colder months, but breaking them out with bermuda shorts in the summer creates an unexpected look. Experiment with a square-toe in a grungy way, like with Nodaleto's oh-so-chunky Bulla Lace Up Black Soul boots. For a more pared-down approach to the silhouette, Totême's The Flat Boot will make any look refined. And for a hue that's appropriate all year round, turn to Paloma Wool's baby blue Neptuno boots.