Chain Shoes Are Fall 2020's Anti-Sneaker Trend To Try

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From heavyweight links to bold cables, chains have been a prominent trend in the jewelry space with no sign of slowing for 2020. The chainlink motto is seemingly more, bigger, and as distinctive as possible among trendsetters. While chain jewelry is soon to be hidden below turtlenecks and scarves, the look is stretching to clothing and footwear, and now, chain shoes are a must-try trend for fall/winter 2020.

"The gold chain, in all sizes, has taken the jewelry industry by storm," Libby Page, the senior fashion market editor at Net-A-Porter, tells TZR. "[Shoes] are an evolution of this trend — a finishing touch that can be perfectly dressed down for day or dressed up for night." After Daniel Lee, Bottega Veneta's creative director, debuted the label's cult stretch heels adorned with dangling gold chains for Pre-Fall 2019, a swath of takes on the trend followed. The movement has since gained mass appeal; heels, boots, and flats adorned with large links, gilded rope cables, or delicate chains proved unanimous on designer runways for Fall/Winter 2020 from Oscar de la Renta and Off White to Altuzarra. Page sights Saint Laurent's runway as a standout moment for the trend this season, where classic pumps were updated with chain anklets. Additionally, she tells TZR, "Aquazzura, Gianvito Rossi, and Porte & Paire have created their iterations of the trend, which offer a variety of chain sizes, for the minimalist and the maximalist."

Oscar de la Renta Fall/Winter 2020. Photo: Peter White/WireImage/Getty Images
Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2020. Photo: Peter White/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

While chainlinks might seem suited to edgier aesthetics, the trend is versatile for various tastes and quite wearable, too. Chain shoes are the perfect way to elevate staple pieces like knitwear and jeans, which Page says will suit "the minimalist woman who doesn't want to drape in embellished crystals, which are traditionally considered uniform for evening wear."

Chain shoes' ability to skew casual makes them all the more relevant at a time when comfort and simplicity reign in fashion. "We've seen casual iterations [of chain shoes], whether that be flats or mules for a more practical fit," Page says, noting a pair of chain-adorned flats from Gucci's Spring/Summer 2020 collection as a popular style among Net-A-Porter shoppers. "Brands, such as Wandler and Porte & Paire, have taken note and created their versions for Fall/Winter 2020." There are also JW Anderson's chain mules which have won over fashion insiders including Marc Jacobs, Dua Lipa, and Rihanna. For those who have spent the last months in sneakers, the glamorous touch of an embellished shoe is just the alternative you need to liven things up.

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For a fashion-forward mood, Page has a few styling tips. "Following the popularity of wrapping strappy sandals around the cuff of pants, do so with your chain to highlight the detail against the fabric, and add an extra dimension to the look." The buyer also advocates for coordination between accessories, recommending gold chain jewelry with matching footwear as finishing touches to a fall ensemble. Page's biggest pro tip: "If you can't find the perfect pair [of chain shoes], style your favorite heel with a gold chain necklace or bracelet worn as an anklet."

Keep scrolling to discover a stylish edit of chain shoes, from heels and boots to flats. If you're ready to make a purchase, shop your favorites from under-$100 takes to designer investments, and consider them your perfect modern occasion shoes this season.

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