The evolution of shoes over the years has been an intriguing journey and keeps surprising us daily. The mood of the fashion world keeps changing and with new trends coming in every day, we have something new to look forward to all the time! The evolution of shoes has been revolutionary through the decades with excellent designers who have worked tirelessly to bring us experimental and eccentric shoe trends.
Now, there are some types of shoes that come and go as micro trends, but then there are some classics that are still recognized and used for inspiration to create new. We’re going to discuss some of the iconic footwear through the decades that are now historic references and were all about creativity and OG fashion style. So, let’s walk down and take a look at some artistic footwear of history.
When we talk of the 20s, people usually relate it to keeping it basic, black, and mundane. However, that most definitely isn’t the case. In fact, the 1920s witnessed a big shoe style revolution between WWI and the Great Depression.
As you can see in the above image, the construction, design, silhouette, and are quite evidently incorporated in modern styles as well. The Oxfords, especially were a shoe style that was donned by many and was quite popular. Today, we see a vast variety of similar styles that were completely inspired by the 20s. The cuts and design elements were bold and stylish and had a huge impact on the masses of the time. The shoes were also sold in many varied colors and gradient effects as well. The footwear fashion in the 20s was all about comfort but the styles were still quite in vogue.
The Oxfords and T-strap shoe style were quite popular in the 20s, 30s, 40s, and even today are an inspiration for many luxury footwear fashion. The Oxfords in the 30s got an upgrade with added cut-outs and a slight change in the silhouette and the elevation of 1 - 2 inch heels, which gave the shoes a more alluring yet sophisticated look. The decorative lines detail as shown in the image above also added to the variety of different fabrics such as patent leather, suede, and even reptile skin which gave it an added element of texture and looked intriguing and luxurious.
The popular types of shoes in the 1940s were pumps, Mary Jane, and loafers. The wedge heel also rose to popularity in the 40s and complemented well with the loafer upper design. The shoe style also was quite comfortable. Pumps and Mary Jane footwear fashion also was seen significantly. The 40s were about working women, the shoe trends of the time were more on the formal structure. With several restrictions on women due to WWII, women’s footwear fashion was pretty straightforward and based on practicality with many women working in the factories and opting for a more comfortable and appropriate choice of types of shoes.
We absolutely love the 50s! It’s when Salvatore Ferragamo invented a girl’s best friend, high heel stilettos! The 50s also brought about slingback and open toe shoes and was known to be quite an inventive era with ballet flats, moccasins, canvas tennis shoes, and even mules as new designs!
The 60s brought in a lot of colors and prints and a gorgeous amalgamation of slingback and pumps which were sublime and still very much cherished by many. Kitten heels were also a popular choice amongst many and look stylish and chic with the 60s fashion and dramatic flair. Square toe was also one of the most prominent trends in the 1960s and gave a broad and bold aesthetic to the shoe which paired well with the work wear for women.
Our favorite 2023 trend is of course inspired by this 70s ultra high and chunky platform wedge heels! The fusion of comfort and style really started shining through with these styles. Clogs were also greatly popular during this era, fitting right into the chunky heel factor. The 1970s were all about comfortable chic and that is exactly why we still can’t get enough of the chunky trend! The evolution of shoes has been interesting, to say the least though. But we love a good reference to the past!
The 80s sure did bring us some iconic classics like sneakers, especially the Nike signature Air Force S1 in white that is to this date popular. The 80s were all about making history and giving the masses some legendary pieces of fashion such as the Air Jordans, Reebok Pumps, and more! This was also the era when the term “sneakerheads” came about.
The 90s were a crazy moment for fashion with micro trends pouring in and maximalism shining bright. The 1990s was an era full of diversity and iconic shoe styles. The most popular shoe of the decade was the Air Jordan, as mentioned before, and was brought about in the 1980s but gained popularity in the 1990s. Chunky platform shoes and sandals, referring to the "Spice Girls” shoes were also a huge trend in the mid-90s. The Doc Martens boot was also a popular style that further became a symbol of grunge and alternative culture. Slip-on sneakers like the Vans Classic Slip-Ons also became prominent.
The 2000s saw a wide array of popular shoe styles, from classic sneakers to trendy booties and high heeled sandals. Adidas Superstar and Nike Air Max were among the popular sneakers, while Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars and Vans slip-ons remained popular among skaters and are still popular to this day. Ugg boots, Crocs, and Birkenstocks also came into prominence for their comfort and eccentric construction.
To shop similar styles from the past check some of these below and more at ragnco.com