Ladies Footwear: Then & Now

Vintage looks always come around to become popular again. But today’s shoe trends have drawn much more inspiration from the past – and deeper in the past – than you might think. See how the following types of footwear have evolved over time:

Sneakers:

barrado sneakers

Women’s sneakers took a while to catch on as a style. After all, athletic shoes – invented in the early 1900’s – were originally for men and athletes. But with our health conscious lifestyle today, sneakers may be the most ubiquitous footwear as they can be worn for walking, running, and even causal occasions. Check out the sparkly gold sequined Juicy Couture Delia or the classic Converse Chuck Taylor, which has hardly changed at all over the years.

Ballet flats:

stuart weitzman evening

Inspired by the pointe shoes worn by ballerinas on stage, the first ballet flats for the public were introduced as early as the mid 16th century. Audrey Hepburn made them popular again in the 1950’s. Today, the shape has become among the most popular footwear, and although you may not be able to go tippy-toe like dancers do, the designs like Tory Burch Patent Revas are certainly worthy of a standing ovation.

Gladiators:

kors scorpion

Where gladiator sandals were primarily the footwear for the men who battled to the death in the Roman Coliseum, the look made a huge splash in women’s footwear in the 1960’s and 70’s. It took nearly forty years (and possibly one Russell Crowe movie) to come back, but since 2008, designs like the Steven by Steve Madden Chancee have been burning up the aisles once again.

Platform shoes:

Chie Mihara shoe

Did you know that the Chopine, the original wedge type shoe built in the early 15th century, went up to 30 inches? They were typically made of wood, but today our platforms are not only a bit more height conservative (and easier to walk in), but also sport materials from cork to rubber. Marc by Marc Jacobs Red Patent and kork-ease Ava Sandals are excellent examples of how far we’ve come.

Stilettos:

Miss 60

Possibly one of the most significant advancements in footwear design came with the addition of metal to women’s heels in the 1950’s, allowing for the incredibly thin heel known as the stiletto. The heel is indeed the thing, and has been put to use in everything from shoes to boots. The Stuart Weitzman Evening Maria in Black Satin is a classic, as is the Chinese Laundry Willy in Gold Leather that will elevate any evening wear.

Nowadays, the biggest trend that is on our doorstep in is eco-friendly footwear – it will be exciting to see what designers come up with when it comes to sustainable, green designs using the materials of today.

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