2023, year that goes, trend that returns.
The past year has been all about eccentricity and especially unconventional shoes, with a return of 90s and 2000s style. Although fashion makes its first appearance on the runways, it is social media that serves as the true judges of trends. It is on these platforms that countless moments of style defined as –core and fashion have occurred, such as the Barbiecore, characterized by Barbie-inspired outfits, thanks in part to the success of the film. Key items in this style include miniskirts, short tops, cuissardes boots, platform shoes, and sneakers.
During 2023, what achieved the most viral success were footwear of various kinds, with particular emphasis on extravagant-looking shoes.
Let’s explore this year’s footwear trends together.
Adidas Gazelle sold out in 2023
In the world of sneakers, a huge success has been found with the Adidas Gazelle, sold out in any color variant. Born in 1966, Gazelles have experienced several fashion comebacks. The first came in the 1970s, when their minimalist design and suede upper allowed the shoes to be dyed in a wide range of colors, making them the fashion stars of the time.
Later, in the 1990s, thanks to the BritPop movement and the group Oasis, Gazelles made a comeback among new generations around the world; during the 2000s, they became classic sneakers and no longer a fashion statement to follow, until in 2021 Gucci’s creative director started a collaboration with Adidas.
The Adidas Gazelle x Gucci became a symbol of luxury, maintaining style and comfort and bringing attention back to a beloved but somewhat neglected silhouette.
The model thus began to return to prominence among fans, and Adidas this year offered it in a variety of colors, capitalizing on the ongoing success.
The result? In the summer of 2023 Gazelle sneakers sold out everywhere.
Maison Margiela’s tabi boots never go out of style
Although Maison Margiela’s Tabi Boots could never be called a real trend, they have always managed to carve out a notable space in fashionistas’ wardrobes, thus becoming a genuine must-have. In 2023, Tabi Boots were highly sought-after footwear, thanks on the one hand to the growth of interest in the vintage world and on the other thanks to several fashion icons, including of Dua Lipa, who sported them in different looks.
Tabi shoes made their first appearance during Maison Martin Margiela’s 1989 fashion show, featuring red patent leather-painted soles that left hoof-like impressions split in two on the runway, elegantly emphasizing the models’ stride. These shoes were made look back to 15th-century Japanese culture: originally designed as slippers of the upper class seeking physical and mental balance, they were simple socks that divided the big toe from the foot and became commonplace precisely because of the practical fit.
To this day we can find them updated to new and increasingly varied versions: sneakers, pumps, boots, loafers, and they are highly appreciated by those who like to keep up with fashion
This tells us that:
The growing nostalgic inclination among the younger generation is leading to a fashion renaissance for boldly designed footwear
It doesn’t just stop with the “weird” footwear that divides the big toe from the foot, but footwear that was once described as “ugly” has also had tremendous success. A tangible example is Crocs, whose sales, according to the New York Times, have increased by 200 % since the pandemic. The open and shameless sharing of lockdown outfits on social media has helped clear them through customs, and wearing them even after returning to daily life has become a sign of authenticity and relaxation.
Their popularity continues to grow, supported even by prominent collaborations, solidifying them as trendy footwear; a similar phenomenon occurred with Birkenstocks, criticized by many, which became a trend of 2023 after being featured in the Barbie movie.
It doesn’t end there: boots, ballet flats and pointed shoes
Boots continue to take center stage this year, showing up in their cuissardes interpretation: high, thin heels elegantly wrap the leg up to thigh height, while knit leggings boots add a contemporary twist to the trend.
Ballet flats are also back in fashion, with Mary Jane from flats to spool heels.
Pointed shoes mark a revival that goes beyond the micro trend: Blumarine enriches the design with “curled” details while GCDS offers the iconic “bite” heel, solidifying the invisible heel trend, another trend of 2023.
There is no shortage of the furry trend, but we talked about that in another article that you can read here.
And, as we said at the beginning, 2023 was the year of extravagant shoes
Creating this great success was MSCHF‘s huge Big Red Boots, which harnessed the eternal fascination with futurism to bring to life a hybrid creation of 3D printing and artificial intelligence-generated art.
Although these may be remembered as an ephemeral fashion rather than a lasting trend, their impact on the fashion scene influenced the style of sneakers throughout the rest of the year.
The wave of replicating the original spirit of these quirky boots has involved numerous brands.
One notable example is Adidas, which collaborated with The Simpsons to create the famous “Homer Simpson” Stan Smiths, which became famous for Internet memes. This transformation of digital jokes into wearable accessories has provoked very funny effects. Equally discussed were JW Anderson’s frog clogs, the subject of numerous debates on social media. And we can’t forget the CPFM x Nike from Cactus Plant Flea Market, which divided the web with their particular aesthetic.
Would you wear these shoes?
We can, therefore, say that 2023 was a year in which footwear fashion went through a mystical journey, ranging between iconic comebacks and extravagant creations that redefined the industry’s standards. The fashion of 2023 proved that eccentricity is the key to capturing attention and that there are no set rules when it comes to expressing one’s style through footwear.
From runways to social media, shoes have become the medium through which people communicate their identity.
Looking to the future, we expect the footwear world to continue to challenge conventions, mixing styles and revisiting the past with a modern twist.
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