Revisiting Classic Shoe Trends from the Last 30 Years

The thing about shoe trends is that everything eventually comes back to either haunt us, or have a second (third, fourth, twelfth) life. Some trends never die (see: Converse Chuck Taylors) and some, are better off in the past. Regardless, you’ll probably find shoes below that you either still own, or would rather forget about, from the last couple decades. Read on for a stroll down memory lane.

Platform Flip-flops

via Lyft

A platform flip-flop, in theory, is great. It’s the height you need, with no strain on your feet or legs, and no pain to take on or off. But we’re happy that this shoe trend remained in the ’90s β€” it’s nothing against flip flops or platforms, just something to do with the combination of the two that reminds us that flip-flops are best worn on the beach.


via Gluestick Blog

Despite making your feet smell bad, you probably never tired from the delight of adding these shoes to your outfit. The blisters were worth it, no matter how painful they were. They came in a variety of colors, (they actually still come in a variety of colors, today) and it wasn’t uncommon to have more than one pair of these cute and girly shoes. Today, Jellies (or Jellybeans) can be seen in many different styles, some with heels, and some that are easier to slip on for a more on-the-go shoe.



During the ’80s and ’90s, the white version of these shoes were most popular amongst the younger generations of women. Today, they’ve come back to life in all kinds of colors and styles, though they haven’t lost that classic charm that made them popular in the first place.

UGG Boots

via Ugg

Anyone who owns Ugg Boots will say that they are the warmest boot you can wear. How can you beat such a level of fur that ensures your toes stay warm through the coldest of days? These boots were first introduced, ironically, to the beaches of California in the late 1970s, and evolved to become a more relaxed boot that took hold of casual North American fashion in the early 2000s.

Block Heel Mary Janes

via Chiko Shoes

Mary Janes have seen many different styles over the years and the block heel is a great iteration of the shoe β€” it offers a little more stability than an average heel, without appearing too chunky.

Shell Top Adidas

via Amazon

If you were in middle school in the early aughts, you probably wore these shoes. If you weren’t in middle school, you probably didn’t care that they were making yet another comeback. Oddly enough, they’ve managed to resurface in today’s fashion world yet again, but their sibling (Stan Smith) seems to be slightly more popular than the original shell top shoe, particularly in North American shoe fashion.

Hi-Top Converse Chuck Taylors

via Etsy

The hi-top shoe from Converse is forever a classic, worn today and consistently throughout the last several decades by both men and women. They were first worn by Charles “Chuck” Taylor in 1923, a basketball player who played on the Converse All Star basketball team. Today, they’re worn by just about everyone, but have remained a staple for many artists and musicians.

Skyscraper Platform Heels

via lyst

These shoes give you the ability to tower at a totally different height than what you’re used to… if you can walk in them. They’re a statement piece that have stuck around, though aren’t seen as often as they were during their more popular time in the early aughts. They actually remind us of some of the shoes we saw in a previous post about shoes from all over the world.

Ballet Flats

via Nordstrom

These are a timeless shoe that will probably never go out of style. From ballet recitals to offices and date nights, these are versatile shoes that appeal to any and all ages. If you were wearing these as a kid, you’re probably still wearing them today!

White Sneakers

via Nike

While the white sneaker trend has generally remained popular throughout the last few decades, today, we’re seeing more chunky white sneakers (think Air Max or Air Force One) paired with simple outfits. The versatility of the white sneaker is that it can be stylishly dressed up (something to offset an all black jumpsuit or suit perhaps?) or dressed down for a day of errands in sweats.

What were some of your favorite shoes from the last twenty years? Let us know in the comments, whether they’re included above, or ones that we might have missed!

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