After spending the last few years cocooned in sweats and slippers and confined to the walls of our homes, a new, optimistic approach to dressing emerged at the tail-end of last year, seen on the spring/summer 2022 runways. As we approach the second half of the year, it’s clear that dopamine dressing is here to stay, trickling into every facet of fashion, including our shoes.
Bold is the name of the game, with platforms of gargantuan proportions, sculptural heel shapes, and plenty of glitz, bling, and in-your-face colors and prints reigning supreme. But while statement-making styles are having a moment back in the spotlight, flat, casual shoes are certainly not “out,” as we’re also seeing plenty of riveting takes on comfort-forward favorites like slides, sneakers, and even the classic ballet flat.
Nostalgia also plays a role in the year’s biggest shoe trends, as the Y2K revival continues to rage on and retro nods to fashion’s past reach viral status on our social feeds.
In the spirit of giving our shoe collections a spring cleaning, we partnered with
Nine West to curate a list of the nine footwear trends dominating 2022. Catering to both heel lovers and the heel-averse, there’s a little something for everyone. Keep reading for a deep dive into each one.
Fashion is now at its maximalist peak. Cue: plenty of interesting heel shapes, like chunky flared block heels, pyramid-tipped stilettos, and architectural wedges. And you can wear them one of two ways: Let them be the pièce de résistance of a more pared-down look like jeans and a T-shirt, or in true 2022 fashion, go all-out and pair them with as many colors, prints, and layers as you please.
Nine West Ansel Platform Slide Sandals, $, available at Nine West
2021 saw the return of the going-out top, and this year, it’s all about the party shoe — high-shine metallics, electrifying pops of color, and bedazzled details (à la the early aughts), which will surely add a statement-making touch to any celebratory ensemble, be it a slinky slip or tailored suiting. Of course, we’re just as apt to wear a great party shoe any old day, too — in the spirit of dopamine dressing, why not?
Party-Ready Details Nine West Miami Ankle Strap Sandals, $, available at Nine West
Whether you love it or love to hate it, the Y2K renaissance is here to stay. Case in point? Chunky slip-on mules, which have become just as much a wardrobe essential in 2022 as they were in 1999. Of course, they aren’t the only millennium footwear trend to make a comeback: heeled thongs, glitzy rhinestone embellishments, futuristic metallics, see-through straps, and lucite heels have also resurfaced, giving you plenty of casual and formal nostalgic-fueled options to choose from. However, if you’re looking to
really lean in, try pairing them with some — gasp! — low-rise jeans. Nine West Behot Heeled Slide Sandals, $, available at Nine West
Puffy slides became the footwear of choice during pandemic summers, making them quite possibly the only thing that could get us out of our fuzzy slippers — or put on any shoes at all. Voluminous, cloud-like footwear is still going strong, with everything from clunky mules to sky-high heels getting the padded treatment, pillowy quilting and braiding abound.
Nine West Yoyo Heeled Slide Sandals, $, available at Nine West
If you can’t tell by now, heels are clearly the common denominator amongst the year’s biggest shoe trends, to which we say: Go big or go home. Platforms of towering proportions made their way down the spring and fall runways, and while they may be impractical for certain outings — say, a grocery run — we’re itching to strap some on every time we leave the house. But fear not, this trend caters to the heel-averse, too, in the form of flatform slides and chunky elevated sneakers.
Nine West Glows Platform Sandals, $, available at Nine West
It wouldn’t be dopamine dressing without a dizzying abundance of prints. From Y2K-adjacent psychedelic swirls to classics like floral and leopard, today’s footwear offering certainly doesn’t lack excitement. And while a printed shoe may seem intimidating at first, they’re actually quite simple to style. They’re a tried-and-true way to infuse a little life into an otherwise simple look, or you can opt to go the mix-and-match maximalist route.
Statement-Making Prints Nine West Kelsie Ankle Wrap Heeled Sandals, $, available at Nine West
Just in time for warm weather comes the woven trend, bringing plenty of texture into the mix. Besides the usual rope and raffia, expect to see macramé — perfect for pairing with this season’s must-have crochet dress — and braided leather and denim details. This year also reimagines the espadrille with retro silhouettes, mile-high platforms, and chunky block heels, making the spring classic all the more compelling. Pair them with something light and breezy — and don’t forget your picnic basket.
Nine West Fefee Platform Slide Sandals, $, available at Nine West
Lace-up ankle wrap shoes are also having a major resurgence, lending a romantic, feminine feel to flat sandals, chunky platforms, and everything in between. We love them most for their styling versatility: Knot them around your ankles or further up your calf — or up to your knee, should you wish to copy the catwalk. For the particularly adventurous, try a very editorial look and tie them over a billowing pant leg.
Nine West Ailey Ankle Wrap Platform Sandals, $, available at Nine West
If we learned anything over the last two years, it’s that a good flat shoe will always be a reliable standby. The higher fashion forces seem to think so, too, as casual flat sandals, slides, sneakers, and even classic ballet flats (another nostalgic throwback) were all over the runways. And despite our excitement for heels of all varieties, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t relieved to see that, well, comfort is still cool. Of course, casual certainly doesn’t equate to boring — bold hues, strappy details, and plenty of texture and embellishments help elevate these otherwise low-key styles.
Nine West Minus Ankle Wrap Flat Sandals, $, available at Nine West
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