What shoes are we wearing in 2024?

How your footwear faves of 2023 have evolved to take on a new year

Footwear is hands down the most polarising accessory of any season. Take the mesh ballet flat for example. Right now, caged and sheer bejewelled ballerinas are lining shelves everywhere, from high-end designers such as Alaia (which launched the cult mesh ballet flat of 2023) Khaite and Christopher Esber to high street retailers including Zara, Tony Bianco and Decjuba. It’s a shoe that you either love or you hate, and whichever way you lean, you’ll likely die on that hill, at least for a season.

Shoes have always been a status symbol – a sign that you’ve either got cash to splash (see red-soled Louboutins and Prada loafers) or you’re bang on trend (here’s looking at you Adidas Samba). Mini Ugg boots, platform jandals, ballet flats, slim-line sneakers and chunky dad runners were the shoes to be seen in throughout 2023, but how has this evolved for 2024?

Colourful kicks

With Sambas hitting saturation point towards the end of last year, both the Adidas Gazelle and Spezial, with rainbows of colourways to choose from, began to edge their way to the top. Pink with green, red and white, and bright green are all over TikTok, keeping the slim-line sneaker trend going strong, but providing us with some more vibrant hues to break away from the muted minimalism of the Samba. Likewise, bright yellow and futuristic silver Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66s are still trending and equally as hard to get your hands on as the Sambas were this time last year. If you love low profile, also look to Puma’s Palermo sneaker with its variety of vibrant hues.

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*PUMA Palermo is available in store from March 15

Sporty sneakers

New Balance 530, Salomon XT 6 and Asics Gel Kayano are still doing the hard mahi, so if you invested in them last year, there’s no need to consider an update. You’ll find new colourways across the board to keep things fresh and the best part of the sporty dad sneaker trend is these shoes work double time for actual exercise purposes as well as providing a good injection of irony when worn with everyday ensembles.

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If there’s one fabrication that’s worthy of some spotlight for 2024, its suede. Amy Barnes, head of footwear and accessories design at R.M.Williams says suede is having a moment thanks to its softer look and laid back texture for smart casual dressing. “It’s easy to care for and remarkably durable; shaking its reputation off as a delicate material,” she says.

The Birkenstock Boston is still a must-have, thanks to its easy transition between summer and winter by throwing on a pair of socks (side note, stock up on fun socks!). The suede Bostons are still the most coveted, and updates for 2024 include braided suede and embossed suede elements. Not to mention, suede Western boots are going to be everywhere come winter. Thanks Beyonce.

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Ballet flats

If you were hesitant about ballet flats making a comeback last year, hopefully the number of iterations available for 2024 will have you convinced. “Ballet flat silhouettes are having a definite moment, being seen in a variety of textures including velvets, satins and soft nappa leathers or embellished with jewels, mesh or studs,” explains Emma Winter, founder of La Tribe. “I think comfort and versatility has influenced their popularity given they can be seamlessly integrated into the workplace just as easily as dressing them up for events.”

As a designer, Emma says European fashion influencers really embraced the trend for their most recent winter season in the North, which has given her the chance to play with the silhouette in different ways knowing customers are more confident in being able to style ballet flats for both casual and formal dress codes.

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If you’re feeling the eclectic grandpa vibes this season, you’ll no doubt be looking to embrace the loafer. Loafers can be found in a number of silhouettes and heel heights, allowing you to put your own spin on the trend. Be it a lady-like slim profile in soft nappa leather and horsebit detailing a la Gucci, or masculine with chunky rubber soles, Goodyear welts and robust leather outers as seen with the classic Dr Marten Adrian loafer, anything goes.

“This season we’ve noted particular interest in the two-tone penny loafer,” says footwear designer Nicole Rebstock, whose eponymous brand has a black and white version with gold detailing for 2024. “It’s an ironically worn grandad-style loafer that looks ultra chic.”

If two-tone isn’t for you, you can’t go wrong with Sebago’s Classic Dan penny loafer in smooth grain leather, or an embossed croc leather in any silhouette for a bit of texture.

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