Fashion week in New York is a feast for the senses. All of the senses, really, but specifically, I’m talking about my shoeaholic senses. Each season, I go undercover (mentally) to roam the streets and shows of fashion week to report back to you, dear reader, all the trends you need to prepare for in the season ahead. Looking for spring 2023 fashion trends in the meantime? We’ve got you covered there, too. But here, find all you need to know about what fall 2023 shoe trends will look like, plus shoppable options so you don’t even have to do the work of hunting for the right pair.
At first, I feared 2023 might not be the year of the shoe. Footwear seemed to be something of an afterthought at shows like Tory Burch, LaQuan Smith, and Christian Siriano. Theory and Tia Adeola both primarily used one shoe style paired with every runway look. Designers like Ulla Johnson, Kate Spade, and Jason Wu opted to match their shoes to the garments or accessories. The trend here, it seems, is shoes that either coordinate perfectly with your ensemble, or shoes that are subtle and understated enough to let the outfit speak for itself. Perhaps it’s time to invest in a luxurious pair of classic pumps….
This is your sign to pull those over-the-knee boots out of closet retirement. The style has had a few moments of glory, but to-the-knee boots have historically been favored over the thigh-high versions. Not anymore! With a collab between Aknvas and Stuart Weissman, plus catwalk appearances at Prabal Gurung, Helena Eisenhart, and Palomo Spain, OTK boots are on the rise for fall.
It’s a tough day for us platform lovers. The razor-thin heels and pointed-toe shapes of traditional pumps have cycled back into style after years of chunky shoe superiority. Parallel to the trend of basic footwear, NYFW shows like Carolina Herrera, LaQuan Smith, Tory Burch, and Tia Adeola were dominated by plain, mid-height sandals with stiletto heels. Classically inconspicuous.
Seriously Weird Heels
From squished balloons and round-faced clocks to wine corks and bubble letters, designers like Thom Browne and John Anderson are getting playful with sculptural heels. It’s a complete pendulum swing away from the plain Jane trends above, but it might be the funkiest trend to rock come fall.
Tall Combat Boots
We have combat ankle boots; we have tall black boots. But tall combat boots? Totally badass. We saw a variety of takes on the style at shows including Dion Lee, Jonathon Simkhai, Khaite, Proenza Schouler, Michael Kors, and Veronica Beard.
Criss-Cross, Ties, and Straps
One theme that overarches the fall/winter 2023 fashion trends, jewelry trends, shoe, and bag trends is embellishments. Whether it’s floral appliques or bow-shaped adornments, these style elements are bringing all the pizazz for fall. For shoes, look out for anything with straps, criss-cross details, laces, or ties, as exemplified by Heron Preston, Ulla Johnson, Bibhu Mohapatra, and Palomo Spain.
Associate Fashion Commerce Editor
Meg Donohue is the Associate Fashion Commerce Editor at ELLE.com. Her passions include spicy foods, sustainability, and the Y2K remake of Charlie’s Angels. She will never stop hoping for a One Direction reunion tour.