I won’t go so far as to say that I hate them, but I’ll be the first to admit that flats have never been my thing—for a few reasons. I much prefer the bold look of heels or a platform sole to elevate an outfit and if I am going to reach for a comfortable shoe it’s more likely to be a pair of sneakers than anything else. However, I’m also not immune to the trade winds of current shoe trends. And lately they’re blowing drives of cool flats my way.
With that in mind, I recently took it upon myself to scour the internet for actually stylish flats that I would hypothetically wear, were I willing to trade in my many other go-to shoes. Deep into my trend research, I came to a realization—well, several realizations. Much to my own surprise, I found more worthy contenders than I ever would have imagined. I noticed that the more outdated flat shoes that made me a flats-hater in the first place have been slowing fading out of view and are quickly being replaced by fresher alternatives like pretty ballet flats that I’m actually into. I may have even opted into a few of these already.
Whether you’re a flats lover or a skeptic like me, you have to see the four new flat shoe trends that 2023 is bringing in and shop all the pairs I loved.
It would be impossible to understate the impact that ballet flats are having on the style world right now. Thanks to Miu Miu’s pretty satin pairs, ballerina slippers in delicate satin and soft pastel hues are the It flats of the moment, by a landslide. In their place, I’ve noticed pointed-toe flats cooling off.
Loafers may be a perennial staple but they’re far from immune to the ebb and flow of the trend cycle. While backless slip-on styles had their moment, they’re not the kind of loafers we’re seeing the most of right now. Instead, the fashion crowd has fixated their attention on classic penny loafers, with pairs like the Weejuns Whitney Loafers taking center stage. They may be having their moment now, but make no mistake—any of these traditional styles are in it for the long haul.
Want to give a trend-forward spin on your casual outfit? If you once reached for flat mules to the job, might I suggest the fresher alternative of mary-jane flats? They’ve been bubbling to the surface lately, especially for minimalists who want to signal the “quiet luxury” aesthetic of brands like The Row.
If the past few winters have been defined by the rise of house shoes, then winter ’23 will be remembered for its equally cozy but more outdoor-friendly clogs. Not just any clogs, but those with cozy shearling lining are gaining steam. While Prada and J.W. Anderson are backing them in the luxury corner, we like the fan favorites from Birkenstock, too, and based on the dwindling stock of their Boston clogs, we’re clearly not the only ones who do.