10 Spring/Summer 2011 Shoe Trends

Summertime brings easy living, glasses of lemonade on the porch, days of lazing on the beach, and the eternal dilemma of what to wear when flip flops just won’t do. Ordinary black pumps seem so officey, boots are out of the question, and there some occasions where New Balance sneakers just aren’t going to cut it. Here are the top ten shoe trends for the summer, which should provide you with enough footwear inspiration to last until Labor Day. And the great thing about all of these looks is that while they often originate in the ateliers of the top designers, you won’t have to remortgage your house or pawn your diamond ring to get your hands on them, because all the mass-market retailers and fast-fashion stores have jumped on the bandwagon to bring you these ten trends at reasonable prices.

1. 70’s inspired styles are back, bringing chunky heels, ankle straps, and all manner of embellished wooden platform shoes. Look for deep chocolate or caramel colored leather, wide straps and studded wooden platforms. It’s a look that goes as well with jeans as it does with a summery sundress””and don’t forget a brightly colored pedicure to contrast with all those earth tones!

2. Neon colors are blowing up the runway and the red carpet, so it should come as no surprise that they’ve made their way into shoe stores as well. Every kind of shoe, from stiletto pumps to ballet flats, has been given a new lease on fashionable life with an injection of some seriously bright neon. These are the perfect shoes to add a hit of liveliness to a white-tee-and-jeans combo, as well as bring some fun to your office ensemble. Twists on this look include graphic, bold color-block patterning and preppy color combinations like orange and cobalt blue or Kelly green and white.

3. Getting married this summer? Channel the bride of the season and wear lace-covered nude pumps that match your wedding dress. The last bride to do that was well-received””we’re talking about Kate Middleton in custom Alexander McQueen shoes that were made to match her dress. Lace covered shoes are surprisingly wearable””you may find yourself wearing them even in situations that don’t call for white tie dress and your best diamonds.

4. While gladiator sandals seemed to have a warrior’s grip on the sandal market for a while, more calm, casual sandals have returned to their rightful place on your grateful feet. These laid-back leather styles have wide straps, comfortable footbeds, and a minimum of detailing, relying on buttery leather and simple straps to provide that touch of style.

5. Stash your skinny stilettos in the back of your closet for a season and come party with the rest of the world in a fashionable and amazingly comfortable pair of statement wedges. The classic espadrille wedge has been reinvented in avant garde and unusual styles, with creative embellishments like the wrapped wedge, the angular cutout, the extreme platform and straps that extend all the way to the bottom of the wedge. Every single shoe brand from Yves St. Laurent to H&M is offering their own spin on the new number one shoe, and celebrities and fashion moguls around the world are relishing the newfound comfortable feeling in their feet.

6. When the Tom’s shoe company began offering simple canvas sneakers whose purchase would also fund a pair of shoes for an underprivileged child, they could not have imagined that their simple sneaker design would become a bona fide fashion trend. But with dozens of styles like glitter, prints, and even wedges, and a number of copycat competitors, the espadrille sneaker style is officially the casual shoe of the summer. It’s a style that is as fashionable as a ballet flat and as comfortable to walk in as those ratty New Balance sneakers in the back of your closet.

7. If you are going to an elegant event this summer, or just want to look really really good for one special occasion, you can’t do any better than nude pumps. More summery than basic black or festive sparkles, nude pumps are also world-renowned for the amazing effect they can have on a pair of legs. Match the color of the pumps to your skin tone and watch your legs get longer before your very eyes.

8. It’s a controversial and divisive style, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless: flatforms are back. Platform sandals in which the toe and heel of the shoe are essentially the same height, flatforms are beloved by some for the comfortable yet height-enhancing properties, but derided by others for their clunky shape and 90’s reminiscent styling. Try on a pair and see how you feel!

9. Menswear inspired loafers are big this summer, and you will be surprised at how comfortable and surprisingly feminine they are when paired with a floaty floral dress and (if you dare) a pair of slouchy socks. Try them in an unusual color, like slate gray tweed or tan canvas, and don’t forget to show a little ankle.

10. After several years of bold, in-your-face stiletto heels, it is a relief to announce that delicate high heels are back. Strappy styles with thin straps and feminine detailing like ruffles and flowers often have super-high heels but still give off a delicate and summery vibe. Pick a fun color that matches your dress and choose a style with ankle straps for maximum comfort and support.

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