Cyclical Fashion: Vintage Shoe Trends Now

Fashion works in cycles. Don’t believe us? Pay a visit to your local high street and you’ll find a selection of seen-before styles that have been resurrected for 2016.

From chokers to crop tops, oversized denim and slip dresses, it’s not just the clothing that looks familiar — vintage-inspired shoes are also back and better than ever. Here, Daniel Footwear showcases the most essential retro trends for autumn/winter 2016.


Think of platforms and you’ll likely think of the Spice Girls campaigning for Girl Power in sky-scraping trainers and lace-up boots. However, the 90s wasn’t the first time we spotted the larger-than-life footwear.

The past

While they may be fashion essentials nowadays, platforms weren’t always as glamorous. In fact, they were very much rooted in practicality. People in the medieval era would wear ‘pattens’, a type of platform that would be attached to their shoe to help navigate dirty paths. At a time with no plumbing, the ‘platforms’ were essential!


Despite a brief revival in the 1930s, it was the 1970s that really created platforms as we know them. They became the footwear of choice for singers and glam rockers, including the likes of David Bowie. Platforms weren’t gender specific and were available in a variety of styles, from boots to shoes and sandals. Generally, each pair had a two-inch front platform and a chunky 4 to 5-inch heel, although more extreme designs were worn.

With a stellar line-up of advocates, the platform’s popularity skyrocketed and became one of the most characteristic shoes from the decade.


We saw platforms again in the 90s, although they were mostly worn by women. Trendsetters, as we have already mentioned, included the Spice Girls, who were spotted in everything from platform heels to boots and even trainers. The trainers had a four to eight inch platform, although lower styles were worn for performances.


Fashion is still obsessed with all varieties of platforms, including boots and heels. However, the chunky heels associated with the 1970s have been stripped back to create a streamlined and stylish silhouette.

Platform trainers have also been reborn, although they’re thankfully not quite as high as those in the 90s!

Lace-up boots

From biker to combat styles, flat, lace-up boots will never go out of style. Originally designed as practical footwear, the styles have since made the leap to fashion, with their rugged look perfect for toughening up any look.


Grunge fashion emerged in the 1990s and was defined by rough-and-ready fashion. We’re talking oversized check shirts, distressed ripped denim and chunky lace-up boots. In terms of footwear, one brand became a front-runner: Dr Martens. Originally crafted as working men’s boots, the bulky, strong footwear fit perfectly with the emerging trend.

The style was popularised by influential 90s figures, like Kurt Cobain, and quickly spread to mass popularity with both men and women.


Fast-forward to the present day and grunge is back (although in recent years, it seems it never really left). 90s-inspired boots are essential this season — wear yours with a pair of dark skinny jeans and an oversized knit for couldn’t-care-less winter glam.

Go-go boots

With its short block heel and plastic construction, the go-go boot is a signature sixties style. When you look at the history behind it, the humble boot is quite a revolution in itself.


Before the 1960s, women would primarily use boots for riding and other outdoor pursuits. However, attitudes became more liberal during the decade. The boot made the leap from the field to fashion and became longer, in order to complement the rising hemlines and chic mini dresses associated with the period.


The classic shape of the go-go boot remains in 2016, yet we’ve swapped the plastic construction for more luxurious materials. From suede to leather, they’re perfect for pairing with a thigh-skimming dress come party season.


Pointed shoes

Toe shapes have fluctuated greatly over the years, from round to square, yet one has stuck with us — the point. Here’s how fashion has got to the point over the years:


Following on from the Edwardian shoe trend in the years previous, women’s shoes in the early 1920s featured pointed toes. They were lighter and usually featured an ankle strap to keep them in place while dancing.

However, as the decade progressed, the point lost momentum, eventually rounding out and almost squaring up!


In the mid-1950s, the pointed toe re-emerged with the birth of the stiletto as we know it today. The sleek, narrow toe perfectly complemented the high, slender heels. However, because of their height and shape, they were very painful to wear.

Unlike the tamer shoes of former years, these 1950s shoes shocked the world — and proved an instant fashion hit.


Following a brief reprieve in the 1990s when round-toed shoes dominated, the pointed heel is back. Must-have styles for autumn/winter 2016 include velvet pointed court shoes in rich red, green, blue or of course classic black. The good news? They’re not quite as high as the 50s stilettos, making them perfect for dancing the night away.