The ‘90s have been trending for about three seasons, and it’s especially apparent in footwear. We first saw the early ‘90s make a trendy comeback, which included a lot of late ‘80s looks. And since the ‘90s takes a lot of inspiration from the ‘70s, there are ‘70s platforms coming through too.  The mid to late ‘90s and Y2K fashion is on-trend at the moment, which is chunkier than its predecessors earlier in the decade.

If you’re after on-trend footwear, think along the following lines: square-toe pumps and flats, square-toe strappy sandals, snip-toe pumps and flats, refined and chunky Mary Janes, block heels, angled heels, chunky soles, lug soles, platforms, flatforms, Dr. Martens, combat boots, fisherman sandals, chunky sandals with broad straps, and chunky slides, refined and chunky mules, platform sneakers, chunky oxfords and loafers, all sorts of clogs, heeled and dressy thong sandals, jelly shoes, sling-back silhouettes, cowboy boots, velcro fastening, T-straps, big buckles, all sorts of backless shoes, and silver hardware.

This collection shows a visual assortment of the current ‘90s footwear vibe.

Zara
BUCKLE LOAFER MULES
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2
Mango
Heel Strips Sandals
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1
Shopbop
Altuzarra Knot Mules
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4
Shopbop
Marni Cross Sandals
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2
Shopbop
Eytys Nova Boots
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2
Shopbop
Larroude Gio Sandals
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1
Mango
Studded Leather Clog
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1
Mango
Cowboy Leather Boots
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2
Mango
Track Sole Moccasin
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3
Mango
Leather Jelly Shoes
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1
Mango
Leather Heel Loafers
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1
Mango
Heel Leather Shoes
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1
Mango
Chain Loafers
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1
Zara
DETAILED LEATHER CLOGS
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3
Zara
LEATHER SLIDE LOAFERS
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3
Zara
BUCKLED FLAT SANDALS
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4
Zara
TREADED CHELSEA BOOTS
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1
Zara
PLATFORM CLOGS
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1
Zara
LEATHER CLOGS
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1
COS
Chunky Leather Boots
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2
Zappos
Nine West Quies 2
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6
Mango
Heel Leather Mules
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2
Mango
Square-toe Moccasin
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1
Mango
Square-toe Moccasin
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4

I vividly remember the footwear styles of the ‘90s, and wore a lot of them at the time. Some styles were very comfortable and practical, and others extremely uncomfortable. My gripes with ‘90s footwear was fourfold. A lot of it was black, and the chunky soles were physically heavy. Too wide mules fell off my feet, and heeled sandals with narrow straps cut into my skin like daggers. My feet ached and blistered walking around in heavy soles, unless I was wearing Dr. Martens (which I found comfortable). My feet clacked and cramped in too wide mules, and I hobbled along in strappy heels.

Thankfully, this time round a wider assortment of colour trends and improved materials technology has sorted out my gripes. ‘90s-inspired footwear in 2022 comes in a large assortment of colours, and thick soles are usually light and flexible. I can wear mules safely and comfortably when they are in a narrow size, but will never again wear heeled sandals with narrow straps.

I tend towards less chunky and more refined shoes and will continue to wear modern classics that work well for my feet and walking lifestyle. As far as ’90s trends go, I have and love wearing flat and very low block-heeled footwear with snip toes. I love my very lightweight cream combat boots, which are workhorses. I also like refined and dressy square and snip-toe loafers and Mary Janes, and hope to add one of those this year. If I can find clogs and mules in a light colour and narrow size, I’ll happily add them too.

Remember that wearing ‘90s-inspired footwear has longevity these days. Looks don’t go in and out of fashion, or date the way they used to. Items simply have their fashionable moment, making them more available at retail when they are on-trend. You might find fun ‘90s shoes at a thrift or consignment store too.

Over to you. Which ‘90s-inspired styles do you wear, or plan to wear?