90’s Shoes Are Trending: Here's What to Rock Now and What to Leave in the Past

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You know what they say: What goes around comes around. And as 2021 moves from summer into fall, 90’s fashion has exploded back onto the scene, faster than you can say “As if!”

Granted, there are certainly style staples from the era of NSYNC and Tamagotchi that really never left (think: slip dresses and oversized denim jackets), but if you look at what fashion influencers are slipping onto their feet as of late, you’re going to see styles that haven’t had their moment in the sun since, well, the Clinton administration.

From heeled and slide-style mules, to clonky clogs and oversized chunky loafers, here are six 90s shoe styles that are back and better than ever. (And two to leave in the back of the closet with those Tamagotchis)

The ‘90s Hair Trend That TikTok Revived (and We’re *So* Thrilled It’s Back)

Do: Chunky Loafers

It’s rare to find a clothing item that Gen-Z, Millennials and Boomers alike can agree on and yet, here we are with chunky loafers. These platform iterations with extra large soles give off major Boy Meets World vibes, but we’re currently pairing with a neutral, collared sweater vest, lightwash denim and a sleek crossbody bag.

doc martens platform loafer

1. Dr. Martens 1461 Quad Platform Derby

alohas black chain loafers

2. Alohas Track Total Black Loafer

asos pink black loafers

3. Asra Flo Tassel Chunky Loafers

Do: Mules

Back in the days of Seinfeld and Brad and Jen (not Brad and Angelina), chunky mules were more common than those neon butterfly clips we used to cover our hair with. With platform soles and ridiculously large straps, we wore those babies everywhere. Two decades later, this nostalgic style has gotten a face lift, upping the ante with more variations than we can count. From understated flats in neutral tones to sky-high heeled pairs with major Posh Spice vibes, here are a few styles we've got our sights set on.

staud croc mules
Saks Fiifth Avenue

4. Staud Simone Croc-embossed Leather Mules

asos quilted mules

5. London Rebel Quilted Mules

lulus peep toe mules

6. Raelynn Mauve Suede Peep-toe Mules

Do: Clogs

Your mother has probably told you all about the clogs she wore in the 70s, but this style was alive and well in the 90s, too. If you were like us, you fell in love with a pair you spotted flipping through Delia's catalog and immediately grabbed the phone to place an order. (Oh, the days before online shopping.) Back then you probably paired them with oversized overalls and tied your hair up with a scrunchie, but today's renditions call for something a bit more modern.

These workhorses are a killer addition to your wardrobe since they look as cute with jeans and a simple tee as they do with a flowy midi dress or casual romper. Best of all, they will probably end up being the comfiest shoes you own—there’s a reason why teachers, nurses and working gals everywhere swear by these babies. From heeled wooden soles we know Rachel Green would wear to the classic Danskos beloved by mothers everywhere, clogs are at the top of our must-have list.

jcrew convertible clogs

7. J.crew Convertible Leather Clogs

madewell slingback clogs1

8. Madewell The Farrah Slingback Clog In Vachetta Leather

simon miller leather clog
Saks Fifth Avenue

9. Veronica Bear Low Raid Leather Clogs

Do: Flatforms

You probably had a few of these puppies back in the day, which you paired with a spaghetti strap tank and velvet choker. But as much as you loved them then, these modern twists are a hair more professional…and a little less Manic Panic at the mall. Pair with slacks and a blazer, a casual midi dress or a snuggly sweat set. The perfect pair can tie the whole look together.

lulus white quilted flatforms

10. Talleigh Beige Quilted Buckled Flatform Sandals

mui mui leather flatform
Saks Fifth Avenue

11. Miu Miu Padded Leather Flatform Slingback Sandals

asos white flatform

12. Simmi London Naeva Tie Ankle Flatform Sandals

jelly sandals

Don’t: Traditional Style Jellies

Even though they’ll always have a special place in our hearts, it’s probably best to leave these plastic hooves in the past right alongside your walkman. Instead opt for a heeled flip flop with a chunky toe and block heel, or a flat style that you can slip on to run errands or grab a cup of joe in. 

black platform flip flops
Rocket Dog

Don’t: Platform Flip Flops

No matter how badly you miss slap bracelets, mega-platform flip flops are just a no. (But if you truly cannot live without a thong that gives you height, opt for a heeled flip flop with a chunky toe and block or a chic kitten heel in faux crocodile leather.)

purewow author

Commerce Editor

Anna Smutny covered a range of beats, from fashion and beauty verticals to home decor (and everything else in between) for PureWow from 2021-2022. With a background in wedding and...