Snazzy sneakers, must-have mules – trends in women’s footwear

|     Jule Zentek     |

LUXURY combined with comfort is the new guiding principle of women’s footwear fashion. “Nobody wants to wear tight fitting clothing. That applies both to shoes and for life,” said Claudia Schulz from the Association of the German Footwear and Leather Goods Industry. But what does that mean for this year’s trends in women’s footwear?

Conventional thinking says all trends come and go. But the sneaker is the classic example of a trend that comes and goes out of fashion repeatedly. “Once again sneakers are a key item in fashion,” said Nadine L’Allemand, editor-in-chief of German footwear trade journal, Shoez.

Along with the classic sneaker in neutral tones, versions with decorative elements are growing in popularity. That includes bows, pearls and flower applications, according to Ulrike Kaehler from the Gallery Shoes trade fair. These elements help to make sneakers look more feminine and glamorous.

Last year’s trend of metallic materials is getting a boost from glitter and sheen. Designers have chosen exotic patterns such as flora and fauna in red, pink, green, blue and yellow. “Fresh yellow and green or olive are the stand-out colours,” said L’Allemand.

The variety of materials designers are choosing has also grown. “We’re seeing a symbiotic combination of natural and high-tech materials,” said Schulz. Shoes should be both light and soft. Nubuck and velour are two new materials for shoes but they’re already making an impact.

Sneakers can be worn with anything especially if they create a break in style, for example with net socks
Fresh yellow and green or olive are the stand-out colours for this year’s women’s footwear. – PHOTOS: DPA
The metallic look is set to stay in fashion in 2018, as well as detailing like pearls and patches, like with this S Oliver example
One trend that has only achieved limited recognition is socks with sandals, particularly in more ornate styles like this summery model from Goertz

The high-tech side of this year’s shoes comes in the form of rubber and 3D effects, transparent applications and shot silk, which shimmers in direct light. Innovative developments have also happened on soles: They have become feather light and more flexible than before, according to Kaehler.

Sneakers can be worn with anything especially if they create a break in style. “They can set a new accent to romantic Volant’s, tulle skirts or soft floral dresses,” finds L’Allemand.

Aside from sneakers there are a few novelties to discover – although they may not be absolutely new. Shoes in 80s and 90s styles are another trend. Slings, sabots, loafers and mules are making a comeback.

They represent youthful casualness thanks to their floral applications, stitching, tassels and pearl decorations. Many are also covered with brocade, denim, satin and raffiabast. Their distinguishing characteristics include muted colour shades and soft materials such as Nubuck and metallic leather.

One trend that has only achieved limited recognition is socks with sandals. Designers, however, are confident it will take off. To get this look right the socks should be made of mesh or Lurex, colourful or decorated. “They can be worn with loafers, sneakers and sandals,” said Schulz. – dpa