Spring Shoe Trends: Love or Hate?

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Spring! A new season, a new reason to go shoe shopping! The spring shoe lineup is wrapped in ribbons, stacked and wedged, and teetering on pencil-thin stilettos. Bright colors, sculpted heels and feathered war bonnet fasteners leap out to grab your attention.

The predominant look is tall, but designs open up a bit to allow you some more freedom. Let's take a look at some of these trends and decide which ones put a spring in your step, and which ones make you say, "What were they thinking?"

Oxford Flats

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If it comes to a choice between wearing oxford flats or suffering for fashion, by all means, suffer. Oxfords are built for comfort, but they're painful on the eyes. First of all, there's nothing springlike about them. They're clunky, mannish, dark and dull. Worst of all, they're so serious. They'll make your spring wardrobe cry.

These are shoes you'll hate to pull out of your closet, so let them get dusty on the shoe shop's shelves. There are plenty of fun flats out there -- think ballet flats and sexy, strappy sandals. If you need sturdy, casual comfort, look for sneaker sandals or some adorable hiking boots instead.

Platform Clogs

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Chunky, clunky and loud, platform clogs are back. But they're much more open than last year's styles were. Instead of a full-coverage upper, they're sporting open toes and sandal strapping. Some even have a sling-back strap or T-tops with ankle straps, which is nice, because there's really no way to walk elegantly in shoes that are prone to flying off your feet.

Designers are having a field day with clogs, and the end results are some beautifully elegant upgrades on this simple, timeless style. We put platform clogs in the "love" column.


Ribbon and Gladiator Sandals


Gladiators are still hanging in there -- and honestly, they look better on than off. But this spring the strappy, criss-crossy gladiator style softens up. Wide, colorful ribbons replace leather, with big bows at the ankle or calf securing the shoes to your feet. They're very feminine -- except for that whole thing about the ribbons sliding down your calf to sag at your ankle while the shoe flops around as you're trying to walk. If we hadn't already been there and done that, we'd love this style. If you have to do any walking at all, the flex of your muscles loosens the ties, and you're constantly stopping to futz with your shoes. Call this one a love-hate relationship.


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There's some head shaking going on as we try to figure out how to describe this spring's booties. They're kind of like Victorian ladies boots combined with a more modern, risqué style. Corsetlike, lace-up uppers or busy, all-over animal prints replace the sturdy black leather of yesteryear. Combine that with a seasonally confused construction -- they cover your entire foot, up to and including the ankle, but many let a couple of toes peep out -- booties are a footwear faux pas just waiting to pounce. They seem to be trying to fill a transitional role between cold and warm seasons, but they haven't quite succeeded. If you wear booties with dresses, your legs look short. If you wear them with pants, you hide their novelty. The verdict around here: We love boots, hate booties.

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  • Lomrantz, Tracey. "Check Out Next Spring's Hottest Shoe Trend: FLATFORMS!" Glamour. Fashion. Sept. 16, 2010. (March 1, 2011)http://www.glamour.com/fashion/blogs/slaves-to-fashion/2010/09/check-out-next-springs-hottest.html
  • Pimentel, Ana Maria. "Spring's New Shoes." Photographs by Darryl Patterson. Harper's Bazaar. Spring Fashion Issue: March 2011, pp. 392-397
  • Valter, Veronica. "Shoe Trends Spring/Summer 2011." MillionLooks.com. Feb. 18, 2011. (March 1, 2011)http://www.millionlooks.com/outfits/shoe-trends-spring-summer-2011/