How the fashion industry fell out of love with heels

The only thing you need to know about London Fashion Week this season? Don’t look up. It’s not a common refrain among the fashion set, particularly given the average height of most models. But if you want to understand anything about the biggest trends for spring/summer 2024, it’s one of the most vital instructions.

Shoes, you see, notoriously overlooked at London Fashion Week, are having a moment. Or, to be more precise, a reckoning. Because gone are the days of squashing your toes into pointed stilettos that wobble on the pavement, or literally dragging your heels in a pair of sky-high platforms that might as well be a pair of dumbbells. Today, a fashionable foot is one that stays flat. In fact, the lower to the ground your soles, the higher up your name is likely to be on the masthead of a glossy magazine.

Flat feet have, ironically, become a sign of status both off and on the runway. Where the latter is concerned, we’ve seen an array of ballet flats, backless loafers, and strappy sandals, all without almost a single heel in sight. Consider 16Arlington, whose standout shoes of the season were not the Mary Janes that stomped down the runway underneath boxy blazers, but rather, the flat, pointed shoes covered in layers of circular cut-outs that featured graphics from a Japanese book about the filmmaker David Lynch, which partly inspired the collection. Like any good statement shoe, they herald their own arrival: you hear them before you see them.

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