Fall 2023's Shoe Trends Mark a Return to Classic Elegance

Slingback kitten heels, knee-high boots, and more.

model walking fall 2023 runway in trending shoes
(Image credit: Future)

We love summer’s easy shoe options, but fall’s footwear trends inevitably up the ante. There’s nothing quite like a buttery leather boot (this season, fashion vets are embracing the knee-length style) or a sleek slingback kitten heel to usher in an autumnal mood— also ultra-easy to pair with the season’s trove of smartly tailored separates. 

Look beyond the runway’s loud (and often most-hyped) styles, and you’ll find the season’s true unsung heroes. Classic and unfussy—shoes with reasonable heel heights, an array of (non-frumpy) flats, and timeless color combos that deliver not just on practicality but also sophistication and versatility. 

Weaving one or two new styles into your wardrobe will also offer longevity for your warm-weather pieces. Think knee-high boots paired with your lightweight dresses and skirts, and leather or patent slingbacks styled with denim. 

We’re not knocking having a little fun with fashion, but the best trends—adopted and worn for the long haul—are always in style. Ahead, the footwear to covet this season.

Night at the Ballet

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Initially worn for their agile nature and their help in mastering intricate footwork, ballet shoes made the transition from dance shoes to everyday footwear when performance brands like Repetto and Capezio took their ballet slippers to the masses. A footwear staple circa the ‘50s and ‘60s, their ladylike appeal and comfort has made them a focal point amongst modern it-brands too, like Miu Miu and Khaite. “Peekaboo ballerinas were the must-have summer shoe,” says Nordstrom Fashion Director Rickie de Sole, “so it’s only natural that the fall season will follow suit with a fresh take,” she notes. They’re a front-runner for their ease and versatility. “No occasion is off limits,” she says.

model walking fall 2023 runway in trending Ballet shoes

(Image credit: Future)

Boot Camp

Boots are a hands-down wardrobe staple offering a safe bet as we brave the elements. Taller, knee-high styles are one of the season’s most popular with new colorways, heel heights, and fabrications. “Knee-high boots offer transitional dressing at its best,” says de Sole,” [Come fall], I’ll still wear my summer dresses and swap out my sandals for boots—offering an instantly polished look,” she explains.

model walking fall 2023 runway in trending boots

(Image credit: Future)

Sleek Slingbacks

Akin to a really great fitted blazer, slingback shoe styles—especially in a demure flat or kitten heel— will transcend all trends and seasons and look utterly polished paired with just about anything. Prada’s Fall 2023 runway version is at the top of De Sole’s wishlist. She plans to pair them with a pencil skirt for the office and jeans to master the off-duty weekend look.

model walking fall 2023 runway in trending slingbacks

(Image credit: Future)

Go for Gold

A black and gold color combo is not novel, but it is a pairing that’s always classic and a great option to add to your rotation for fall and winter. A black shoe can help ground your outfit, and with a pop of gold—whether on a buckle or the flash of a heel—your footwear will add just the right amount of interest to a minimalist or monochrome outfit.

model walking fall 2023 runway in trending gold shoes

(Image credit: Future)

Pointed Flats

A perfectly pointed flat is no longer an aristocratic measure of nobility. Still, a great pointed style can reign superior to its rounded-toe counterparts —catapulting a sensible everyday shoe into a sophisticated option that checks multiple boxes. “I love clean flats that marry fashion and function,” says de Sole. “Minimalist flats— like the Aeyde’s Octavia flat—are fall’s must-have shoes,” she says, "easily paired back to the season’s refined suiting and longer, streamlined silhouettes."

model walking fall 2023 runway in trending pointed flats

(Image credit: Future)
Sara Holzman
Style Director

Sara Holzman is the Style Director for Marie Claire, where she's worked alongside the publication for eight years in various roles, ensuring the brand's fashion content continues to inform, inspire, and shape the conversation about fashion's ever-evolving landscape. With a degree from the Missouri School of Journalism, Sara is responsible for overseeing a diverse fashion content mix, from emerging and legacy designer profiles to reported features on the influence of social media on style and seasonal and micro trends across the world's fashion epicenters in New York, Milan, and Paris. Before joining Marie Claire, Sara held fashion roles at Conde Nast's Lucky Magazine and Self Magazine and was a style and travel contributor to Equinox's Furthermore website. Over her decade of experience in the fashion industry, Sara has helped guide each brand's style point of view, working alongside veteran photographers and stylists to bring editorial and celebrity photo shoots to fruition from start to finish. Sara currently lives in New York City. When she's not penning about fashion or travel, she’s at the farmer’s market, on a run, working to perfect her roasted chicken recipe, or spending time with her husband, dog, and cat. Follow her along at @sarajonewyork