The ballet flat officially has the fashion world at its feet

Estimated read time 4 min read





Jan 4, 2024

Long relegated to the back of the closet — and even the target of mockery — the ballet flat got its well-deserved revenge in 2023, becoming the star shoe of the year. A trend that owes much to Miu Miu and the advent of ‘balletcore,’ and it looks like it may be here to stay. Ballet flats, in the most classic versions, will continue to reign in 2024, alongside biker boots and kitten heels.

Associated with dance culture, ballet flats enjoyed its heyday in the late 1950s and 1960s, before making a comeback in the early 2000s and eventually becoming a fashion pariah. Nearly two decades later, luxury fashion house Miu Miu, which has also resurrected the micro-skirt, restored the ballet flat to its former glory, elevating it to the status of must-have piece for 2023. On TikTok, the hashtag dedicated to the ‘balletcore’ trend has already generated over a billion views, while those dedicated to ballet shoes have already passed the 300 million mark. A strong trend, in short, that’s only in its infancy, if the spring-summer 2024 shows orchestrated last fall are anything to go by.

A classic with a modern twist

Inseparable from the wardrobe of the prima ballerina, the ballet flat was transformed into a city shoe in the late 1950s, then enjoyed dazzling success thanks to celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn. Timeless in its most classic form, the ballet flat has long been a divisive item, before making a comeback on the catwalks last year, having been given a new lease on life thanks to new materials, shapes, heel heights and accessories. All of which means it is starting off the new year on the right foot.

And it’s no surprise: the ballet flat was still very visible — and even omnipresent — in New York, London, Milan and Paris during the shows dedicated to the spring-summer 2024 season. Sandy Liang, Tory Burch, Staud, Supriya Lele, Dior, Prada, Fendi and, of course, Miu Miu were among the (many) houses that presented ballet flat models for next season. A strong indicator of the growing popularity of these low-heeled shoes, once again considered a must-have for women’s wardrobes.

Biker boots and low-profile sneakers

As popular as they may be, ballet flats won’t be the only shoes making fashion headlines in 2024. According to fashion search engine Stylight’s Fashion Recap 2023, biker boots will be making their way into our closets next year, at the expense of sandals. Searches for the latter have fallen steadily over the last 12 months on the platform, while those for biker boots recorded a 174% increase between January 1 and October 31, 2023, compared with the same period a year earlier.

A similar observation was made for low-profile sneakers, such as the adidas Samba or Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66, which are back with a bang at the start of the new year. While chunky sneakers were the rage in 2023, consumers seem to want to return to more classic models. Search interest in low-profile sneakers climbed +142% on Stylight in September-October compared with the previous two months, according to this annual report.

Finally another trend not to be overlooked next year: low-heeled pumps. Not just any pumps, however, but ‘slingback kitten heels,’ ie, pumps with a heel strap and delicate heel, will be making their way into our wardrobes. According to the report, search interest in this type of model rose by 57% in November compared with the same period a year earlier.

*For the purposes of this report, Stylight examined clicks, and thus the demand, for several fashion trends, between January 1 and October 31, 2023. This information is based on an analysis of the search behavior of its 120 million annual shoppers.

Copyright © 2024 AFP-Relaxnews. All rights reserved.

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