Happy Friday! We’ve had lots of sunshine this week in Cincinnati, and that’s got me looking forward to spring even more. So today we’re going to check out the 2021 spring and summer shoe trends. While you’ll continue to see footwear styles from previous years, there are indeed some fun (and interesting!) new features debuting this year.
Now remember, you don’t have to participate in any trends that don’t strike your fancy. Right now some of these that I’m sharing today do not really appeal to me. And some of them do appeal to me, but I’m not sure yet how I’ll wear them so that I look fashion forward and not plain dorky. (You’ll see what I mean shortly.)
A lot of what we’re seeing reflects the trends in our culture, specifically the desires for comfort, happiness and simpler times. In several cases that means we’re bringing back trends from the past – some of them are things we wore when we were teens or young adults. So while we definitely can wear them again now (forget that silly rule about not wearing what you already wore!), we do need to think and strategize about how to wear them without looking like we’re simply stuck in the past. Know what I mean?
Let’s get started. These are too fun to delay!
Trends in Footwear this Spring and Summer
First however (she’s delaying again!! LOL!), let’s talk about the trends we’re seeing across the board. This way I don’t have to repeat myself over and over. Keep your eyes open for…
- lug soles
- menswear inspired footwear
- puffy uppers
- lots of color (pretty colors, too!)
- more animal print
- home-inspired features
During the spring and summer I pretty much stick with sandals, sneakers and flats. Of course I occasionally wear heels with dresses and even dress pants, but today we’re going to stick pretty much with the more casual options.
We’re continuing to see sneakers trend high this year. And I’m glad. I love wearing sneakers with jeans, shorts, chinos and even some dresses. But this year we’re seeing some interesting trends within this category.
We’re seeing lots of pretty colors. Whether the whole sneaker is a particular color or there are lots of colors on the sneaker, you’ll be seeing some bright and pretty hues on your most casual shoes. In fact, I’d say layered colors is what I’m really seeing and liking on fashion sneakers.
If you prefer solid white sneakers, don’t worry. Those will continue to look classic and on trend. I will definitely continue to wear my Madewell Sidewalk Sneakers in pale parchment. I like this color, in fact, because it’s a creamier white, not as stark as some. And I’ll also continue to enjoy my Tory Burch sneakers. They’re some of the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. And the Tory Burch Howell sneakers are available in some new great color combos. Check out the blue calla and the gold finch options. Darling!
I’m providing shopping widgets in each category to keep things simpler. I’m also trying to provide shoes in a variety of price points. But keep in mind that these are pre-season prices. Plus, I can only share what’s out there right now. Shoes in these categories will continue to come in over the next month and you’ll have more to choose from. But for now I did manage to find a good many examples and great options in each category.
These are all affiliate links. So if you shop through them and purchase anything, I potentially earn a commission on your purchase, but at no additional cost to you. Thank you for shopping my links. I appreciate you supporting my work in this way.
Within the sneaker category we’re seeing another shoe trend emerge. I guess maybe the really cool girls have been wearing them for a year or two. LOL! But trainers, or what you may identify as running shoes, are really hot right now. Let me back up. These look like running shoes, but these are not the shoes you want to run in. Make sense?
Trainers are definitely a blast from the past, as far as being a fashion sneaker. This is a trend I really would like to wear. And I’ve purchased this pair of neutral colorblock trainers from Madewell to try out the trend. Compared to some of the other trainers I’m seeing (and sharing in the shopping widget below) these neutral colorblock trainers are pretty tame. My daughter purchased the Madewell Kickoff Trainer above left, and I’m sure they look darling on her. But I’m not sure I’m ready to wear that much color in this retro trend. Anybody out there game? If so, go for it!
Pro Tip: I think if you’re going to wear a very fashion forward shoe like the trainers you’ll want to wear other modern elements in your outfit, too. Consider wearing these with modern white jeans or later on with denim shorts and a simple t-shirt.
Flats & Loafers
Let’s move on to flats and loafers. These and sneakers are the shoes I tend to reach for the most in early spring, especially before I’ve had that first pedicure of the year. This year we’re seeing lots of menswear inspiration in this category as well as pretty colors. We’re also seeing a return to the traditional penny loafer as well as lug soles. Expect white or creamy white to be big in loafers, too.
I purchased the Everlane Modern Loafers above in, but in camel. It’s still a little cool outside for me to wear them much, but I’ve had them on around the house and I’m giving them top ratings. They fit wonderfully right out of the box and true to size. I love the streamlined silhouette; no fuss, no muss. If you’re more fashion forward than I am, the white ones could be really fun.
But the two tone pumps from J.Crew above are also fun. I mentioned lug soles. We are seeing loafers in lug soles, but I think for spring and summer we’ll see more streamlined silhouettes like these that I’ve shown here. Mules continue to trend, too. So if you have loafer style mules they’re a nice option. I’ve got some great options in the shopping widget below.
But of course we have other options besides loafers. I do happen to appreciate the cool retro vibe of loafers though. Still, let’s move on. I think pointy toe flats will continue to trump ballet flats, but both are still available in new colors and prints.
The above Gemma Ballet Flats could be so versatile depending on your wardrobe. I’ve had similar striped flats before and enjoyed wearing them with shorts, white jeans, chinos and skirts.
While I’m a big proponent of having a pair of nude flats in your wardrobe (because they elongate the leg and create such a flattering silhouette), I do think this is a fun place to add the colors of the season.
Just imagine any of the pretty flats above with white jeans and a blue chambray top. When you have some flats in a pretty color, you can create a complete and modern outfit with just simple separates and look so pulled together. Pretty colorful shoes is one of my favorite things about spring fashion.
Sandals & Flip Flops
Besides the trainer trend, this is probably where we’re seeing some of the newest features. And maybe the biggest and most interesting trend we’re seeing in sandals and flip flops is puffiness. Yeah, you read that correctly. I said puffy. Ha! You’ll definitely have to tell me what you think of this spring and summer shoe trend.
I saw a little of the puffy uppers last year, but just enough to easily ignore it. This year we won’t be able to ignore it. Now we absolutely can choose not to participate. But I think we’re going to see a lot of puffy sandals. We’ll see them in casual iterations as well as what they’re calling “fancy flip flops,” like those below.
When I first saw the puffy sandals I didn’t like them. But just as I’m gathering photos and building shopping widgets for this blog post I find myself developing a taste for them. What do you think? Give yourself a little time. Remember, it generally takes a while for our eyes to adjust to new trends. But before long we’re on board with more than we thought we would be.
We’re also seeing the fast return of the platform sandal. And this year we’re seeing more flat platforms or flatforms, like the sandal above. Notice the puffy uppers on this flatform. Plus you’ll notice the jute trim. Embellishments like this are trending, too. I’m seeing similar platforms in various heights.
Moving on from the puffy sandals (I have plenty in the shopping widget below), you’ll continue to see animal prints of all varieties this spring and summer, too. I like the airy colors in the snake print platforms above. I think the leopard print flatform sandals below are pretty snazzy as well.
Notice the sandal above checks all the trend boxes: flatform, animal print, jute trim and stud embellishments. We’re seeing lots of layering of elements like these in all of the spring and summer shoe trends.
Remember I mentioned above that comfort is still trending. As is velcro – that easy on, easy off fastener. That’s why shoes like Tevas will be hot, hot, hot this spring and summer. But just because a shoe is comfortable doesn’t mean it has to lack style or fun elements. Check out the navy and white gingham Chacos from J.Crew below. These would add instant style to a white denim skirt and navy t-shirt.
So other comfort shoes such as Birkenstocks, which were trending last year, are continuing to dominate this season. I’m thinking about adding some Birkenstocks to my wardrobe this spring. I think they’ll add a youthful exuberance to my linen pants and jeans alike. I like the clean look of the Arizona Torty Big Buckle Sandal below.
Another trend we’re seeing in 2021 is shearling touches in all sorts of footwear. Check out these Birkenstocks with shearling trim. They’d make a great sandal for sticking close to home especially.
Stay Home Inspired Shoes
And that leads to the final of the spring and summer shoe trends that I wanted to share in this post, the stay home inspired shoes. While fashion websites and magazines are touting these as house shoes worthy of wearing out and about, I’ll leave that up to you. Hmm. I definitely prefer to delineate between my house shoes and my going out shoes. But as much as I’ve worn the two pair of slippers I’ve had for the winter, I’ll definitely be buying some cute shoes to wear around the house this spring. In fact, I like the idea of wearing shoes at home that don’t have the dirt and grime of the outside on them at all.
The Crisscross Scuff Slippers are definitely house shoes in my opinion. But they’d make a fun choice for morning rituals or evening relaxing. I’ve got more options in the shopping widget below. Some of these are shoes you could certainly wear out and about but they look oh so comfy. While others are more traditional house shoes.
I have these Acorn waffle spa slippers from last year and they washed up beautifully. They are so comfortable and soft, but still cool on my feet during the hotter months. I have the pink, but may order another pair in blue. It may seem a little silly to include house slippers in our spring and summer shoe trends, but hey, we’re still staying home a lot. So why not?
There are definitely more spring and summer shoe trends than I was able to mention here. For instance, the clogs you wore in the 90s and early 2000s? (I wore mine until just a few years ago. Ha!) They’re definitely back. And that includes Croc clogs. I think these dark red leather clogs look really fun. I think the return of this trend has to do with that desire for comfort, easy living and a return to simpler days.
Well, what are your thoughts? What spring and summer shoe trends are you looking forward to trying? And which will you need to wait and see about? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Blessed for My Day
Have you ever made an enemy? I know you didn’t mean to. I surely didn’t. But somehow we sometimes get on the wrong side of someone. It happens to all of us eventually because that’s just life. No one is liked by every single person they encounter. Eventually we all come across someone…at work, in the neighborhood, at church, in our extended family even…that just reads us wrong and cannot see the good in us to save their lives. Ugh. It’s a devil of a place to be.
It’s at times like this when we must cling to the truth that anchors our self-esteem and secures our souls. The Word of God assures us that we need not fear the one who has put a target on our back because we have a Lord who is guarding our back. We need not fear their words, their grimaces, their slander behind our backs, not even their actions. Yes, having an enemy (Lord help!) can sting and even result in real trouble. But God has assured us that we need not walk in fear if He is the stronghold of our life.
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid? ~ Psalm 27:1
21 thoughts on “2021 Spring & Summer Shoe Trends”
This was so helpful and I can’t wait to try out some of these styles. Summer sandals are my weakness. I love having them in lots of colors. The right shoe makes the outfit.
I have some of these already and a couple pairs that I will shop for. I love sandals with manicured feet and painted nails. Your blog is very helpful.
Thank you for the inspiration. I would wear everything but the crocs. 🙂
I love the colors but other than that….not so sure! Too many of these styles look “clunky” to me! I prefer a more feminine look (TB Millers, Jack Rogers)….and definitely not the menswear look! But hey, everyone has their personal favorites and what works for them so it’s all ok! Have a wonderful weekend….spring is on the way! Hooray!
Great post, Kay! Wow, thanks for all of this great information! I’m not too sure about the “puffy” shoes, but they do look like they would be comfortable. Have a blessed day!
I am loving some of these shoes. The blue Vans sneakers caught my eye so they have been added to a wish list. I like some of the simpler trainers but this style of sneaker has a tendency to make my foot look so big…definitely a style I need to try out at home with different outfits. Now the white loafers with the black sole I could definitely see myself wearing. I’ve seen that shoe with the lug sole, and as long as the lugs are small (not combat boot large), I could possibly see myself wearing those. The smooth sole would definitely be more practical and potentially outlast the trendy lugs. Puffy shoes…they are everywhere. If I jump on that bandwagon it will be with a Target or WalMart purchase so less money is invested. I am definitely getting me a pair of summer house shoes, but they will be worn only at home. I am liking the Madewell ones you show (Nordstrom has a chambray pair on sale). I love me some Birkenstock sandals, but I have yet to pull the trigger. They are so comfortable but look big on my feet. I’ve tried knockoffs, but they aren’t near as comfy. I have a closet full of shoes and I definitely do not need anymore, but some of these might be finding their way into my shopping cart.
Kay, as usual, great overview of what is trending in footwear!I am pulling out my FitFlops and training sneakers to wear this spring and summer! Everything old is new again, I really look forward to reading your posts and watching your videos.
I love shoes, especially Spring and Summer sandals! I like a little of the puffy trend. I ordered a slide with bright multi puffy straps. I expect them tomorrow. Sneakers with dresses looks cute on others, but not for me. I’m 60. It looks like I’m wearing them because I cannot wear a cute shoe. If that makes sense. I like them with pants and shorts. My husband and I are going to the Keys for a few days. I’m shopping for shorts today. Thanks, Kay!
I haven’t been a fan of white shoes of any kind. However I’m seeing so many really cute outfits with white sneakers that I gave in and bought some. We’ll see. ?
That’s funny because I pulled out my old white Reeboks and put them back in the rotation. I’m seeing they’re being sold as “classics” now. Luckily, mine are still in decent shape. Enjoy your white sneakers!
Thanks Kay for the shoe tips. Love sandals in the summer the most. All the beautiful colors
and of course the ones I all ready have. Love the white 2 tones loafers, the stripped blue and white
ballet flats. Do not care for the puffy shoes either. Look cheap and uncomfortable, and clogs coming back ugh! I love animal prints except for the snake print. Hate anything with that. I am
anxious to try out the pretty spring colors with the spring colored clothes,
Thanks for the BFMD as usual so inspiring.
I think I’ll leave the puffy sandals for the younger crowd:) I LOVE the Tory Burch Howell sneakers in hazel/grey, but they are out of my size (5). Do you think they will eventually have them? They are sooo pretty and different.
I have been through and am going through some extremely difficult relationships and I really appreciate that you can empathize. Thank you.
Good Morning Kay!
Great info on shoes for summer. Some of the styles are not for me but I plan on buying white sneakers and the Everlane loafers in camel. My tastes are like yours and I think the loafers would be a great addition and I think would get alot of use out of them since they could transition well into Fall.
I love shoes! Always have and always will! Love all the colors and certainly ready for spring, so especially appealing right now. Not so sure about the “puffy” ones, but I’m going to be shopping for new sandals, so thanks for the ideas. I love sneakers and I’m a Rocket Dog fan. For walking/workout shoes, I tend to always return to Ryka. They just fit me the best. I love your loafer ideas. I’ve been a Sperry girl for a few years, so I like the classic look you suggested. Love your blog! Lynn in Fort Wayne
I will probably add some white sneakers to my wardrobe. As you said, it may take a while to get the eyes adjusted to the new styles! Sandals and Skechers are my go-to from March – November. Thanks, Kay, for the comprehensive post.
Kay: first of all, thank you for the personalized intro to your post “Good Morning, sweet Linda”! It warmed my soul like a visit from a close friend! So special and appreciated. I love your spot on fashion advice and spiritual thoughts as well. Your style speaks to me. I love tweaking my look to conform to the classic modern woman, which is my ideal objective. I took your quiz on discovering my personal style and it was on target. I don’t want to look as if I’m trying too hard to be well dressed in my casual, up scale area of California. You’ve reinforced my belief that we each know what style makes us happy in our personal lives and we need not apologize for looking classicly elegant in our public lives. Thank you for being YOU and sharing your philosophy and Faith. Linda
Great post! I never saw myself wearing Birks… but purchased the big buckle last year and now hooked!! Have a great weekend. Also, congratulations on finding the perfect new house !!
I am so glad to see the re-emergence of sling backs. The bank I work for prohibits mules, they say they are “afraid we will walk out of them and hurt ourselves”?!?! But allow high spike heels, go figure. Anyway, the sling backs will give me a similar, acceptable style. I can remember getting my first pair in the late 1960’s, when my mother thought they were too racy for a young teen! LOL! And as for clogs, I loved them in the 70’s for college and will have to have another pair now. Thanks for the shoe forecast! BTW, just ordered a pair of sling backs from Macy’s, after reading your post.
Puffy sandals – because we all want to make our feet look bigger /sarc. No insult to others intended, just a hard pass for me.
I am hoping shearling will go the way of most fur sometime soon – all faux.
Thanks for the terrific review! So helpful. I’ve got a faux snake loafer style and some pointed flats both in shades of camel. I appreciate knowing that these will be right on trend for this year.
Hope all is going well with your upcoming move!
Good Morning, Kay
I Loved your post this morning! I have added a few of the shoes you featured to my shopping list for spring. I plan to get the white sneakers from Madwell and the Everlane loafers in camel. Do the sneakers and loafers run true to size? I am hoping to order them on- line. We are expecting nice weather next week in Michigan so I am getting spring fever!!!! have a wonderful day!
Hi Diane. Wonderful! The white Madewell sneakers run large. I sized down .5. The everlane loafers run tts.