Mary Janes, heeled loafers, platform sneakers — they're all making a comeback.

By Samantha Sutton
Updated Mar 16, 2020 @ 5:00 pm
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Each day, we feel more and more like Robin Williams in the movie Jumanji. Seriously, what year is it?! Old shows are being rebooted, heartthrobs like Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves are back in the spotlight, and throwback trends continue to resurface. We're particularly fascinated with spring 2020's shoe selection. It's not our imagination — these styles are straight out of the '90s.

The good news is, we now feel slightly better about shopping for the season's top picks. Instead of spending hard-earned paychecks on all brand new items, our favorite vintage stores are bound to have square-toe heels and chunky loafers in stock, along with a variety of other styles that have been resurrected (we love a sustainable option).

Keep reading for a full list of '90s shoe trends that are suddenly everywhere....again.

1. Square-Toe

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It was only a matter of time before we welcomed square-toe shoes back into our lives. There's just something about this shape that's super sleek, yet impossible to miss thanks to those sharp(er) edges. While we're partial to square-toe heels and sandals — a.k.a choices that will come in handy once temperatures rise — flats and boots are great ways to embrace the trend during in-between weather.

Then: Halle Berry in 1998

Now: Tibi Spring 2020

2. Mary Janes

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Mary Janes can be seen as slightly juvenile and school-girl-y, but that's part of the draw when it comes to this flat (or heel!) with a strap. They add a feminine twist to even the most basic of bottoms, including plain black pants, and will surely solve your dilemma when it comes to finding shoes to pair with mini dresses and skirts.

Then: Kirsten Dunst in 1998

Now: Prada Spring 2020

3. Thong Sandals

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We get it — fashion is confusing. First, we labeled flip flops as something that should only be worn around large bodies of water and during a pedicure. Now, we're saying they work for almost any occasion. This time around, however, the trend is more elevated. Instead of being flat and foam, 2020's thong sandals are heeled, made out of leather, and include embellishments that make them feel fancy.

Then: Sandra Bullock in 1999

Now: Staud Spring 2020

4. Chunky Loafers

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Did loafers ever go out of style? Not really, but they have risen in popularity over the past few years. Celebrities frequently wear them with jeans, slacks, skirts, and more, but now the trend is reaching new heights — literally. Heeled and lug-soled loafers were all over spring 2020's runways, from Louis Vuitton, to Prada, to Tory Burch. While you can easily slip your bare feet into these babies each morning, a scrunched up or folded tube sock will give them a retro twist.

Then: Claire Danes in 1995

Now: Louis Vuitton Spring 2020

5. Flatforms

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It's time to go back to embracing our inner Spice Girl...or Jennifer Aniston circa 1998. Flatforms add the same amount of height as your favorite pumps, but all that support makes them the comfier choice. Keep an eye out for buckled sandals with big soles, or invest in colorful flatform slides that you can quickly throw on when you're into a rush.

Then: Jennifer Aniston in 1998

Now: Giambattista Valli Spring 2020

6. Cake Stand Heels

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Subtle changes have been made to heels over the years, and recently, we noticed a that a flared version called the "cake stand" officially made a comeback. While it may seem like a small switch, it's dramatic and eye-catching, and celebrities such as Bella Hadid, Rihanna, and Hailey Bieber are all fans of the look.

Then: Britney Spears in 1999

Now: Givenchy Spring 2020

7. Wooden Bottoms

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Technically, this is a '70s trend, but wooden soles were popular in the '90s, too (just ask Mariah Carey). These days, nearly everything — mules, platforms, wedges, etc. — have wooden bottoms, and even simple sandals have received the treatment in the form of a block heel. While shopping, make sure the wood is a neutral color that won't distract from the rest of your outfit. Then, you can style these shoes the same way you would a trusty pair of espadrilles.

Then: Mariah Carey in 1998

Now: Miu Miu Spring 2020

8. Toe-Rings

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If you aren't ready to go full flip flop, there's another minimalist style that can take definitely its place: toe-rings. This tiny addition adds something extra without being over-the-top, and it's entirely possible that a strappy beige, black, or white toe-ring sandal will become quickly your seasonal go-to.

Then: Kate Hudson in 1999

Now: BOSS Spring 2020

9. Wrap-Around Details

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This trend feels like more than just a shoe — it's a full-on statement piece. Whether your straps are leather, rope, or include fringe or feathers, the crisscross details turn even the simplest of shorts and dresses into something sexy. Feeling daring? Go the street style route and tie the straps of your sandals around the bottom of your pants.

Then: Jada Pinkett Smith in 1999

Now: Valentino Spring 2020

10. Platform Sneakers

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By now, you can probably tell that bigger is better for spring 2020, and yes, that includes sneakers, too. Don't get us wrong — chunky, thick-soled, dad-inspired shoes are still totally cool. But, those looking for something less intense might want to go with a sleek platform. They can be worn in place of your everyday pick (especially a clean white option), but it's that extra inch or two that will give your outfit a playful boost in more ways than one.

Then: Jennifer Love Hewitt in 1995

Now: Tory Burch Spring 2020