The Controversial Shoe Trend Everyone Dreads Won't Be Going Away Anytime Soon

Time to get yourself a pair of kitten heels.

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The Controversial Shoe Trend Everyone Dreads Is Perfect For Fall
Photo: Getty Images/InStyle

It's true that a few short years ago, kitten heels were considered questionable — a design that didn't make much sense due to such a teeny, tiny elevation. But in a post-pandemic fashion world, this specific shoe style seems like the perfect fit: It's just dressy enough without sacrificing comfort or walkability.

While we were momentarily distracted by break-your-ankle platforms, which seem to be a favorite among celebrities such as Olivia Rodrigo, the kitten heel comeback has been sneaking up on us. Not only do street-style stars enjoy using this in-between shoe to complete their outfits, but the trend has also been spotted on runways since last season. And looking forward to spring 2022, it seems the kitten heel is here to stay.

Kitten Heel
Kitten heels at Prada. Pietro D'Aprano/Getty Images

We saw a bold pointed-toe option at Prada.

Kitten Heels
Victor VIRGILE / Contributor

Kitten heel thong sandals popped up at Jil Sander, along with kitten heel boots.

Kitten Heel
Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Even Altuzarra put a fun twist on this trend by including embellishments.

In real life, kitten heels happen to be incredibly versatile. Since they're both comfortable and elevated, they have the ability to pull double duty, taking the place of either flats or higher heels. Whether you chose to wear them with jeans or a sequined skirt, kitten heels are a playful, unexpected choice that works every time.

Ahead, we've rounded up a few kitten heel outfit ideas to try now, which might just make you fall in love with this slight height-boosting shoe.

They're Easy

Fashion Photo Session In Paris - March 2021

Looking for a footwear option to complement your favorite breezy dress? Kitten heels are a small step up from flats, but compared to sky-high stilettos, they're easier for walking, balancing, and wearing throughout the night.

Shop Similar: Zara Leather Slingback Kitten Heel Shoes; $70

They're Elevated

Kitten Heels
Streetstyleshooters/Getty Images

We may enjoy dressing up, but the truth is, some days just call for leggings and loungewear. Kitten heels can make stretchy staples seem sleeker and somewhat fancy, especially if you add something structured to your look, such as a button-down or blazer.

Shop Similar: Bella Vita Sarah Pump; $90

They're Timeless

Street Style - Berlin - June, 2021

Sure, trends work on a rotating basis, but there's a reason this shoe is never 'out' for long. Kitten styles are subtle and sweet, but pointed-toe options work to elongate your legs, just like higher heels. Invest in a neutral pair that you can hold onto for years to come.

Shop Similar: Brother Vellies Tuesday Mule in Espresso; $535

They're Fun

Kitten Heels

They may be small, but these heels still have the ability to make a major statement. Choosing a pair with standout details such as bright colors, embellishments, and sexy straps will complement sequins and other over-the-top pieces, while also popping against basics.

Shop Similar: Kate Spade Marseille Bow Pointed Toe Slingback Pump; $198

They're Nostalgic

Street Style At "Feeric" Fashion Week 2021 In Sibiu

Kitten heels are a known throwback, but while some may associate them with '60s fashion, they were also pretty popular around Y2K — meaning they'll pair perfectly with all the mini skirts, cropped cardigans, and thong pants that have recently resurfaced in our closets.

Shop Similar: Prada 45mm Flower Halter Kitten-Heel Slingback Shoes; $950

They're Seasonless

Fashion Photo Session In Paris - December 2020

Technically, you can get away with wearing kitten heel sandals year-round, especially when attending formal events like weddings. However, the trend also comes in closed-toe and boot form, which may feel more practical for the fall, winter, and spring months. It's up to you to find a version that will work best for your own lifestyle that also suits your personal aesthetic.

Shop Similar: Schutz Maryana Lo Crocodile-Embossed Leather Boot; $238

They Provide Balance

Fashion Photo Session In Paris - November 2020

This footwear option is famous for being the ultimate happy medium. Want to keep your outfit from feeling too dressed down, but aren't willing to risk it in platforms? Kitten heels. Need an elevated yet comfortable shoe to go with an elaborate dress? Kitten heels. Depending on the details, they'll add playfulness to your look or tone it down, and work as a go-to solution for multiple fashion dilemmas.

Shop Similar: Dior J'Adior Slingback Pump; $950

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