How This Became the One Shoe Everyone Wears on the Red Carpet

Everyone from Meghan Markle to Kim Kardashian has worn this heel — and there’s a good reason for that.

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We like to play a little game during Fashion week which is calling dibs on which runway looks we think we’ll see on the red carpet. Despite having strong feelings about which actress might step out in specific designs, it’s near-impossible to predict what will actually make an appearance during awards season.

Unless, of course, we’re talking about footwear.

How This Became the One Shoe Everyone Wears on the Red Carpet

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Since their debut in 2013, Stuart Weitzman’s Nudist Sandals have become a mainstay at all major events, whether we’re talking movie premiers and press tours or something as big as the Oscars. According to the brand, Diane Kruger was the first to publicly wear the shoe, and many celebrities have followed in her (literal) footsteps, including Meghan Markle, Kim Kardashian, Mindy Kaling, and Vanessa Hudgens (just to name a few). According to Stuart Weitzman’s Global Head of Design, Edmundo Castillo, there’s a good reason the heel is such a hit: since the Nudist is so classic and simple, it’s essentially an “invisible shoe” that goes with everything.

“Any outfit, any occasion — whether it is a long dress, a short dress, a pair of pants, a suit — The Nudist is that shoe that adds to the outfit by lending a level of simplicity. It makes the clothes stand out,” he tells InStyle over the phone. “At the same time, it adds modernity and never goes out of style.”

Edmundo Castillo

We’ve studied every millimeter of where the strap should hit on the ankle to not cut the leg.

— Edmundo Castillo

While you might think that means this shoe is kind of boring, the truth is far from it, and customers aren’t stuck with just one option, either. The Nudist is actually one of Stuart Weitzman’s core collections, and there are multiple iterations to choose from, such as the Hollywood Platform, which Castillo created in 2020.

“We have it in the stiletto, high heel, medium heel, chunky heel, an almost-flat,” he says, adding that you’re also able to pick from a variety of colorways and materials. Plus, each time the Nudist receives a small update, Castillo and his team also do behind-the-scenes research, ensuring the heel’s strap still hits in the perfect place — which is part of the reason it remains a must-have. 

“Every time that we work on a new Nudist, we need to go back to finding that spot, because sometimes the other parts, like the heel or the toe shape of the sandal, makes it go a little higher or a little lower,” Castillo explains. “Or, if we make the strap a little thicker, we need to move it. We’ve studied every millimeter of where the strap should hit on the ankle to not cut the leg.”

How This Became the One Shoe Everyone Wears on the Red Carpet

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Celebrity stylist Christina Pacelli tells InStyle that The Nudist has definitely become one her go-tos.

“The Stuart Weitzman Nudist is a red carpet staple that I have pulled to dress several clients, including Laverne Cox,” she says over email. The brand is even willing to make a custom version for celebrities, whether that means adding embellishments or dying it a certain color. “It is a simple and glamorous heel, and a style I often turn to to complement and not overpower a look.”

Stylists also tend to keep this heel on hand and a publicist for Stuart Weitzman tells InStyle that almost every day, people pull them for their clients.

Stylists who have dressed their clients in the NUDIST include Law Roach, Elizabeth Stewart, Alex White, and Wayman & Micah. Another celebrity stylist, Jason Rembert, also pulled the strappy silhouette for the Spring 2023 runway show for his celebrity-loved brand, Aliétte.

Still, just because The Nudist is the celebrity awards show shoe doesn’t mean that us non-famous people can’t work it into our everyday wardrobes. On the contrary, Jodi Kahn, Neiman Marcus’ VP of Luxury Fashion, tells InStyle that this heel makes a great addition to everyone’s closet.

“Like a denim jacket or crisp white shirt, a classic two-strap sandal is a great investment to build a versatile wardrobe. The Nudist looks just as chic with a gown as it does with a more trend-driven, oversized suit.”

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