I'm Not One for Controversial Shoe Trends, But I'm Ready to Buy These 5 in 2023


(Image credit: @hannahlewisstylist. Pictured: Birkenstock Boston Clogs.)

Love them or hate them, controversial shoe trends are ones that dominated this year's trend cycle. Celebrities aren't strangers to questionable footwear choices (lest we forget, Kim Kardashian's oddly delicious "pantaboot" era), replicating the runways and pushing forward the boundaries of what's acceptable to wear on your feet.

Every year has a shoe trend that divides the internet into a fiery argument: I still remember the heated debates my friends and I would get into over the furry loafer slides from Gucci back in 2018. Now that 2022 comes to a close and I'm revamping my closet to make space for next year's trends, one of my New Year's resolutions is to spice up my wardrobe—including by wearing unconventional footwear that speaks to my personal style, even if the comments section on my 'fit pics wearing them will burst into flames.

Below, shop some of the most controversial shoe trends of the upcoming year, including one that celebrities are already obsessed with. 

Mini Ugg Boots

The resurgence of Ugg boots marks yet another embracement of the mid-2000s aesthetic all while keeping our feet warm. A Juicy Couture tracksuit, oversize sunglasses, and a pair of Ugg boots was practically the It-girl uniform back in the day. Today, micro and mini Ugg booties are far more popular (and, based on the two pairs I have in my closet, by far the best purchase of this year).

Square Toe Boots

Move aside, rounded-toe heels. While this year has seen an uptick in softer silhouettes thanks to ultra-popular styles like the Birkenstock Boston clogs and the Versace satin platform pumpssquare-toed boots are set to make a large comeback next year. Consider me obsessed.

Kitten Heels

Nano heel have created discourse within style circles, with some comparing the minimalist style to something their grandmothers would have worn (or still wear). As someone who hates putting on sky-high platforms no matter how good they look, this is a comfortable shoe trend I can get behind into the new year.

Ecclectic Clogs

If you're going to listen to anyone, listen to the experts. Lyst's 2022 Year in Fashion list came out, and with it, the retailer announced that the Birkenstock Boston clogs were one of the most searched shoes of the year. And for good reason—they're incredibly chic, in my opinion. If they're not styled right, clogs can be hard to pull off, making them ripe for debate among fashion circles. At times, they can look like they belong on the feet of nurses or dentists, but TBH, I'm into it.

Shearling Slides

As a fashion editor who used to live in Miami, I know a good sandal when I see one. Although open-toed shoes are traditionally associated with warmer climates, a quick TikTok scroll does wonders to change my mind. Fashion people have been obsessed with Hermès' fuzzy Chypre sandals. While the original version is great, the shearling style is delicious. If the teddy-coat trend is any indication, shearling slides will dominate in 2023.

Next, read more about the celebrity-approved shoe trends that the internet loves to hate.

Assistant Shopping Editor
Ana Escalante is an award-winning journalist and Gen Z editor whose work ranges from dissecting size inclusivity at fashion week to discussing how American Girl Doll meme accounts are the the answer to society's collective spiral. She's covered it all: Queen Elizabeth II's corgis, Roe v. Wade frontline protests, and the emergence of jorts (or jean shorts for the uninitated). At Who What Wear, Ana is responsible for delivering smart, insightful, personality-driven shopping guides and trend features for a digital-first generation.Before joining Who What Wear, Ana was Glamour magazine's editorial assistant, where she focused on daily news and special packages, including leading the brand's 2022 Met Gala coverage. For more than half a decade, she has covered style, beauty, and digital culture for publications such as Paper magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue Japan, and Allure, among others. Ana has been called a rising star in media by publications such as Nylon and Teen Vogue. (Her mother, meanwhile, calls her "the coolest person" she knows.)