These 8 Designer Shoes Have Officially Gone Viral, so I Tried Them at Nordstrom
Photo:Who What Wear
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A few weeks ago, I found myself hanging out with fellow fashion editors after work. For most, any after-hours activity with colleagues may be conducted over cocktails, but for us, it was spent doing what we know best—shopping. We spent the evening shuffling through the sparkling marble floors of Nordstrom's flagship store in New York City. While I hate to be biased because there are so many good Nordstrom locations worldwide, I have to say there's something particularly magical about the Manhattan store. Maybe it's because it has seven floors and six restaurants, or maybe it's because there's an entire floor dedicated to what I love most: designer shoes.
Arriving on this floor in Nordstrom for a shoe fanatic is akin to arriving in paradise. Everywhere you look, there's something divine—just so many pairs of Fendi, Gucci, Prada, and Christian Louboutin shoes. While I only managed to stare at the shoes that evening, I did convince myself that I had to return and actually try on a few. So I decided to reach out to Nordstrom's team to ask them if I could document trying on some of the buzziest designer shoes of the moment in-store, and luckily for me, they obliged. Ahead, you'll find my full review of eight designer shoes, plus a roundup of the best affordable options at Nordstrom. But first, a little bit about why I chose the pairs I did…
Photo:Imaxtree/Bottega Veneta; Imaxtree/Versace; Imaxtree/Fendi
While Nordstrom has a huge offering of footwear in-store and online, I knew for the purposes of this story I wanted to limit how many shoes I was trying on—consider it a preventive measure to protect my feet. I landed on shoes that created a lot of buzz when they first debuted on the runways, have been spotted on every influencer, or are set to become the next big thing. So without further ado, here are the shoes I tried on.
Fendi Cut Baguette Ankle Strap Pump
Photo:@fashionwithjazz; Pictured: Jenny Bird Silver Tome Hoops ($98); Banana Republic Conran Bomber Jacket ($225); Universal Standard Turtleneck Dress
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
My Review: The moment I spotted these ankle-strap pumps on Fendi's F/W 22 runways, I fell in love fast. While these shoes may not be the most viral shoes on this list, they were the pair I was most excited about trying on in person. What I loved about them initially was the thick block heel with the FF logo cutout, and seeing them in person reconfirmed my initial feelings. The craftsmanship of these heels made me audibly gasp when I opened the box. In terms of the fit, I tried on a size 8.5, which felt true to size, and the block heel made them feel comfortable overall.
My only advice for anyone considering buying these shoes would be to try them on in person if you can. While they were super comfortable for me, I can foresee that anyone with high arches or thicker ankles may find the top of the shoe or ankle strap slightly uncomfortable. But overall, this was such a fantastic pair of heels, and I will fantasize about them until further notice.
Givenchy G Lock Wedge Bootie
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
My Review: Another pair of shoes that haunt me? Givenchy's Shark Lock Boots. Not a day passes by when I don't either spot them on social media or spend an embarrassing amount of time staring at them. So when choosing another pair of shoes to try on at Nordstrom, I knew I wanted to try on a pair from the brand. Sadly, the exact style I wanted wasn't available, but the retailer did have Givenchy's G Lock Wedge Bootie in size 9.
And while I wouldn't have gravitated to these ankle boots on my own accord (I'm more of a knee-high-boot type of gal), once I tried these on, I was ready to give away all my money. What I love about these shoes is the silhouette—how the wedge curves, how pointy it is, where it hits my calves… Plus, the hardware is just so cool. In terms of fit, I recommend going up at least half a size. Once I did, I found that these shoes felt like I was walking on clouds, and I didn't want to take them off. If you're going to give up your hard-earned coins for designer shoes, Givenchy's boots are well worth it.
Mach & Mach Crystal Double Bow Pointed Toe Mule
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
My Review: While Mach & Mach's Bow heels first became It shoes in 2020, they've still remained massively popular. One could say there's a lot of hype surrounding these shoes, so I knew I wanted to see if they lived up to it. Choosing one pair to try on in Nordstrom was a bit challenging, as there are so many style variations available—from pointed pump versions to platforms to mules. I landed on trying on a pair of mules, and since I'm a size 8.5, that limited my in-store colorway options. I wouldn't usually go for orange shoes, but once I put them on, I could not stop staring at them. I blame the sparkly bows. They're such beautiful shoes that it makes so much sense that they've become a cult item.
After wearing them, I can safely tell you this: If you've been dreaming about buying them, you absolutely should. The joy I had just wearing them around Nordstrom for a few minutes will be nothing compared to what you'll feel. My only word of caution for you is that you should consider going up half a size, as the mules can be a little bit snug. If you have high arches or are easily irritated by backless shoes, you may want to opt for another version of Mach & Mach heels. Overall, these shoes can live up to your wildest fantasies. You have to take notes from Cinderella and find the pair that's the right color, silhouette, and size.
Versace Triple Strap Platform Pump
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
My Review: The resurgence of sky-high platforms would not be a thing if it weren't for Versace. The Italian fashion house's platform shoes have been spotted on the celeb set for months now. And while there are quite a few trendy styles from the brand, my favorite style is the triple-strap platform pumps. When I spotted Bella Hadid walking down the runway in these shoes for Versace's F/W 22 collection, I knew I had to try them on.
So you can understand, then, that I was pumped (pun intended) when the time came to actually put them on. Upon unwrapping the box, it was clear how well-made these shoes are. The red patent leather is so shiny and sleek, and the hardware felt durable compared to other strappy shoes. In terms of sizing, they definitely fit true to size. I tried on a size 9 (half a size larger than my standard size), and it was a bit roomy. Despite being a bit bigger than I'd prefer, the shoes were effortless to walk in thanks to the thick block heel and flat platform for support. It's safe to say Versace's platform heels rose above my expectations.
Saint Laurent Luz Pointed Toe Sandal
My Rating: 3.8/5 Stars
My Review: Crystal netting was everywhere last year, and footwear was not excluded. Saint Laurent's S/S 22 and F/W 22 collections featured everything from sparkly knee-high boots to open-toe sandals made from sparkly fishnet. The styles quickly caught the attention of the fashion set and have cemented themselves as relevant well into the rest of 2023. So I knew I had to try on one of the styles while at Nordstrom. Sadly, the boots weren't available, but Nordstrom did have the sandals in my size (8.5).
I was initially dubious about these shoes because crystal-net shoes can be either wildly uncomfortable or make your feet look like a sausage trying to be stuffed into a casing. Luckily, that wasn't the case with these Saint Laurent sandals. The crystal mesh is appliquéd on top of a vamp strap, ensuring that your feet won't be irritated by the mesh. Once I got past my fears, I became obsessed with how flattering these shoes were. Of all the shoes I tried on, these felt the sultriest—call it the Saint Laurent effect.
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't also inform readers about the fit. While I felt they fit my feet well and was obsessed with how they looked, I will say that these shoes aren't for the faint of heart. If you're not used to walking in taller stilettos, the arch of the shoe, how thin the heel is, and where the band hits on your foot may make them harder to walk in. But should you still want to take the plunge and buy a pair, I recommend a few hacks to make them more comfortable: size up by half a size, add in cushions for ball support, and wear them with socks around the house before you wear them out to make them feel a bit more worn-in. If you do this, these shoes will indeed become your favorite pair.
Bottega Veneta Wedge Pointed Toe Pump
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
My Review: Bottega Veneta has been behind some of the buzziest footwear of the past few seasons, and the recent appointment of Matthieu Blazy hasn't changed that. At the creative director's debut F/W 22 show, numerous pairs of shoes immediately went viral overnight. But the one style that's remained relevant is the Wedge Pointed Toe Pump. These shoes have been spotted on the likes of Dua Lipa and Lori Harvey and will continue to be relevant this year, as they were also a prominent part of the brand's S/S 23 collection. So it was a no-brainer that I had to try on these shoes.
My first impression of them before putting them on was that they were so much chicer in person than in photos, as the leather was buttery soft, and the silhouette was so sleek. Regarding the sizing, I couldn't try them on in my size (8.5), so I tried them on in a 9. There was a gap in the back for me, but based on the fit, I could tell the sizing was pretty accurate. Despite being a bit big, they were still easy to walk around in thanks partly to the wedge heel and grips on the bottom of the shoes. Overall, I felt that these shoes had some of the structural elements for foot support out of all the pairs I tried, making them the ideal long-term investment. Now, if I can just secure them in my size, I'll be set.
Amina Muaddi Lupita Crystal Wedge Slide Sandal
My Rating: 3.8/5 Stars
My Review: Some of the coolest shoe trends of the past few seasons have found their strides first in the collections of Amina Muaddi (e.g., crystal, PVC, and glass heels). Since its inception in 2018, the brand has built a cult following that includes superstar fans like Rihanna. I've dreamt about owning a pair of shoes from this brand since it first gained notoriety, so I knew I had to slip into a pair while spending a few hours at Nordstrom. Choosing which pair to try on was hard, but with Barbiecore being so big last year and wedges continuing to trend, I figured I'd test-drive the Lupita Crystal Wedge Sandal.
I tried on an 8.5 and wished I had chosen a size 9. I have incredibly high arches, so sometimes, bands across the top of my feet can be far too snug and cause blistering. When I put these on, I could tell instantly I would not last in them unless I sized up and used proper foot cushions. While the fit wasn't ideal, I will say that these shoes are so much prettier in person. Some crystal-covered shoes can look gauche, but these shoes are so sleek and are an elevated take on embellished footwear. If I were able to get the right size, I think I would have fallen in love with these shoes on sight. But because they felt a bit uncomfortable, I can see myself skipping on investing in this style and choosing another pair from Muaddi's collection to buy down the line. Of course, if you're swayed to get them and are blessed with smaller foot arches, then more power to you.
Prada Chocolate Metallic Loafer
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
My Review: Last but certainly not least, I figured I "should" be practical and try on at least one pair of flats. While there are so many noteworthy flat shoes at Nordstrom, I was immediately drawn to Prada's Chocolate Metallic Loafer. It's no secret that loafers have been trending for a while, and every version of Prada loafers (from chunky lug-sole iterations to classic ones) has gone viral. While there are so many different types of shoes I could have picked, I was drawn to the shiny finish on these ones, as metallics are all the rage right now.
These Prada shoes come in silver and gold, and while I can get down with either finish, the sizing predetermined which pair I ended up fitting into. Like all loafers, the fit was a little snug. I had to size up from an 8.5 to a 9, and they're definitely the type of shoes that would need a bit of time to be broken in. Nevertheless, I still found that I was ready to walk out of Nordstrom in these shoes, literally. What I love about this pair is that they are the perfect balance of timeless and trendy. They're something you could buy today and pull out of storage years from now and know they're still stylish. And for me, that's the best indication of whether something is genuinely worth buying.
Photo:Imaxtree/Bottega Veneta; Imaxtree/Versace; Imaxtree/Fendi
I'm not going to be giving up my love for online shopping anytime soon. However, I will say that being able to try on designer shoes at Nordstrom was a game changer for me. It's one thing to see a pair of shoes every day online, but it's quite another thing to see them, touch them, and wear them in real life. Through this experience, I've realized that you can't honestly know if a designer piece is a worthwhile investment unless you have enough information and experience with said product.
We all can fantasize about the perfect pair of shoes, but until we've dared to put them on, we don't know if they truly fit our feet, our sartorial choices, and our budget. And in all honesty, trying on those shoes you've been pining after can be scary—you might find out they're a flop or fall in love. But no matter what happens, there are always plenty of other options out there (especially at Nordstrom), so you won't ever fall short.
These come in black and white, too, but the red is too hot to pass up.
Metallic shoes are having a moment, and I'm not mad about it.
These are a great addition to any work wardrobe.
These platform pumps will hold you over until you can purchase a designer pair.
Mark my words: Denim heels will be everywhere this season.
I can definitely see these retro-inspired sneakers going viral this year.
These patchwork boots look way more pricey than they actually are.
Trust me when I say these Tory Burch flats are worth every penny.
Pro tip: don't be afraid to shop collaboration sneakers so you can get your hands on designer shoes for less.
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