15 Viral Shoe Trends That Are Already Defining Summer 2023


In a time when an entire phenomenon can begin and end on TikTok in the span of 24 hours, tracking what's viral is a full-time job. In many ways, it's my full-time job, making me the perfect person to ask when you're looking to get in on the newest, most of-the-moment trends. Since shoes just so happen to be my personal favorite genre of study, I thought I'd answer your footwear-related requests before you even submit them by putting together a list of the trends that are already defining the season ahead. 

My favorite quality of this year's most viral shoe trends is the variety. Some are timeless favorites that come back year after year, while others feel entirely fresh and unexpected. There are the mesh ballet flats from The Row that have sparked an internet-wide debate surrounding the importance of pedicures, the Adidas sneakers that I spot at least a dozen times every single time I step foot outside in New York City, and the shapely Bottega Veneta wedges that every last one of Who What Wear's editors can't seem to shut up about. But those are just the highlights. Ahead, scroll through and shop the 15 most talked-about shoes of the summer. 


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I can't remember a summer that's come and gone without spotting a pair of Birkenstock's beloved Boston clogs. More likely, I'll see about 100 pairs if not more. But this summer more than any in recent history, these easy slides are truly everywhere on elite Instagram feeds between shots of heels and boots with four-digit price tags. 



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Worn by Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber, Bella Hadid, Laura Harrier, Jennifer Lawrence, Katie Holmes, Zoë Kravitz, and so many more, re-created by Wales Bonner, Gucci, and Sporty & Rich, and written about to no end, Adidas's Samba sneakers, which debuted almost 75 years in 1949, are by far the most popular shoes on this list, if not in the entire fashion industry. 



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Maison Margiela's unique Tabi silhouette has long been favorited by fashion people—that's nothing new. But something about the ballet-flats version has shot the style past just niche fashion lore. It's everywhere. 



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Likely a result of the pretty-things trend blowing up following its debut on the fall '22 runways, footwear with dainty bow details (not including the ones that famously live on the toes of ballet flats) have recently arrived on the scene and are already making a major name for themselves online. This pair by Lisa Says Gah is especially prevalent. After a short period of stocklessness, new sizes have just been released. Go wild. 



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It's only been a few days since Elsa Hosk's brand Helsa debuted its first footwear offering, yet most of the styles included in the initial drop are already well on their way to selling out. 



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If you love Zara but are looking for a slightly more mature look, heading to the Massimo Dutti section of its website and app is step number one. There, you'll find plenty of chic quiet-luxury pieces as well as these Mary Jane flats that I can't escape on my Instagram feed. 



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Everyone—and I mean everyone—is talking about these mesh flats from The Row, not to mention similar versions from Khaite and Dear Frances. Some people love them, and others seriously don't get them, making their virality inevitable. 



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Shoes as beautiful and sculptural as Matthieu Blazy's wedge pumps for Bottega Veneta don't come around often. So when one does—in multiple colors, materials, and other variations no less—there's really no choice but for people like you and me to go crazy over them. 



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The only sneakers in 2023 that are rivaling Adidas's Sambas in terms of viral status are Onitsuka Tiger's famous Mexico 66 style, which launched in 1966, specifically in the yellow-and-black colorway. Worn by countless influencers as well as Kaia Gerber, it's no wonder that these old-school kicks are nearly impossible to find in stock.



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There was a time not too long ago when wedges were among the most outdated shoe trends of all. But these days, designers have re-created the silhouette in fresh ways, allowing them to rise the ranks in fashion and become one of the year's top trends. This $80 pair from Mango is among the most popular styles thanks to its crisp color, minimal design, and comfortable heel. 



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I'll be honest. When these debuted on the runway at Miu Miu's S/S 23 show, I wasn't sure of their practicality. Adorable? Of course. But wearable? That was still TBD. Then I tried them on after seeing them all over my Instagram feed and was shocked at how comfortable they were, not to mention cute with every single outfit I put on. 



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Like a pair of Birkenstocks, Chuck Taylors belong in everyone's summer (and spring, winter, and fall) shoe collection. Though every variation of the iconic sneaker style is good, the fashion crowd of late is especially enticed by the off-white, vintage-esque high-tops. 



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As with most pieces from Chanel, fashion people have been swooning over the French brand's famed cap-toe ballet flats for, well, forever. I wanted a pair immediately after seeing them for the first time, which was probably on The OC when I was in elementary school. Suffice to say, they haven't lost an ounce of allure in the years since. If anything, they've grown more popular as secondhand sites like The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective make them feel more accessible. 



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Simple sandals that won't cost you an arm and a leg but still warrant compliments like any $500 pair of heels are great finds, which is presumably why these minimal thongs from Mango are so popular right now. 



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If looking and feeling like a Disney princess is on your summer bucket list, I see you, and I understand you. What you might not know, though, is that all you really need is a pair of rhinestone-embellished mesh flats or mules from Khaite to check both off. They're not exactly cheap, but trust me—the compliments and "Where'd you get those?" responses will be flying. 


Shop more in-demand shoes for summer: 

Coming up next: I'm Freaking Out—These 6 Summer Shoes Are Anti-Trend, Old Money, and So Luxe

Senior Fashion Editor

Eliza Huber is a New York City–based fashion editor who specializes in trend reporting, brand discovery, and celebrity style. She joined Who What Wear in 2021 after almost four years on the fashion editorial team at Refinery29, the job she took after graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Iowa. She has since launched two monthly columns, Let's Get a Room and Ways to Wear; profiled the likes of Dakota Fanning, Diane Kruger, Katie Holmes, and Sabrina Carpenter for WWW's monthly cover features; and reported on everything from the relationship between Formula One and fashion to the top trends from fashion month, season after season. Eliza now lives on the Upper West Side and spends her free time researching F1 fashion imagery for her side Instagram accounts @thepinnacleoffashion and @f1paddockfits, running in Central Park, and scouring eBay for '90s Prada and '80s Yves Saint Laurent.