I Did My Research—These Are the 6 Biggest Winter 2021 Shoe Trends

Planning shoes for the winter is interesting because on one end, you’re probably buying snow boots to get you through the thick of the weather, and the other end, you’re looking at the heel with the most sparkle or embellishment for the holiday season. I like to call that the duality of fashion. And when you think of footwear for the current season you probably have the general thought of boots on your minds, but there’s a variety of styles to choose from while shopping.

While we’ve already talked about what’s been seen on the runways, I decided to take a look at the current market offering and what the fashion set is wearing currently and pick out the standout themes so when you’re planning your winter wardrobe, you can find what you’ll need at your favorite retailers easily. 

Below, you’ll find the six trends that I think are going to worn (and available to shop) everywhere. You’ll find no-brainer option like cozy shoes and riding boots, but also trends you probably didn’t expect to be blowing up as much as they are, like clogs or wedges. (Yes, wedges.) Keep scrolling for more.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Zara; Mango)

Not everything has to be a statement, and riding boots are the classic boot option that not only look incredibly sleek but are also comfortable and reliable. I’m finally adding a tall leather pair and plan for it to be apart of my forever wardrobe as well.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Zara; @aminamuaddi @elizagracehuber)

If you asked me a few months ago if you thought wedges were due for a comeback, I thought you’d have been joking. Of course, though, when I imagine wedge, I think of the wooden sandals I used to wear in high-school—not the sleek wedge boots or sleek sandals you’ll find rising in popularity today.


(Image credit: @katcollings @lisasaysgah @simonmiller)

This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about clogs on the site before, but while it started off on the simpler side with suede and plain leather options, but now you’ll see more prints and unique details added. 


(Image credit: Courtesy of Ugg)

It’s no surprise that the cold weather brings cozier shoes. While usually you see shoes like Birkenstock or Uggs worn with ’fits on the relaxed side, I’ve been seeing them worn in a more stylized way as of late. 

It's Party Time


(Image credit: Courtesy of Mango; Zara; Prada)

Holiday season is here, and with that comes the influx of sparkle, shimmer, and crystals galore. Brands like Amina Muaddi and Mach & Mach have taken party shoes to the next level with their standout embellished heels. 


(Image credit: Courtesy of Zara; @mimicutrell @oliviarodrigo @mariaalia)

We’ve been talking about platforms for a while, but while we’ve seen platform boots and sandals quite often, it’s the Mary Jane styles that we didn’t predict coming. Led by brands like Nodaleto and Versace, it’s all about reaching new heights in the shoe sector this season. 

Next: The 5 Winter 2021 Color Trends That Are Anything But Dreary

Assistant Market Editor
Yusra Siddiqui is an editor who resides in New Jersey but bounces between the suburbs and NYC. (She's a Jersey girl at heart.) After interning at Who What Wear in 2019, she found her way to the team after graduating from LIM College in 2022 with a fashion media degree. She's also spent time writing and working for publications such as Fashionista, Coveteur, and Nylon, but she always knew that Who What Wear was where she was meant to be. When she's on the job, she's perusing runway shows, analyzing the latest thing fellow Gen Zers are up to on the internet, and sharing what she can about the modest-fashion market. You can also catch her dabbling in entertainment, talking about the costume choices of the latest Netflix series or diving deeper into how the plotline affects the viewers in a myriad of ways. Lastly, she likes to create content for Who What Wear's TikTok. Her personal time is spent doing similar but also different things—deep diving into almost every new TV show (Bridgerton, Gilmore Girls, and Stranger Things are favorites), planning her next local getaway (whenever that may be), and reading the latest Emily Henry or Sally Rooney novel in one sitting.