“Old maiden type of shoes” are back, baby

“Old maiden type of shoes” are back, baby

by Stella Hughes
2 min

Pretty much, we would like to let you know… that flats are in. ICYMI, we’re in the midst of a flat-shoed revival – from the catwalks to the streets, people are putting their best foot forward, and that foot is in an Old Maiden Type shoe. 

Far from the days of towering platform heels and stilettos, we’re seeing an industry-wide shift towards mules, ballet flats and kitten heels. Tied up in the bowmania we explored earlier this month, balletcore is a pioneering force in this field. Miu Miu’s satin ballet flats, Lyst’s fashion item of the year last year, grounded us entirely, whilst more recently, Phoebe Philo returned with kitten heeled shoe offerings that were low to the ground but high to the price point.

But is this just an indicator of changing trends, or is something deeper going on? Heels were one of the major focal points of one of the biggest films of the year, “Barbie”. In the movie, the lower to the ground (or more flat-footed) Barbie was, the more in tune with reality she was. So is the heel-height-ditching we’re seeing in the real world a suggestion that we’re adopting a bleaker view on life at the moment? 

If we were to use the High Heel Index as an answer, then maybe. Coined by Trevor Davis, a consumer products expert at IBM, the High Heel Index suggests that heel height moves in tandem with the economic climate: “with lengthy downturns, an austerity mindset shifted the consumer mood and less ostentation became the norm, and heel heights declined.” With the UK on the brink of a recession, maybe the prevalence of Old Maiden Type of Shoes is telling us more than we think.

Demand for flats also ties into trends like Quiet Luxury and CorpCore – as evidenced by an appetite for minimalism and the whole theme of BOSS’ SS24 show. Yet there are always exceptions to the rule – take Marc Jacobs’ wildly popular Kiki boots, for example. 

However, the resurgence of flats is undeniable. In the spirit of Tiffany Pollard, would they be something you’d particularly buy for yourselves, or should we put Old Maiden Type Shoes back on the rack?

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