The Top Comfort Shoe Trends of 2017: From Boots to Sneakers to Clogs to Sandals

The new year is a time of reflection — politically, economically and, of course, fashionably.

In 2017, there was a common thread when it came to footwear; women unanimously opted for more casual, comfort-driven looks. For spring, iconic German brand Birkenstock was spotted on celebrities to high school students. Footbed sandals from Naot and Think offered alternatives to Birkenstock, while easy-to-wear ballet flats and smoking slippers were a favorite barefoot look among city dwellers.

The real standout, however, was athleisure styles — fashion-inspired sneakers that footnoted everything from floral print dresses to yoga wear from Lululemon and Athleta. Here, slip-on styles ruled, often taking their cue from skate brand Vans.

Keeping things comfortable for spring, wedges outpaced heels. They offered an easy way to achieve height without the pain often associated with high heels. These wedge designs looked their best in espadrille-inspired rope bottoms, a throwback ‘40s look that never goes out of style.

Clogs, another footwear classic, showed up in wood-bottom versions to styles on comfort-driven polyurethane outsoles from brands such as Dansko and Sanita.

Transitioning into fall, once again boots ruled. There were a wide range of silhouettes, but the shorter looks proved a favorite among a fashion crowd due to their versatility. While boots were typically considered a more casual look, this fall saw them make a move into evening, with dress styles often an alternative to sandals. They also proved a fashionable option when complementing the wave of palazzo style pants for dressing up.

Among the key boot silhouettes for fall were Chelsea styles, reminiscent of the popular Beatle boots from the ’60s, which are certain to continue into fall ’18. Styles with buckles, zippers and straps were also in demand, taking a boot from simple to sophisticated.

Although the cold weather was slow in coming to many parts of the country, a pair of shearling boots remained a wardrobe essential. Here, the category evolved with brands including Emu Australia and Ugg, doing waterproof and water-resistant styles for added protection and durability.

Since a big chunk of the country remains warm year-round, more traditional shoe options were also available. These included an update to the Mary Jane, detailed with a wide strap and block heel for a modern take on the classic. And don’t forget about the classic pump, updated on a kitten heel.

Evening looks took a fresh turn, with the focus on sleek mules detailed in velvet, satin and metallic leather, then decorated with faux pearls, tassels or pompoms.

And fur was just about everywhere, from soccer slides to sneakers and pumps. It was a fresh way to add a luxury touch to daytime and evening looks.

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