9 Fashion and Shoe Designers Sound Off on the Return of High Heels

As increasing vaccinations across the U.S. collide with rising temperatures, many are heralding the return of dressing up — including the high heel. While interpretations of the shoe vary from designer to designer (and wearer to wearer) most agree that a little heel goes a long way when it comes to festive dressing. Here, nine designers give their thoughts on the return of the beloved — and yes, beleaguered — high heel:

Mary Alice Malone

“Probably much like the rest of us I spend most of my time working from home or outside with the babies. But I have really made a point to wear heels when I get a chance to have a date night with my husband. I really miss my heels, and they keep looking at me so longingly. We are so used to practical shoes that craving a crazy pair of heels is just a natural reaction.”

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Malone Souliers


To buy: Malone Souliers Alba heel, $666

Giuseppe Zanotti

“I feel like everyone cannot wait to go back to ‘life.’ Covid has been a time of rethinking and reinvention, yet people miss their lives, their habits – they miss going out and having fun. So yes, I think women will wear heels again. Heels make you feel more feminine and secure sometimes. You walk differently, you act differently, everything looks more exciting when you feel beautiful and step into a room with confidence.

That said, they will stick to more comfortable clothes and shoes for daytime. A woman can be feminine even when she wears flats. But women do not need any advice; they always know how to pull it off. Even men have been wearing slightly higher heels lately. We are in front of a new book to be written for men also.”

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Giuseppe Zanotti

To buy: Giuseppe Zanotti Amira embellished sandal, $1,795.

Chloe Gosselin

“Three months ago I would have told you people are done with high heels, but from what I’m seeing now, I think they will come back stronger than ever. As a woman making heels, as long as they are comfortable and the quality is still there, I think they will be back. But now you need to have an offering of flats, too. As a mom, running around, I won’t be wearing a heel all day. At the beginning (when I launched my brand) I had crazy high heels, but I’ve taken them down now a bit, and added options like block heels.”

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Chloe Gosselin Celine sandal.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Chloe Gosselin

Maria Cornejo

“I still want to go out. I want to dream about next fall or even late summer, when we can dance again. I think we do want to feel sexy. I don’t want to wear heels all the time, but I do want to dream of going to Paris or going out in New York and dancing, hanging out with friends. We didn’t sell a lot of heels (this year), we sold more of the styles you can wear at home. The whole point of fashion is to inspire, to dream a little bit and take ourselves out of the doldrums. We need beauty in the world, we can’t actually just exist on water, food and air.”

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Zero + Maria Cornejo leather wrap sandal for fall ’21.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Zero + Maria Cornejo

Mariasole Cecchi

“Women are still willing to buy fun, beautiful and unique heels, even just to upgrade their daily casual look with a positive and catchy touch. This evolution has also influenced online sales, as new styles launched during the pandemic have been highlighted on social media by powerful engaging content, such as the Taya pump – which has been selling out in all colors since pre-orders last March! Our client is particularly after that special and unique accessory that can light up their look, especially when it comes to heels. In fact, during the whole year, heels have been our best-seller.”

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Les Petits Joueurs

To buy: Les Petits Joueurs Taya pump, $698.

Alexandre Vauthier

“During exceptional times all habits are disturbed, life is heavier and we look for the more functional. However, heels are essential for a certain feminine allure, like a punctuation to the silhouette, an element of the human body and it cannot be dissociated from a certain type of femininity. So I’m not really worried for the moment regarding heels, we will always buy them, and we will wear them in the appropriate situations. It’s like riding a bike, you never forget how to do it!”

alexandre vauthier, giuseppe zanotti for alexandre vauthier, high heels, spring 2021 heels, return of high heels 2021, fashion, fashion trends, shoes
CREDIT: Courtesy of Giuseppe Zanotti

Alexandre Vauthier x Giuseppe Zanotti crystal-studded wrap sandal.

Marina Larroudé

“While I was working on launching my collection, I was at dinner (in New York). I was dressed up, wearing leather shorts and a little jacket and my plaid pumps. The waitress came up to me and said, ‘Oh my god you’re wearing heels, I love your shoes! Thank you so much for dressing up.’ It’s like getting a blow dry. It’s just nice to feel dressed up again.”

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Larroudé

To buy: Larroudé Elle patent leather plaid pump, $300.

Marion Parke

“I think there will be some women who you will never be able to take out of their heels. There will be some women looking for an excuse to not have to wear them anymore. I think it’s going to be more acceptable, sure, to wear a lower heel. But I still think there is something about high heels and they really look beautiful. Even the American Podiatric Medical Association has going on record to say we are not going to try and take high heels away from women, it’s close minded to think that they won’t wear them. But there are smart ways to wear high heels.”

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Marion Parke

To buy: Marion Parke Isabelle suede sandal, $650

Rebecca Minkoff

“They’re not going to be part of anyone’s every day. (But) definitely put your heels in your bag, wear them when dressed up and then put them back.”

rebecca minkoff, nordstrom, high heels, return of high heels 2021, spring 2021, fashion, fashion trends
CREDIT: Courtesy of Rebecca Minkoff

To buy: Rebecca Minkoff Nanine sandal, $60 (was $158)

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