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Hot pink head-to-toe looks — dubbed Barbiecore — are a major, of-the-moment trend. Stars like Brooke Shields and Sofia Vergara are wholeheartedly embracing the maximalist feminine theme on and off the red carpet. With Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” film set to release this July, it’s the perfect time to think pink, especially when it comes to your footwear arsenal for the warm weather season. Whether you’re looking for a cute summer sandal with maximum outfit versatility, simply elegant and comfortable women’s flats, a powerhouse platform that packs a punch of style, or an effortlessly cool walking shoe with a pop of color, there’s a Barbie shoe for everyone to embrace right now.
Barbiecore is an aesthetic world of inspiration associated with the decades-old doll, encompassing the color pink and texturally satisfying materials. It’s not a brand new trend, and the real meaning behind Barbiecore hints at redefining feminism in hot pink. Take the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, D.C., when five million people took to the streets in response to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration. Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched wearing pink-hued knitted beanies with cat ears, which can be credited to efforts made by the Pussyhat Project. The visual spectacle of the rosy color symbolized solidarity in rebellion and unabashed femininity, going so far to redefine hot pink beyond its “girly girl” or ditzy connotation.
“It’s clear that Barbiecore is not just about Barbie pink — nor is it just about fashion,” says Footwear News Style Director Shannon Adducci. “I think both the movie trailer that just came out, and its already-viral selfie generator, show that it’s more of a mindset, one of ambition, steadfast optimism in the face of cynicism, a kind of packaging of life and lifestyle, and a view on feminism that leans into the feminine. It’s about owning femininity wholeheartedly.”
In the years following the unprecedented march, the power of pink was prevalent in designer runway collections, namely at Valentino’s fall 2022 show, where everything from the catwalk to the clothes and the platform heels were painted electric fuschia (with few exceptions of black). Pantone went on to name the particular shade “Valentino Pink PP,” describing it as a hot and bold pink, kindred to “Barbie” or “bubble gum” pink.
“In fashion, Barbiecore translates to matching sets, bold color coordination, feminine silhouettes and a put-togetherness — and also maybe a classic pump, which was historically Barbie’s shoe,” Adducci explains. “Barbiecore could be campy, depending on the wearer, but more often than not, it’s really done in earnest.”
The Barbiecore trend went viral last summer as paparazzi images of Gerwig’s set circulated the internet, depicting Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling wearing ‘80s-inspired costumes of hot pink spandex and neon rollerblades. Since then, influencers and content creators confirmed the recent Barbie obsession with inspired outfit combinations, floral arrangements, and explainers on the Barbiecore trend. On Tiktok, #barbiecore has garnered over 270 million views of users creating a Barbie dream world of their own, with pink-themed car tours, home decor, beauty looks, and even culinary creations.
Celebrities and their stylists have been translating fashion’s latest color craze in their own ways on red carpets and with street style. This April, Sofia Vergara styled a wearable outfit of jeans, a white top, and a punchy pink long blazer with Mach & Mach hot pink pumps. Anya Taylor Joy donned Barbiecore in a daring pair of hardware-heavy buckle boots to contrast a hyper-feminine three-piece Alexander McQueen ensemble. Christina “Tinx” Najjar took Barbie out to play for a pretty-in-pink night-out look just this week, wearing By Far pumps with an asymmetrical Ph5 dress. For monochromatic inspiration, Brooke Shields wore a pair of classic pink pumps with matching slacks and a long-sleeve top for a business-chic look that’s far from boring.
At the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscars Party, Sarah Staudinger, the force behind clothing label Staud, donned a minimalist and elegant ensemble that featured strappy slingback heels, a strapless dress, and a handbag in a pink-coral hue. Sabrina Carpenter and content creator Emili Sindlev also embraced Barbiecore style with femme “Y2K” Barbie vibes. Carpenter wore a full Missoni look with Andrea Wazen’s Wedge Heels, while Sindlev wore pink mules with white knit Prada legwarmers, a pink mini skirt, a fluffy soft pink jacket, a bag by Celine, and a belt by Chanel. Content creator Paige Lorenze showed how to incorporate Barbiecore with subtle accessorizing, wearing Adidas x Gucci’s’ pink Gazelle sneakers. The pink suede shoe has been all over social media, and particularly popular on TikTok with the hashtag #Pinkgazelles accumulating over 7.5 million views. As a result, the kicks are sold out and solely available on sites like GOAT and StockX. Thankfully, however, Gucci’s recent Adidas collaboration includes a new pink Gazelle sneaker that comes in a similar, but softer pink velvet material.
Whether it be the symbolism behind the color or it’s vibrancy that makes the color aesthetically pleasing for an Instagram post, there are plenty of reasons to invest in pink footwear. Barbie’s all about her accessories after all, so keep scrolling to shop our favorite Barbie-pink shoes to get in on the celebrity-approved Barbiecore trend that’s taking over dream closets everywhere.
The shoes that kicked off Barbiecore’s moment in footwear are undeniably these Valentino patent leather pumps. The exaggerated silhouette gives it a doll-like aesthetic that makes a major impact in any outfit equation. The ankle strap and chunky heel help keep you secure in the sky-high, 6.5-inch-tall pumps.
“I love the idea of incorporating a pink shoe into a work outfit, taking the tried-and-true formula of jeans and a blazer and adding a feminine mule or slingback in Barbie pink,” Adducci suggests. “That way, it’s not too costume-like and makes for a clever little nod to the color’s female empowerment statement in a real life setting.” These By Far mules fit the bill with a pop of fuschia and feminine embellishments. The low heel makes them an excellent pair of comfortable dress shoes for women.
The popular Adidas x Gucci collaboration continued with new releases on April 4th, including this pink velvet women’s Gazelle sneaker. The shoe features a pink velvet upper, low heel, gilded side stripes, and hot pink laces.
Related: The adidas Gazelle Is a Sneaker for the Ages
Proof that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style, the Jimmy Choo Amita 45 slingback pumps are Barbiecore shoes made for all-day wear. The flexible fishnet mesh material and elastic ankle strap will please any foot shape, while the intricate Italian craftsmanship and faux pearl detail are sure to please the eye.
These Barbiebore patent leather stiletto boots from Amina Muaddi are ideal for a night out to style with a cocktail dress or mini skirt — just add a high ponytail. These boost feature a pointed toe, wide silhouette, and a comfortable 3.75-inch heel for strutting around the city with your dolls. Muaddi, designer of this shoe, was awarded Designer of the Year for the 2022 Footwear News Achievement Awards.
Sabrina Carpenter wore a version of the Double Jeu Mary Jane Platform Pumps in her early aughts-inspired Barbie look. The “cotton candy” colorway is a sweet baby pink, and the double Mary Jane straps, pointed toe, and extra high block heels make for an adorable accessory for any life-size doll. Style these shoes like Carpenter with a slit mini skirt, or go casual with 70’s inspired flaired jeans and lacy blouse.
The Schutz Ully Nappa Leather Sandal has the minimalist design that allows for maximum versatility to wear with almost anything in your wardrobe. It features double slip-on straps, a comfortable block heel, and chic square-toe. These bright sandals would look great when paired with a linen dress this summer.
These shoes scream, “Life in plastic, it’s fantastic!” The very Barbie-approved PVC peep toe mules from Melissa feature a modern take on the wedge shoe with a sweet heart-shaped translucent heel. The footbed features extra supportive padding at the rounded, open-toe front.
Related: The Best Wedge Sandals for Women
The Elle Block Pump is inspired by another famous Barbie-like blonde who frequently donned exciting pink-hued ensembles. Patent leather and an oversized bow add elements of camp to these sophisticated argyle-printed slink-backs. Larroudé, the designer of this shoe, was awarded Launch of the Year for the 2021 Footwear News Achievement Awards.
The Roza Flat Slize from Stuart Weitzman is an effortless way to incorporate a bit of Barbie in casual summer outfits. The slide-on sandal has crossover straps, open toes, and features a hot pink croc motif. Grab a pair for easy wear, because who doesn’t need a cute summer sandal that can go from the beach to the bar?
This satin pointed-toe mule is the perfectly elegant evening shoe that elevates Barbiecore for a reasonable price. Also available in cream, the Amyra Fushcia Bow Kitten Mile from Loeffler Randall features a sweet and sexy pointed toe, low 3-inch heel, and a satin chord bow. Plus, the slip-on mule has a padded footbed for added comfort.
Shannon Adducci is the Footwear News Style Director overseeing fashion coverage for the brand. She cultivates relationship with designers, oversees fashion shoots and travels to major fashion weeks globally. She previously held roles at Billboard and Departures in fashion and style. Adducci has been following the Barbiecore trend from the start and wrote a in-depth explainer on the trend.
Olivia Cigliano is a New York City-based freelance fashion and lifestyle writer, riding on the pulse of trends and digital culture. Her previous bylines can be found on CR Fashion Book and Elite Daily. When she’s not contributing shopping content to Footwear News, she can be found searching for a holy grail in a Brooklyn thrift store or surveilling newsstands for new fashion magazines while donning her favorite pink sandals.