Things I haven’t missed during the pandemic: a daily work commute, non-QR code menus, crowded spaces, and…high heels.

Like many, I’ve accumulated a steady supply of WFH-friendly fashion — hoodies, stretchy pants, slides, even a pair of rubber clogs — since March 2020. Now, as we begin to emerge from the depths of the pandemic, it seems fashion’s overlords have decided it’s time we get out of our collective rut.

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On the Spring/Summer 2022 runways in Milan and Paris, high heels abounded. Turning up their nose at our mercifully cushy Crocs and Birkenstocks, Saint Laurent‘s PVC stilettos — in all their sweaty, toe-pinching glory — serve as a signal of what’s in our sartorial future.

Fendi and Versace’s maximalist collaboration saw the debut of seemingly heel-less high heels. (How one walks in them remains a mystery.) At Versace‘s standalone show, Donatella took a similar approach: towering platform loafers seemed to laugh in the face of fashion’s favorite practical shoe.

At Rick Owens, models pounded the pavement in thigh-high platform boots, standing in sharp contrast to, say, Jacquemus‘ flip-flops for Spring/Summer 2021.



Loewe took its footwear to creative new heights with hyperrealistic heels that resemble everyday objects such a birthday candles, bottles of nail polish, and bars of soap.

Even Prada, an expert in stylish wearability, showed sling-backs with an intimidating inverted wedge heel.

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It only makes sense that fashion’s ever-moving pendulum would swing back towards dressed-up footwear, given our nearly two-year-long embrace of loungewear. At some point, the clog-slide-slipper bubble was bound to burst.

There is something viscerally thrilling about slipping on a pair of sky-high stilettos — but still, it’s with teary eyes that I accept fashion’s inevitable return to the high heel.

Farewell, my flat-soled friends.

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