Fashion in the 90s was interesting, to say the least, especially due to the plethora of popular shoe styles at the time. We had sleek, strappy sandals to wear on special occasions, but we also had high platform sneakers when we wanted to look great in the streets. We had chunky, athletic sneakers alongside glittery jelly shoes.
If you wanted to be considered “rad” during the 90s decade, there were shoes you likely had and shoes you lusted upon. Whether you owned them or daydreamed about them, chances are you were obsessed with these shoes popular in the nineties:
Martens combat boots
These British boots that are actually German were popular before 1990 and made a resurgence in recent years. Back then, rockers, grungers, and angsty teens influenced by the rock’ n roll bands of the ’90s like Nirvana and Pearl Jam adapted this style. Known for their utilitarian style as they wore flannel T-shirts and work boots, the carefree grunge fashion became a big trend in the computer-age era. The style was quickly picked up on the fashion radar by designers.
Dr. Marten’s boots reigned supreme in the ’90s. Today, the boots continue to be a favorite among men and women who appreciates its rugged lug soles, lace-up uppers, and the overall grunge feels it adds to their outfit. While it’s great to pair with jeans and flannel shirts, you can mix rough and sweet by pairing it with a floral midi dress or flared jeans.
- Martens, 1460 Original 8-Eye Leather Boot
- Martens 1460 Pascal Zip Women’s FRNT Boot
- Martens Women’s 14-Eye Vonda Casual Boot
Transparent, often glittery, jelly-textured sandals with weaves and buckles are the in-thing to wear during the ’90s. Babies to full-grown adults wore these whimsical foot confections. It felt totally cool to walk through water without needing to take off your sandals. It was the raddest thing ever. Even if it brings painful blisters, girls rocked it harder than Metallica.
Jelly shoes had a resurgence in the past years, but the most fashionable were opaque jelly shoes in nude colors. Pair it with denim overalls over a tank, or wear heeled jellies with a satin bias-cut slip dress, or wear it with cropped Ponte pants.
- Chinese Laundry Women’s Feliz Jelly Sandal
- Women Crystal Jelly Sandals Summer Women Rain Boots Retro Slingback Strappy Heels
- Qilunn Women’s Crystal Sandals Bow Pearl D-Orsay Jelly Slip-on Outdoor Rain Flats Sandals
The ’90s clogs were precious – it helped the social status of every woman. Platforms were all the rage during the decade because it represented girl power. As seen on every fashionable woman of that era, especially the Spice Girls, this type of shoe was adored. Unfortunately, moms of teens would inwardly cringe every time their fashion-forward daughter wears them, worried that they would fall and break their ankles. Wearers of clogs can’t run around in it, and at the end of the day, they will usually kick it off and go barefoot or change into comfier footwear, like Birkenstocks.
The vintage clogs did not make a big comeback, but flat mule slippers that look the same as clogs (but comfier) have become trendy today. Some mules come in block heels, but most only have little height, making it still more comfortable than the ’90s clogs.
- Eastland Women’s Mae Clog
- Sandgrens Swedish Handmade Wooden Clog Mule
- MUSSHOE Mules for Women Slip-on Flats Loafers
Spice Girl-style platform sneakers
If you wanted to look like an it-girl of the ’90s, you have to don a pair of platform sneakers. This look was made popular by the Spice Girls. These performers singing and dancing around in tiny dresses and sneakers with excessively large platform soles was the image synonymous with the ’90s pop culture.
Spice up your life with platform sneakers if you wannabe on trend! Wear platform sneakers with a sports-style tee and mini skirt combo, or a t-shirt dress. You can also pair it with jeans and a long-sleeved bodysuit for a sleeker, casual style.
- Buffalo London Women’s Rising Towers Sneakers
- PUMA Women’s Classic x Buffalo Suede Platform Fashion Sneakers
- LUCKY-STEP Women’s Chunky Sneakers
LA Gear shoes 1990s
LA Gear took the sneaker world by storm during the ’80s, but in the 1990s, a pair of LA Light Up sneakers was the must-have. Back then, LA Gear Light Up sneakers were the status symbol on playgrounds and classrooms in the United States. These flashing sneakers were the shoe you probably begged your mom for, and if you’re lucky enough to have them, you probably had never-ending fun with this cool footwear. You probably wore it to school for all your classmates to see, and those whose footwear did not flash brilliantly were made to feel like a lesser human. Then, other brands started making their own versions.
Though LA Gear was very successful, it filed bankruptcy in 1998. Although it has made a comeback in the 2000s, it did not become as big as it was back then. Light-up sneakers are not as popular today, but some kids and adults still love it.
- Skechers Kids’ Heart Lights Sneaker
- SANYES USB Charging Light Up Shoes Sports LED Shoes Dancing Sneakers
- SAGUARO Kids High Top Light Up Flashing Shoes LED Luminous Sneakers Glow Up Walking Boots
Fluevog heel sandals
This part-platform, part-Victorian throwback footwear was popular from mosh pits to dance floors in the ’90s. The John Fluevog shoes dominated the fashion scene in the ’90s, thanks to Lady Miss Kier and Madonna. It was a space-age kind of shoe that is meant to show off your sartorial pulse.
Most people probably want to forget that these shoes ever existed, though the brand continues making unique footwear, like boots and leather shoes.
Square-toe, strappy heels
The ’90s played on exaggerated elements. It brought us chunky platform shoes to the polarizing thin-strapped heels. The square-toe, open, strappy heels were the unofficial shoe for prom 1997. Every girl had a pair of these demure heels for dances, weddings, proms, and general fancy occasions.
The style continues to be chic to this day, as many ’90s trends like the crop top and slip dress became hot again today. It became a contemporary staple that adds some edge and femininity to your look. Pair it with a midi wrap dress for weekend dates or a chiffon midi dress to look like a 90s sweetheart. You can also pair it with a slim-leg jumpsuit or skinny jeans and an off-shoulder top combo for drinks out.
- Jessica Simpson Women’s Ivelle Heeled Sandal
- Adams Camila Sandals for Women
- DREAM PAIRS Women’s Show High Heel Dress Pump Sandals
Birkenstocks are comfy leather sandals that are earthy, timeless, and gives a grunge-meets-European-traveler look. Back then, in the ’90s, it’s mostly worn by full-grown adults like your dad or your math teacher on a field trip. But as it took on a contemporary reboot, many people – even the younger millennials to Gen Z crowd – have embraced this fashion after realizing it was insanely comfy and could be worn on a variety of outfits. Nowadays, cool kids have Birkenstocks.
Wear it with a slip dress and a cropped bolero cardigan to add a traveler-style feminine touch. You can even wear it with ruffle top socks to look like an authentic ’90s cute girl. Or you can pair it with blue jeans, a fitted racerback tank, or a simple tee for a casual get-up.
- Birkenstock Women’s Arizona
- Birkenstock Unisex Arizona Essentials EVA Sandals
- Birkenstock Unisex Gizeh Essentials EVA Sandals
Chunky Fila sneakers
Chunky sneakers like the Fila Disrupter were peak cool in the ’90s. Dads would wear them with jeans and fanny packs. Cool kids would wear it with their denim skirts, overalls, track pants, and crop tops. It was the ultimate sneakers to go for if you want to combine fashion with functionality.
Today, chunky sneakers are still in. Wear it with a white t-shirt and embellished skirt or a denim button-down skirt. You may also wear it with a pinafore overall dress, opaque tights, and skin-tight long sleeves for winter.
- Fila Women’s Disruptor II Sneaker
- Fila Women’s Disruptor II Multi Sneakers
- Fila Women’s Disruptor II Autumn Sneakers
Steve Madden slides
The chunky, Steve Madden platform slides were a rite of passage. It was a staple for tweens, teens, and on-trend grown-ups in the ’90s. If you wanted to fit in with the popular crowd at school, this was the pair of sandals you need. This comfortable slide adds extra height and comes with a cushy footbed for extra comfort. It’s perfect for those who want to appear taller without the discomfort of heeled shoes like pumps and stilettos.
This simple and clunky open-toe shoe is perfect to wear with cropped jeans and a tucked-in tee or bodysuit. It also looks great if you wear it with a satin slip dress and a crop wrap cardigan or a bias-cut midi skirt and a ribbed cotton tank.