Home / Trends / Stories

18 Popular 80s Shoe Styles And How To Wear Them In The 2020s

kristy  |

Ever heard the saying that fashion is what you make of it? Little wonders why the fashion world is a place for creatives to come and experiment, making their style artistry the trend and converting much non-fashion faithful into major style inspirations themselves. 

From generation to generation, centuries upon centuries, and decades giving into decades, we have seen fashion evolve, and different style trends become all the rage for the epoch of time they reigned. And while each era has its voguish fashion craze, we can't help but notice that some trends never die in the time they reigned – they always have a way of coming back into mainstream fashion, with style enthusiasts ready to ravish vintage fashion in the modern world. 

One such style era is the 80s. Every fashion connoisseur knows the decades like the back of their palms. And we will all agree that the 80s on its own was a lexicon of fashion itself, especially with the classic 80s shoes it came with. 

From really big, blown-out, and permed hairdos to chunky accessories, glitter fashion, neon colors, snakeskin fabrics, slim fit bell-bottom pants, fingerless gloves, spandex, lacey shirts, mullets, and many more, the 80s gave us many trends that have refused to go down just easily. 

And the 80s would not have been a timeless fashion era without the 80s shoes styles. By Jove! This iconic fashion decade was only made complete with the shoes in vogue then. From converse to jelly sandals and the Mary Janes, the decade gave birth to some of the most iconic and classic shoe styles that never fail to make a comeback in every succeeding style era. 

 In this article, we will turn back the hands of time, going back in time to revisit classic 80s shoes styles and how to wear them in modern climes. 

But first things, first, a proper introduction of some 80s style trendsetters is in order. 

Celebrities who shaped the 80s fashion as we know it today

Most of the iconic fashion trends from the 80s were inspired by musicians, actors, and other celebrities. People looked to their celebrity stars on TV, in magazines, in ads, and the likes for style inspo. Some of the early trendsetters of the 80s may not be with us anymore, but the style legacy they left behind still lives on. 

In no particular order, here are a few 80s fashion icons that shaped the 80s style world as we know it today: 

1. Madonna

From lacy tutus over leggings, bustier tops, and wearing vintage underwear as outerwear, to leather jackets, multiple bangles, bundles of cross necklaces, colored hair bows, and scrunchies and leaving her hair wild and free, the queen of pop was a style force to reckon with. She inspired girls and ladies to be feminine in their looks without a care in the world. 

2. Michael Jackson

With his Jheri curls, afro hairstyles, structured power jackets, and military-like accessories, the undisputed king of pop influenced fashion and style in the 80s. Coupled with the fact that his music earned him the love and admiration of millions and millions of fans worldwide, it was easy to break through into the fashion world and build a style niche for himself. 

3. Princess Diana

Princess Diana was the people's princess and was known for her rebellious fashion sense. She made wearing multiple wristwatches the craze then and was a pioneer of pearled accessories in the 80s. She championed the oversize tees over biker shorts trend in the 80s, and here we are today, rocking the same casual ensemble. 

4. Boy George

Known for his wild bowler hat choices, If anyone ate the 80s fashion and made it his, it was Boy George. The iconic punk music star made makeup and dressing up an "everybody's" affair, not just for the girls alone. 

And although his dress sense was weird and obscure, with lots of colors in his hair, makeup, and outfits, it was nonetheless artistic, and his many fans agreed with his signature looks which rapidly became a major influence of 80s fashion. 

5. Cindy Lauper

Cindy Lauper was similar to Madonna but with loads and loads of colors. If rebellion fashion was a magazine, then Cindy would effortlessly grace the cover from edition to edition. Bright colored eye shadows and varying hair colors were a usual occurrence in the 80sand Cindy was at the fore of this wild side of the 80s style. 

What is 80s fashion like?

Fashion in the 80s spanned the years between 1980 and 1989. Amongst the fashion statements that typified the decade were large and puffed-up hairstyles, embellished and sequin clothing, cheap clothing and loads of accessories, heavy makeup, some classic 80s shoes styles, and the likes. 

It was a decade where enthusiasts sort to create a major shift from hippie style to something more flamboyant and all-up-in-your-face," and boy did they achieve that. Punk and new wave music groups influenced mainstream fashion, and the seemingly outrageous of punk culture became the order of the day. 

Without further ado, the following are some trends of the 1980s in fashion:

What was popular in the 80s? 

1. Sneakers

Sneakers were the biggest 80s shoes trend, and they came in different styles and brands. Chuck Taylors, Avia, Nike, Adidas, Rebook, you name them. Men, women, boys, girls, athletes, and everyone in between were heavy on the sneakers trend as a major aspect of the 80s shoes fashion. 

2. Tote bags

While this accessory staple was already in the market before the 80s, some notable companies joined the trend in the 1980s, popularizing the fashion collectible, which is still very much part of our fashion lingua even in modern climes. 

3. Extravagant jewelry

Making a statement in the 80s was usually with your jewelry, and many women understood the assignment. Big earrings, layers of beaded necklaces, large brooches, multiple bracelets – in varying colors – were the norm of the 80s fashion. 

4. Everything embellished

From embellished 80s shoes and jackets to sequin fabrics and the likes, the fashion stars of the 80s made sure they were loud and bold and had some glittery and shiny addition to anything they wore. 


5. Neon colors

Headbands, bangles, tops and bottoms, eye shadows, hair dyes, no kidding. Fashion in the 1980s was a myriad of bright colors in literally anything, and everything colors could fit into. 

How shoes were a big part of the 80s fashion

 Let us get right into reminiscing the nostalgia of the 80s shoes trend the decade gave us. Most shoes brands either saw a major comeback from previous eras or started out in the 80s, making shoes a big part of the decade's fashion. 

There were varying choices and 80s shoes styles to pick from, making it easy for everyone to find what resonated with their fashion sense. Some of the styles of the 80s shoes went on to be remodeled as time progressed to suit contemporary fashion demands. nonetheless the fact still remains that the 80s gave us some of the best timeless shoes trends we can't forget in a hurry. 

18 80s shoes styles that are all the rave in the 20s 

Undoubtedly the section we have all been waiting for. If you want to incorporate a little of the 80s in your style today, the best way to go for it is by completing your look with some of the styles of the 80s shoes the decade gave us. 

1. Converse all-stars

Converse all-stars

An all-time staple, the Chuck Taylors converse is the ideal completion to every street style outfit. One of the biggest 80s shoes styles, the converse all stars sneakers, is still very much with us today in the 20s. And if you want to get back into the nostalgia trend, you can match a pair with just about anything you are wearing – a mini or midi dress, denim pants, shorts, dungarees, or skirt – anything. 

2. Jelly sandals

Jelly sandals

Jellies were a big part of the 80s shoes trend, and today, they come in different fashions – flats, slide sandals, t-strap slingback, crystallized, glittered, and even in flip flops. Yea, you heard that right! There is no telling with evolving fashion. Definitely the footwear for the summer; you can style them today paired with a midi floral sundress and have the perfect summer ensemble. 

3. Reebok


Can't talk about 80s shoes fashion without an almighty mention – Reebok classics. Reeboks were the sneakers aerobics, and sports enthusiasts swore by and even gave other brands like Nike and Adidas a run for their money. Today, they make a huge comeback as sneakers for all and can be paired with a trench coat over a pair of jeans for the chic allure. 

4. Capezio 80s shoes

Capezio 80s shoes

Dance, tap, jazz –Capezio was the leading brand in dance shoes in the 80s. Back in the 80s, they were worn as everyday shoes, but today, they are a must-have for every dance and theatrically inclined person. But you can still rock a pair of these with your miniskirts and cardigans for a fun night date look or a long skirt and tops for a casual fit. 

5. Adidas 80s shoes

Adidas 80s shoes

Adidas is a known sneaker brand, but they were also a very popular 80s shoes trend. The go-to athletic kick for basketballers, footballers, and even hip hop artists, Adidas was an athletic footwear giant and still is. Rock with corduroy pants or baggy blue jeans for a vintage look. 

6. Dr.Martens


Coming in shoes, (combat) boots, and sandals, Dr.Martens have been around since 1460, making a defiant comeback in the 80s. Nicknamed the classic British workman's boots, it was the signature boots of British punk rockers and skinheads. Today, Dr.Martens is the absolute rad with celebrities copping the fits ever since. To style these 80s shoes, pair them with denim pants and a jacket or a mini skirt with a slouchy turtle neck for the chic fall outfit.

7. Birkenstocks


One significant hippie 80s shoes fashion, Birkenstocks, was the go-to for a laidback-free look back in the days, and it still rocks today. Now they come differently and can be styled to fit into any casual occasion. Pair with a coordinated athleisure fit or simple denim bottoms and graphic tees for the perfect errand runs. 

8. Huaraches 80s shoes

The close-toed (sometimes open-toes) basketweave that reigned in the 80s and even before, huaraches are some of the most unique 80s shoes we have here. Perfect for a fisherman/peasant-themed ensemble, wear with a maxi or midi floral dress or a wrap skirt and top. 

9. White pumps

White pumps

Usually, in the slingback fashion and accompanied by stockings or socks, white pumps were one of the ladies' favorites in the grand scheme of 80s shoes. You can ask Madonna. Pair with socks under a mini skirt and tucked-in tee today for a vintage 80s vibe. 

10. Pixie boots

Pixie boots

Also known as peter pan boots, the pixie 80s shoes and boots were a stylish addition to a cold-weather ensemble in the 80s and still are. Pair with pants and layering of tops. Don't forget to tuck in the hem of your jeans into the boots for the peter pan effect. 

11. Sperrys


Also known as Sperrys topsider and boat shoes, Sperrys was an 80s shoes brand that made leather boat shoes in different colors for men and women. Wear with shorter-length pants and simple polos and shirts for a preppy fit. 

12. Satin kitten heels

Satin kitten heels

Not everyone was a fan of high-heeled 80s shoes (as even today). Some preferred exquisite tiny heels, which usually came prepped in satin. Today, these 80s shoes fit is still the craze as satin gives nothing but a luxe feel. Pair these vintage red satin kitten heels with a red dress, gloves, and fishnet headpiece for a retro vibe. 

13. Nike


Another athletic 80s shoes footwear giant, Nike, didn't just bring in the strong quality of athletic shoes in their designs but also the aesthetics that should go with it. Nikes are good combinations with jeans or a blazer, matching pants, and a turtleneck for a smart casual look. 

14. Penny loafers

Penny loafers

You won't be wrong calling these 80s shoes trend an Ivy League footwear style. They were popularized by Ivy League students in the 40s and 50s and are the perfect slip-on 80s shoes you can find out there. Pair with denim and classic workwear (yes, they are a good fit for tailoring too). 

15. Zodiac boots

Zodiac boots

Ladies in the 80s were tired of all the flat-soled and slim-wedged 80s shoes and wanted more. Then came the boots with chunkier heels and wedges. Yay! Zodiac boots to the rescue! They come in ankle and OTK lengths and can be worn with tucked-in pants or a mini dress and denim jacket. 

16. Candies 80s shoes

Candies 80s shoes

Candies was originally an American women's 80s shoes brand which later expanded into clothing. The Candie shoes were sexy high-heeled wood bottom slide in an open toes fashion. The in-thing for the ladies in those climes. Wear the Candies 80s shoes with a short dress or skinny jeans for that" Candie look."

17. Mary Janes

Mary janes

Mary Janes with socks was the rave of all 80s shoes for young girls. We have them in flat soles, platforms, and heels and are the go-to choice for ladies, especially for a corporate look. Wear with socks for a girlish or retro look or with stockings for a sexier, thirsty look. 

18. Embellished 80s shoes

Embellished 80s shoes

When we told you the 80s was a time for embellished looks, we weren't joking. Not only were belts, jackets, and everything else embellished with stones, crystals, beads, details, and the likes, but the 80s shoes too. Embellished heels got quite several fans in the 80s and still do now. Perfect for any red carpet event, rock with your dinner dress. 

And there you go! 18 80s shoes trends you certainly should try out. Sure there is a style that will definitely go with your holiday outfits these holidays. Seen any 80s shoes style you remember from when you were younger? We would like to hear about it. 

Welcome to!
Please choose what type of
clothing you would like to see
We will only show you what you choose