The Return To Heels: The Best Vintage Styles To Buy Now

  Athleisure has dominated the fashion industry over the past decade.

image for article The Return To Heels: The Best Vintage Styles To Buy Now

Athleisure has dominated the fashion industry over the past decade. With leggings, sports bras, and sweatsuits taking over the fashion world, it has been a rather heel-less world for some time. Though athleisure isn’t going anywhere, heels are reemerging in 2021.

With the rise of vintage clothing trends, like cottagecore, Victorian and gothic styles, and Y2K, among others, has come a resurgence of high heels. 

There is a great variety of the kind of heels to purchase. For instance, there is a pretty big difference between a pair of platform heels and a pair of strappy slingback heels. And apart from the variety of heel styles, comes different colors, patterns, and materials . 

Heels have been around for quite some time, and therefore the range of styles are practically endless. In fact, heels date back as early as 15th century Persia, where men actually wore them to help secure their feet in stirrups. By the 17th century, however, heels transitioned into a predominantly “woman’s” shoe, and such began the centuries of different styles that we have come to know. 

The high heel universe is diverse and complex, but have no fear! We are here to break down all the best vintage styles to buy so that you can narrow down your high heel search and find the perfect pair for you during this comeback season. 

Kitten Heels

An iconic throwback style to consider is the kitten heel. Kitten heels are short stilettos that typically sit about one inch high, with a slight curve at the end of the shoe.

The style is classic and reminiscent of style icons of the past like Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn, two women who achieved very much in their lifetimes while also setting a standard of fashion for their generations and those that came after. 

If Hepburn’s iconic role as Holly Golightly is a source of fashion inspiration for you, you might want to snag a pair of black satin pointed kitten heels. Black satin is classy and matches most everything, and the petite heel ties the shoe  together. Cute and chic, you will not want to miss out on these heels. 

Kitten heels are excellent shoewear because the shortness of the heel allows for some creativity in its design. 

Heels are often thought of as just straight pointed spheres holding the shoe up, but many vintage kitten heels play with the shape of the actual heel to create fun, unique shoes. 

For this pair of mustard suede vintage heels, the heel is the real star of the show. The shape is almost hourglass-like with a round base. Though a seemingly subtle detail, it commands attention and will be a great addition to your shoe collection. 

An even more imaginative kitten heel exists in this pair of red orange bubble heels. Once again, the heel itself is what makes this particular shoe unique — it is so rare to find a heel as beautiful and original as this. 

Your closet would absolutely benefit from a pair of vintage kitten heels, so grab that debit card and get shopping.

Peep Toe Heels

Nothing says 70’s and 80’s glam like a pair of peep toe heels. These fun shoes are just like any heel, but instead of being either closed-toed or open-toed, they just feature a slight hole at the top of the shoe where the toes poke out. 

This style of heel is fun: it is a party in the front, business in the back. 

These shoes edge away from the traditional, more conservative closed-toed look and instead opt for a slightly more playful design while still maintaining the fancy appeal of heels. 

These vintage beige leather peep toe heels are defined by their weaved pattern and the v-shape on the body of the shoe. The shoes are classy with a hint of sexy and would look perfect for any event that requires more formal attire, whether it’s a company party or a wedding. A variation of this particular heel can be purchased in other colors as well, including this beautiful burgundy shade or this white pair. 

If you prefer a more secure fit, perhaps a vintage pair of strappy peep toe heels will be more your style. Strappy heels keep your feet in place while making your outfit pop. The straps can draw more attention to the shoe and might also highlight the ankle or shins as well. 

The ‘80s were defined by bright colors and tall pumps, and if you resonate with that kind of style, you will want to own this pair of red suede strappy peep toe pumps. Between the tiny flash of toe, the ankle straps, and the bright red color, this shoe will guarantee that you stand out. 

Regardless of their style: strappy, pumps, kitten or any other variation of the peep toe heel, you will not regret owning a pair. This style screams fun and fashion; if you have the opportunity to snag a cool vintage pair of peep toe heels, take it. 

Stacked Heels

Heels are classy, stylish, and fun, but there is no denying that they are not always the most comfortable choice of shoes. If you love how heels look but hate how they feel, you need to purchase a pair of vintage stacked heels

Don’t be misled; stacked heels are still very much heels, but the actual base of the heel is thicker than other styles and stacked with plastic or wood. This heel is more sturdy and lends itself to being more comfortable and balanced. 

Oftentimes heels are defined as being inherently feminine, when, in fact, they are genderless and made for anyone who wants them. Stacked heels are a particularly cool shoe because they have become a stepping stone for men wearing heels. They are a fashionable look but can also be a great introduction to high heels for anyone.

There is much diversity in what stacked heels can look like. They can range from a pair of knee-length vintage boots to vintage wedge sandals. It’s a heel style suitable for any season and any occasion.

The Height of Fashion

Heels are an integral part of fashion, and their comeback is welcome with open arms. 

It is time to return to heels and purchase a vintage pair for yourself. A pair of kitten heels, peep toe heels, or stacked heels will be a great reintroduction to the magical world of heels, but you are not limited to those looks alone.

Find some vintage heels that work best for you, and enjoy! 


The Birth, The Rise & The Future of Athleisure | by The Active Way

High Heeled Shoes Were Originally Created For Men | Teen Vogue

Iconic Jackie Kennedy Fashion Pictures | Harper's Bazaar

High Fashion: The Rise of Heels For Men | The Guardian

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