A Hollywood-Adored Sandal Is Kicking Up '90s Nostalgia

Courtesy of brand
From left: '90s-inspired sandals by Malone Souliers, Saint Laurent and The Row

Strappy sandals, inspired by the 1990s, are popular on and off the red carpet as seen on Emma Roberts, Rihanna, Margot Robbie and Priyanka Chopra.

As fashion continues to mine the 1990s (from tiny choker necklaces and even tinier sunglasses to oversized workwear-inspired looks and color block windbreakers), a footwear trend taken from the decade seems to have the most staying power.

Minimalist sandals with thin strappy uppers and a signature square toe are a direct reboot of the '90s shoe staple and they remain the ubiquitous accessory choice of summer. Seen on Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Emma Roberts, Priyanka Chopra, Kate Bosworth, Margot Robbie, Shay Mitchell and Emily Ratajkowski, the sandals are taking shape as flats, kitten heels and even a modified flip-flop. It’s the squared-off front of the shoes that’s telling of its '90s origins, and they pair with everything from slip dresses to slouchy suits.

While the sandals sit on the other end of the sartorial spectrum than the exaggerated platform sneakers famously worn by Spice Girls, they conjure up no less nostalgia for the time when pin-thin eyebrows and bucket hats ruled both street style and the red carpet.

“Though minimal, the shoes have such a distinct shape and vibe that they can take an entire look more into the '90s than you might intend,” says Hollywood fashion stylist Micah Schifman, who dresses Camila Morrone, Isla Fisher and Sarah Silverman. “Wear them with something new and modern, so as not to look like you’re going to a '90s theme party.”

Brands including The Row, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Prada, Zara and Cult Gaia have all released their own versions of the '90s classic in neon colors, essential black and white, or snakeskin-embossed leather.

“I’m a big fan of anything that is '90s-inspired, so I’m very happy to see the strappy, square toe shoe making a return,” says Hollywood fashion stylist Monica Rose, who counts Chrissy Teigen and Mitchell as longtime clients. She recently styled Mitchell in '90s sandals by The Row for her vacation to Italy. “People tend to assume the square toe look isn’t sexy, but everything we are seeing right now, from Bottega Venetta and Saint Laurent, for example, are all very sexy. The '90s have always had that sexy simplicity element.”