The End Of Laces

It’s 2023 and shoelaces are dead.

From loafers to Crocs, Birkenstocks to ballet flats, comfy, lace-free shoes have been big news for a while now.

Partly down to the pandemic, comfort has become essential in every aspect of fashion. As the world reopened and people started working from offices again, while we didn’t want to stay fully “dressed down”, we’d also been wearing slippers and trackies non-stop at home during lockdown, so it was hard to let go of a “cosy” vibe.

Heavyweight media took note, and the New York Times predicted that 2023 will see the end of shoelaces. On top of that, trend cycles keep spinning faster and faster, and it’s harder and harder to keep up with whatever the hot new trainers are – and they’re rarely cheap. Do you really want to part with a big chunk of money for something that could go out of style in six months?

The lace-free evidence is there for all to see. You don’t need me to tell you how much Crocs have dominated the last few years. Online fashion emporiums have recorded a year-on-year 744% increase in searches for Crocs, plus increases of 116% for searches for Uggs and a 173% increase in searches for Birkenstocks.

Comfort has trumped all– the Crocs and Birks you’ve criticized your parents for wearing are simply too comfortable to resist long-term. We are essentially lazy, and there are a lot of very good-looking “lazy” options out there.

Even the return of the riding boot silhouette sits within this, to some extent. Ballet shoes are also coming back, in part because they’re so simple and quick. Something sure to be consolidated by the release of the new Amy Winehouse biopic.

In the past year or so we’ve seen the clog rise to become the shoe of the moment, closely followed by the Ugg boot, both proving popular choices with Gen-Z, thanks to the influence of social media trendsetters.

Brands such as Yeezys (with their spaceship-like shoes), Balenciaga (sock sneakers), and Givenchy and Reebok’s clogs, have all contributed to making these easy-on easy-off footwear even more popular and trend setting in 2023.