For all vintage footwear lovers out there, we present to you this curated image gallery of women’s shoes from the 1980s.
Now you can take a look back at dozens of feminine heels, practical flats, elegant wedges, awesome boots, and other trendy old-school foot fashions from the eighties — worn by everyone from school kids to movie stars.
So many shoe choices today: How to put your best foot forward (1983)
Article from The Muncie Evening Press (Muncie, Indiana) – September 10, 1983
Shoes used to be so boring. No one worried about style. Thank goodness footwear has evolved from those drab, black lace-up shoes our great-grandmothers wore to the fashionable accessories they are today.
In fact, the selection is so large, we could easily wear out the shoes we have on trying to go through each shoe store in a large mall.
We can select from spike heels, wedge heels, “flats,” pumps, penny loafers, moccasins and boat shoes, just to name a few.
Having such a wide range of styles and colors is what makes shoe shopping fun. And although husbands complain about the closet overflowing with shoes, wives always seem to think they need just one more pair.
With fall nearly here, now would be a good time to go through your closet and pitch the shoes that are worn or are out of style — like your clogs and platform sandals.
What you should have in that closet — if you want to be fashionable — is a pair of pumps. Local shoe retailers say this simple, classic design is definitely in.
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Retro women’s shoes from the ’80s
Browse this whole section of heels, pumps, sneakers, boots, flats and other women’s shoes from the 1983 JC Penney catalog, plus many, many more from other women’s fashion magazines from the eighties!
Ballet flats from the eighties and low heels
Plus jazz shoes, tassel slip-ons and other simple shoes for ladies
Low-heel shoes from the ’80s
Pumps with sueded leather, wingtips with laces, straps, classic medium-height pump
Retro business casual shoes for womens
Brazilian leather low-heeled and kitten-heel vintage ladies’ shoes in brown and beige colors
Low-heeled vintage shoes for women – Silver Steps footwear with buckles and slip-ons
Retro slippers for women
Warm and comfortable lounge styles – velour, faux fur and more
Retro spring shoes from the ’80s (1982)
The prettiest, the brightest, the newest looks at the lowest prices — starting at just $20!
ALSO SEE: Retro 1980s leg warmers: Look back at the iconic fashion fad
25 more super shoes for spring
The glittery metallics, plus the new pastels, shimmering with a pearlized luster in snake skin and straw, detailed with piping and cool cutout styling.
Chunky wooden-soled vintage heels for women
High heels and stylish brown clogs with leather uppers
Strappy eighties shoes for ladies
Square heels, pumps with straps, penny loafers, flats and other stylish soles
Strappy and sassy vintage high-heels for her from the ’80s
Sandals, pumps with buckle straps and other styles
Fashionable ballet flats, ankle-strap flats, kitten heels and bow flat shoes from the ’80s
Vintage suede sneakers, athletic shoes, wedges and oxfords for women (1983)
Retro preppy shoes in dark brown – with tassels and bows and rubber soles (1983)
ALSO SEE: Vintage Famolare shoes: The wavy-sole platform wedges that were hot in the ’70s
Vintage 1980s Cherokee shoes for women (1984)
Vintage moc-toe Oxfords with laces, urethane slip on shoes, pumps and other comfortable shoes
1980s Naturalizer shoes for women
Trendy retro heels and flats from 1985
Vintage strappy shoes for ladies
Slingback pumps with 2-1/2 inch heels – feminine and romantic styles
Brown preppy shoes with wooden heels with leather uppers
Vintage ’80s boots for women
Strike up a beautiful balance:Our boots go high or low to complement any outfit. In soft, colorful leather.Accordion crush, $52. Hand-tooled riding boot, $68. Foldover style with removable buckle accent, $68.
For every occasion, leathers to boot.
Want a change of pace? Add a little lustre to your life! Our Sugar Babies boots in glistening colors. Tall pull-on or mid calf, $39. Short low-heel boot, $32.
Tall and short ankle-length boots with and without heels
Brown boots for women – wedge, high and short heels in leather-look neutrals
MORE GOOD STUFF: 50 most popular vintage perfumes from the ’80s
Vintage riding boots, fan-stitched urethane boots & more
Also see feminine full-length zipper boots and sports boots
Outdoor women’s shoes
Hiking boots, all-weather boots, duck rain shoes, and fleece-lined Oxford shoes
Western boots, steel-toe shoes for work, and other high-heel vintage boots for women
Wintery cold-weather boots
Toggle boots, puff, ripple soles, mid-calf and quilted-look boots
Vintage ’80s boots and leather casual shoes for women
Vintage ’80s boots for her
Dimpled boots, full-length, half-length and up or down butter boots
Vintage T-strap shoes, bow-toe heels and strappy low-heel pumps for ladies
Women’s retro Airstep high heels from the 80s
’80s-style delicate T-strap
Vintage T-strap shoes with refined heel, styled pump and sueded nylon shoes with strap
Vintage ’80s Hush Puppies heels for women 1982
Vintage women’s shoes from Naturalizer 1982
Retro 1980s Oxford-style nursing shoes
White leather upper with flexible crepe rubber sole with wedge
Reebok workout shoes – Instructor 5000 aerobic sneakers (1987)
ALSO SEE: Vintage 1980s shoes for men: What stylish guys were wearing
Vintage tennis shoes, joggers and court athletic shoes – oxfords, running shoes and more
Vintage ’80s pumps for women
Low to mid-heels with bows, straps, smooth urethane uppers and rubber soles
Vintage Sugar Babies shoes
What they called “modern” leather upper shoes in the 1980s, with rubber soles, heels, cut-outs and suede
Retro ’80s party shoes for ladies
Strappy heels and slinkbacks in cinnamon, navy, black, white and camel
Work shoes and heels from the eighties
Classic pumps, open-toe pumps and medium-height heels
Closed-toe bare back pumps for women
Also see vintage 1980s peek-a-boo slings and sandals with knotted vamp
Vintage leather footwear for ladies
Moccasins with tassels, ballet flats, walking shoes, Mary-Jane pumps and Birkenstock-style slippers
Conservative vintage moccasins & low-heeled slip-on shoes in neutral colors
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1980s retro women’s shoes: The power of the pumps
“Pumps have completely taken over this year,” says Ralph Nixon, supervisor for Weiss and Neuman Shoe Co., of which Barker’s Shoe Stores is a division. “They’re selling very well, especially among businesswomen.”
Steve Hayes, manager of the local Barker’s Shoes, says women are frequently asking for pumps.
“The biggest trend this fall is the tailored pumps. They’ll be the number one seller this year,” predicts Tom Mathew, owner of Dobbs and Mathew Bootery.
One reason the pump is making a comeback is because of its versatility, he explains. They can be worn with suits, skirts, dresses and slacks.
“They (women) like the tailoring and styling,” he adds. “Shoes reflect our clothes, and our clothes are tailored.”
Just as stylish this year are shoes sporting heels of medium height. Of course, high heels and flats will always sell, but there definitely is a demand for a two to two and one half inch heel, say local retailers.
ALSO SEE: How X-ray shoe fittings used to really be a thing years ago
Women’s retro shoes: Working women didn’t want high heels
Nixon believes the main reason his stores are selling more medium heels than high heels is because they’re the first choice of working women.
“There are more women in the business world now, and they don’t want to wear three-inch heels all day,” he says.
Adds Jerry Fulk, manager of Kinney Shoes, “Women are paying more attention to comfort now. A lot of people don’t want the real high heels.”
Gary Myers, manager of the Village Bootery, points out, however, that shoe designers are pushing the high heels once again. And although this trend may not show up in the Midwest right away, Myers believes it is the style for women wanting to be trendsetters.
High heels are nice to look at. But women who are on their feet much in a day will agree they are not very comfortable.
So when we switch to our casual slacks and jeans, we look for comfort. And it’s just this reason that topsiders (also called boat shoes) are selling so well.
Along with mocassins — a style rapidly gaining momentum — topsiders are the money-makers in casual shoes.
Topsiders would be a wise investment for someone looking for a shoe that will still be in style next year, notes Mathew. Even though the style has already been around for about four years, retailers don’t believe it’s a fad that will soon disappear.
“It’s been strong in every part of the country. It’s a basic, a classic shoe, like penny loafers,” he adds.
“I don’t think they’ve peaked yet,” says Mike Cline, manager of Nobil Shoes. This year his store is selling the style in the traditional brown, white suede and navy blue.
Fulk says people of all ages are buying topsiders. “It kind of grows on you. Someone may not like it one year, and the next year come in and buy a pair.”
For a fashionable, casual shoe a little more dressy than the topsider, there’s the penny loafer. These shoes were revived with the “preppy” look and sports slots for a shiny ’83 penny or leather tassels. Both styles are selling well, notes Fulk.
The colors to look for in shoes this season include gray, plum, taupe, black, teal, salmon and mauve. In topsiders, white suede is hot.
“Plum and teal are supposed to be the two outstanding colors this fall,” notes Nixon, adding, “But gray is still outselling plum and teal. Light gray for spring, and dark gray for fall.”
Whatever your taste in shoes, there is sure to be a shoe for you. The range of styles and colors is better than ever this season.
One New York fashion writer says the reason for this large selection is that shoes have become “the most important” fashion accessory. She adds, “Shoes are to the present generation what hats were to their mothers in the ’50s.”
DON’T MISS THIS: Vintage shoe stores: See what shoe shopping really used to be like
What women's shoes were popular in the 80s? ›
80s shoes for women were white sneakers, canvas flats, bow flats, huarache sandals, basic pump heels, wedges, strappy evening sandals, and loafers. For the counter cultures (rockers, hip hop, pop) there were also Doc Martin boots, slouchy boots, moto boots, and spiked heels.What shoes did everyone wear in the 80s? ›
- Rise of the Reebok. While they're still part of the shoe game today, Reeboks have seen quite the decline since their 80s-prime time. ...
- Converse All-Star & Vans Classics. ...
- Doc Martens. ...
- Jellies. ...
- Huaraches & Sperrys. ...
- Air Jordans & Adidas.
- 80s Diadora Sneakers. Save. gettyimages. ...
- Adidas Continental 80. Save. gettyimages. ...
- Reebok Club C 85. Save. gettyimages. ...
- '80s Adidas High-Top Sneakers. Save. ...
- '80s Balloon Sneakers. Save. ...
- '80s Kangaroo Sneakers. Save. ...
- Adidas Superstar Sneakers. Save. ...
- '80s White Sneakers. Save.
Keds. Not sure if you could peg these classics to just two decades, but they certainly gained notoriety in the '80s and '90s — and not just among cheerleaders. Keds were sported with jeans and frilly skirts alike.What heels were popular in the 80s? ›
Welcoming in the 1980s were shoes with chunky heels and huarache-style crisscrossed straps. Sneakers were really the biggest shoe trend of this decade, but these heels were also pretty standard.What is the most common women's shoe? ›
Even though on average women's feet are between 8.5 and 9, the most commonly sold shoe size is a 7, but just because this is the size that most women purchase does not mean that they are wearing the correct size.