Top 40 Iconic Shoes

Posted by
Stylist Team
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

We've seen them on screen, on the red carpet and lust after them in museums. Here Stylist rounds-up 40 of the most iconic shoes in history - from Dorothy's famous Ruby red slipper's to the Duchess of Cambridge's favourite nude patent heels. Get clicking to see to what fantasy footwear made the cut

Click on any of the icons below to launch the gallery. Have we missed your favourite out? Tweet us @StylistMagazine to let us know!

Words: Dipal Acharya

  • Christian Louboutin's Red Soled Pumps

    The red-laquered sole has become a trademark of Christian Louboutin's footwear designs, and the iconic red-soled pumps have become a firm celebrity favourite since their first incarnation in his Paris shoe salon back in 1991

  • Chanel's Pistol Heels

    Created for Chanel's Resort 2009 collection, the controversial design incorporated a pistol shaped heel that measured up to 10cm. A bold fashion statement, celebrity fans of the design included Madonna, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Ashlee Simpson

  • Roger Vivier's Pumps

    Roger Vivier’s Pilgrim flat, as worn by Catherine Deneuve in the 1967 film Belle de Jour, is a classic design with timeless appeal. Characterised by its single, oversized toe buckle, the slip-on shoe has an understated glamour and sophistication that many have tried in vain to emulate over the years.

  • Alexander McQueen's Armadillo shoes

    2009 continued to a big year in footwear, as designer Alexander McQueen debuted his 'Armadillo' shoes on the catwalk. Coming in at a whopping 10 inches, the fetishistic heels were formed to simulate a hoof and were amongst the last collection that the late Lee McQueen designed

  • Charlotte Olympia's Kitty Shoes

    Charlotte Olympia is one of the fashion industry's go-to labels for quirky yet lux designs. It's the brainchild of Charlotte Dellal, who scooped a British Fashion Award back in December for Accessory Designer of the Year, and the Kitty range from her 2011 collection was an instant sell out

  • Dorothy's Ruby Slippers

    Arguably the most iconic shoes in film history, Dorothy's ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz were intended to be silver, as described in Frank L. Baum's original novel.

    MGM producers decided to dye the pumps red so as to take full advantage of the film industry's new technicolour technology

  • Gina's Crystal Stilletto's

    The label might have been named after the 1950s actress Gina Lollobrigida, but the reign of Gina's crystallized shoes reached its peak from the mid-90s to the early noughties. The bespoke handmade stilettos have been worn by everyone from Lily Cole to Charlotte Casiraghi

  • Cinderella's Glass Slipper

    Central to the fairytale story of Cinderella is the glass slipper, described in Charles Perrault's text of the story as 'the prettiest in the whole world'. Although the source of the original story still can't be determined, some critics believe the shoes were intended to be made of fur and not glass

  • Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star's

    Named after a basketball player for the Akron Firestones, the Converse 'Chuck Taylor' all-stars were designed in 1921 to become America's first mass-produced basketball shoe

  • Vivienne Westwood's Pirate Boots

    Created for her 'Pirate Collection' (and first ever catwalk show) in 1981, Vivienne Westwood's pirate boots incorporated the designer's love for French historical costumes and ethnic cuts. The boots enjoyed a resurgence of popularity 20 years later when a young Kate Moss stepped out in a pair, creating a rush to buy copy-cat designs

  • Isabel Marant's Wedged Hi-Tops

    The concept of a heeled trainer might seem like an oxymoron but the French label Isabel Marant proved not only could the two ideas be married but that it would become one of the year's most covetable shoes

  • Julia Roberts' Knee High Boots

    It takes a brave woman to hold her own in little more than a pair of thigh-high boots, but Julia Roberts pulled the look off with aplomb for her role in Pretty Woman. This might be one for the braver fashion souls out there..

  • Annie Hall's Oxford Flats

    Woody Allen's Annie Hall left a legion of fans of lusting after the young Diane Keaton's androgynous style. One the keys to her iconic look were the Oxford flats, a soft leather brogue-style shoe, paired with her unisex waistcoat and tie

  • Dr Martens 1460 Boots

    Created on 1st April1960 by Dr Klaus Maertens and the Northamptonshire Griggs Family, the 1460 boot was intended practical, hard-wearing and a design classic for postmen, factory workers and transport unions who had initially bought the boot by the thousand. It soon, however, adopted in the 1960s as one of the era's most iconic fashion statements

  • Ugg Boots

    Love them or hate them, UGG boots achieved near-cult status in the latter part of the noughties. Originally invented in 1978, the sheepskin boots were unisex and intended to outdoor wear in New Zealand and Australia, before quickly becoming essential kit for Californian surfers in the 1960s

  • Antonio Berardi's Heeless boots

    Antonio Berardi's heeless shoes made fashion headlines, after Victoria Beckham sported a pair back in 2008. Though not the first designer to explore the idea (Marc Jacobs hinted at the trend a season previously) it was the Berardi, thigh-high PVC pair that had jaws dropping

  • YSL Cage Boots

    YSL’s ‘cage’ boots and shoes have been so influential that it’s now hard to remember just how strikingly different they seemed when they were introduced back in 2009, with their grid-like straps heralding an era of geometric, open-sided footwear styles that has been rendered in mesh, strapping and laser cut materials

  • Vivienne Westwood's Ghillie Heels

    In what is the second entry for Dame Viv on our round-up, the Ghillie heels pointed to the flamboyance and experimentation in early nineties fashion. With a 10-inch platform, they were also the shoes that sent a young Naomi Campbell tumbling down the catwalk in 1993

  • Hunter Wellingtons

    Launched in 1956, the Original wellington boot by Hunter has quickly become recognised worldwide as the quintessential wellie. Handmade from 28-parts to ensure the best fit, fans range from Lily Allen and Beyonce to member of the Royal family

  • L K Bennett Nude Pumps

    A high-street staple, L.K. Bennett's patent nude heels achieved mega-status when it became clear that the design was the Duchess of Cambridge's favourite. Featuring a mid-sized heel and in a leg-lengthening colour, it's little surprise that both Carole and Pippa Middleton are also fans

  • Havaiana's

    The now ubiquitous Havaiana flip-flops were designed to resemble Zori, Japanese sandals made of ricestraw soles and fabric straps. The distinctive rice paper pattern can still be seen on the soles of the shoes today.

  • Jane Fonda's Knee High Boots

    Another pair of knee-high boots for the our round-up, courtesy of Jane Fonda in the seventies hit Klute. The relaxed over the knee style was an era definign look and the role eventually won Fonda a Best Actress Oscar

  • Jennifer Grey's KEDs

    Worn by Frances 'Baby' Housman (played by Jennifer Grey) in Dirty Dancing, KEDs were the original American sneaker introduced in 1916 and worn by a host of US television stars. The name 'sneaker' was originally derived from the fact that the shoes' rubber soles allowed the wearer to silently move or 'sneak' around

  • Cowboy Boots

    Though cowboy boots featured regularly as important pieces of costume in early 20th century period films, the shoe style resurfaced as a popular trend throughout the 70s - thanks in part to franchises including Charlie's Angels and the Dukes of Hazzard

  • Terry de Havilland's Wedges

    Dubbed the rock and roll cobbler, Terry de Havilland's classic wedge was a firm favourite of the likes of Cher, Vivienne Westwood and Marianne Faithful throughout the 70s and 80s

  • Manolo Blahnik

    Sex and the City heroine Carrie Bradshaw had little in the way of loyalty when it comes to shoes: she showed fierce loyalty towards a number of brands throughout the show's history, only to fall for another designer in a later episode. Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and Nicholas Kirkwood have all had starring roles in the SATC franchise - but it all started with a Manolo Blahnik peep toe

  • Jimmy Choo Feather Heels

    In another nod to Sex and the City, Jimmy Choo's feather shoes went down in telly history when Carrie Bradshaw famously lost them. Manufactured in a violet suede with feather embellishment, this is fantasy footwear at its very best

  • Sharon Stone's nude sling-backs

    Playing the ultimate femme fatale in the 1992 hit Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone donned a pair of sexy sling-back shoes in a blush colour in the film's most notorious scene

  • Mary-Jane's

    The classic Mary Jane shoe has enjoyed numerous reincarnations through history - from the humble dolly version to the staple work footwear. The round toe shape coupled with a simple ankle strap meant that the style was once unisex

  • Repetto BB Flats

    As a regular visitor to her workshop on Rue de la Paix in Paris, Brigitte Bardot asked Rose Repetto to make her a shoe that was as delicate and easy to wear as a dance slipper. That was in 1956 and since then the BB flats - named after the screen siren herself - have become one of the companies signature designs

  • Stella McCartney's Perspex Panel Pumps

    With a roster of celebrity pals who regularly go to the label for clean, modern designs, it's little surprise that Stella McCartney's perspex panelled heels were an instant hit

  • Spice Girls' platforms

    As they sold their unique brand of girl power to the world, The Spice Girls were also setting major trends in footwear. Their vertiginous boots and trainers quickly became the footwear of choice for many a teenager, mimicking the band's bold and colourful style

  • Church's Chelsea Boots

    Originally associated with horse riders in the Victorian period, Chelsea boots have enjoyed a renaissance thanks to a revived interest in classic, unisex shoe styles

  • Nike Air Max

    Always at the forefront of sports footwear innovation, Nike debuted their famous Air Max shoe in 1979. Embedded with air cushioning, the shoe was a game changer for athletic performance and sports iconography

  • Nicholas Kirkwood's sprayed suede heels

    If any designer is in danger of de-throning Christian Louboutin, it could well be Nicholas Kirkwood, the British designer whose statement shoes have captured the hearts of many an A-Lister including Sarah Jessica Parker, who has often been photographed wearing Kirkwood’s unmistakable styles.

  • Balenciaga's Gladiator Shoes

    Bonkers in design, Balenciaga's calf-length Gladiator shoes were one of the more outlandish designs to grace the catwalk in Spring/Summer 2008

  • Rupert Sanderson's sky high heels

    A graduate from the famous Cordwainers College in London, Rupert Sanderson's vertiginous heels have clean, unfussy lines that give the leg a sexy silhouette. No wonder they're a favourite of models Jade Parfitt and Gwyneth Paltrow

  • Creepers

    The 'brothel creeper' emerged in punk culture as a subversive and heavy-duty shoe. Over time, the shoe has shed it's anarchic image to become a fashion staple worn by celebrities that include Rihanna, Jessie J and model Agyness Deyn

  • ACNE's Ankle Boots

    Thanks to shows like The Killing and Borgen, the world is in the grips of Scandi-mania - and nothing epitomizes the region's laid back cool more than Acne's covetable 'Pistol' ankle boots

  • Prada's Flame Heels

    Prada's tongue-in-cheek Spring/Summer 2012 campaign might still be recent news but their 'Flame' heels are destined to be design classic. Featuring a graphic cut out running along the outer heel of the shoe, the design is fresh, witty and playful