The Non-Shoe is the Statement Shoe for Fall

“Women and shoes” is not exactly a complete thought, yet these three words contain multiverses. The stereotype that women are drawn to shoes like moths to a flame rings true—at least for this woman. It’s certainly part of the reason why Sarah Jessica Parker launched a successful shoe label after portraying Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, who famously had no savings in the bank, but a closet full of Manolos. Indeed, the most viral celebrity shoe closets always resemble a candy store, with all the colors you can think of, feathers, ribbons, and embroideries to boot. A fabulous shoe can make any outfit better. Women crave high heels! Bold color! Jeweled details!  

Looks from The Row’s fall 2019 and pre-fall 2022 collections. Photos: Courtesy of The Row

Lately though, I have felt a pull in a different direction. It started a few seasons ago at The Row, when Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen sent out their signature minimalist and tailored pieces, layered to the max as is their wont. Half the models wore chunky platform boots that could be seen as immediately desirable, the other half wore weird little mesh slippers that looked like not-socks. They felt almost like an afterthought, as in, “What’s the least aesthetically disturbing thing we can put on their feet so they don’t walk out barefoot?” When I first caught sight of them I think I laughed—not at them, but maybe just with them.

Of course the shoes weren’t an afterthought, and it turns out the Olsens were in fact pioneers of the non-shoe trend. Each season, they can be counted on for a new take on the unobtrusive style. The mesh flat continued to make appearances in subsequent collections, sometimes in new colors and sometimes even with embellishments. For pre-fall, they turned to barely-there leather thong sandals paired with tabi socks. They’re constantly looking for ways to show the most foot without actually making the foot visible. 

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