First things first, look, we know it's supposed to be shoo not shoe – but you’ll have to grant us a little artistic licence here.
After all, it’s no easy feet to come up with toe-tally heel-arious footwear puns.
Anyway, back to shoes – where would we be without them?
Whether you own 3 pairs or 300, there’s no denying that what we put on our feet is a crucial part of our wardrobe.
But … where did it all begin?
When did we start wearing shoes?
Can you believe that humans started wearing shoes a mind-blowing 40,000 years ago?
And over those years shoes have not only ticked the box of protecting our feet, but they have also carried cultural and symbolic meanings.
From the animal hide shoes worn by early humans to the luxurious and decorative footwear of Ancient Egypt and Greece, shoes have always spoken of our lives, our social status and our personal style.
Take for instance medieval Europe. That’s when shoes really became a fashionable accessory. The nobility started sporting pointed toes and high heels back then … And we haven’t looks back since.
Fast forward to today’s footwear industry is a thriving and inventive market that caters to every taste and occasion with seemingly endless variety.
We spend a whopping £11 million on new shoes every year in the UK. And keeping up with the latest fashion trends plays a part.
But … certain shoe styles have truly stood the test of time. They remain proud classics that go beyond fashion trends and seasons.
What are they? We’ve rounded up our top six classic footwear styles. We think they’re must-haves for absolutely everyone.
Six timeless shoes everyone should own
1. The Oxford Shoe
The Oxford shoe is a classic lace-up style that has been around since the 1800s.
It originated from Oxford University students, hence its name. The shoe's original design featured a closed lacing system and a low heel, making it comfortable for walking.
The shoe became popular among men and women alike, and it became a staple in the fashion world.
Over the years, the Oxford shoe has evolved, and today it comes in various materials, colours and styles. From traditional leather to bold patent leather or suede, the Oxford shoe has something for everyone.
It's super versatile and can be worn with a suit or a pair of jeans, making it perfect for formal and casual occasions.
2.The Chelsea Boot
The Chelsea boot is a unisex style that originated in the Victorian era.
Its distinctive ankle-length design with elasticated panels on both sides make it easy to slip on and off. It was popular among men and women alike, and remains so today.
Its popularity spiked when it was worn by The Beatles in the 1960s. The boot was reborn as a symbol of rebellion and individuality, making it an iconic statement that still holds its own today.
The Chelsea boot is a timeless choice that’s perfect for any season. It can be dressed up or down and comes in a range of materials, from classic leather to suede to … glitter!
3. The Trainer
Classic, casual, comfortable. The trainer – or you might call it a sneaker – has been around since the late 1800s.
With its roots in sports, it soon became a staple in everyone's wardrobe. The choices are huge, with a range of styles from classic canvas to high-performance materials.
A carefully chosen classic canvas or leather sneaker can be dressed up or down, making it perfect for any occasion.
Sneakers have come a long way since their inception. The early sneakers were simple and practical, designed for function rather than fashion. However, over time, they have become a mark of style and individuality.
4. The Espadrille
We think this is the most overlooked one – but we suggest you pay attention to this humble option.
The espadrille is a classic summer shoe style that originated in the Pyrenees mountains. It has a rope sole and a canvas or cotton upper, and that makes it lightweight and breathable.
The espadrille has been around since the 14th century and was originally worn by peasants. Today, it's a chic and versatile style that is perfect for the summer months.
Espadrilles come in a range of colours and materials, from classic muted tones to bold prints. They're comfortable and lightweight, making them perfect for those hot summer days.
5. The Sandal
The sandal is one of the oldest types of footwear – there’s evidence of sandals dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, but it’s likely that the first shoes were sandal-like.
Sandals have been worn by everybody from all walks of life for centuries and have been adapted for various climates and styles.
From beachwear to formal events, sandals are a perfect choice for any warm-weather situation.
Cleopatra is one of the most iconic sandal-wearers – it’s said that she owned over 100 pairs. We think that proves that sandals are a timeless style for everyone, not just for beach bums!
6. The Wellington Boot
Wellington boots, also known as "Wellies" are a British icon, hands down.
Originally worn by the Duke of Wellington in the 19th century, Wellies were designed to keep soldiers feet dry and warm. The Duke commissioned his shoemaker, Hoby of St. James Street in London, to make a knee-high boot that was more comfortable and practical than the standard military issue.
In 1853, as a result of technological advancements, the design was improved by the addition of vulcanised rubber. With that, the 100% waterproof boot was born.
Wellies have come a long way since their military origins and are now a staple in many wardrobes.
They are perfect for rainy days, muddy festivals, or gardening.
Several celebrities have been spotted wearing wellies, particularly during outdoor events such as festivals or while out and about in the countryside.
Ten tips for timeless feet
So, with so many styles and trends out there, how do you know which to go for?
Well, here are ten tips to guide you in choosing the perfect timeless footwear for your wardrobe.
- Quality materials: Choose footwear made from high-quality materials, such as leather or suede, which will last longer, and maybe even look better over time.
- Versatility: Look for something that can be dressed up or down, and can be worn with a variety of outfits, such as Oxford shoes or Chelsea boots.
- Classic designs: Timeless footwear styles are typically simple and classic in design, avoiding trendy elements that may quickly go out of style.
- Comfort: Things that are comfortable and easy to wear will always be in style. Consider factors like cushioning, arch support, and the shape of the shoe.
- Durability: Look for options that are well-constructed and built to last, rather than those that are cheaply made and likely to wear out quickly.
- Neutral colours: Shoes in neutrals like black, brown or beige are more versatile and easier to match with a tons of different outfits.
- Timeless details: Shoes with classic details like broguing or a sleek silhouette are more likely to stand the test of time.
- Avoid logos and branding: Shoes with prominent logos or branding may go out of style quickly, so choose more subtle designs that won't be as obvious.
- Consider the occasion: Certain styles of shoes may be more suited to different occasions, so consider the context in which you'll be wearing them.
- Invest wisely: Timeless footwear is often more expensive, but investing in a quality pair that will last for years is ultimately more cost-effective than buying cheap shoes that need to be replaced frequently.
Next time you’re shoe-shopping, think beyond the trends and seasonal styles. You can – and should – expect more!
So why not take a step in the right direction and explore the world of footwear for yourself?
Browse our selection of stylish and affordable shoes that will keep you comfortable and on-trend all year round.
Your perfect pair could be just a click away.