Nineties Nostalgia: The Evolution of School Shoe Style


Feeling reminiscent of ‘90s style? We’ve spoken to some of our favourite bloggers to find out what school shoes they used to rock in this decade!

It’s no secret that ‘90s-style fashion trends have wormed their way back into our wardrobes in recent years – and we can’t get enough of the nostalgic vibe. School shoes aren’t an exception either, with chunky yet funky silhouettes appearing once again in the playground with a modern twist.

We like to think this era was a time to cross the boundaries of dress code regulations across the country; ‘90s school shoes were certainly more about fashion rather than comfort – but who cares if you became the most stylish kid on the block?

With these original designs being adapted into more suitable variations in 2019, the youngsters of today are still able to jump on the trend bandwagon without the discomfort (and safety concerns) that come with them.

It’s not just us who are excited about history repeating itself either, we’ve teamed up with some top bloggers to find out which school shoes were their go-to favourites.

From schoolgirl style to womanhood

Our first step down memory lane takes us back to the unforgettable silhouette that belongs to the block-heeled beauties from brands such as Kickers and Pods. These were more than just a pair of shoes, they were a sign of popularity; nothing said “move out of my way” quite like stomping around the school corridors in a pair of these weighty heels!

Lucy Mitchell from fashion, travel and lifestyle blog, Sunset Desires, was also a big fan of these chunky heels:

“My absolute favourites HAD to be the Pods with the really chunky heels. I felt so grown up wearing these and thought I looked awesome – even though they were super heavy and I felt like I was walking like a horse most of the time.”

Flash-forward to 2019, and we can’t quite imagine them being as much a popular hit on the playground. Their impractical heel height meant that this style was quickly forbidden from entering past many a school gate.

Originals of the iconic school shoes are going for a few bob online though; so if you’ve still hung onto your own pair, you may sitting on a small fortune!

Skyscraper school shoes that made mum shriek

The ultimate ‘90s trend was the chunky platform heel - this school shoe style was only for the feint-hearted!

It may be hard to believe that some girls dared to go even higher with their platform heels (perhaps with the hope of increasing their street cred in the process). Especially a hit with older teens, the chunky design was definitely not for the feint-hearted.

In fact, many ‘90s babies may not have even caught a glimpse of these rare spectacles. They became the dream shoe that girls begged their mum for – but in many cases, the shoe shop was where they remained.

Paige Calvert from super-creative blog, Paige Joanna, started off on the smaller side with her heels:

“Shopping for school uniform, I remember getting the cutest pair of buckled kitten heels from Clarks which lasted for years!”

Amanda Cottingham over at We Blog Travel and The Ana Mum Diary was definitely a fan of chunkier styles, telling us, “the bigger the better!”

She continued, “they made your legs look so small and slim in comparison to your feet. There were also lots of embellishments like rivets and buckles too.”

The designer market hasn’t forgotten about them either; the likes of Gucci have given them a modern update and now showcase a selection of platform loafers in their women’s range for a fairly hefty price tag.

To achieve the chunky style for less (and with a reduced chance of twisting your ankle or getting sent home from school), our Zina or Platino Kendall designs tick all the right boxes.  

One, two, buckle my shoe

Our favourite shoe trends of this iconic period show us that when it comes to school shoes, the thicker the sole, the better! The decade saw to turn the classic buckle-up into just that – chunky.

Buckle-up school shoes have always been seen as a more sensible option due to the ease of getting them on and off, while still looking especially smart in those obligatory ‘first day back at school’ photos. With mum-approval, buckles became a huge craze among teens who rocked them in the late ‘90s.

For a modern take on this shoe trend, check out the Princess Stardust Betsies or the Little Diva Charleys for statement buckles this school term.

A kick about with Kickers

Sure to stand up to the test during a kick about, Kickers ruled the playground in the ‘90s.

When it comes to boys’ shoes, forget chunky heels and sleek designs – as long as they were comfortable, durable and stayed on during break-time penalties, the Wallabee-wannabee remained the school shoe staple.

This iconic design was definitely not a rare sight in classrooms across the UK in the nineties; they were approved by parents due to their smart look, yet were still practical enough to survive a daily beating on the playground.

Kickers is a brand that offered these boat-like bad boys in all of their glory – decades later, the school shoe titan still offers a modern remake of this well-loved style.

Nail this style to a ‘T’

T-bar school shoes remain a timeless classic of children’s fashion and are a symbol of childhood for many ever since they found their popularity in the ‘90s – and it’s easy to see why. Comfortable, practical and just all-round stylish, these shoes are highly likely to have made an appearance on the shoe rack of every girl in this time period.

Chloe, parenting and lifestyle blogger at Beautiful Bundle of Chaos, told us that this style was her go-to:

“My absolute favourite ‘90s school shoes were the T-Bar by far! They made me feel like Cher from the film ‘Clueless’ (although I wasn’t allowed a heeled version like hers so I had to opt for the flats).”

Patent styles, delicate bows and cut-out detailing offered a heap of variation too, however no back-to-school outfit was complete without a pair of long white socks.

This pair from Miss Riot or some Kickers T-bars are great if your little one loves this trend.

Which is your favourite ‘90s-style school shoe? We’d love to know your thoughts – head over to our Facebook page and let us know! Browse the full collection of cheap school shoes today at Wynsors and find quality bargains in time for back-to-school season.

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