The Biggest Shoe Trends of the Decade - Footwear of the 2000s

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The Biggest Shoe Trends of the Decade

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2007 - Luichiny "Talon" Platform Sandals. Image courtesy of Zappos.com

Platforms and wedges are popular styles that come and go on a fairly regular basis, but every so often something comes along in the shoe world that's far bigger than any passing fad or style. It could be a new style, a brand, or an event, but it changes the way we think about shoes.

The past decade was host to several such trends, which I've highlighted on the following pages.

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The Biggest Shoe Trends of the Decade: Ugg Boots

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Model Kate Moss takes a walk in Ugg boots on December 16, 2003 in West London. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

You could refer to the first decade of the 21st century as the "noughties," or the "naughties," or you could skip those uncomfortable terms altogether, and just refer the last ten years as "the decade of the Ugg boot."

Though the now-ubiquitous style of sheepskin boot has been popular in Australia for decades, and UGG Australia boots began heavily hitting U.S. streets in 1998, it was after the turn of the century that the style and the premiere brand really entered the consciousness of America's mainstream.

In 2003, UGG Australia was named "Brand of the Year" by Footwear News magazine, and despite the fact that every year fashion editors have declared Ugg boots to be "so last season," both the popular brand and the generic style have seemingly not lost a step.

More about Ugg Boots

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The Biggest Shoe Trends of the Decade: Crocs

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Colorful clogs from Crocs. Image: Endless.com

A savior to some and a scourge to others, Crocs colorful foam clogs first started decorating the horizon in 2003, though it was several years before they actually became a full-fledged trend. But once they did everyone from celebrities to doctors, and toddlers to the elderly donned the plastic shoes that promised comfort as well as fun.

It wasn't only their unconventional and controversial looks that made headlines; the Crocs brand also garnered a lot of negative attention after reports began surfacing that children were being injured when their foam shoes had become caught in escalators. Though Crocs certainly aren't the only shoes that have been involved in such incidents, and some of the events actually involved imitation Crocs, the brand has become the target of several lawsuits and safety warnings.

Despite the negative press, fans of Crocs continue to cite them as some of the most comfortable shoes they've ever worn, and the Crocs RX line has earned the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association.

More about Crocs Shoes

Pictured: Crocs 'Cayman'

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The Biggest Shoe Trends of the Decade: Heelys

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Heelys shoes feature pop-out wheels in their soles, that allow the wearer to skate as well as walk. Image: Zappos.com

If you're of a certain age, or you don't have children under the age of 25, then this choice might seem a strange one to you, but America's youth and their parents know all too well about the shoes that look like sneakers, but roll like skates.

Patented in 2000, Heelys brand shoes feature pop-out wheels embedded into their soles, and wearers of the popular shoes can change from walking or running to skating with a simple shift in weight.

While the concept obviously delights kids, as well as many adults, safety concerns have caused several schools and shopping malls to ban the use of Heelys shoes.

More about Heelys Shoes

  • Heelys Shoes
  • Heelys: Staying Safe and Preventing Injuries
  • Top 5 Heelys Crash Injuries
Pictured: Heelys 'Rapid'

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The Biggest Shoe Trends of the Decade: Premiere Designers

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Christian Louboutin shoes at the launch of his new fall collection at Barneys New York on May 7, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The twentieth century certainly had its fair share of famous shoe designers, but premiere shoe designers of the noughties achieved an unprecedented, rock star-like status. Public appearances and collection debuts saw fans standing in line for hours for a chance to have their shoes signed by the likes of Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin.

Some of these designers have become household names thanks in part to popular shows like "Sex and the City," while others have garnered legions of fans through unsolicited celebrity endorsements. But however it was that we learned the names of these premiere shoe designers, it was their shoes (and their lofty prices) that held our attention.

More about Designer Shoes

  • Christian Louboutin Photo Gallery
  • Manolo Blahnik
  • Designer Shoes for Less
  • Top Sites for Designer Shoes
  • Designer Shoes Photo Gallery

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The Biggest Shoe Trends of the Decade: Online Shopping

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© iStockPhoto.com / lisegagne

Some of the world's biggest online shoe stores actually launched in the late 1990s, but they did so to much skepticism, as many couldn't believe that people would actually purchase a product like shoes online. Traditionalists contended that customers needed to see, touch, and try on shoes. And while that may well be the best way to purchase shoes, the last decade has proven that not only will people buy shoes online, but that they'll do so in record numbers.

Part of the success of online shoe sales certainly lies with the pioneering companies that helped establish high standards for the new industry. Zappos.com, for example, was among the first to offer free shipping, as well as free 365-day returns. This allowed customers to have shoes delivered to their home or office, and if the shoes didn't fit or meet with their approval, they could return them at their convenience. The customer service-based strategy paid off, and Zappos.com is now the biggest online shoe store, having grossed over $800 million in sales in 2007, and a whopping $1 billion dollars in sales in 2008.

More about Shopping for Shoes Online