The Most Far Out Shoes of the 1970s

Top Footwear Styles and Trends

Pink sequin pants and white cowboy boots with pink stars on the red carpet

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Fashionable footwear is a topic that we at Byrdie will never tire of. I repeat, never. Combine that with one of our favorite decades of all time—the 1970s, of course—and you've got yourself enough shoe inspo to quench a case of disco fever—and then some.

Actually, the '70s is perhaps one of the most eclectic decades when it comes to fashion influences. I mean, when else could you find a disco queen, flower child, and rhinestone cowgirl as style icons? Such memorable looks are what continue to make the 1970s relevant today, especially in terms of footwear. Chances are, some of the styles and brands in your shoe collection were first popularized during the era of cool—but more on that below. 

Keep reading for the top footwear trends of the 1970s.

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Comfort Shoes and Earthy Sandals

The 1960s mantra of "peace and love" was echoed in the early part of the following decade. This gave rise to the popularity of footwear that centered around wellness and favored the use of natural, organic, and sustainable materials. Eco-chic earth mothers and budding disco queens could be seen wearing Kork-Ease Cork-Wedge Sandals ($140) and heels while yogis found comfort in the Grounded Heel (formerly known as negative heels) of Kalso Earth Shoes ($180). Speaking of comfort, Birkenstock and Dr. Scholl's Original Exercise Sandal ($90) feature contoured soles that offer more support than your average street shoe. They're said to improve posture and consequently, one's entire sense of well-being. Talk about far-out footwear.

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Western Boots

Woman wearing a black and pink dress and purse with cowboy boots

Edward Berthelot / Getty Images

Country became cool in the 1970s. Musicians like Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers crossed-over from the country charts and were turning out one pop hit after another. Meanwhile, the popular TV show Dallas painted an attractive and affluent picture of country life—a stark contrast from the backward Beverly Hillbillies from the decade prior. Country was taken from niche to mainstream—thanks to '70s pop culture—begetting trends in fashion like western boots for both urban cowboys and cowgirls alike.

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Disco Slides / Slide Sandals

There was a brief window in the late '70s when there was nothing cooler than heeled slide sandals, better known as, "disco slides." Candie's introduced their classic, single leather band, wooden-heeled slides in 1978 and the disco dancing crowd—and anyone who wanted to imitate the "bad girl" version of Sandy from Grease—was hooked. Today, the original disco slide finds a modern-day interpretation by Ugg ($100), trading in its sexy high heels for a more modest platform. It's all about cozy comfort, my friends. Can you dig it?

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Platform Shoes

Close-up of silver platform shoes with black stockings on the red carpet

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

If you thought platform shoes were only popular with the ladies, think again. David Bowie, The Jackson 5, and Saturday Night Fever's boogying Brooklynite Tony Manero all had a penchant for platforms. This unisex style featured thick platform soles paired with high chunky or block heels, perfect for hustling across the dance floor. Although an iconic look of the '70s, platform shoes made their debut centuries prior—in the 1400s to be exact. You could say that chopines were the OG of high platform kicks.

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Athletic Shoes and Sneakers

Bottom half of someone wearing a red sports jacket, blue ribbed dress, white sports socks with stripes, black leather bag and leather white and green Adidas sneakers

Georgie Hunter / Getty Images

Kicksters rejoiced in the '70s when, for the first time in history, sneakers were being worn as fashionable footwear. Sure, it was only a prequel of the sneaker-craze that was to come in the '80s, but the rise in popularity of athletic shoes—running and track styles, in particular—was unprecedented. This was at least partly due to the fact that sporting events were being televised around the country like never before. Professional and Olympic athletes were becoming household names and celebrities (read: style icons) outside of their respective sports.

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Roller Skates

The decade started with Melanie's number-one smash hit, "Brand New Key" (a.k.a. "The Rollerskate Song") and it ended with '70s superstar Linda Blair skating across the silver screen in Roller Boogie. The Facts of Life's Tootie spent the entire first season of the popular tv show on rollerskates because, why not? Whether you were hangin' at the local disco rink, commuting to work, or heading to a party, life on rollerskates just made everything better.

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Patchwork Boots

Woman with knee-high gray suede patchwork boots

Christian Vierig / Getty Images

Patchwork everything—jackets, bags, hats, and shoes—also experienced a spell of popularity in "The Me Decade." It did so mainly in the form of knee-high, high-heeled boots. Now, were patchwork boots as hot as, say, platform shoes? No. But, we would be remiss not to mention this groovy footwear trend. To shop a more contemporary look of this '70s original, we like Staud Wally Tall Patchwork Suede Boots ($595), which swaps a multicolor palette for modern monochrome.