Sky-high stilettos, chunky wedges, and comfy flats are classics, but what about everything in between? For Spring 2012, footwear got innovative with six unconventional heel shapes bound to make it onto our must-have lists this season. Chunky is the predominant theme, with several iterations on the wedge and the platform constructed by a handful of designers, from Proenza Schouler to Alexander McQueen. The slim stiletto took a back seat to sturdy block high heels, recalling retro styles of the 1970s, thanks to Marni and Phillip Lim. Miuccia Prada went even further into the past and brought us a modern version of a Baroque spool heel for her Miu Miu collection. And to push the meaning of the heel further, designers like Raf Simons for Jil Sander and Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel carved the heel into a completely new and innovative shape.

1. Shoe fashion trends: The stubby heel

Proenza Schouler

As seen at: Proenza Schouler and Nina Ricci

Not to be mistaken with a kitten heel, this is entirely a different silhouette where a small, stubby heel is carved out from the wedged mass, almost like a platform kitten. It may sound like an odd one, but this stubby heel dominated the runways. We saw a chunky wood shape in Proenza Schouler’s mid-century modern inspired collection. And at Nina Ricci, this little heel took on a feminine form with chunky floral stompers.

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2. Shoe fashion trends: The deconstructed wedge

AlexMcQueenSpring2012Heel.jpgAlexander McQueen

As seen at: Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier and Donna Karan

The wedge heel is a classic, but its deconstructed spawns reigned on the Spring 2012 runways. Alexander McQueen, the leader of exciting but tricky to wear footwear, sliced the end bit of the wedge off, making the foot appear like it was floating. Jean Paul Gaultier made a similar gesture, taking the entire heel out making it a half-wedge. Donna Karan did the opposite for her Spring 2012 collection, and carved the middle of the wedge out, thus creating a triangle, hollowed out shape.

See more colourful Spring high heels and accessories.

Hollow, sculpted, block and spool, discover what other high heels are stomping down the runways this season, on the next page…

3. Shoe fashion trends: The block heel


As seen at: Marni and 3.1 Phillip Lim

This sturdy, chunky heel has a bit of a retro 1940s vibe. It may just be the most popular, and very wearable, heel type for Spring 2012, appearing in major collections. At 3.1 Phillip Lim, it came as an ankle strap sandal in both pastel and metallic colours. At Marni, they were two-tone Mary Janes, with the shiny, patent leather block heel as the focal point.

4. Shoe fashion trends: Spool heel

Miu Miu

As seen at: Miu Miu

Spool heels made a rare appearance this season at Miu Miu’s Spring 2012 presentation. The spool is a classic hourglass shape that is wide at the top and bottom and narrower in the middle. Think Baroque but, of course, updated with extra height. Miuccia Prada referenced its ornate past with elaborate wallpaper patterns covering both mid-calf boots and high-cut mules.

5. Shoe fashion trends: The hollow heel

Yves Saint Laurent

As seen at: Jil Sander and Yves Saint Laurent

At first glance it appears like any block heel, but if you look closer you’ll notice that the centre is hollow, leaving the heel in a horseshoe shape. This intriguing shape appeared in Jil Sander’s Spring 2012 collection in form of light summer boots and Mary Janes. And they also made an appearance at Yves Saint Laurent, as high-heeled loafers, where the hollowed-out inside is accented with gold metal panels.

6. Shoe fashion trends: The sculpted heel


As seen at: Chanel and Prada

When plain heels just won’t communicate an idea behind the collection, designers completely re-thought the heel form. Karl Lagerfeld’s collection for Chanel was all about the sea world, so the heel took the form of a delicate, iridescent seashell. Prada’s 1950s ladylike collection was infused with the world of car racing, so the heels took the form of burning flames, just like the ones that appear on the side of a racecar.

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