The Most Iconic Shoes Of All Time

In celebration of Marie Claire's #ShoesFirst month, we're charting the most iconic pairs...

Iconic shoes
Iconic shoes
(Image credit: News UK/REX Shutterstock)

In celebration of Marie Claire's #ShoesFirst month, we're charting the most iconic pairs...

From Dorothy's ruby dazzlers to Lady Gaga's armadillo heels, history has taught us that every now and again a pair of shoes can be so special, that they *almost* outshine their wearer. 

For a shoe to become a true icon, it's a combined effort between the style and the woman who's wearing them. Vivienne Westwood's purple platforms were an incredible design, yes, but what's propelled them into fashion history is Naomi Campbell and that 1992 catwalk tumble. Sometimes, a star becomes synonymous with a particular type of shoe, setting a global trend. Kate Middleton's commitment to a nude court is virtually unrivalled, while Kate Moss introduced us all to the concept of festival fashion when she donned Hunter wellies with denim hot shorts at Glastonbury a decade ago.

Carrie Bradshaw wasn't defined by her Manolo obsession, of course, but the brand is now cited as key to her signature style and, if we're honest, we don't really remember that much about Cinderella's personality, except that a mighty fine glass slipper totally changed her life. 

Naomi Campbell In Vivienne Westwood Platforms

Iconic shoes
(Image credit: News UK/REX Shutterstock)

Here, we chart the most iconic styles to ever grace our shoe-niverse...

Naomi Campbell In Vivienne Westwood Platforms

Naomi Campbell In Vivienne Westwood Platforms

Iconic shoes
(Image credit: News UK/REX Shutterstock)

Here, we chart the most iconic styles to ever grace our shoe-niverse...

Cinderella's Glass Slipper

Cinderella's Glass Slipper

Iconic shoes
(Image credit: Everett/REX Shutterstock)

We loved Lily James in this year's live-action remake, but the 1950s classic will forever rule in our hearts. Cindy's glass slippers taught us that shoes can totally lead to fairytales a fact that we consider every time we buy a new pair. 

Kate Middleton's Nude Court Shoes

Kate Middleton's Nude Court Shoes

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Ben Cawthra/REX Shutterstock)

Oh come on. You've got to admit that Duchess Kate's LK Bennett heels are a new classic. Time and time again, Kate's shown us that nude heels go with absolutely everything, from Alexander McQueen's occasionwear to Jenny Packham's red carpet gowns. All hail.

Dorothy's Red Slippers

Dorothy's Red Slippers

25 Iconic Shoes
(Image credit: Rex Features)

In 1939, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz relied on a sparkling pair of ruby slippers to always take her home. While wishing on our own shoes (or for an epic new pair of Louboutins) proved unfruitful for us, there's a part of our childhood that will always cling on to the hope of a magical pair.

The Spice Girls In Buffalo Platforms

The Spice Girls In Buffalo Platforms

Iconic shoes
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Nothing says girl power like a chunking great pair of Buffalo shoes. Everyone except Posh wore an incarnation of the ultimate 90s platform, usually teamed with a skin tight minidress or Kappa tracksuit bottoms. Nice.

Kate Moss in Hunter Wellingtons

Kate Moss in Hunter Wellingtons

25 Iconic Shoes
(Image credit: Rex Features)

The shoes we didn't mind getting dirty - Remember when Kate Moss made wellies look this incredible? This Glastonbury snap changed our whole attitude to festival dressing. Suddenly we all wanted to be country bumpkins, enjoying getting a little dirty for the sake of fashion and making our hair a little messy.

Lady Gaga In Alexander McQueen Heels

Lady Gaga In Alexander McQueen Heels

Iconic shoes
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Alexander McQueen's 'armadillo' shoes caused shockwaves in the fashion industry when he launched them at his SS10 show. So innovative, so exotic, so... totally impossible to walk in. Lady Gaga (who else) was the first to road-test the style in real life, but even she couldn't get anywhere fast without toppling over. 

Audrey Hepburn Wearing Penny Loafers In Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn Wearing Penny Loafers In Funny Face

25 Iconic Shoes
(Image credit: Rex Features)

Audrey Hepburn's role in 1957 hit Funny Face put two of our now-favourite flat shoe styles back on the fashion map - penny loafers and ballet flats. After a decade of big dresses and low block heels, Salvatore Ferragamo's design work and Audrey's influence were all it took to change attitudes for the next decade and beyond. Who hasn't got a pair of each of these styles in their wardrobe right now?

Audrey Hepburn Wearing Ballet Flats In Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn Wearing Ballet Flats In Funny Face

most iconic shoes
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Every supermodel worth their IT-girl status copied Audrey's ballet flat style game after Kate Moss brought back the look in the early noughties, launching a million high street copies in the process. 

Carrie Bradshaw In Manolo Blahnik Heels

Carrie Bradshaw In Manolo Blahnik Heels

Iconic shoes

Never has one (fictional) woman shown such dedication to a single shoe brand. Carrie's love affair with Manolo Blahnik was a fabulous one, even resulting in the world's first shoe proposal, delivered in her walk-in wardrobe by Mr Big. Olivia Palermo even copied this shoe style for her own wedding, telling us that the style was her 'something blue'.

Sienna Miller In UGGs

Sienna Miller In UGGs

Iconic shoes
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Love them or loathe them, you've got to admit that UGG boots are now a shoe icon. Sienna Miller wore hers to Glastonbury in 2004, re-defining festival style for a new generation.

Models Wearing GoGo Boots

Models Wearing GoGo Boots

most iconic shoes
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When fashion pioneer André Courrèges invented GoGo boots in the early 60s, the space-age design caught everyone's attention. As the decade went on, the heels got higher, leading to the platform boots trend that kicked off the 1970s fashion scene.

Alice In Wonderland in Mary Janes

Alice In Wonderland in Mary Janes

most iconic shoes
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Who could forget sweet Alice and her black Mary Janes? Teamed with long white socks, the 1951 film inspired the style agenda for another famous movie star over 50 years later...

Clueless's Cher in Mary Janes

Clueless's Cher in Mary Janes

25 Iconic Shoes
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We still can't watch Clueless without wishing we had Cher's revolving wardrobe (it was just so ahead of its time!) and everything in it. Cher was one of the few fashionistas we couldn't blame for wearing statement socks and shoes, because let's face it, we thought her styling was absolutely everything.

Julia Roberts In Pretty Woman

Julia Roberts In Pretty Woman

25 Iconic Shoes
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If you can try to forget what Vivian was hiding inside her thigh-high leather boots, you'll remember the rich, fashion transformation that helped blossom a working girl and her rich partner's beautiful love affair. Her boots matched her sassy attitude perfectly.

Agyness Deyn In Dr Martens

Agyness Deyn In Dr Martens

25 Iconic Shoes
(Image credit: Rex Features)

Along with the 1950s revolution came the biggest imprint on modern age footwear. Suddenly kids didn't want to be carbon copies of their parents and they wanted to experiment with fashion individuality. This, paired with the birth of rock and roll music, was the beginnings of the Dr Martens (or DM) shoes, sported by the suitably rocky Agyness Deyn.