Curious about diving into the wonderful world of vintage? When building your ideal wardrobe, scoping out vintage options is one of the most sustainable things you can do. Authentic designs from decades ago, such as the famous Maison Margiela shoes, offer impeccable quality that often lasts longer than many of the shoes you can buy new today. We love how vintage treasures mix perfectly with their contemporary counterparts to reveal a bold style unlike anyone else's — a testament to both an enduring era and a brand's heritage.
Vintage shopping is the obvious choice for style lovers who don't want to contribute to the pollution caused by the fashion industry. For consistency's sake, Vestiaire Collective defines vintage as pieces that are at least 15 years old. In this guide, we're delighted to share the vintage shoes that have made fashion history and are still sought-after today.
For the best alternative to the classic ballerina, explore Mary Jane flats or heels. This timeless silhouette first appeared in the 15th century before evolving into a closet staple for women in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Fast forward to the 2000s, when Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City" went crazy over a rare Manolo Blahnik pair she discovered in the fashion cupboard at Vogue. It was a defining scene for these legendary shoes, which are now considered a wardrobe standard. Season after season, Mary Janes are reinvented yet always remain a versatile go-to for effortless chic.
We love the Mary Jane’s minimalist aesthetic created by a simple strap that crosses the arch. From Prada’s glitter look and Sézane’s gold, braided leather style to the iconic two-tone model from Chanel, variations on the Mary Jane are endless. Who takes the prize for the most modern rendition? We’d give it to French label Nodaleto for their sculptural designs. These contemporary and eclectic shoes are walking works of art, featuring vibrant colours, patent leather, and geometric heels. Nodaleto draws inspiration from their favourite era, the ‘70s, without making any compromises in comfort.
If vintage shoes are what you’re looking for, browse our selection of second-hand Mary Janes, including Nodaletos, on the Vestiaire Collective app. Whether you’re in the mood for sandals, mules, or ankle boots, you’re bound to find your match. Buying shoes in a sustainable way helps to minimise your carbon footprint while placing timeless fashion on your feet.
The phenomenon of oversized shoes has reached unexpected fashion heights. Women have also quickly adopted this type of sneaker for men. Affectionately nicknamed the Dad shoe, they are inspired by the "dad look" of the 1990s: Think high-waisted jeans cropped at the ankle paired with chunky sneakers. Offered in optical white or flashy colours to catch the eye, Dad shoes feature an oversized construction, commanding soles, and metallic details. The most famous luxury brands have gotten behind the iconic ‘90s sneakers and created couture models with vintage accents.
The most famous of these is the Balenciaga Triple S, an undeniable success since its creation. This unconventional unisex style takes the trend to completely new oversized proportions but remains as comfortable as they are solid. All the top brands are riding the old school ‘90s wave — from Louis Vuitton to Chloé to Gucci. In 2021, the latest models mix textures and styles featuring eco-conscious, recycled materials. This is the case with the entirely biodegradable Yeezy Clog sneakers, designed by Kanye West and made from seaweed foam.
Dad shoes are most widely known in the form of sneakers, but they also come in boots. The famous Timberland shoes were borrowed from the lumberjack style and then adopted by rap stars in the ‘90s and 2000s. The look was so successful that in 2003 Timberland teamed up with Manolo Blahnik to create a style with a stiletto heel. Equally comfortable among vintage ankle boots are Doc Martens. We love the spacious fit on both models, especially when worn with chunky socks for autumn and winter.
The Dad shoe trend is not going anywhere anytime soon. You can invest in a true vintage find from the ‘90s or a more current model second-hand by browsing our wide selection on the Vestiaire app. Whichever look you choose, you’ll be making a sustainable, environmentally-friendly choice by shopping style essentials second-hand
Sandals with a vintage vibe pop up everywhere during the summer months. As soon as the sun comes out, all we want to do is pull out our best open-toed shoes to show off our perfect pedicures. Summer sandal silhouettes are practically endless and many are versatile enough to wear to almost any occasion. The most functional choice, without a doubt, is the trekking-inspired sandal. Originally designed for outdoor living, they become a street-ready style when revamped with colourful detailing and unique embellishments. These sandals are proof that when athleisure and fashion meet, they give life to shoes you'll want to wear even when you leave the trail. Our favourite pairs are by Arizona Love, offering styles decorated with shells, fringe and chic beading, and, of course, the inimitable Teva.
Another look to keep an eye out for is the easy-to-wear slide sandal. From Chanel to Dior, luxury brands have seized this shape and created their own versions in everything from quilted leather and woven fabric to traditional tweed. This supremely comfortable sandal adds a fresh and modern touch to any look. Our go-to slide brand will always be the timeless Birkenstock, which hasn't lost its appeal since the brand was founded in 1774. Birkenstocks have often been associated with medical professionals, tourists, or hippies, but recent years have seen the silhouette’s star rise in the fashion world.
The brand’s most sought-after model is the double strap Arizona. Several fashion labels including Jil Sander, Rick Owens, Valentino Garavani, Proenza Schouler, and more, have made their mark on this classic slide through exclusive collaborations. The vintage Birkenstock sandal has become a summer and winter staple (with socks) and has a bright future ahead of it.
Cherish your sandals for years to come by opting for trend-free styles made from the best sustainable brands. You can also invest in second-hand models on Vestiaire Collective to preserve the planet and reduce your carbon footprint. By following these sustainable fashion rules, you help decrease the ecological damage caused every single day by the fashion industry.
The list of sneaker styles we love is so long; there is no way we'd be able to share them all. These sporty shoes are an essential part of our daily lives and a perfect style for all genders and generations. They first appeared several decades ago, in 1868 to be exact, instantly forming to our feet with maximum comfort and lightness. At the beginning of the 20th century, sneaker brands suddenly took off, and we saw a dramatic increase in production. Jump to today and the most alluring vintage pairs are still on our radar. New Balance was born in 1906, followed by Spring Court in 1936, then Puma, and Adidas. But it wasn't until 1964 that Nike revolutionised the industry by manufacturing the first air-cushioned sneakers.
Early on, the basic rule was that a specific pair of sneakers should be crafted for each sport. Chuck Taylors were worn for basketball, Stan Smiths for tennis, and Vans Authentic for skateboarding. Today, sneakers have transcended their sport-centric function and we judge them primarily for how they look. Who knew a pair of Reebok Freestyle shoes bought in the ‘90s would be an investment that would pay style dividends for 3 over decades? This aerobics-inspired model hasn't aged a day.
The same goes for Nike's Internationalist, which was designed specifically for the New York Marathon in 1982. These sneakers are athletic, streamlined, and innovative — the basics of a tried and tested running shoe that transitions perfectly to the street. Another iconic model that has stayed relevant is the Nike Cortez, which first appeared in 1972.
Whether you like authentic sneakers from past decades or current styles with a nostalgic look, every look you love is available second-hand on Vestiaire Collective. By giving shoes a second life, you're contributing to fashion's circular economy while showing off your unique style. Protect the future of the planet and become a member of our global community of over 10 million Fashion Activists.
You'll never be disappointed when you invest in a pair of high-quality vintage boots. The best pairs keep you warm when the temperature drops and dry when the days are rainy. They always take your looks to the next level, whether they’re cut at the ankle, at the knee or at the thigh. While on your hunt, why not bet on a timeless model that will stay in your wardrobe for years? There is no doubt that sustainable shoes are the most environmentally friendly option for all Fashion Activists. But you can also preserve the planet’s natural resources when you purchase vintage boots at Vestiaire. Our favourite look for next winter is the platform boot with a square toe. Go for a retro ‘70s vibe by pairing them with a short skirt or printed flare trousers and an ultra-long coat.
If shopping for leather or PVC vintage boots is on your schedule, the second-hand selection on the Vestiaire Collective app is the place to look. All the beautiful vintage boots sold online by our global community are waiting to walk with you.
Vintage shoes have a particular charm that makes them appealing even decades later. They also help you create a sustainable wardrobe because they’re made from quality materials that last. Vintage is a meeting of the past and the present, offering countless possibilities to suit your lifestyle. Thanks to our global community, around 8,000 items are listed each day on the Vestiaire app, allowing you to find the vintage shoes of your dreams in an eco-friendly way.
Don't hesitate to mix and match looks from different eras to create an even more unique look. Vintage style knows no limits, so play with combinations and materials for a retro-chic ensemble that is sure to turn heads. When you choose second-hand pieces on Vestiaire Collective, you can feel confident that your purchase is contributing to a more sustainable future. We are proud to see that more and more Fashion Activists around the world are rallying behind circular fashion in their daily lives, and our mission is to continue to inspire others to do the same.
The environmental impact of producing new clothes and accessories is enormous, so extending the lifespan of each piece through circular fashion is an important way to preserve our natural ecosystems. When you choose vintage shoes, you're opting for a pair that will stand the test of time. And every time you wear them, you take a positive step forward for the Earth.