There have been some pretty terrible fashion trends in recent decades, from the embarrassing fads of the 1990s to the worst styles of the 2000s. We’ve all had some not-so-great fashion moments, but for the most part, we’ve put them behind us. But something as small as the wrong pair of shoes can ruin a great outfit. Make sure you aren’t reliving your poor fashion choices by holding onto shoes that aren’t in style anymore.
1. Cowboy boots
In the 2000s, plenty of women wore cowboy boots — but almost all of them looked like they were wearing a costume or headed to a Taylor Swift concert, particularly if they also accessorized with a cowboy hat. Good cowboy boots are expensive, so it’s likely the colorful or glittery cowboy boots you bought in the early 2000s fell apart pretty quickly. Even if they didn’t, the look has largely fallen out of style, and ones with questionable topstitching and faux leather should definitely be avoided.
2. Embellished flip-flops
These days, most people have realized that flip-flops are only intended for the beach, the pool, and casual coastal destinations. Flip-flops with beading, sequins, sparkles, and other embellishments had their moment. But flip-flops with such decoration definitely aren’t well-suited to sand, saltwater, and chlorine — which means flip-flops with rhinestones have no place in a modern-day closet.
3. Open-toe booties
The 2000s saw the introduction of all kinds of strange hybrid shoes, including open-toe booties that just couldn’t decide what kind of shoe they wanted to be. You can still find open-toe booties from a number of different brands, like Jeffrey Campbell, but that doesn’t make them a good idea.
4. Ugg boots
In the early 2000s, the Ugg boot was extremely — some would say inexplicably — popular. Just about everybody had a pair (or a knockoff pair). Fashion editors have long declared the style, well, out of style. But that doesn’t stop women across America from wearing this ubiquitous sheepskin style as soon as the weather gets cool. We’d just advise that you find a more streamlined style than this shearling-lined boot.
5. Kitten heels
For a brief period of time in the 2000s, lots of people ditched their platform pumps for kitten heels. Despite the fact that kitten heels are much more comfortable than sky-high heels, their popularity didn’t last long. (Most likely because they look awkward from most angles.) There are still plenty of brands making kitten heels, but most people should opt for a more flattering style.
6. Fringed boots
A preferred look of the boho set, the fringed boot was almost always made of suede (faux or authentic), and coordinated nicely with all of the fringe that you wore if Free People was your favorite place to shop. But in most cases, the look is passé, and you’re better off foregoing the fringe boots and cutting down on the amount of fringe you wear in a typical day.
Despite their popularity in the 2000s, you’d think nobody who prided themselves on being fashion-forward ever wore a pair of Crocs. But these foam clogs appeared on many celebrities, as well as far too many people looking for a comfortable shoe. No matter how cozy Crocs are, there are better alternatives when it comes to shoes that won’t hurt your feet.
8. Knee-high gladiator sandals
Gladiator sandals are still a thing — within reason. For a few seasons, celebrities were spotted everywhere in knee-high gladiator sandals that were sure to leave awful tan lines if you weren’t vigilant about applying sunscreen. The over-the-top, knee-high styles are largely out of style, so make sure that your sandals don’t extend much higher than the ankle.
9. Skate shoes
If, for some inexplicable reason, you really hate the shape of your feet, then the skater shoe may have been your best friend in the early 2000s. But in the interest of looking like a grown-up, productive adult, you should probably leave the skate shoes in the past and opt for a more streamlined sneaker instead.
10. Chinese slippers
A style of shoes popularly referred to as “Chinese slippers” were wildly popular in the 1990s. In 2015, Balenciaga came under fire for imitating these inexpensive mesh slides. As the label learned at the time, some shoe styles are better left in the past. You can find much more substantial and comfortable shoes than these mesh slip-ons — ones more likely to last you longer than a few weeks.
11. Extreme platform shoes
Every Spice Girls fan wanted an extreme pair of platform shoes, regardless of how difficult they were to walk in or how ridiculous they’d look with normal clothing. Unless you’re headed to a costume party, the platform shoes hanging out in the back of your closet should probably stay there. Platform boots, platform sandals, platform sneakers, platform Mary Janes: They’re all styles that you’re better off trading in for something a little more modern.
12. Chunky clogs
Another heavy style of shoes that too many of us loved were the heavy, clunky, wooden-soled clogs that often came with embroidered or bedazzled tops. No matter what size you bought, these shoes were impossible to keep on your feet or walk quietly in. Many brands still make wooden-soled clogs, though there are definitely more stylish and more comfortable options you may want to opt for instead.