Ankle-Strap Shoe

How to say it:  ang-kuh-l  strap  shoo

Traditional Features: 

Ankle-Strap Shoe

  • has a strap that circles and fastens around the ankle
  • strap can run through a loop at the back of the shoe or be fully attached
  • can be any kind of shoe style, but often a sandal or D’Orsay style

21st Century Ankle-Strap Shoes

In the 21st century, the ankle strap can be found on all styles of shoe, and features abundantly on the modern market. From heels to flats and everything in-between, the humble ankle-strap has solidified its place in modern footwear and there is a style out there for everyone.

Alexander Wang Chloe

Alexander Wang, Chloé

Manolo Blahnik Tabitha Simmons

Manolo Blahnik, Tabitha Simmons


…of the style:  The modern ankle-strap shoe is widely considered a 20th century style, however there is evidence that Catherine de Medici wore ankle-strap shoes on her wedding day in 1533, and if you believe Hollywood’s costume department, ankle straps have been around as far back as the Roman gladiators, who’s sandals had several straps around the ankle and lower leg.

The style came back into fashion in the early 20th century, appearing slowly through the 19-teens before becoming popular in the 20s and 30s on sandals and D’Orsay styles, that needed the strap to keep the shoe on the wearer’s foot. The slipper style shoes came back into fashion the 1940s and stilettos were the rage in the 50s, but the ankle-strap came back in a big way in the late 60s and 70s and has remained on the footwear scene ever since.

In the 21st century, the ankle-strap shoe is as popular as ever. Straps adorn every style of shoe, from pumps to sandals, flats to platforms, and the ankle strap is often there purely as a design feature rather than being actually needed. The style has been lauded as slimming and leg lengthening, and is regularly seen on the Red Carpet, so it seems unlikely that the humble ankle strap will disappear from the footwear market anytime soon.

…of the name: The shoe features a strap that encircles and fastens around the ankle, hence the name.

For more info on Ankle-Strap Shoes try Wise Geek, HuffPost, History of Footwear, Fashion The Definitive History or the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

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