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Why this polarising footwear trend is heating up for summer

1 January 2020

Coveted and controversial, thong heels are proving to be the most divisive trend of summer.

They’re back and better than ever! The latest incarnation of fashion’s nostalgia for the ‘90s and ‘00s, (and Generation Z’s discovery of the decades), the resurgence of the thong heel can also be read as a reaction to the practicality of chunky “ugly sandals” in recent years.


Worn the first time around by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Britney Spears and the Christinas (Ricci and Aguilera), rather than the foam flatforms seen en masse at the turn of the century, this new incarnation channels the sleek kitten-heeled thongs from the Prada and Calvin Klein archives.

They reappeared at Rihanna’s Fenty show in 2017, and have been a staple at Copenhagen Fashion week in the years since. The trend gained traction with celebrities in 2018, and most recently thong sandals have been worn by everyone from Katie Homes to Rihanna and (of course) an assortment of Kardashian-Jenners.

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Brands like Balenciaga, Toteme, Jacquemus and Yeezy have all jumped on the trend, and they were seen locally at Maggie Marilyn’s 2019 NZ Fashion Week show.


Sleek and tailored, usually executed in smooth leather, in their simplicity they’re the perfect foil for the voluminous dresses of the moment, and a chic pairing with vintage denim.

They’re also undeniably sexy, yet refined enough to appease die-hard minimalists. An evolution of the “naked shoe” trend, there’s a certain elitism to these; your feet have nowhere to hide, so invest in a pedicure.

We recommend pairing thong heels with this season’s other favourite throwback trend – the mini bag. Scroll down for some of our favourite thong heels.


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