During Prada’s fall ‘19 runway show in Milan, Miuccia Prada made waves when debuting the Monolith Oxfords, a chunky, lug sole take on the collegiate shoe staple. More than two years after the style’s initial descent down the runway, it remains one of the most frequently spotted footwear styles on the streets, particularly during fashion month, and a regular on the Instagram feeds of influencers like Courtney Trop of Always Judging and Reese Blutstein of Double Exposure. Even Addison Rae, one of TikTok’s biggest stars and Kourtney Kardashian’s lockdown BFF, favours them. (So does Kourtney.) The platform style has become so popular, in fact, that designers across the board are now putting their own spin on the traditionally preppy silhouette, thus making them one of this year’s most prominent and sought-after shoe styles for fall.
Created as an alternative to boots for men, the low-heeled, ankle-height lace-ups — first called Balmoral shoes after Scotland’s Balmoral Castlecastle — became known as Oxfords after a rise in popularity at England’s Oxford University. Soon, they became popular with men everywhere. In the early 1900s, black-and-white, low-heeled “saddle shoes” were created as a way for women to get in on the trend. Initially crafted out of leather, following the Great Depression, the shoe appeared in more affordable materials and, not long after, adopted a lower, rubber heel.
While classic Oxfords remain a popular style with both men and women today, as Prada’s cult-favourite iteration — currently available in three different materials — goes to show, sometimes the classics aren’t the only way to go. Instead, in 2020, you can find Oxfords that are lifted and made to make a statement rather than blend in. Following in Prada’s lead, The Row put their own spin on classic Oxfords, crafting theirs for fall out of pony hair and offering them in shades of ivory and black. Meanwhile, Swedish footwear brand Eytys gave their iteration a platform sole and a round toe, Marni opted for contrast stitching and a square toe, and Adieu put in a heavy rubber sole and added green accents. Of course, plenty of lower-priced options by the likes of Dr. Martens, Zara, and & Other Stories were also manufactured for fall to make the footwear style accessible no matter the budget.