How statement heels became the hottest shoe of the season

Emma McCarthy

You can tell a lot about a person from their shoes.

The height of the heel can serve as a measure of how much is left in your Uber budget. How scuffed they are can provide clues as to where you’ve been in life — as well as where you’re headed next.

But let’s not get too philosophical about it. They’re only shoes, after all. Though every now and again, the small matter of what we choose to shove on our feet requires more detailed analysis. Undoubtedly, the split-personality shoe — this season’s standout hit — offers insight into its wearer’s refusal to conform to just one aesthetic.

On the days when we are in two minds about the person we wish to present to the world, a shoe that’s business at the front, party at the back has all bases covered. Or perhaps it’s your schedule that’s pulling you in different directions, from the 8am boardroom meeting to your 8pm dinner plans. No one wants to do the school run in strappy sandals any more than they want to be arriving at happy hour with their grubby trainers stuffed in a tote bag.

Sophia Webster crystal heel boots, £495, (sophiawebster.com) (Sophia Webster)

The joy of a party heel (an entirely different entity to a party shoe) is that it renders the post-work shoe-change redundant and with it, the unsightly overspill bag. But, crucially, its success lies in careful choosing. Overdo the party vibes and you’ll feel like a plonker on the Tube during morning rush hour. But go too safe, and you’ve missed the point entirely.

For a crash course in how to get it right, look to Jacquemus. The French label, widely credited with injecting fresh energy into Paris Fashion Week, has become synonymous with pieces that are at once both classic and off-kilter. Where shoes are concerned, this translates into simple clean-cut suede mules made remarkable by the addition of mismatched low heels constructed of geometric blocks and gilded spheres.

Jacquemus mules, £475 (brownsfashion.com)

A circular heel is also a signature of London-based brand Neous, which describes itself as being “for the modern realist” through simple yet striking designs — think pristine white boots finished with a Perspex ball heel. Sophia Webster’s latest collection is also a masterclass in hidden agenda heels, adorning her classic Stella boots with block heels studded with pearls or encrusted with crystals.

Neous mules, £525 (neous.co.uk) (Neous )

Of course, mastering the split-personality shoe also lies in the rest of your outfit. Partner a pair with a cocktail dress, for example, and the result will inevitably be too disco to be suitable for day. Instead, maximise the semi-subtlety by teaming with low-key separates. Denim is ideal for this, as is anything beige. For further inspiration check out Topshop’s rhinestone-studded black ankle boots, which are pictured alongside a grey windowpane check suit, for an outfit that looks as good on the way out of the office as it does on the way in.