Clear shoes were one of the big breakout trends on the spring/ summer runways. We saw gorgeous transparent shoes on the catwalks of Chanel, Balmain, Yeezy, Prada and more. If you follow all the Instagram celebs, then you’ve probably been salivating over a particular pair of transparent Perspex shoes since last spring!
You can get ahead of the clear shoe trend by picking up some of the clear heels that are available on the market right now. We picked out the best from a variety of styles, so no matter what kind of fashionista you are, you can find something that’ll suit you.
Get into the how’s and what’s of transparent shoes, with our brief history of the trend. We’ve also got styling suggestions for clear heels, so you can make the style work for every occasion. To make sure you stay cool and comfortable in your new clear heels, we’ve also included an explanation of the common issues with transparent shoes as well as all of the tips and tricks to help you troubleshoot plastic shoes.
The Trend of Plastic Clear Shoes: Contents
Read on to see which are our favorite see-through shoes from all the biggest names in shoe design.
1. Studded and Strappy Clear Heels
If you’re the daring type, these stiletto sandals from Alexander Wang might be a fun way of incorporating clear plastic shoes into your wardrobe. They have a sporty vibe, with a small PVC strap over the toes and a small elastic slingback. Studs line the sole for a hint of shine. They are available at Nordstrom.
2. Crystal Clear See-Through Shoes
Plastic shoes can be as glamorous as any other type of heels as long as the design is right. These strappy stiletto heels by Giuseppe Zanotti are embellished with crystals over the strap, and sport a lovely silver ankle strap. You’ll love the hidden touch of a denim insole that makes these shoes unique. They are a perfect fit both for a night out and for formal events. Find them at Shopbop!
3. Closed-Toe Slingback PVC Shoes
A Jimmy Choo shoe is never a bad purchase, but these see-through shoes are especially reasonable. They are low slingbacks with a closed-toe, which makes them elegant enough to wear to an office job and comfortable enough to wear on a day of city walking. You can buy these clear shoes from Forward.
4. Buckled Flat Transparent Shoes
With all the demureness of a flat and a touch of edge from the buckled straps, these Miu Miu clear shoes embody serious contrast. They show off the foot almost completely, since they are made of PVC, but there are some black leather accents that give structure and will make sure you don’t feel too exposed. Order them online from Net-a-Porter!
5. Minimalist Drama Clear Shoes
We’re obsessing over this combination of bulk with a minimalist design. The straps and block heels of these Yeezy clear shoes are both see-through, with a comfy suede insole. The 4.5-inch block heels will make you feel powerful and sky-high – the kind of shoe you absolutely must reserve for a night where you plan to make an impact. Get them from My Theresa!
6. PVC Mule Shoes
It is indeed possible to combine a boho aesthetic with clear heels! These low little mules sit on a round lucite heel, and have a light brown sole that gives an earthy touch. They are chic yet comfy – perfect for wearing on a summer day while you’re out and about. They can be purchased from Moda Operandi.
7. Pearl-Studded Clear Heels
With a pointed toe and lovely pearls, this is a classy take on Perspex heels that will really make you feel like Cinderella. So far, we have mostly seen toe-baring clear heels, so this Stella McCartney design that encapsulates the whole foot feels particularly dramatic. These are proper stilettos with a delicate white insole. They are sold online via Net-a-Porter.
8. Transparent Stiletto Sandals
Slip your feet into a darker take on strappy clear sandals. This Manolo Blahnik shoe has two see-through straps to keep the foot secure and give counter to the high and thin black stiletto heel. A dark insole gives some structure and presence, and makes them an unforgettable pair of clear shoes. Visit Nordstrom to try them out in any of the three shades available!
9. Blinged-Out Clear Heels
Get your bling on with these fancy Aquazzura stiletto sandals. These clear shoes have straps around the foot and ankle that are studded with shiny rhinestones. The heel and rim of the sole are made of silver calfskin that complements the clear straps of the shoes perfectly. These are the kind of PVC shoes you can wear to the most exciting nighttime events. They can be ordered online through Shopbop.
10. Pin-Heel Transparent Shoes
There is something oh-so-elegant about these Prada transparent shoes. They have a silver heel that ensures these clear heels are as modern as can be, with a clear strap as well as a thin ankle strap to keep the foot in place. There is also a pink clear plastic option if you’re feeling festive! Find them at Nordstrom!
11. Embellished-Toe See-Through Shoes
If you’re not a fan of your toes showing, you’ll be happy to know there are still some clear shoes out there for you to try! These fun Alexandre Vauthier stiletto pumps have a pointed toe studded with clear stones that add glamour and glitter. The rest of them is made of clear PVC, with a strap that goes around your ankle, looking invisible but holding you well. Order them from My Theresa!
12. Flat Embellished-Toe PVC Shoes
It’s hard to believe you can find flat clear shoes that will be office-appropriate, but here they are! These gorgeous pointed toe flats are embellished with a gleaming rhinestone-studded toe cap, and they have an elegant shape that elongates the leg beautifully. Comfortable and functional, they are available at Shopbop.
13. Wood-Accented Clear Shoes
These Neous clear shoes are a unique twist on the trend, with a low ball heel that has an architectural vibe made all the more modern by a wood accent. These slip-ons have a square toe and a single clear strap, and are best for turning any look just a smidge more fashion-forward. You can buy them from Moda Operandi.
14. Clear Heels with Black Bow
We love this darker take on clear heels. Made of a darkly tinted PVC, these Gianvito Rossi see-through shoes add some gothic romance to the trend. These shoes have a pointed toe, high stiletto heel, and a large PVC bow accent on the ankle strap – elements that all come together to make a wonderful evening shoe. Get them at Matches Fashion!
15. Gold-Trimmed PVC Shoes
If you’re the colorful type, don’t miss out on these statement clear heels. They have a blocky golden heel that gives a cool ‘70s vibe, ensuring that the gold trim and heels look chic rather than kitschy. These Tabitha Simmons shoes have a transparent strap over the toes, and an ankle strap that gives excellent support. They can be purchased from Net-a-Porter.
16. Beach-Ready Plastic Shoes
These beachy jelly slides will transport you straight back to seaside vacations in the ‘90s, when clear plastic flip-flops were all the rage. However, these Simone Rocha clear shoes are a decidedly mature update, with a design that holds the toes well and an abundance of crystals, faux pearls, and clear petals working as a textured embellishment. Pick them up from Matches Fashion!
17. Crystal Vamp See-Through Shoes
You might not walk a mile in these Louboutins, but you’ll surely get attention from people miles away. These heels are completely see-through, so your pedicure will need to be on-point, but we gotta admit it’ll be totally worth it. These clear heels are as chic as can be, with a pointed toe covered in silver studs, and delicate silver accents at the ankle and heel. Save them for days and nights when you want to make an impact. Have them sent to you from Net-a-Porter!
18. Kitten PVC Shoes
It’s hard to resist clear shoes in the form of kitten heels. They give that perfect delicate feel we crave, but with a comfy low heel. These transparent shoes cover yet reveal the entirety of the foot, with the exception of the back, which has a silver leather panel. The heels themselves are also made of transparent plastic, for a harmonious look. Give them a try at Nordstrom!
19. Clear Blue Slide Shoes
Another option for slip-on clear heels for when you’re feeling especially summery! The clear plastic strap on these Maryam Nassir Zadeh shoes has blue glitter embedded in it, while the low blocky heels are made of a cheerful light blue leather. These are the kind of shoes you’ll want to have fun in! Find them online at Shopbop!
Clear PVC straps on shoes are not something new, and despite what some might think, the trend didn’t start with Chanel shoes in 2018. Celebrities like Emma Watson and Jennifer Hudson were wearing clear heels on the red carpet much earlier this decade.
The earlier takes on clear heels, however, weren’t the full-on naked shoe we’re seeing today. Instead, what we saw were elegant pumps with clear elements like PVC panels or a PVC ankle strap, and toes weren’t visible for the most part.
The most recent iterations of the trend are much more extreme, as we saw on the 2018 and 2019 runways, which overflowed with all kinds of different takes on clear shoes. Kanye West’s brand, Yeezy, showcased the shoes that made it on to all the trendsetters’ feet, likely due to his close connections with the Kardashians and Jenners.
PVC shoes from Balmain and Chanel also made a splash amongst the Internet’s fashion elites. Everyone will be coveting see-through heels, after seeing them on the feet of celebrities as diverse and influential as the aforementioned Kardashian-Jenners, as well as Beyoncé, Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Camila Mendes and many more!
From styling to troubleshooting issues with clear shoes, below we discuss how to channel Cinderella wearing PVC shoes.
Clear shoes can be so much fun to style because they are a non-color. This means that you don’t need to worry about color theory as much as you gotta think about texture when rocking them. Transparent shoes pair well with almost all kinds of looks from casual to formal, with dressier options being plentiful.
• If you’re going to bare it all, make sure that your pedicure is on point! You can take the chance to pamper yourself with a visit to the salon, or give yourself an at-home treatment with the help of a pumice stone, a thick foot moisturizer, and your favorite nail polish color.
• Transparent high heel sandals work well with all kinds of evening wear, from cocktail dresses to ball gowns. Kate Bosworth showed us that they even work with romantic gowns when she rocked Manolo Blahnik clear heels at the Met Gala.
• Bulkier see-through shoes, especially with block heels, are a nice complement to an urban-casual aesthetic. If you love wearing sweats or yoga pants day to day, turn the look into a fashion statement by finishing the outfit with a pair of clear heels à la the Jenners.
• You can take even more inspiration from Kylie Jenner by showing off fishnet stockings under your clear heels. This works especially well if your whole look is edgier, with ripped jeans or a short skirt.
• If you’re adventurous enough to wear clear shoes in the winter, a pair of colorful socks will truly make your outfit unique not to mention a touch warmer.
• If your style usually leans more towards the natural and bohemian, you’ll be thrilled to know that there are quite a few transparent shoes out there that also include more organic elements like fabric or wood. Look for clear shoes that combine synthetic and natural materials, as they will go perfectly with flowy, earth-toned fashions.
• You can absolutely wear transparent shoes to work – you may just want to have another pair of shoes to change into once your feet have had enough. As far as styling is concerned, both flat and high heeled see-through shoes can be office-appropriate as long as they are not too strappy. Opt for a more conservative design that preferably has some opaque elements, particularly over the toes.
Issues with Clear Shoes
There are all kinds of issues that crop up with transparent shoes. If you like low-maintenance footwear, you might want to look elsewhere. However, if you’d like to feel like Cinderella for a night, the trouble might be well worth it.
It’s important to know exactly what you’ll be slipping your feet into before committing to PVC, plastic, or Perspex shoes, as it will also help you troubleshoot.
• Sweating and fogging are the most common downfalls of clear shoes. Plastic shoes tend to trap heat, since they present such a solid barrier that does not breathe. This leads to sweating, and when it’s especially hot, the sweat will turn to steam that will fog up your transparent shoes. This is an especially big issue with closed-toe see-through shoes and boots, but it is rare with strappy clear heels and flats.
• The other problem with increased sweating in plastic shoes is less about aesthetics and more about health. The chances of your feet growing fungus and bacteria inside a pair of PVC shoes are quite high, since the shoes trap everything in. A bad odor is the least of the side effects here, and what you should really worry about is developing some sort of infection.
• It can take a long time to break in PVC shoes, as the synthetic material is not as flexible as leather. Don’t buy them just in time for a particular event – instead, take your time breaking them in.
• One of the greater issues with plastic shoes is blistering. The mixture of plastic rubbing against the foot along with the moisture from sweat can irritate the skin and cause blisters, especially when shoes are newer or if the fit isn’t quite right.
• Pain and discomfort, rather than rubbing, are also something to be aware of when choosing a pair of clear heels. Clear shoes that are slightly too tight will definitely cut off the circulation to your foot, while a pair that is too loose will cause all kinds of pains because it will not support your foot properly.
As unique and gorgeous as clear shoes can be, the previous section shows that they require some extra care. These are our tips to ensure that your feet look and feel good in your chosen pair of see-through shoes.
• When choosing your pair of transparent shoes, be picky and make sure the fit is just right, to avoid pain, blistering, redness, and that awkward toe bunching that will certainly be visible through the PVC. One trick is to shop at the end of the day, when your feet are at their largest due to swelling – this will ensure that you won’t end up with shoes that don’t stretch to accommodate swollen feet.
• Stick to clear shoes that allow your feet to breathe, like most of the ones we’ve compiled in our list. Transparent boots might be gorgeous, but they are by far the least user-friendly. Slip-ons and sandals are your best bet, because they don’t trap sweat around the foot.
• The sole of your clear heels matters. You’ll notice that the bulk of the PVC shoes we’ve recommended have leather soles, and that’s for a reason; the part that comes into contact with the sole of your foot should be flexible and comfortable, or your feet will start to ache very soon after you put your shoes on. Leather soles will conform to your feet easily and will allow you to break your clear shoes in quickly.
• Sweat increases your chances of getting blisters and infections and it can also lead to some gnarly smells and unsightly fogging. You can prevent sweat by spraying your feet with an antiperspirant deodorant before slipping your feet into your plastic shoes. The aluminium in the deodorant will block your sweat glands and protect your feet from all that moisture.
• No amount of deodorant will help your feet if you choose to wear Perspex shoes on a hot and humid day. PVC is not particularly warm, either, so clear shoes are not ideal for winter days either. Instead, save them for days when you’ll spend most of your time indoors, or when the weather is temperate.
• Applying a bandage or band aid to the heels and toes to prevent blistering from new shoes is a classic trick, but it doesn’t work when your clear shoes show off your foot. Hydrocolloid bandages, however, make for a miraculous solution. These bandages are made of a clear material that sticks to the foot without moving and is almost completely invisible.
I usually recommend them for treating pimples, but they are also perfect for feet. They can be cut to fit the exact area where your feet tend to blister, and once applied they provide the perfect cushioning.
• Limit the amount of time you spend wearing transparent shoes, especially if you’re going to be walking around. A lot of the issues caused by PVC shoes only occur after the shoes have been worn for an hour or more. Carry a comfy pair of flats that you can change into once your feet have had enough of your plastic shoes of choice.
• Wearing interesting socks or hose can be a fun way to dress up your see-through shoes, but it will also help prevent the issues caused by sweating and rubbing, since the socks will act as a barrier between your feet and the plastic.
• Socks, along with a blow dryer, will also help if you don’t have much time to break your shoes in. Put on a pair of thick socks, then slip on your new PVC shoes. Turn on your blow dryer to the hottest setting, and aim it on the areas where the shoes feel particularly tight. Wiggle your feet a bit, and you’ll notice that the plastic will start to expand somewhat.
Photos via @collagevintage, @elle_ferguson, @fashionedchicstyling, @rumineely, @theblondefiless