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The Most Iconic Shoes in Footwear History

Updated May 21, 2019 3.6k votes 687 voters 10.5k views20 items

List RulesDistinct shoe types you recognize by sight, can be real or from fictional works

Shoes are a necessity. What else would we wear to protect our precious little toes from the wilderness of the outside world? But just because they are a basic need, that doesn't mean they need to be basic. This list of the most iconic shoes proves that footwear can make a statement in a way that no other article of clothing can. 

Cave drawings from more than 15,000 years ago depict humans with animal skins or furs wrapped around their feet for protection. Shoes have come a long way since then, although they still occasionally use animal skins and furs. Designers like Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, and Christian Louboutin have elevated the shoe to a wearable form of art to be lusted over and sought after. 

Shoes have the ability to take us home (like Dorothy's ruby slippers), take us back to ancient civilization (like gladiator sandals), and flat-out confuse us (like Antonio Berardi's heelless boots). Shoes inspire songs (like Nelly's "Air Force Ones" and Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots are Made For Walking"), help our athletes achieve their goals (like Michael Johnson's Gold Nikes), and keep us warm (like those terrible Ugg boots). Truth be told, we don't know where we'd be without shoes, but we definitely know we could not have walked there without them. 

So dust off your shoes (whether they be Keds or Converse) and get ready to trek through our list of the most well-known shoes and important show brands of all time. Vote for the ones that have become icons! 
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  • 9

    Jimmy Choos

    Jimmy Choos
    Photo: Jimmy Choo

    Celebrities, heads of state, and musicians love their Jimmy Choos. Royalty too! Princess Diana loved the infamous brand. 

     You know you want em!

    Source: Jimmy Choo
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    More 

    #33 of 69 The Most Influential Fashion Designers Of All Time#34 of 57 The Best Purse Designers#14 of 48 The Top Fashion Designers for Women

  • Keds
    Photo: Keds

    No one could put baby in a corner as long as she was wearing her white Keds. These wardrobe essentials have been worn by everyone from Jennifer Grey (in Dirty Dancing) to Taylor Swift. 

    Get some Keds of your own now!
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  • 11

    Birkenstock Sandals

    The cork base and thick, buckled straps of brown-gray suède have been the source of a love-hate relationship since 1996, when Margot Fraser first started importing them. She had found them on a vacation to Germany. Since then, they have been embraced by not only hippies, but also celebs like the Olsen twins and Julianne Moore.

    Gotta have em? Get em here!

    Source: Bloomberg
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  • Where would Carrie Bradshaw be without her Manolo Blahnik's? The classic styles include the BB Pump, Campari Pump, and Swan Pump. 

    Source: Wikipedia
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