The Cat Came Back — The Resilient Kitten Heel

Pair of kitten heels on wood floor

We don’t know about you, but we’re getting a wee bit tired of the sky high, over-the-top, Rachel-Zoe-inspired platform (with all due respect to the ever glamorous stylista, of course). Don’t get us wrong — we L-O-V-E our heels and would give them up for nothing and no one. But the market (and the streets) tend to be over-saturated with the uber-high platform pump.

The Return of the Kitten Heel

That’s why we’re positively tickled to see a lower, more ladylike heel making its way down the runway this season. Known as the “kitten” heel, these dainty beauties are less punishing than a 6-inch boost. Yet they still offer an elegant, chic aesthetic to your daily ensembles.

Though we’re never afraid to give our all for fashion, we know our feet (and our doctors) will thank us for taking this — ahem — step down

History of the Kitten Heel

In the early 1950’s, the kitten heel was introduced for teenage girls as a median between the flat Mary-Janes of childhood and the higher heels worn by adult women. The shoe was also known as the Sabrina heel — a nod to Audrey Hepburn in one of her iconic roles.

Featuring a thin, stiletto-esque heel that measured a puny 2 inches or less, the kitten heel was the perfect way for young women to practice walking in heeled shoes.

The end of the 50s saw the beginning of the flower child. And the flower child brought her own shoe to the mix, a thicker stacked or corked wedge heel. With that, our delicate, feline-named-footwear fell out of fashion.

Trend Turned Classic

But times changed for the kitten heel in the 2010s, largely thanks to Michelle Obama. We saw the shoe hit the runways in 2012 and again in 2019. And that means the kitten heel is fast on its way to earning classic status.

And why not? These day-to-night, chic shoes are a great way to streamline your look without breaking your back or your bank.

Kitten Heel Top Picks

Color pop

Trend nod

Pattern fun

Girly & embellished

Shine on

The wardrobe staple

Just like the hems of our skirts, heel heights will always be going up and down. Our advice to you? Wear kitten heels with a well-cut trouser or chic, pleated skirt. Keep your look ladylike and classy!

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Catherine Brock

Style Editor at The Budget Fashionista
Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on DrLaura.com, Wellness.com and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter.
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