Footwear was at the center of numerous internet-breaking moments, which we’re looking back on before the end of 2023.
This year, shoes — like Birkenstock slides — took center stage thanks to films like “Barbie.” On the fashion front, pairs like MSCHF x Crocs’ Big Yellow Boots, Louis Vuitton‘s Illusion boots and more kept online creators entertained with whimsical, surreal silhouettes. Footwear also sparked debates and cultural moments across social media, as well, as evidenced by TikTok‘s saga following the “Tabi Swiper” incident in New York City.
Below, discover the most viral footwear moments of 2023.
Margot Robbie’s Birkenstocks in ‘Barbie’
The summer of 2023 could be summed up in one word: “Barbiecore,” thanks to Greta Gerwig’s $1 billion-earning “Barbie.” The comedy made waves for a range of moments — from America Ferrera’s passionate speech to Ryan Gosling’s musical performance. However, the finale where Barbie (Margot Robbie) leaves her high heels in favor of pink Birkenstock sandals, which she’d previously rejetced in the film, created a lasting moment online — and made the style quickly sell out.
MSCHF’s ‘Big Yellow Boots’ collaboration with Crocs
MSCHF continued its Big Red Boot trajectory with an expansion in 2023, thanks to Crocs. The brand teamed up with the comfort-focused label on a bright yellow take on its signature rubber boots, accented by perforated toes for a surreal twist. Together, the duo launched the shoes with a viral campaign with Paris Hilton in July.
TikTok’s ‘Tabi Swiper’ saga
September’s “Tabi Swiper” incident prompted New Yorkers to think twice before hosting dates this fall — and secure their shoes at all times. On TikTok, designer Alexis Dougé shared how a Tinder date named Josh stole her Maison Margiela Tabi Mary Janes. After calling on social media to track down the “Tabi Swiper,” Dougé eventually found Josh and was reunited with her shoes at Grand Central Station in New York City — all to viral acclaim.
Louis Vuitton’s leg illusion boots
This winter, Louis Vuitton’s latest shoe broke the internet with a whimsical take on a staple style. Designed by creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere, the French label’s Illusion boots — made in both knee-high and bootie forms in two different tones — features a pointed-toe silhouette with trompe l’oeil shafts mimicking white socks tucked into classic black pumps. The styles have since spread across TikTok , with the topic raking in over 8 million views.