The Duchess of Cambridge’s shoes weren’t pictured in her 40th birthday portraits by Paolo Roversi, but it’s likely Kate Middleton paired her trio of custom Alexander McQueen gowns with Gianvito Rossi 105 pumps. These classic point-toe heels, featuring elegant stiletto heels and lightly cushioned insoles, have become the Duchess’s failsafe footwear. But, as royal style watchers will know, this silhouette is more than a few strides away from the platform heels Kate first walked onto the scene wearing.
Cast your mind back to those patent nude LK Bennett Sledge heels, which sang of Ladies Day at Ascot. Middleton was as wedded to them as she was her curling tongs, but thankfully only the Duchess’s signature bouncy blow-dry remains a hallmark of her image to this day. Middleton has since swapped her high-shine, go-with-anything slip-ons for sleek suede options; round toes for pointed shapes; and platforms for simple leather soles.
As well as Gianvito Rossi’s signature “Gianvito” heels, which the royal owns in several different heights and colors, Kate also loves Jimmy Choo’s Romys, including a fun glitter-encrusted pair, and has Prada’s elegant pumps in her arsenal. Emmy London’s low block heels are a recent favorite, while Rupert Sanderson has supplied her with many event-friendly styles. She was also wearing Manolo Blahnik’s popular BBs before they became her sister-in-law, the Duchess of Sussex’s favorites.
When it comes to boots, the Duchess’s outdoorsy side comes out to play. A die-hard Penelope Chilvers fan, nothing spells out “nature lover” quite like a tall brown leather boot that moonlights as a posh welly (Middleton even bought a pair for Princess Charlotte), but thankfully these only come out for the most rustic royal engagements. Recent meetings have seen Kate dabble in the over-the-knee boot trend via Ralph Lauren and Saint Laurent suede styles that look chic tucked under her usual midi dresses. Gently heeled boots work far better for the elegant aesthetic she has slowly carved out for herself, even if those beloved Chilvers score points for rewears.
Middleton’s trainer collection also shows her understanding of what works for her and, crucially, what will stand the test of time. While a pair of Nike VaporMax runners once showed a more “street” side to the mother-of-three than we had ever seen before, and her M&S Ribbon trainers did a good deed for the high street, Kate later did a U-turn back to her safe Supergas and Vejas. Those affordable white plimsolls bolster the Duchess’s sustainability credentials, and again chime with the Kate who is confident in the messaging of every outfit she wears.