ith every new year, the clothes in your closet become progressively outdated. As a society, we are always looking for the next best thing. Sometime during the mid 2010’s, you tossed your low rise jeans to the back of your drawer to make room for the revival of the high-waisted pants. Or, maybe you threw them away completely. 

But, anyone who knows anything about fashion would have held onto those low rise jeans and saved them for a rainy day. Why, you ask? Come 2024, those low rise jeans might be what everyone wants to get their hands on and you could be ahead of the curve. In fact, you could even pioneer the comeback of the low-rise jean if you consider yourself a trend setter. The point is: a good fashionista knows that when it comes to something borrowed and something new, the two are interchangeable. No other fashion trend embodies this quite as much as Kidcore aesthetic. 

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Flashback to the 90s and early 2000s. You’re probably thinking of Lisa Frank folders and notebooks, beaded friendship bracelets, Kool-aid, the Nintendo DS, beanie babies, smiley faces, Trix yogurt, the phone charms you put on your flip phone, lip smackers – and the list goes on and on. Ah, the bittersweet smell of childhood.

These distant memories from the past may be 20 years old, but they are still gold. With them, come the warm, fuzzy, fond feelings evoked from a time in our lives where the only duty we had was to ourselves – to have fun. And boy, did we have some fun. So, it comes as no surprise then that people would want to incorporate aesthetics into their overall look that link back to this cherished time in their life. 

The Kidcore aesthetic is regarded by some with scrutiny and bewilderment (understandably so). Why would an adult want to look like a kid? Our answer is – exactly. Kidcore isn’t about being immature, irresponsible, or naive. Kidcore draws on the idea of being an adult that knows how to relax, have fun, and channel their creativity, unbounded by the confinement and expectations of being an adult. 

The focus of kidcore isn’t on the juvenility aspect, but on the carefree mindset of youth. Additionally, the fashion of 90s nostalgia centers on clothing that is more comfortable and less hypersexualized. The idea here is being at ease – mentally and physically. 

What do People with A Kidcore Aesthetic Wear?

In the spirit of childhood nostalgia, we intend to use this article to uncover Kidcore shoes that are going to be big for 2022. So, sneakerheads stay tuned. We’ll start with a brief introduction of basic Kidcore clothing and accessories, and then save the best for last – the shoes which tie the whole fit together. As important as they are, we feel they’re isn’t enough content on the shoes that embody Kidcore aesthetic. So, let’s dive in. 

We'll be covering:

  • Kicore shirts inspired by some of our favorite nostaligic cartoons
  • Bold 80s and 90s print kid core pants
  • Kidcore shoes that tie the whole look together

We hope you like the kidcore clothes and shoes we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our writing team because we think they're awesome. Just so you know, as an affiliate partner we earn a share of sales or other compensation from qualifying purchases if you decide to shop from some of the links on this page.

🍓 Strawberry-Inspired Kidcore Tops

Strawberry cardigan and Strawberry Shortcake cartoon
More and more clothes are being made that have strawberries on them, and we are eating it up! Image courtesy of Shein and Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry patterns like the one photographed above are totally making a comeback. Whether it’s embroidered in your towels or on your clothes, it’s emerging as a common theme in the fashion industry. Sporting a top with strawberry details makes you feel adorable, girly (as opposed to womanly), innocent, and gives you… strawberry shortcake vibes? 

Yep, this trend within Kidcore aesthetics is totally an inspiration from none other than the strawberry queen herself. So far, it seems like strawberries are here to stay for 2022 and we think that’s pretty sweet! This look will be especially fitting for the warmer months ahead when strawberries are in season and ripe for the picking. 

Shop the look with these cute strawberry tops:

strawberry sweaters with a kid core aesthetic

👑 Princess-inspired kidcore tops that will have you living your best royal life

Cinderella and baby blue crop top
If your favorite Disney Princess is Cinderella, then this is the perfect top for you! Image courtesy of Asos and IMDb

Cinderella who? 

There’s no denying that the puffy shoulder with the tight fitting silhouette - blue or not - is Cinderella reincarnated as a 21st century girl. Just when you think you’ve grown out of your princess fantasy, it sneaks back up on you to remind you of a little girl that once dreamed for her happy ending.  You may not need a man to ride up on a steed and save you, you may not even want a man at all, but there’s no denying the comfort and warmth of a story that first provided you with hope, the belief in miracles, and the concept of feeling one of a kind. 

This is just one of many examples of how Kidcore draws on beloved childhood icons and stories to evoke a youthful spirit. If your Disney princess was the Little Mermaid, we can almost guarantee there is a top for it. Maybe, you didn’t even like princesses at all. Either way, you name it, Kidcore aesthetic has it and has stemmed inspiration from it. 

Shop the look with these ruffles shirts with princess-inspired silhouettes:

ruffly princess kid core tops

🙂 Kidcore shirts that throw back to the golden age of cartoons

Tweety crop top yellow
The cropped crew neck style tank is a throwback to the 90s and the bright yellow Tweety is a throwback to childhood! Image courtesy of Forever 21

At the heart of Kidcore fashion art is graphing shirts featuring cartoons from the 90s and early 2000s. Not only is the Tweety-Bird on this top adorable and iconic, but it’s super retro and pairs well with high waisted baggy jeans. It sends a message: ‘I’m an adult who still has fun and likes watching cartoons.’ It’s quirky, and we’re here for it. If Tweety isn’t your thing, there are countless other graphic tees to choose from all the way from the Hello Kitty stan to the die-hard cartoon network fan. If it’s from your childhood, it’s out there. 

Shop the look with these cartoonishly cool kidcore shirts:

kidcore aesthetic

🥤Bright and Bold Kidcore Pants

90s nostalgia shorts and Rocko cartoon
Colorful cropped shorts like these evoke nostalgia for the 90s and kid themes.  Image courtesy of Etsy and Highsnobiety

Does this picture bring back memories of the good ol’ days? Funky fresh patterns like the ones pictured above on the shorts and on our old pal Rocko are a big part of Kidcore fashion because they were a big part of being a kid in the 90’s leading up to the early 2000s. The more colorful, the better. These patterns and bright colors also conjure up memories of the sitcom Saved By the Bell. Ah, yes simpler times. Maybe even your after school special? Soak in that feeling of ease and comfort and put on some fun pants to amp up your Kidcore style! 

Shop the look with these funky throwback shorts:

80s and 90s print shorts

👖Overalls - Denim or Otherwise

Overalls on Will Smith, the Olsen twins, and a model
For many millennials, overalls are representative of childhood simplicity. Image courtesy of Surviving college, Complex, Refinery29, and Shop Exile

Did you know, overalls aren’t over at all? 

We’ll stop with the cringey puns, but the statement still stands. Between the 90s and the 2000s, overalls were everywhere. Your favorite bunny Max (from Max and Ruby) wore them, your favorite builder (Bob, of course) wore them, all the way to your favorite friend in New York City. Overalls died off for a short while there but they’re back better than ever and being represented in current cartoons like Judy Hopps from Zootopia. We can’t blame them. Who wouldn’t want to have a shirt and pants in one? Makes picking out an outfit way easier! Bonus points: it looks cute. 

Still confused on what Kidcore aesthetic is and what clothing is involved? Check out our Ultimate Guide to the Kidcore Aesthetic to find out even more! But, for now we need to finalize our Kidcore look with the final missing piece - shoes! What shoes will Kidcore enthusiasts be wearing this year? We’re here to share. 

Shop the look with these overalls:

aesthetic overalls are making a comeback

🥿Mary Jane Shoes

Yogi bear mary jane shoes
Take your kidcore mary jane shoes up a notch by getting a pair that have cute little bears on them! Image courtesy of Koi Footwear

Picture this, a long-sleeve turtleneck underneath a corduroy dress, tights and mary-jane shoes. Thanks Mom. 

If you’re a kid of the 90s, you probably rocked this fit at some point in your childhood whether it was by your own choice or someone else was dressing you. And, while you might not have thought much of it at the time, it now brings strong feelings of nostalgia – not to mention, it’s kind of a cute look. 

Mary Jane shoes allow the person wearing them to look girly and edgy, sweet but a badass, modern yet reminiscent. It’s for just this reason that they are the perfect addition to your nostalgic kidcore aesthetic shoe collection. When you wear them, you’ll be reminded of simpler times, and get to feel the freedom of childhood within your adult life. 

To spice things up a bit, abandon the classic black mary jane in favor of a fun yogi teddy bear Mary Jane. I mean, look at that face. Adorable!

Purple mary jane shoes
Arguably, the cutest way to style your mary janes are with a pair of anklet or crew socks. Image courtesy of Asos

Purple mary jane shoes are another twist on the classic. Typically, you would think of the black Mary Janes with white anklet socks underneath. However, as kids you probably tended to gravitate more toward your favorite colors than to boring blacks. 

Shop the look with these kidcore-approved Mary Janes:

kidcore mary jane shoes

Chanel this creative freedom into your adult wardrobe by snagging a pair of Mary Janes that are in a color that you like, not one that your told adults wear. If you consider baby blue your color, the one that you gravitate to, get yourself some baby blue Mary Jane’s. This makes shopping as simple as it was when you were a kid – no more than choosing what you really like. The result: your appearance reflects you as a person. And of course, it never hurts to feel like a kid again and be truly excited about your fun fit! 

👟 Funky and chunky sneakers

Old skool kidcore vans
These shoes take the classic sneaker up to a whole new level. Literally. Image courtesy of Vans

Because the kidcore aesthetic is about romanticizing childhood in the 90s and 2000s, these sneakers are the perfect kidcore shoes for 2022. They’re from the Vans Old Skool Stacked collection, which is the perfect name, as they bring you back to the good old days in grade school when the shoes that walked the halls had more variety than the neutral sneakers seen around a college campus. 

These shoes are bright, colorful, and loud matching the energetic personality of a kid. Beyond adding color to any outfit, these shoes offer a boost in height, reminiscent of a child putting on Mom’s heels to walk around the house and feel tall. These sneakers are living proof that shoes can be more than comfort and functionality, they can make you feel lively, energetic, and happy. Even at home, you can make a statement with your footwear. 

Be Nice flower Converse Chuck Taylors
Converse celebrates creative expression just as the kidcore aesthetic does! Image courtesy of Pacsun

These converse take the hightop Chuck Taylor and elevate it. Red, blue, and yellow - the primary colors - are a big part of the kidcore aesthetic as are cartoon figures and smiley faces. Thus, these shoes with their yellow suns and blue smiling earth, are perfect for conveying to the world the child inside of you. 

Beyond matching the carefree child you hope to unleash through your aesthetic, these shoes clearly make a statement about being nice to the earth showing others that its wearer cares about the environment. So, if you wear a pair of converse like these, you’re sure to turn heads (in the best way possible). 

Chuck Taylors and Strawberry Shortcake had a baby – these shoes! Image courtesy of Pennycrafts

If you like Chuck Taylors and you like strawberries, then you’re going to love these! These are the ultimate sneakers for fans of the strawberry trend or anyone who wants to have a unique pair of shoes and isn’t afraid of wearing something implicative of childhood. Hint, hint. Anyone with a kidcore aesthetic should snag these! Nowadays, people try really hard to have complex and creative designs on T-shirts and shoes, but as a child wearing something with a design as simple as a strawberry was enough to have you thinking ‘cool.’ Kidcore is bringing this mindset back. 

Shop the look with these casual kidcore tennis shoes:

🎨 Or get creative and DIY your own kidcore shoes

Customized air force 1 with butterflies
Tired of the basic white Air Force 1 that everyone seems to have? Tap into your inner child with a pair like the ones above! Image courtesy of The Custom Movement

Think back to your dream shoes as a kid. I’m not talking about a pair of Jordans. I mean the pair of shoes that didn’t exist inside a store, but inside your mind. Got it? Well, The Custom Movement probably has them.The Custom Movement is arguably the best place to go to search for kidcore aesthetic footwear. That’s because, as the name suggests, everything on the website is extremely customized. 

There are no run of the mill shoes. Each and every pair of shoes is uniquely designed with creative freedom to encompass a shoe that you couldn’t find anywhere else. The products on the website are often colorful and artistic, representative of the creative freedom that went into making them. None of the apparel on the website fits into a nice neat box, but rather  puts pressures on the societal limitations of proper streetwear. 

Shop the look with these DIY shoe kits that will help you turn your boring old shoes into the aesthetic footwear of your dreams:

🛼 More Kidcore Shoe Inspirations

Pink and white air force 1
Even though these shoes might have been inspired by Valentine's Day, they certainly work to amplify your kidcore aesthetic. Image courtesy of Nike

Not all kidcore shoes have to be coated in color top to bottom. The kidcore aesthetic involves clothing that has a lot of color and energy. You don’t necessarily need to overwhelm that with even more color on your feet. Instead, you can opt for a classic “old school” Air Force 1 that has a slight pop of color like the ones shown here. Compared to most Air Force 1’s these are super fun and add a little something something to your youthful fit! 

What’s even more, this particular pair of lifestyle shoes have beads on the laces that say ‘love’ and Nike.’ This is a kid-like touch that is super cute. In fact, if you look up ‘Kidcore’ on Etsy, you’ll find tons of beaded shoelace options. This means you can take any old pair of shoes and turn them into a bold custom creation that is suggestive of a 90s/00’s childhood. 

yellow and black smile Nike air force
These Air Force’s are a must have for your kidcore closet! Image courtesy of Nike

Driven by comfort, color, and enjoyment, Nike has a lot to offer for kidcore aesthetic shoes. These shoes, featuring bright primary colors comparable to a McDonalds or a Ronald McDonald and offering a fun smiley face, are one of a kind. Wearing these, you get to look as carefree as a child, which is what you’re going for. 

red high top Converse Chuck Taylors
Converse high tops were a key ingredient in 90’s child outfits for everyone from grunge bands to skate kids. Image courtesy of Converse

Chances are, you owned a pair of Converse All Stars as a kid. Everyone did. You may have even had a pair as a baby. Skip ahead to 2022 and you’ll want to wear these again to compliment your overalls or your baggy cargo jeans and looney toons graphic tank. Red high top converse are timeless and the perfect addition to an aesthetic centered around childhood nostalgia--Converse are the epitome of childhood nostalgia. 

Still don’t understand Kidcore? Check out our other article to get some more insight!

There are just some of the many kidcore shoes on the market today, but they are definitely the ones to look out for. If you're a fan of the 90s and 2000s, are bored with your clothing choices, and want to express your sentimentality for simpler times, add a pair of these shoes to your wardrobe. You’ll be reminded of fond memories and you’ll look cute while doing so. More importantly, you’ll preserve the best parts of childhood: creativity, imagination, dreaming, and charming honesty. Growing up doesn’t mean growing stiff. Happy shopping!

Apr 22, 2022