As we transition into autumn/winter and the weather begins to deteriorate, it is important that we alter our footwear to suit.
No longer is it acceptable (or practical) to walk the puddled streets in your flimsy espadrilles or trusty suede loafers. Instead, we suggest you opt for something more seasonally-appropriate: the boot.
Not only are they extremely practical, but their versatile nature means they will see you safely through winter and well into the new year. Whether you favour a casual approach to dressing, or refuse to leave the house without a suit, boots are undoubtedly an AW13 ‘essential’.
Below, we highlight the top boot options available this year, and provide you with some inspiration on how to style them…
1. Dress Boots
Just because it is a boot, it doesn’t mean it has to be casual. The dress boot is making big waves this season, and for good reason. Unlike many of the other options available, this style allows the wearer to pair with a far smarter wardrobe. Not only that, but they can be worn come work or play.
Wear them with your suit when heading to the office, or with a classic chinos, shirt and blazer combination when hitting the town. If dressing down at the weekend, dark denim (it’s smarter) tends to work best, whilst on top, a polo shirt and lightweight bomber pairing is both on trend and strikes the perfect balance between smart and casual.
To give your outfit an added touch of detailing, opt for a trouser with a turn up, or simply fold the hems of your chinos/jeans a couple of times. Not only does this help dress down the look slightly, but it also shows off your chosen boot to the fullest.
When searching for further styling inspiration, a look to the catwalk never does any harm – and Hardy Amies’ ‘Made In England’ collection is a great starting point. For the brand’s AW13 collection shown at London Collections: MEN, dress boots were paired with sharp, cropped suiting (an excellent way of showing you are wearing boots), whilst the colour scheme included dark greys, black and a healthy dose of tartan.
Key Show: Hardy Aimes AW13
- He By Mango Lace-up Leather Ankle Boots
- Grenson Sharp Leather Brogue Boots
- Churchs Beijing Leather Chelsea Boots
- Topman Black Formal Buckle Boots
- Base Brocket Boot Black Leather
- River Island Black Lace Up Formal Boots
- Reiss Marx Brogue Boots Ox Blood
- Allsaints Cabot Boot
- Oliver Sweeney Monzuno Burgundy
For those who like things a little rough around the edges, the hiking boot is the perfect option. Stylish, sturdy and extremely practical, it is a boot with a big reputation.
A favourite of the Topman Design show at London Collections: MEN, the hiking boot is best paired with clothing that shares similar characteristics to the shoe itself. Outdoorsy and country gent-inspired pieces work particularly well – think chunky knit jumpers, Barbour jackets, tweed construction and cord trousers.
Topman’s design director Gordon Richardson chose over-sized parkas and printed pea coats on the London stage, with his colour scheme featuring winter whites/creams and rich shades of burgundy and orange.
However, if the catwalk look appears a little too daring (and it usually is), simply pick out key elements from the shows and adapt to your personal taste. For example, if you like the sound of the parka jacket but are not too keen on the boldness of the palette, choose a colour you are more comfortable with, like earth tones or timeless navy.
Worn over the top of trousers was the most popular approach, which not only has its benefits when wanting to keep warm but also adds a nice tactile element to any outfit and shows you are a man who pays attention to detail.
Key Show: Topman Design AW13
- Topman Tmd Burgundy Hiking Boots
- Topman Cream Hiking Boots
- Frank Wright Dale Suede Hiking Boots
- Timberland Splitrock 2 Hiking Boots
- The North Face Mens Ballard 6 Inch Black Mountain Blue
- Merrell X Dover Street Market Wilderness Boot
- The North Face Ballard 6 – Ankle Boots – Brown
- Oliver Sweeney Tenzing Brown Hiking Boot
- Car Shoe Leather Hiking Boots
The workwear boot, or ‘work boot’ as it is sometimes better known, was initially designed for men with typical labouring jobs: mining, chopping wood, driving big trucks etc. So it will come as no surprise that its main selling point is its durability.
However, the style has come a long way since then and contemporary versions offer the perfect balance between fashion and function. Not only will they last you a lifetime (if you invest correctly and look after them), but they look great too.
For maximum effect, pair with casual, rugged attire such as slim-fit indigo jeans, workerwear jackets, flannel pieces and chambray/denim shirts (think stylish lumberjack).
On the catwalk, Christopher Raeburn has been a big admirer – and his AW13 showcase offered a wealth of styling inspiration. Taking reference from World War II and the British Navy, the collection featured worker boots alongside red woollen outerwear, camel coats and lightweight rain jackets. It seems whatever you choose, a casual and altogether masculine aesthetic works best.
It is worth mentioning – before you go ahead and invest – that when considering jeans to wear with your boots, a slim to straight cut is often best suited. Comfort/baggy jeans are a thing of the past (for now anyway), whilst skinny jeans can make this style of boot appear clumpy and unsightly.
Key Show: Christopher Raeburn AW13
- Polo Ralph Lauren Marvin Boots
- Topman Brown Leather Lace Up Boots
- River Island Navy Contrast Panel Worker Boots
- Red Wing 6-inch Moc Boots
- River Island Dark Grey Skechers Worker Boots
- Red Wing Iron Ranger Boots
- River Island Brown Contrast Panel Worker Boots
- Selected Homme Leather Boots
- Red Wing® For J.crew Beckman Boots
Remember Marlon Brando in The Wild One? Well, the biker look he did so well is big news this autumn/winter, and so, naturally, the boots are too.
To emulate this kind of outfit, the obvious choice would be a classic leather jacket, dark denim and, of course, biker boots. But, as the saying goes, rules are made to be broken.
For an alternative approach, look no further than Belstaff’s AW13 collection shown in Milan. Leather is prominent as always, but the addition of luxurious coats and three-button blazers offers smarter styling inspiration and a nice juxtaposition of sharp and edgy.
Once you have identified the biker boot as your go-to silhouette for AW13, the next step is to determine which style of trouser best suits the look. A relaxed or 1920s-inspired fit will give the outfit a more casual feel, whilst a slim or skinny trouser offers a more youthful and adventurous approach. Adjust to suit your wardrobe and personal style.
Key Show: Belstaff AW13
- H By Hudson Glover Engineer Boots
- River Island Brown Distressed Strap Biker Boots
- Timberland Earthkeepers Pull-on Boots
- Allsaints Mass Boot
- River Island Black Suede Insert Biker Boots
- Mens Caterpillar Vern Boots
- Base London Speed Boots
- Gucci Burnished-suede Double-strap Boots
- Jimmy Choo Stanford Leather Biker Boots
Now you know the key boot styles to look out for this season, the fun bit starts: picking (and then buying) your favourite pair.
To help decide, check your current wardrobe before making your purchase. By doing this, you can get an idea of how many outfits you are realistically going to be able to create with your new boots.
If you have a wardrobe full of suits and shirts, then you will probably get most wear out of the dress boot. However, if you are a fan of classic, rugged menswear, you may want to invest in any of the other three options.
Make sure you let us know what style, if any, you will be investing in this year in the comments section below…