Key Footwear Silhouettes For AW13/14
Even though Christmas is now nothing but a distant memory and the industry is beginning to turn its focus to spring/summer, here in the UK we’re still very much in the depths of winter and any thoughts of warmth and sunnier climes are extremely premature.
In order to protect our feet during these colder months – and help deal with the wet, muddy and icy conditions that come with them – we bring you an overview of the key footwear trends that are set to dominate the lead up to spring.
And based on the runway previews and current high street collections, three distinct silhouettes have come to the fore…
1. Trainers & Sports Shoes
Ever since the 2012 London Olympics and the subsequent rise of sports luxe, trainers have cemented their place in the modern, style-conscious man’s wardrobe.
In fact, The Guardian recently published an article titled ‘The 10 Best Shoes For AW13 On The High Street’, and the majority were either trainers or hi-tops. Styles ranged from New Balance running sneakers to leather Topman hi-tops to classic Converse Chuck Taylors.
As previously discussed in our retro runners article, the trainer has finally shed its ‘ugly’ and ‘functional’ labels and become an extremely versatile choice that can be dressed up or down to suit – even being paired with traditional formal wear by some designers.
Although this juxtaposition may not be suitable for every occasion, pairing a sports shoe with tailored attire often helps create an interesting smart/casual contrast.
Modern Lookbook Inspiration
On The Runways
One of the most successful designer collections to blend trainers with tailored pieces came from Kris Van Assche.
Subtle, running-style shoes in shades of navy blue, burgundy or cream came complete with thick white laces and were paired with suits, tailored trousers and chunky knitwear.
The overall look from the designer was extremely wearable and ideal for those men who like the idea of integrating trainers within smarter looks – helping retain a sense of comfort and practicality while simultaneously creating an interesting contrast.
Likewise, Lanvin also paired grey and black trainers with suits, roll necks and overcoats for a smart-meets-street vibe – although the trainers featured were quite frumpy and perhaps too functional for my taste:
Lanvin (Top) and Kris van Assche (Bottom) AW13
Those searching for some more adventurous influences should look no further than the collection from Ami, where unashamedly bright trainers were paired with casual suiting and oversized trousers.
Similarly, Raf Simons incorporated coloured versions into his collection, although they came in muted shades that ensured their wearability and mass appeal.
Finally, Richard Nicoll featured white Jack Purcells in his AW13 showcase, pairing them with extravagant patterned and coloured garments – using the simple, monochrome footwear to anchor the ensembles:
Raf Simons (Top), Ami (Bottom Left) and Richard Nicoll (Bottom Centre/Right) AW13
- New Balance 574 Trainers In Sonic Burgundy
- Saucony grid 9000
- Nike Free Run +2 Trainers In Grey & Yellow
- Nike X Undercover Gyakusou Lunar Spider + 3 Sneakers
- Dolce & Gabbana Contrast Panel Leather Trainers 174537
- Valentino Leather-trimmed Suede And Mesh Sneakers
- River Island Hi-top Trainers
- Buttero Felt-lined Hi-top Trainers
- Nike Blazer Mid-top Perforated Trainers In Red
- Topman Anarchy Basketball Hi Top Trainers
- Balenciaga Window Pane Patent Leather Trainers 185926
- Converse Chuck Taylor Canvas High Top Sneakers
One of the biggest footwear trends for AW13, hiking boots have already had their credentials touted on FashionBeans this season and are perfect for the muddy, wet conditions currently being experienced in the UK.
Stereotypically viewed as a purely functional piece of footwear, over the past couple of years the hiking boot has been pushed hard by both designers and the high street. An inherently practical and durable silhouette, it is made for the harsh winter months – and designers have long since proven that form needn’t be sacrificed for functionality.
Many of the high street ad campaigns for AW13 featured outdoor photo shoots and editorial spreads where hiking boots were a highlight. Able to be dressed up or down effortlessly, they suit heritage- and outdoors-inspired looks down to the ground.
Modern Lookbook Inspiration
On The Runways
Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest proponents of the silhouette was Bally. In 1953, Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first two men to successfully reach the summit of Mount Everest, with Norgay wearing a pair of Bally reindeer hiking boots.
During 2013, Bally celebrated the 60th anniversary of this feat by embracing the explorer trend and including a range of hiking boots in their AW13 collection. Paired with adventurer-themed garments such as fur-lined parkas, leather trousers and chunky knits the boots cemented a great outdoors theme that was prevalent across several designer collections.
Topman Design also fully embraced the explorer trend in their collection by pairing hiking boots in muted beige tones with parka coats, chunky roll neck knitwear and hard-wearing, functional trousers. These outfits were accessorised with backpacks for a real man-against-the-elements feel.
Yet my favourite designer collection that showed hiking boots as a versatile, everyday footwear option came from Hermes. The hiking boots were plain, simple and black in colour but stood out from the crowd via the use of neon laces in orange and yellow:
Bally (Top), Topman Design (Middle) and Hermes (Bottom) AW13
- Vans Vault X Diemme Mens Montebelluna Hiker Lx Boots
- Diemme Men’s Black Roccia Due Boots
- Lacoste Led Rydal Hiking Boots In Black
- Bellfield Hiking Boot
- Timberland Splitrock Hiker Tortoise Shell
- Topman Black Leather Hiker Cleated Boots
- Timberland Gt Scramble Hiking Boots
- Topman Beige Suede Heavy Cleated Boots
- Bally Graf Climbing Boots
- Carven Contrasting Leather Hiking Boots
- Car Shoe Leather Hiking Boots
- The North Face Men’s Grey Back-to-berkley 68 Collab Boots
It’s no secret that pattern and colour has infiltrated menswear in recent seasons as major collections continue to move away from safe, neutral hues. And now it seems this influence is beginning to stamp its mark on footwear, too, with two-tone shades and materials being utilised in many modern designs.
This is obviously quite an adventurous development and may not appeal to all men, but as a trend on the rise it is only fair we include it in this round-up.
Modern Lookbook Inspiration
On The Runways
The use of coloured and/or contrast soles – which was applied to all manner of footwear silhouettes last season – continues for AW13, with stand-out styles coming in the form of Vivienne Westwood’s black pointed boots with striking white soles and Jonathan Saunders’ black pumps with bright coloured soles in electric blue, pillar box red and citrus orange.
Many designers even went a step further this year by applying bold shoe casings to footwear, as well as making use of contrast material ‘shells’.
Agi & Sam was one collection which made use of both colour and contrast fabric in their AW13 showcase at London Collections: MEN. The designers incorporated coloured rubber casings in bright blues and oranges, which were used to cover traditional shoe silhouettes – producing designs reminiscent of old school galoshes.
The concept may sound slightly ridiculous and unattractive, but the blending of classic tan brogues with orange rubber was striking and definitely caught the eye – although it’s unclear just how these shoes would translate to real world use.
Similarly, Thom Browne featured a slightly subtler take on the two-tone trend by including rubber-covered ankle boots and shoes in his collection. His chosen combination of black rubber and grey leather gave them an understated feel, ensuring they were entirely more wearable for the average man:
Vivienne Westwood (Top Left/Centre), Jonathan Saunders (Top Right), Agi & Sam (Bottom Left) and Thom Browne (Bottom Centre/Right) AW13
Although many will approach two-tone designs with trepidation, wary of them becoming a one-season wonder, following the Agi & Sam collection at LC:M The Telegraph actually declared that “Monotone shoes will soon be a thing of the past”, so the trend only looks set to develop over the coming seasons.
- Clarks Originals Sand Nubuck Desert Boots
- Grenson Fred Leather Brogue Boots In Black
- Selected Homme Phillo Leather Brogues In Brown
- Bertie Bumbled Suede Brogue Derby Shoes
- Paul Smith Contrast Sole Derby Shoe
- House Of Hounds Suede Tassle Dress Slippers
- River Island Grey Semi Brogues
- Topman House Of Hounds Tan And Navy Brogues
- He By Mango Suede And Canvas Brogue Blucher
- Dr Martens Premium Adriano Wingtip Boots
- Bertie Bayswater 2-tone Leather Brogues Shoes black
- Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Dennis Burnished-leather And Canvas Oxford Shoes
So there we have it, three footwear trends for AW13/14 that are increasing in popularity and are currently available in high street shops all over the country.
Which of the three above do you see yourself trying? Should the hiking boot be relegated to mountain tops only? Or does the trainer only belong in the gym?
As always, we welcome your thoughts and musings below…