The transition from summer into the colder months brings with it many unpleasant changes: prolonged darkness, frigid temperatures and a woeful lack of ice cream vans, to name a few. However, for all of autumn/winter’s glaring faults, it does boast one redeeming feature in that it equips you with a bombproof excuse to treat yourself to some new, seasonally-appropriate stompers.
New shoes are usually an expensive purchase, so to make sure you part with money in all the right places, we’ve handpicked the footwear trends worth dipping your toes into this season, so that you can stride into the final half of the year with your best foot forward.
Despite stiff resistance from roll neck-wearing, Northern European social media influencers, minimalism has been overthrown. For proof, look to the footwear throne, which for AW18 features the type of chunky trainers that would make the average Kinfolk-reading, Swedish architect vomit still-hot macchiato all over his Common Projects. In short, sleek leather sneakers are out and in are earth-rattling models like the Nike Tekno and the Fila Disruptor, which have shaken up the status quo, bringing post-meltdown Britney Spears-style shoes back into the spotlight.
“The trend for bulky kicks isn’t going anywhere. If anything, sneakers are only going to get bigger,” predicts Harriet Byczok, a stylist who has dressed A-list celebrities for everything from magazine covers to red carpet events. “Some of the wackier colourways can look a bit try-hard, but opting for a box-fresh white pair will allow the shape to do the talking.”
These unruly beetle-bruisers are edgy by definition, so the rest of your outfit will have to follow suit (and by that we mean, no suits). Try matching yours with a pair of cropped trousers and a logo hoodie. Just don’t come crying to us in a few year’s time when the poles have shifted and your binned Stan Smiths and slim-fit jeans are cool again.
Even if you’re only en route to the office, there’s something oddly reassuring about knowing that if you did happen to find yourself halfway up K2 after a wrong turn at the coffee shop, your footwear would be up to the challenge. Fortunately, it’s a sense of security that the current trend for luxury hikers delivers by the boot-load.
“Very much a solid investment, other than looking good, hiking boots actually blend nicely into a city commute,” agrees stylist and personal shopper Daniel Johnson. “They’re a much more suitable replacement to wellington boots and don’t blur the style as much between town and country.”
Styling something as bulky as a hiking boot needn’t be an uphill struggle. Simply steer clear of skinny jeans to avoid looking out of proportion and keep things layered up top. It’s also worth thinking more wool blouson and less technical jacket, unless you want to end up fully looking like you’re training for the Three Peaks Challenge.
Retro Runners With A Twist
Previously, the words ‘running shoe’ and ‘twist’ only went together in the same breath when having to explain to your sponsored charity why you’re pulling out of a marathon. But that’s not the case for this season. Old-school sporty styles are getting the luxury treatment, resulting in kicks that look just as comfortable on the catwalk as they would have done in the 1981 Great North Run.
“This trend has been going from strength to strength over the past couple of seasons, with brands referencing traditional performance footwear and updating it with new materials such as lightweight nylons or Vibram soles,” says Selfridges buying manager Richard Jones. “With new technology frequently hitting the market and new styles quickly reaching cult status, I predict this trend to stick around for a while.”
Provided you buy a pair in a muted, rather than acid-tinged colourway, it’s more of a challenge to find clothes that don’t work with the throwback shape than ones that do. If you’re struggling for style inspiration, a pair of cuffed selvedge jeans, grey crew neck sweatshirt and dad cap will always be a winning, everyday combo.
Under Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga has positioned itself as a pretty reliable barometer for what the next big thing is set to be. Generally speaking, if it’s marching it down the runway on Friday, you can guarantee it’ll be flooding the high street come Monday. The Parisian firm’s Track sneaker looks set to be this year’s answer to the Triple S; and if that was anything to go by, we should all probably invest in a pair of trail runners right now.
“This is a classic example of a style so inherently uncool, that it actually ends up becoming the pinnacle of fashion,” says Byczok of the trending DILF fashion kick. “The extra cushioning of a trail runner makes it super comfortable too, which is great news. Now you can look fashionable and give your feet a break.”
Cool? Yes. Enough to fly under a bespoke suit? Not so much. To avoid looking like a commuting banker, you’ll want to go full Techninja with your look. Try teaming a pair of black trail runners with tonal, tapered cargo pants and a bright, block-colour, technical jacket from the likes of Arc’teryx, Acronym or Nike ACG.
Silhouettes With Sole
Remember a few years back when every designer and their dog was attaching brightly-coloured Vibram sole units to Oxford shoes? Well, while we’re keen not to see that happen again, this updated and thankfully subtler reinterpretation of that trend is something you should be paying attention to.
“Designers have discovered the sole as a new playground to let their creativity reign, and it offers a great opportunity to update classic styles,” says Jones. “In addition to new colour palettes, we are also seeing the arrival of innovative materials that enable brands to create new, ultra-light styles.”
The type of clothing you should choose is largely dependent on the type of shoe you opt for. In any case, make sure your outfit is pared-back and straightforward to let the shoes do the talking without having to fight for attention with any other flamboyant elements.
Before you set about burning the entire contents of your underwear drawer, allow us to elaborate. Army-inspired commando soles — which are made of rubber and feature a heavy cleated tread to increase grip in slippery conditions — have gone broken rank this season and infiltrated everything from monk-straps to Chelsea boots. It’s a surprising development, but one that is worth marching in step to when it comes to combatting the icier months.
“Following the popularity of trainers in recent seasons, designers are now incorporating performance soles into smart designs,” says Jones. “This has gained popularity as it’s a great way of updating traditional footwear and giving it a contemporary twist.”
The rugged sole may be straight out of an army surplus store, but that doesn’t mean the rest of your outfit should be. Resist the urge to wear head-to-toe camouflage, and instead flank a pair of black, commando sole derbies with charcoal, wool trousers, a roll neck jumper and an overcoat for a look that’s ready for anything.
Moc Toe Errthang
It’s official: moccasins are back for AW18. Although, to be honest, they never really went away. This throwback design spans from Gucci loafers to driving shoes and everything in between. In short, if the front of it looks a bit like a pie, then you’re good to go. Recently, we’ve even been seeing the look cropping up in more sneaker-like designs. On paper, that really shouldn’t work. In reality, however, it’s a match made in heaven.
“Moccasins are a pure wardrobe staple,” says Johnson. “This classic shoe is highly versatile and can get you through more than one occasion. It caters for smart-casual and casual very well. Just remember to waterproof suede pairs to get the very most out of them.”
A modern, sportier moccasin looks best worn as part of a streetwear-inspired look – think relaxed fit denim, a cross-body bag and a hoodie or track jacket. For smarter styles, wear with a cropped trouser pressed white shirt, fitted blazer and no-show socks.