As Taylor Momsen is quoted saying, “you can wear anything as long as you put a nice pair of shoes with it.” Boy, is that the truth! Shoes have the power to truly change and inspire outfits.
While some clothing trends that rose out of oblivion this season confused many (is heading back to the 2000s really necessary?), the rise in popularity of different styles of fall/ winter 2021-2022 shoes made complete sense. After all, boots in fall and winter are pretty much a necessity, and everyone has been in love with slippers for the past twelve months – why wouldn’t they be trending?
From ‘revenge heels’ to slippers you can wear outdoors, designers reimagined what comfortable, fun footwear truly was and how they could bring it to consumers. Nonetheless, style risks were taken. The so-called ‘ugly’ shoe trends popped up this year in the form of furry boots, clogs, and pointy sneakers. But, like the rise of ignoring the color wheel rules for fall/ winter 2021, could it really be all bad?
For anyone with an absolute adoration of any form of high heel, this is a season for you to most certainly grow a few inches. Instead of sneakers taking over runways like years past, heels of all kinds appeared, from Chanel to Peter Do. This rise of the heel quickly became termed the ‘revenge heel’ since many people wanted to make up for last year’s lost time by slipping into socially distanced parties and just going out more in sky-high stilettos.
While some revenge shoe looks don’t appear all that comfortable, other fall 2021 shoe trends look like they were made to wear all day. For instance, ballet flats seem to be in once again this season, along with Oxfords and platform styles. Ornamental additions to footwear have also reached high – thick gemstones, ties, and full-on amour (no, I really am not joking on that one) all appeared in different styles.
With so many different shoe designs coming up everywhere, combing through all the fall/ winter 2021-2022 shoe trends was something truly fun to do! Studying the artful techniques and recognizing the most popular designs to put on this list brought a smile to my face, not only because I love shoes, but because the 2021 shoe trends have a style for every mood you could possibly be in!
#1. Furry Boots
Flipping the look of an UGG boot on its toes, this style of shoe has fur all over the outside. Appearing first in Celine’s show and then at Chanel, and Miu Miu, the boots that look like the Abominable Snowman’s feet soon seemed to be everywhere. The only question that remains is it the right mix of cozy and fun, or will people simply ignore this style unless they travel to colder climates?
#2. Metallic Boots
I’d say pedal to the metal, but it seems like this season, it will be metal to the pedal. If you don’t believe me, then take a look at Balenciaga’s high-heeled metallic boots that were made by a man in the South of France who forges Medieval armor! However, if you’re looking for something a little less weighted that you can walk around in, Dries Van Noten, Jil Sander, Peter Do, and Victoria Beckham all created silver boots that are made for the dance floor and not the battlefield.
#3. Go-Go Boots
The classic ‘60s style popularized by André Courrèges and Mary Quant seems to be getting the attention it deserves this season. Go-go boots are a true power statement, and while white knee-highs with a square heel might be the classic, this youth revolution look did have many different styles in the fall of 2021.
Designer Kim Shui used the footwear trend in her collection with blue leather and a mix of mid-calf, knee-high, and thigh-high boots. While Khaite focused on making them in black, Jeffrey Campbell went full ‘60s with white alligator leather and a square heel. Just don’t be confused by the heel design, these shoes definitely aren’t for a square!
#4. Socks, Boots or Both?
Skin-tight dresses may be falling out of favor, but skin-tight boots? That’s a whole different story! This fall/ winter 2021 footwear trend appears to be a combination of a legging and boot – tight-fitting, calf-sculpting, and comfortable!
Prada and Peter Do focused on creating pairs with a clean line, but Schiaparelli went for the sculptural look, starting with a gold platform base and twisting up the leg. Marine Serre also created shoes for this look using the popular print trend of hiding the designer’s logo into the creation – it was these fun shoes you saw all over Instagram during Paris Fashion Week!
#5. Slouchy Boots
Over-the-knee boots might have been a closest staple a couple of years ago, but in 2021, they have been replaced by the effortlessly chic slouchy boot. Ok, so you may have to pull them up a few times throughout the day, as they fall further and further down, but who cares? This boot looks amazing with trench coats, skirts, jeans, dresses, and really anything you wear!
For those of you (like me) still praying to the God of shoes, Manolo Blahnik, checking out his Shushan boots is a must – a true combination of the slouchy and go-go boot trend. André Courrèges would be proud! However, if you want something that hit the runway this season, Gabriella Hearst and Khaite both came up with some excellent slouchy boot options for this fall/ winter shoe look.
#6. Ballet Flats
Dating back to the French Revolution, ballet flats have been worn by style icons, from Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot to Kate Moss and Taylor Swift. Last season, Simone Rocha was one of the few designers to use this style as inspiration (along with Victorian dolls) for her footwear collection. This season, though, the timeless shoes are back with Valentino creating a pair in their classic Rockstud design and Dior using the shoe trend for an effortless monogram design. So, snag a pair before it’s too late and dance around the town like a ballerina!
Perhaps it’s considered a male style classic or the ultimate slipper design, but this season, the polished style took the fashion world by storm. This fall 2021 shoe trend brought in the style of stacked heels and towering platforms. The high-rise version of loafers was seen on runways, from Tod’s to Versace. Though, perhaps, the ultimate loafer look came from Loewe, where Jonathan Anderson made them with a two-tone finish in embossed leather.
#8. Slipper Power
Stilettos and sculptural shoes might be popular, but comfort is always a winner. After Zoom meetings and staying at home, slippers have become our feet’s best friend, and designers didn’t seem to have the heart to take them away. While Coach lightly treaded into the trend by trying to make it more outdoor-appropriate, Chloe felt the need to continue enjoying the plush comfort of slippers and showed that they really could be paired with elegant dresses. Other designers that fell for the slipper-shoe look were Altuzarra, who made the fluff dramatic, and Proenza Schouler, who combined socks and slippers for the ultimate comfort shoe.
Your grandpa’s favorite choice of footwear is coming about as one of the popular 2021 shoe trends. Yep, the Oxford is back! Named after the college in England, this classy staple brings in major preppy vibes. While classic styles appeared at Armani, most designers chose to design them with either heels or platforms. Gucci, the forever cool school-girl brand, paired the silhouette with chunky heels and socks, 3.1 Phillip Lim brought in the color trend of earth tones with this style, and Gianvito Rossi showed the true power of the chunky heel.
Along with furry boots and pointed sneakers, clogs have been grouped with the ‘ugly’ 2021 shoe trends. Still, these slip-ons that originated in Denmark are trending due to their comfort and, perhaps, the fact they are controversial? Winter collections that sported this shoe style included Sandy Liang, Simon Miller, and PH5. If you feel like diving into this look, think of pairing it with baggy jeans or long skirts for an ultimate casual-chic look.
#11. Chunky Shoes
Think clogs and blocky heels. Chunky shoes prioritize comfort and show off the hemlines of your clothes – something that might just be very filled with patchwork in the coming season. This shoe style trend was particularly popular for both sneakers and boots.
Designers Sandy Liang and Victor Glemaud pulled off the look perfectly in their collections, with chunky shoes being the unsung star of their shows. If you happen to find a pair on sale or at your local thrift store, then buy them, knowing that the chunkier and more military-esque, the better (at least that’s what Simone Rocha seemed to think!).
If you haven’t noticed yet, platforms are easily one of the most popular fall 2021 shoe trends. The stable and comfortable style made the rounds during spring but has easily transferred into the fall and winter. From Prada to Molly Goddard and Alberta Ferretti to Ulla Johnson, platforms have appeared on a range of different shoe styles (don’t tell me you didn’t notice!). Different prints also proved to be popular; most notably, Ulla Johnson used natural wood to influence her platform boot design.
#13. Fuzzy Extras
For those of us that don’t have furry friends at home, petable shoes saw a rise in popularity this fall and winter. While the furry boot became a chic staple at Chanel and Miu Miu, fuzzy details didn’t only show up in boots and on the catwalk presentations located in the snow. Acne Studios also brought out the petable feature in clog boots with cowhide, a distinct New Mexico feel. Think of pairing this style with long skirts or dresses in an effort to show off the fuzzy on our feet.
#14. Strappy Designs
Strappy sandals may often be associated with spring and summer. But, along with the popularity of cutouts this fall, strappy sandals also became a staple. Complicated and asymmetrical straps came in at Dior, while Molly Goddard went into the heavily detailed side by using the straps to create bows and argyle patterns. Proenza Schouler created the style in a winter-ready design, showing us just how perfect this shoe trend works with both socks and leggings. By the way, it seems like open-toed shoes and socks together is now a thing!
#15. Bedazzled Impressions
It seems everyone is in the mood to sparkle this season! From sequined dresses to handbags, of course, the shoe fell into the favor of being bedazzled as well. Some houses simply added small ‘extras’ to otherwise normal shoes.
This would be what Carolina Herrera did with small hearts being attached to black boots, Schiaparelli with gilded toes, and Thebe Magugu topped heels with the brand’s sisterhood design. For the wilder, Vetements splattered jewels and colors onto the boots, Etro stitched braids onto their boots, and Prada completed the ‘go big or go home’ attitude with shoes dripping in sequins.
#16. Celebrate the Rainbow
If you happened to read an article on Pantone fall 2021 colors, you’d know that heavily saturated tones have reigned supreme over the fall styles. Shoes were no different! Bright tones proved to be particularly popular at Alberta Ferretti, who used rich greens. Prada played with purple tones, and Vetements used vivid blues. Still, these brands weren’t the only ones that used a rainbow of hues for their footwear! Givenchy, Loewe, and Fendi also played up bright tones for their shoe collections in the upcoming season.
Photos via Vogue, Livingly