These 12 Autumn Shoe Trends Tell Me You're a Fashion Person

I don't know about you, but I get really excited about autumn shoe trends. Perhaps that's because they have a sort of back-to-school sheen to them, even though I left school quite some time ago. Or maybe they're just a welcomed change from sandals. Or maybe I love them simply because autumn is easily the best season out there. (Don't @ me. It really is.) For 2021, there are tons of autumn shoe trends for the coming cooler weather that are worth the hype. And there are even some fun trends we haven't seen in a while that are guaranteed to please plenty of fashion people. 

After looking through all the runway collections for A/W 21, I've identified 12 trends that will be key this season. There are some classic, practical boots that are easily wearable right now and will be for years to come. And there are more adventurous styles (platform boots, I'm looking at you) and trend-led looks (hello, socks-and-sandals combo) that I can't wait to wear. Keep scrolling to see the biggest autumn shoe trends and to shop the looks. 

1. School Shoes

Nostalgia, in many ways, has been the biggest trend of the past 18 months. (Think escapism and fantasizing about our lives "before.") And no other trend has made me quite as sentimental as the school shoes that proliferated the runways this season. From Mary Jane–style flats at Emporio Armani to chunky and platform loafers at Loewe and Bally, all of these shoes are best worn with thick socks. 

autumn shoe trends: emporio armani

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Courtesy of Emporio Armani
autumn shoe trends: loewe

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Courtesy of Loewe
autumn shoe trends: dior

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Courtesy of Dior
autumn shoe trends: bally

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Courtesy of Bally

2. Long Boots

While practicality ruled in 2020, this year, flamboyance is creeping back into our lives. Knee-high and over-the-knee boots are featured in almost every brand's new-season looks, but Balenciaga is absolutely leading the pack with Demna Gvasalia's silver-buckled pair. For a touch of sass, look to David Koma. For pared-back, head to Fendi. And for shearling-lined, look no further than Acne.

autumn shoe trends: balenciaga

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Courtesy of Balenciaga
autumn shoe trends: david koma

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Courtesy of David Koma
autumn shoe trends: fendi

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Courtesy of Fendi
autumn shoe trends: acne

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Courtesy of Acne

3. Colour Block

This is another one to bookmark if you're tired of the minimalist aesthetic. Saturated hues are making a comeback this season, and shoes haven't been left out. Whether it's courts at Balmain, mules at Bottega Veneta or boots at Chanel, plenty of fashion houses have me wanting a pair of brightly coloured shoes to give my outfits some life this season. 

autumn shoe trends: bottega veneta

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Courtesy of Bottega Veneta
autumn shoe trends: balmain

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Courtesy of Balmain
autumn shoe trends: christopher john rogers

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Courtesy of Christopher John Rogers
autumn shoe trends: chanel

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Courtesy of Chanel

4. Pointed

Y2K continues to dominate when it comes to trends, and pointed shoes are coming back. While I initially may have been hesitant, I was swayed by the chic flats at both Saint Laurent and Valentino and the über-cool boots at Tom Ford. The jury's still out on the pointed sneakers at Marni, however. 

autumn shoe trends: saint laurent

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Courtesy of Saint Laurent
autumn shoe trends: tom ford

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Courtesy of Tom Ford

5. Cowboy

Barely an autumn or winter season goes by without the runways featuring some form of cowboy boot. This year, it's back to basics with classic cowboys taking centre stage. Look to Isabel Marant's consistently cool versions or Celine's black pair with silver caps that will last you years. 

autumn shoe trends: isabel marant

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Courtesy of Isabel Marant
autumn shoe trends: celine

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Courtesy of Celine
autumn shoe trends: tibi

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Courtesy of Tibi
autumn shoe trends: ashish

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Courtesy of Ashish

6. Lug Soles

The lug sole is a trend that refuses to die. This boot style is popular for an obvious reason: It's practical yet stylish, which is truly the fashion holy grail. Personally, my favourites this season are Ganni's Kermit-green boots. But if those are too out there for you, then Stella McCartney's more sedate pine-green pair might be what you're looking for. 

autumn shoe trends: 3.1 phillip lim

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Courtesy of 3.1 Phillip Lim
autumn shoe trends: ganni

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Courtesy of Ganni
autumn shoe trends: stella mccartney

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Courtesy of Stella McCartney
autumn shoe trends: loewe

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Courtesy of Loewe

7. Platforms

All hail platform boots, which have come to rescue us from the mundanity of safe and subtle shoes. In sparkly lilac at Stella McCartney, pillar-box red at Givenchy and dominatrix black at Versace, these are the shoes we want to party in this year. 

autumn shoe trends: stella mccartney

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Courtesy of Stella McCartney
autumn shoe trends: adeam

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Courtesy of Adeam
autumn shoe trends: givenchy

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Courtesy of Givenchy
autumn shoe trends: versace

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Courtesy of Versace

8. Shearling

Shearling can be both practical and impractical. It's practical because it's warm, so it's great for winter, but it's impractical because it can get dirty quickly. Whichever side you fall on in the shearling debate, know this: It's big for A/W 21. You're sure to have toasty feet if you opt for this trend, be it moon boots from Miu Miu and Chanel or shearling-lined slippers from Rejina Pyo and Altuzarra.

autumn shoe trends: altuzarra

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Courtesy of Altuzarra 
autumn shoe trends: miu miu

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Courtesy of Miu Miu
autumn shoe trends: chanel

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Courtesy of Chanel
autumn shoe trends: rejina pyo

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Courtesy of Rejina Pyo

9. Ankle Straps

Not into platforms, but want party shoes for 2021? Look no further than heels with an ankle strap. I saw this delicate trend in white at 3.1 Phillip Lim, in a barely-there red at Halpern and in a wrap-around style at Christian Siriano. 

autumn shoe trends: proenza schouler

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Courtesy of Proenza Schouler
autumn shoe trends: halpern

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Courtesy of Halpern
autumn shoe trends: 3.1 phillip lim

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Courtesy of 3.1 Phillip Lim
autumn shoe trends: christian siriano

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Courtesy of Christian Siriano

10. Buckles

When it comes to details, it's all about buckles for A/W 21. Featured on over-the-knee boots at Balenciaga, mules at Bally, sandals at Maryam Nassir Zadeh and ankle boots at Gucci, buckles are the easiest way to keep your look very 2021. 

autumn shoe trends: gucci

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Courtesy of Gucci
autumn shoe trends: maryam nassir zadeh

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Courtesy of Maryam Nassir Zadeh
autumn shoe trends: bally

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Courtesy of Bally
autumn shoe trends: balenciaga

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Courtesy of Balenciaga

11. Cream

The richest look of all comes in the form of cream shoes this season. Jil Sander's boots were styled with a head-to-toe off-white outfit, as were the pointed boots at Khaite and Christian Siriano. But maybe skip the red wine on the days you wear your cream shoes.

autumn shoe trends: jil sander

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Courtesy of Jil Sander
autumn shoe trends: khaite

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Courtesy of By Malene Birger
autumn shoe trends: christian siriano

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Courtesy of Christian Siriano

12. Socks and Sandals

The final trend is socks and sandals. As someone who has long advocated for this look, I'm thrilled. The main thing to note about this is it works with any kind of sandal, not just Birkenstocks or flat pairs. On the runways, Acne styled open-weave socks with strappy black sandals. The look at Rejina Pyo was printed socks with pink mules. And at Chloé, thick, wool socks with flat, buckled sandals were on display.  

autumn shoe trends: chloe

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Courtesy of Chloé
autumn shoe trends: acne

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Courtesy of Acne
autumn shoe trends: rejina pyo

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Courtesy of Rejina Pyo
autumn shoe trends: maryam nassir zadeh

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Courtesy of Maryam Nassir Zadeh

Next up, the biggest autumn 2021 fashion trends to know. 

This piece was published at an earlier date and has since been updated. 

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