In the summer months, I rarely buy new shoes. I tend to flit between two pairs of sandals—one black, one tan—and that generally sees me through. Winter, however, is where I make up for lost time.
With unpredictable weather practically guaranteed, winter generally calls for more seasonally appropriate footwear options to see you through everything from impromptu showers to full-on snow days. Throw party season in the mix, and it would appear you need everything, from any-terrain boots to sparkly heels, to meet winter's shoe requirements. Of course, you might have enough pairs in your existing collection to get you through, but there are a few key winter shoe trends updates you should at least be aware of for 2021.
You don't need to be a psychic to know there are plenty of boots in your future, but what you mightn't expect is that the pair of shoes you reluctantly wore in your school years are now considered, by fashion people, to be one of the coolest flats going. As for party shoes? There's one style that's towering above the rest—literally.
Scroll on to see the seven biggest winter shoe trends those in the know are backing, and then browse our edit of the best styles out there for each.
1. RUBBERISED BOOTS
Style Notes: Don’t confuse these with traditional wellies; Ganni and Bottega Veneta collectively made rubberised boots genuinely fashionable with their knee-high and ankle-grazing pairs last year, and the look is only gaining momentum in 2021. Wear them on the wettest days, and you won’t have to sacrifice style over practicality.
Style Notes: Striking the perfect flat-shoe balance is hard in winter, as many styles, such as ballet flats, are just too flimsy and leave your feet exposed. Loafers, however, provide the solution, as they generally come up higher on the foot.
3. '70S KNEE-HIGHS
Style Notes: While they always make a comeback in the winter months, never before have knee boots been as popular as they are this year. Silhouettes are simple and fuss-free, with retro hues such as tan and burgundy coming through as some of the most in-demand colours. Look for suede textures to really hone the ’70s aesthetic.
4. COMBAT BOOTS
Style Notes: Utilitarian combat boots have stood the test of time. Just look at Dr. Martens—decades on and fashion people still love to wear them. This year, style yours with something delicate like a satin slip skirt or a cute knitted co-ord for optimum cosiness.
Style Notes: While the absence of heels in 2020 was welcomed by some, for others, they missed having a reason to wear them. This year, however, heels are back on the winter-shoe-trend agenda, and the most popular style by far is undoubtedly the platform Mary Jane. With straps that keep your foot in place and blocky heels for added stability, this is the perfect shoe style to wear throughout party season.
6. CHUNKY BROGUES
Style Notes: Chunky loafers were all the rage at the start of 2021, but as we reach the end, the tide appears to have shifted towards another blocky flat—the stacked-sole brogue. Reminiscent of the school shoes your mum pleaded with you to wear, these lace-ups have since been adopted by the fashion crowd as the latest “ugly but elevated” trend to try.
7. SHEARLING-LINED SLIDERS
Style Notes: We all dream of being able to wear our slippers 24/7—now, that’s a reality. Everyone from Birkenstock to Alexander McQueen is serving up shearling-lined sandals this season, which tick off both the comfy and cosy boxes in one. If you plan on wearing yours out—which is totally acceptable, by the way—make like TyLynn Nguyen, and pair them with cosy cashmere socks.