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All of the Biggest Shoe Trends for Autumn Winter 2021, According to an Expert

You're about to see a lot more of these.

Last Updated on October 21, 2021

Autumn winter isn’t for everybody. Some of us prefer summer dresses, while others love layering up knitwear and throwing on a pair of chunky boots.

Whichever way you are, there’s one thing we can all agree on: shoes. And this season, they’re so good.

READ MORE: If You Like Quilted Jackets, You’ll Love This Key Outerwear Trend for Autumn

After 18 months of embracing comfort over anything else, I was curious about the upcoming trends for AW21.

Sonia Carrasco AW21
Sonia Carrasco AW21

In keeping with our newly-adopted lifestyles, the AW21 catwalks saw pair after pair of chunky soles and walking boots stomping down the runway, but there was plenty of fun, party trends to see in the new season too, including metallic knee-high boots and platform heels.

While it’s always absolutely freezing in winter, it’s also party season and if all goes well, Christmas and New Year this year will offer us the perfect opportunity to get dressed up again. Hello, heels!

In a bid to find out which trends would translate to the high street next season, I spoke to Agnès Cushnie, co-founder of footwear brand SANTE + WADE, to find out more.

mark fast aw21
Mark Fast AW21

“The trends are a mix of statement and comfort this season,” Agnès told me. “It’s a bit like saying, ‘Okay, let’s party like it’s 1999 again, except this time we may not want to have to walk barefoot in the middle of the night.’

As we are gradually returning to normality, people want to celebrate life and there will be a return of the statement pieces making the wardrobe.

“The difference is that, having spent so much time wearing cozy clothes for most of the last two years, many of us won’t want to sacrifice comfort for style, so new trends will emerge and may offer a more balanced aesthetic between creativity and comfort.”

Sounds good to us!

“Specifically for footwear, we’ve seen lots of functional boots and elevated yet practical chunky heels,” she adds.

“In keeping up with comfort, we’ll see a focus on fluid silhouettes.”

yves saint laurent aw21
Yves Saint Laurent AW21

Agnès informed me of the key trends and details to look out for this autumn, so I’m passing on her intel here.

Ue this to guide what you wear this winter, but don’t feel the pressure to buy brand new.

If you do want to invest and you’re conscious of how your choices will affect our planet, I recommend checking out our guide to sustainable footwear.

Meanwhile if you struggle to find trending styles that fit, look no further than SANTE + WADE, a Black-owned brand that offers footwear from EU size 38/UK 5 to EU 46/UK 11.5.

Without further ado, here are 8 footwear trends we’re about to see a lot more of.

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Chunky Loafers

As seen at 3.1 Phillip Lim, Dior, Loewe, Cecilie Bhansen, Max Mara and more.

3.1 Phillip Lim chunky loafer shoes
3.1 Phillip Lim

Chunky loafers have been one of fashion’s favourite shoes for some time now, with Prada and Chanel amongst the most popular.

They’re going no where it seems, as Dior, Loewe, 3.1 Phillip Lim and many more designers championed them again in their AW21 catwalk shows.

Agnès identifies chains and gold hardware as key features of the trend, as well as patent leather.

Dior aw21 chunky loafers
ASOS DESIGN Mimi square toe loafers in black croc | ASOS

Square Toe Loafers, £30, ASOS DESIGN – buy now


Crystal Embellished Loafers, £295, GANNI – buy now

Image 2 of Prada logo-plaque ridged-sole loafers

Logo-plaque Ridged-sole Loafers, £809, Prada at Farfetch – buy now


As seen at Balmain, Stella McCartney, Jil Sander, Schiaparelli, Isabel Marant, J.W. Anderson, Moschino, Victoria Beckham and more.

Stella McCartney AW21 metallic shoes
Stella McCartney

Whether it’s your disco heels or knee-high boots, metallics are a favourite for your footwear this season.

It was one of the most prominent shoe trends of the shows, as seen at Balmain, Jil Sander, Moschino, Stella McCartney and many more.

Agnès says, “For all those who had to scale down on key celebratory moments like weddings and Christmas, this is the time to reclaim the right to have fun and celebrate togetherness.

“With fashion and footwear in particular, whether it’s metallics, studded, sequins, or shimmer, we are allowing ourselves to go back in to the statement partying territory.”

Good news if you’ve been missing dressing up over the past 18 months.

Jil Sander AW21
Jil Sander

Slingback Metallic Shoes, £49.99, Zara – buy now

Mirror Mary Jane Silver Shoes Oliver Bonas

Mirror Mary Jane Silver Shoes, £59.50, Oliver Bonas – buy now

Hudson London Sienna Boots Anthropologie

Hudson London Sienna Boots, £150, Anthropologie – buy now

READ MORE: These Boots Don’t Just Protect Your Feet From The Rain, They’re One of AW21’s Trending Styles

Power Pumps

As seen at Balmain, Moschino, Yves Saint Laurent and more.

Yves Saint Laurent aw21
Yves Saint Laurent

90s-inspired pointed stiletto pumps are making a comeback this winter.

As seen at YSL, they come with a touch of embellishment for maximum impact. Think metallic and colourful toe caps and added bling.

Balmain aw21

Mori White Pump, £215, SANTE + WADE – buy now

Chain-Link Slingback Pumps, Light Grey, Charles & Keith

Chain-Link Slingback Pumps, £55, Charles & Keith – buy now


Contrast Fabric Court Shoes, £100, Uterqüe – buy now

Walking Boots

As seen at Balmain, Celine, Valentino, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, and more.

Balmain AW21 chunky boots

Those chunky boots with lug soles we lived in last winter? They’re back again this year.

While these are more functional than some of the other trends on this list, the terrain-style boots come with a touch of embellishment too.

Agnès identifies ‘crafted hardware elements and metallic touches’ as key details to look out for this winter.

Celine aw21
Chunky Platform Leather Boots & other stories

Chunky Platform Leather Boots, £165, & Other Stories – buy now

Nanette Womens Hiker Boots, £325, Grenson

Nanette Womens Hiker Boots, £325, Grenson – buy now

Chunky combat boots - Black - Ladies | H&M GB 3

Chunky combat boots, £29.99, H&M – buy now

READ MORE: The 15 Best and Worst Size-Inclusive Brands For Women Have Been Revealed

Extra Height

As seen at Giambattista Valli, Molly Goddard, Versace, Schiaparelli, Vivienne Westwood, Moschino and more.

Molly Goddard / Ben Broomfield AW21
Molly Goddard / Ben Broomfield

If embellishment isn’t your bag but you still like to dress up, you’ll be glad to know that our footwear will be rising high this winter.

Platforms featured at many shows, including Molly Goddard, Versace and Moschino.

There’s plenty to choose from on the high street, with Zara’s options combining many of the trends at once. More bang for your buck!

versace aw21
strappy Platform Sandals, £29.99, Zara

Strappy Platform Sandals, £29.99, Zara – buy now

Monki - VEGAN JANE SHOE - Platform heels - white

Platform Heels, £35, Monki at Zalando – buy now

Image 2 of Nodaleto Babies Bulla chunky-heel pumps

Babies Bulla Chunky-heel Pumps, £692, Nodaleto at Farfetch – buy now

Lug Soles

As seen at Stella McCartney, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Ganni, Loewe and more.

3.1 phillip lim
3.1 Phillip Lim

Contrast lug soles are a key detail to look out for this season following the success of Bottega Veneta and Ganni’s iterations.

The high street has been quick off the mark, with brands such as Arket, Mango and Zara having already dropped lug sole boots for autumn.

Stella McCartney lug soles aw21
Stella McCartney
Rhys Chelsea Calf Boots, Olive, Charles & Keith

Rhys Chelsea Calf Boots, £95, Charles & Keith – buy now

Track outsole boots - Medium plane

Track Outsole Boots, £59.99, Mango – buy now

Calf Leather Mid Chelsea Boot, in colour Tiger's Eye - 3 - GANNI

Calf Leather Mid Chelsea Boot, £345, GANNI – buy now

Knee-High Boots

As seen at Prada, Longchamp, Vivienne Westwood, Etro, Fendi, Alberta Ferretti and more.

prada aw21

Knee-high boots are back this winter in classic black and brown, Agnès tells me.

‘Equestrian country-style’ pairs offer a sleek take on the trend.


Rubberised Flat Boots, £55.99, Zara – buy now

Boots - Beige - Ladies | H&M GB 2

Beige Boots, £49.99, H&M – buy now

East Croco Brown Boots Alohas

East Croco Brown Boots, £253, Alohas – buy now

House Shoes

As seen at Chanel, Chloé, Miu Miu, Fendi, Simone Rocha and more.

chanel aw21

If you’re still glued to your slippers, you’ll be pleased to know that house shoes will still be trending this year.

Our fashion habits have changed, so whether you’re embracing comfort with fur-trimmed boots or comfy slides at home, anything goes.

chloe aw21
Furry Platform Clogs, Charles & Keith

Furry Platform Clogs, £65, Charles & Keith – buy now


Shearling Suede Flats, £179, L.K. Bennett – buy now

ASOS DESIGN Manta clog slides in khaki

Manta Clog Slides, £18, ASOS DESIGN – buy now

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