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.
After 18 months of embracing comfort over anything else, I was curious about the upcoming trends for 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.
“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.”
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.
Without further ado, here are 8 footwear trends we’re about to see a lot more of.
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As seen at 3.1 Phillip Lim, Dior, Loewe, Cecilie Bhansen, Max Mara and more.
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.
Square Toe Loafers, £30, ASOS DESIGN – buy now
Crystal Embellished Loafers, £295, GANNI – buy now
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.
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.
Slingback Metallic Shoes, £49.99, Zara – buy now
Mirror Mary Jane Silver Shoes, £59.50, Oliver Bonas – buy now
Hudson London Sienna Boots, £150, Anthropologie – buy now
As seen at Balmain, Moschino, Yves Saint Laurent and more.
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.
Mori White Pump, £215, SANTE + WADE – buy now
Chain-Link Slingback Pumps, £55, Charles & Keith – buy now
Contrast Fabric Court Shoes, £100, Uterqüe – buy now
As seen at Balmain, Celine, Valentino, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, and more.
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.
Chunky Platform Leather Boots, £165, & Other Stories – buy now
Nanette Womens Hiker Boots, £325, Grenson – buy now
Chunky combat boots, £29.99, H&M – buy now
As seen at Giambattista Valli, Molly Goddard, Versace, Schiaparelli, Vivienne Westwood, Moschino and more.
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!
Strappy Platform Sandals, £29.99, Zara – buy now
Platform Heels, £35, Monki at Zalando – buy now
Babies Bulla Chunky-heel Pumps, £692, Nodaleto at Farfetch – buy now
As seen at Stella McCartney, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Ganni, Loewe and more.
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.
Rhys Chelsea Calf Boots, £95, Charles & Keith – buy now
Track Outsole Boots, £59.99, Mango – buy now
Calf Leather Mid Chelsea Boot, £345, GANNI – buy now
As seen at Prada, Longchamp, Vivienne Westwood, Etro, Fendi, Alberta Ferretti and more.
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
Beige Boots, £49.99, H&M – buy now
East Croco Brown Boots, £253, Alohas – buy now
As seen at Chanel, Chloé, Miu Miu, Fendi, Simone Rocha and more.
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.
Furry Platform Clogs, £65, Charles & Keith – buy now
Shearling Suede Flats, £179, L.K. Bennett – buy now
Manta Clog Slides, £18, ASOS DESIGN – buy now