It’s September, which can only mean one thing – I’m having a major shoe panic. Having put on my beloved Swedish Hasbeens clogs back in May, I have breezed through the summer safe in the knowledge that this one pair of shoes is not only comfortable, but will go with every single outfit I care to put on in the morning. Jeans – yep. Midi dress – yep. Fancy skirt – yep. I even wore them to a wedding. But alas they have one fatal flaw: not waterproof. So, retired they must be in favour of something that won’t give me trench foot every time it rains. My only problem? I have no idea what that it.
“How do these look?” I asked my boyfriend, walking into the living room in last year’s Chelsea boots. “Fine,” he replied, giving a lightning-fast glance in my general direction. “Do they make me look like I’ve got pigs trotters? They feel pig trottery to me. Y’know – stumpy. Ben? Ben?” I tugged them off, surveyed my other options (1,000 pairs of white trainers, various slip-ons and one pair of ankle boots with a wobbly heel), put my clogs back on and readied myself for a soggy walk to the station. Help!
“I just want comfortable, waterproof shoes with a back!” wailed senior ed Marisa, squelching over to my desk in a pair of sodden leopard-print moccasins that were giving her “the chills”. Chiming in with my own footwear meltdown, she was sick of slides, done with sandals and bored of white plimsolls that got mucky at the mere whiff of a puddle. “Franks, please tell me what to buy.”
Oh, hell, looks like I’m up. Nobody panic.
Of course, with the turn of the season comes a deluge of new shoe styles in which to get involved. From shiny patent boots to bejewelled Mary Janes to anything red, there’s a whole new world of footwear out there to plunder. The question is, where do we start? Let’s have a look at the options.
The statement ankle boots
From YSL’s £6K “disco boot” to the unlikely sounding (but actually quite doable) sock boot, ankle boots have gone über this autumn. Anything patent is a big tick in terms of both style-factor and splash-factor (try & Other Stories' tortoiseshell boots, £125), while anything red (this season’s key colour) is a nice alternative to black and looks great with denim. Sock boots are brilliant at going under cropped, wide-leg trousers as well as a midi dress – have a look at Zara’s floral low-heeled boots (£39.99).
The over-the-knee option
Feeling like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman? You’re in luck– over-the-knee and thigh-high boots are going to be big news over the next few months, after appearing on the catwalk at Céline, Isabel Marant and Marc Jacobs. Terrifying, I know, but a slouchy pair under a midi skirt and over a pair of tights is not only insulating, but very Victoria Beckham A/W17 – aka chic as heck.
The block-heeled court shoes
Say the words “court shoe” and what do you think? Naff workwear? K-Middy in a beige LK Bennett? Me, too. However, court shoes are having a real fashion moment – trust me. Block heel and with an almond or squoval (square/oval) toe, the look is more ballet pump on stilts than 80s power dressing. Next has a pale pink pair which come in at a very reasonable £34, while COS’ orange suede pair are a slightly less reasonable £125, but are completely lovely. Don’t wear with socks, do wear with tights and do use suede protector.
The tough-nut boots
Perhaps the most practical of all the options, flat biker boots are having quite the autumn revival, thanks to Louis Vuitton, Alexander Wang and McQueen, to name but a few. These are perfect for when the weather is truly dire and the thought of wearing anything less than four pairs of socks and a fleece is too disgusting to contemplate. Buckles and studs are a goer (try Topshop and Mango) as is anything that looks a bit like you’re off for a hike (try M&S’ lace-front boots £69). Clompy boots mean straight-/slim-cut trousers (anything wide or flared looks odd) or tights/thick socks and dresses à la Keira Knightley The Edge Of Love, the Welsh years.
The non-white trainers
We can’t talk shoes without discussing trainers. While fashion’s trainer moment has well and truly peaked, the rest of us have been introduced to a world of comfort that cannot be reversed. The issue with white trainers (as much as I love them) is that they get well and truly filthy, especially in the rain. And while there are some excellent tips for cleaning them up, I’d like to make the case for trainers that won’t show the splashes. Jigsaw’s black leather pair are both wipe clean and fabulously sleek, while Air and Grace’s come pre-splattered so won’t show muck. Wear with whatever you want – that’s the beauty of trainers.
The embellished shoes
Not the most hardy, but nevertheless fabulous, embellished shoes are something that we will be hearing a lot more about as we head deeper into the season. Sparkles, feathers, pearls – if you can stick it on a pair of shoes, it’s happy days. Spot-on for party season (keep an eye out for M&S’ homage to Carrie Bradshaw’s crystal Manolos coming soon), the way to do it now is with embroidery. Think tapestry cushion cover and you’re on the right track. Great for adding razz to an otherwise snoozy outfit, I’d chuck on Boden’s flats with my jeans and a navy jumper, or black trousers and a shirt. Socks required? Check out & Other Stories’ star embellished ankle boots.