Every year, fall usher’s in a host of new boot trends that range from timeless to trendy. We never tire of fantastical versions that come down the runways each season (last year’s craze over Saint Laurent’s glittering crystal boots still has us reeling), but there are obvious silhouettes we consider first, for practicality’s sake. Black ankle boots, a flat Chelsea silhouette, a weather-proof combat style, and so forth.
While we’re all for pragmatic footwear, we can’t help but crave—no, need!—a fashion-forward boot in the mix, and lo and behold, there’s a new trend this season that can do both: kitten heel ankle boots.
Low-to-the-ground heels have been trending for several seasons now (a welcome change of pace from sky-high stilettos) with designers like Altuzarra, Gianvito Rossi and 3.1 Phillip Lim showing gorgeous boot variations in their fall and winter collections. Decidedly modest in silhouette, this style of ankle boot can pack major punch whether you go for a sleek white version á la The Row, Victorian-inspired or animal printed—we saw standout versions in Aquazurra and Rejina Pyo’s collections. “This is obviously an extension of the ’80s trend that, when separated from shoulder pads and patent leather, becomes surprisingly versatile to wear,” says Rachael Wang, stylist and brand consultant.
Whether you’re drawn to edgy iterations or tend towards clean and classic styles, Wang says kitten heel ankle boots work with everything from wide-leg, floor-skimming trousers and skinny, ankle-grazing jeans to modest midi-length dresses and miniskirts. “They add an instant edge to mostly any outfit and, best of all, the low height keeps them sensible for those who generally hate to wear heels.”
For those who are high-heel diehards, kitten heights can be less than appealing, but don’t knock ‘em. Brooke Fisher, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of women’s contemporary at Bergdorf Goodman is very much for lower heels, even on petite frames. “I’m 5’2 and could use all the added height I can get, but I have to say that sky-high heels are not the most practical for my endless market days. Not only is the kitten-heel boot practical and timeless, it is extremely chic and sexy!” As for how to pull off a lower-heeled silhouette, Fisher recommends a sleek style with black skinny jeans and a blazer. “Keep the look minimal to highlight the shoe.”
So, if you’re looking to spend on a new pair of wear-with-everything boots this season, kitten-heel ankle boots are undoubtedly a stellar pick. Ahead, we’ve culled an edit of 20 styles to please a range of tastes, from minimal to statement-making. Hop on the comfort train for fall—your feet will thank you.
White boots are here to stay. Wear this insanely affordable pair all season long.
Obviously, a versatile black pair is a must.
No one will know these cost less than $100.
Victorian-inspired, rock these lace-up booties with a sweeping prairie dress with puffy sleeves.
With a touch of Western influence, this berry-colored pair is the perfect hue for fall.
Slouchy boots á la the '80s are major with everything from midi skirts to trousers.
If you’re not wearing leopard print this season, you’re not really living.
These tawny-colored boots will pop against bright shades like turquoise and orange.
A squared heel gives this black pair a bit of edge.
Give the Western trend a try in fiery red leather.
Bubblegum pink, but make it fashion.
How delicious is this rich chocolatey brown?
The animal print trend isn’t exclusive to leopard. Snakeskin is another major player that’s just as versatile.
A bolder take on snake, this pop of red will enliven every look from denim to dresses.
An optic white take on the lace-up trend.
With sheer, printed socks, this woven pair makes a statement. They're the perfect transition piece for fall.
For an opulent effect, this metallic weave is the way to go.
The red boot trend is continuing from last fall—this slick silhouette perfectly tempers the bold hue.
Really go for it in mirrored silver leather.
Um, does it get more pristine?