Don’t Settle For Boring Shoes This Fall

Instead, try this wild trend.

by Kendall Becker
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 15: Fashion blogger Pornwika wears a yellow oversized jacket, an orange b...

Most trends come and go in a flash, but animal print is one that manages to stick around, only slightly changing from season to season. It’s been a favorite of trendsetters for decades, from Debbie Harry of Blondie to today’s street-style starlets like Pernille Teisbaek and Lisa Aiken. The most modern way to pull the look off is with the subtle addition of animal print shoes. Whether it’s 2021’s Western-inspired cow-print clogs or chic crocodile-embossed boots, choosing standout footwear is an easy way to make your outfit pop without appearing overly trendy.

If you still relate the trend to the cheetah-laden look of the ‘00s party girl, just know that modern takes are more forwardly sophisticated. Hallie Spradlin, Director of Accessories and Visionary at trend forecasting firm Fashion Snoops, shares that today you should consider animal print a neutral, “for its versatility and ability to be matched and paired with almost any color.” The most popular prints like cow, zebra, and snake are subtle enough to style with denim or a long black dress depending on your sensibility.

Spradlin adds that right now, “the most important animal print is the cow print that we’ve seen emerge in a huge way. ” In addition to cow print, she highlights “the return of the tiger or zebra stripe” as another strong option that’s been a footwear favorite on major runways like KHAITE and Tom Ford. But, no matter which take on the trend you choose, opt for silhouettes that are sleek, modern, and sophisticated to steer your look away from coming off as too camp. As you start writing up your fall shopping list, take note of the best animal print footwear options below.

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Cow Print

In a nod to the Western spirit, cow print is the newest hide that’s capturing attention this fall. Take a literal approach by opting for a cowboy boot in a brown and white iteration, or grab the style in a heel for a dressier option that you could wear with a colorful minidress or jeans and a tee without feeling too costume-y. For the most of-the-moment take, try a clog (it’s Fall’s must-try shoe silhouette).

Chic Crocodile

While an embossed crocodile texture isn’t technically a print, the standout design puts it into the animal-inspired footwear options for this fall. For 2021, the look is popping up in everything from knee-high boots to luxe loafers. It’s the perfect option for a subtler approach to the animal print footwear trend as faux crocodile lends itself well to rich, neutral shades that pair back to any look — especially if you’re nailing down your back-to-work vibe.

Neutral Zebra

Zebra stripes have officially received an elevated makeover, taking them from print-of-the-past to modern must-have. The key? Choose a pair with soft, abstract swirls that appear more natural than the harshly jagged lines from decades past. While you want to avoid anything too colorful, try classic combos like black and white and tonal browns.

Cool and Colorized

If you’re looking to turn your look up a notch, saturated animal print is for you. Whether you’re punctuating a neutral outfit with a pop of color, or going full glam for a night out, an animal print shoe outside of its classic coloration adds an undeniable cool factor.

Sophisticated Snakeskin

Snakeskin should be treated as a neutral, as it’s the easiest of the animal prints to incorporate into your look and easily adds a sophisticated spin to everyday staples. Whether you tend to wear warm or cool colors, opt for an undertone that best adheres to your style and seamlessly fits in with the rest of your wardrobe.