Boot Season Is Here! Trend Forecasters Share Fall’s Must-Have Styles

See ya later, sandals.

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Ready or not, fall has arrived — so why not embrace it with gusto? Step one, of course, is pulling your chunky knits and ultra-cozy coats out of storage in preparation for sweater weather. Then it’s time to focus on footwear. And this season, as trend forecaster Jessica Richards explains, fall 2022’s boot trends are particularly worth your attention, as they’re immensely versatile and chockfull of symbolism. “Boots will be an incredibly important category for fall’s footwear as we continue to see the market penetrated through three major ideas: comfort, decoration, and presence,” she explained to TZR over email in August. “As a result, the features and functions of the season’s shoes will, in some way, imply a connection back to those tenets.”

As Richards predicted then, stompers of the rubberized, waterproof, and comfortable varieties have graced us with fashion-forward silhouettes and constructions. Some have an unconventional elements that add a unique wow-factor: think all-over details, textural elements, bold color palettes, and novelty heel shapes.

Furthermore, Richards added that this season’s boot trends reflect the United States’ recent socio-political tumult: “Considering the very serious issues of the current climate ... we’ll see that formidable details — and on the corollary of those same issues, super feminine ones — will exude the emotions of the season,” she says. In this sense, the skin-tight boots that arrived on the runways in February can be worn as a show of “explicit sensuality,” while female-inspired pieces take on traditionally masculine aesthetics. (Think girlish biker grunge and the unbounded spirit of a free-range cowgirl.

Ahead, you’ll find more insight from Richards as well as two other experts who shed light on the standout styles poised to dominate this autumn. Start saying goodbye to your flip-flops and summer sandals — boot season has arrived.

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Take To The Great Outdoors

Come fall, Jane Kellock, founder of London-based trend forecasting agency Unique Style Platform, expects to see “fashion wellies and rubber molded rainboots.” She invites you to “note the Crocs x Balenciaga collaboration, the continued influence of Bottega Veneta’s Puddle Boots, and Chanel and Dior’s wellington profiles.”

Lindsey Smecker, Principal at ESP Trendlab, a New York City-based trend forecasting and consulting agency, echoes Kellock, saying rubber rain boots are “trending in both tall and short styles and with fun pops of color in matte finishes.” Additionally, Smecker adds that water-resistant wellies aren’t the only nature-proof boot trend for fall; “The evolution of gorpcore into footwear and an overall shift to active, outdoor lifestyles makes hiking boots the perfect functional fashion statement.” To her, “the hiking boot is the perfect crossover from sneakers for cold weather months and looks best in earthy tones.”

Extreme Heights

Richards expects platform shoes, a style that symbolizes escapism and female empowerment, to be especially prevalent. “Platforms only become more important through the fall 2022 season for what this type of silhouette suggests: power, presence, unintimidatability. The fearlessness that’s embodied by this kind of expanded physical prowess feels representative of the energy that so many of us want to feel right now,” she explains.

Downright Skin-ful

An effect of fashion’s ongoing “Skin is in!” attitude, you can expect daring, sultry, and formfitting boots to be highly sought-after in the coming season. “To express presence, designs will include sleek and sultry materials in thigh-high shafts: patent leathers and tight knits — even spandex — in sexy silhouettes,” Richards explains.

Kellock concurs, citing the “pull-on stretch semi-sheer heeled sock boots in lurex & diamanté from Fendi and Saint Laurent and the thigh-high sock boots from Givenchy’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection” for being influential of the trend. “There’s also the continued influence of Balenciaga’s Pantaboot — the sky-high pants-slash-boots are ultra fitted and expected to continue as commercial versions,” says the trend analyst. “See also Rihanna, who recently debuted the Adidas X Balenciaga collaboration of these now infamous boots-come-leggings.”

Biker Babe

“Inspired by the biker fashion trend and the Indie Sleaze aesthetic, motocross-looking boots with zips and hardware are a key focus for fall 2022,” describes Kellock. She invites you to look to Balenciaga’s boot version of its Le Cagole handbag, which “is everywhere at the moment,” and Miu Miu’s harnessed biker boots that debuted during its Fall/Winter 2022 presentation. “[The biker-inspired boot trend] also taps into the current obsession with all things Y2K style,” says Kellock, referencing the epoch where studs, buckles, and hardware were popular adornments.

Know Your Angles

Forget your age-old and go-to styles — this fall season invites you to explore newfound, perhaps irregular shapes and angles. To start, Smecker says, “the square-toe silhouette is a trend-forward upgrade to your classic black boots.” Similarly, but maybe more appealing to unconventional dressers, is the “new mid-heeled, snub-toe ankle boot, a rounded square-toe shape,” which Kellock shouts out as a soon-to-be seasonal standout. The Unique Style Platform founder adds that “new heel shapes like the angled heel or wedge inspired by those in Prada’s Fall/Winter 2022 show” are also gaining trending momentum and worth test driving.

Plush To The Touch

“Move over puffer coats — padded puffer boots are the new cozy trend this fall/winter season,” says Smecker. “You will even see Moon Boots coming back to match the nostalgic, après ski aesthetic,” she adds, referencing the oversized retro boots already vetted by celebs like Tracee Ellis Ross, Dua Lipa, and Hailey Bieber.

Kellock echoes Smecker on quilted, snow-proof boots, inviting you to look to the seasonal showings from Balmain and Loewe for proof the style will be a breakout fall trend. Along the same vein of plushy footwear, Kellock also adds she expects “the short Ugg boot to be a key piece worn by influencers and models off duty such as Kaia Gerber” and Kendall Jenner come autumn.

Cool Cowgirl

ICYMI: You’re witnessing the high-fashion rebrand of the Horse Girl, and one of its most notable effects is a piqued interest in any and all things equestrian-related — including, of course, cowboy boots. For fall, Kellock says that “the new western-inspired boots are now longer — look to the knee-length styles at Chanel [Fall 2022 Couture] and Chloe [Fall 2022] for inspiration.” Smecker, on the other hand, shouts out more maximal takes on the iconic staple shoe of the wild, wild west, saying, “cowboy boots transition to a space cowgirl aesthetic, with more playful color usage and metallics.”

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