Boots are the most important pair of shoes you own. They can be as comfortable as a pair of sneakers, as elegant as your go-to stilettos, and as durable as galoshes. They also happen to be the kind of wardrobe staple you build entire outfits around — the boots make the outfit, never the other way around. So, with fall here in all of it's crisp, golden glory, it's time to consider what are the fall 2020 boot trends worth putting at the top of your shopping list this season — and why.
Shopping for shoes may not have been a priority over the last year, but after six months of a shopping hiatus, it's time to thoughtfully reconsider what role you want your shoes to play. According to the founders and designers of major brands like BY FAR and Nodaleto, customers are seeking out styles that are timeless, comfortable, or joyful — perhaps even all at once. This means that for fall 2020, the biggest boot trends are all about allowing you to hone in on what you need most. If you're currently hoping to invest in a practical style you can get more mileage out of, look to Simon Miller or Tamara Mellon. If you're trying to spark a little bit of joy in getting dressed, try Miista or Brother Vellies. Below, find the trends nine of the coolest footwear designers are focused on right now, to help you get back into your sure-footed fall groove.
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Fall 2020 Boot Trends: Paris Texas
"I always start designing a collection with color and during lockdown I was surrounded by nature so I ended up incorporating a lot of natural colors, including forest green, into our Fall/Winter 2020 collection," explains Anna Brivo, founder of Paris Texas — calling out her label's Mama boot in natural snakeskin as a personal favorite this season.
Though many shoppers have began to rethink their closets as they adjust to a new normal, Brivo says that for Paris Texas' fans, there is still a demand for dressier footwear. "Despite the fact that people are thinking more before buying and want to wear more 'daytime' clothing, Paris Texas is an emotional purchase and it's very interesting to see that the stiletto boot is still our most popular style." Her go to styling trick: tucking denim into the boots and finishing with a t-shirt and blazer.
Fall 2020 Boot Trends: Wandler
"I started with a lot of square shapes," Elza Wandler says of first launching shoes last year for her brand Wandler. "I felt it was time to transition toward new designs and introduce the round-toe silhouettes to the collection while keeping the design abstract." While likely best known for the label's two-tone Isa boot, a street style favorite, her forthcoming fall collection is designed with a more classic bent. "At Wandler, we aim to create timeless designs," she explains. "[We] feel that our customers nowadays are looking for investment pieces instead of fast trends."
Wandler suggests shopping for a pair you can take in any direction — from casual to dressy. "Personally, I'm obsessed with a soft silk skirt, a wool sweater, and high patent shiny boots," she explains. "I love the contrast of materials."
Fall 2020 Boot Trends: Brother Vellies
For Fall 2020 Brother Vellies is looking to the past, harnessing nostalgia for its of-the-moment trend. "This year we introduced our favorite Fall boot, the Lauryn, inspired by the iconic Lauryn Hill," explains founder Aurora James. "The album, 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,' was incredibly formative for me. A gift that guided me through some tough years in my adolescence and this boot is my teeny token of appreciation to Miss Lauryn for that." The style, a sock boot with a square toe, has a '90s feel best styled with high-waisted mom jeans or your favorite vintage pieces.
Fall 2020 Boot Trends: Miista
This fall, Laura Villasenin, Miista's founder and designer was all about the little details, debuting concave toes and reflex-angle flared heels in addition to bright colors as part of the latest collection. "Our Fall/Winter 2020 season, named Club 57, is a celebration of how collaboration and community are vital ingredients to authentic individuality and freedom, with designs unconfined by normality, trend or gender," she explains, adding that Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, and Tom Rubnitz were sources of inspiration.
With such a bold collection for this fall, Villasenin says that the best way to style the boots is by letting them be the focal point of your entire outfit. "If you pair it with simple bootleg denim and a crisp white shirt, the eyes will be drawn to detail such as a sculpted heel or a spatula front."
Fall 2020 Boot Trends: BY FAR
For celeb-loved label BY FAR, the go-to trend for fall is the tall silhouette, also seen across the Fall/Winter 2020 runways. "Definitely the knee-high boot!," says Valentina Ignatova the CMO and Co-founder of BY FAR. "If you want to look particularly forward in 2020, you should get yourself a pair of mid-calf or knee-high boots."
Ignatova explains that part of the brand's DNA is exploring nostalgia in a fresh way. "What evokes more vintage charm than a retro cowboy boot, glove boot, or the essential 1970s-inspired suede boot?," she notes. To play into the throwback appeal, she suggests pairing the boots with a midi dress or to tuck wide trousers inside.
Fall 2020 Boot Trends: Nodaleto
For Julia Toledano, founder of cult-favorite shoe brand Nodaleto, this season is about the sleek styling of a patent black square-toe shoe. "It was a continuity for me," she tells TZR. "I've worked with proportions since the very first model and I like to minimize and maximize." The brand is perhaps best known for their Bulla boots — a platform style with a sculptural heel — a combination that is both unique and universal. "With Nodaleto we have tried since the beginning to create timeless products, so I hope my customers will continue to have pleasure buying and wearing my design. Not only for a season but for many."
Fall 2020 Boot Trends: Alexandre Birman, Schutz
"Tractor soles have been a part of our identity and brand DNA since the late '90s and we believe the functionality comfort of these styles will continue to resonate with clients this season," explains Alexandre Birman, Schutz' founder of this fall's chunky sole. "I love the MOLY the most, it's a lace-up-to-the-knee combat boot, because it makes a woman feel powerful and confidant. MOLY isn’t a style that would traditionally come to mind when thinking of Schutz brand DNA [which is traditionally] feminine and sexy, but we are forever evolving and chasing new opportunities."
As for styling, you can lean into the edgy platform soles and pair with a leather jacket, or try playing with contrasts and wear the boots with a silky skirt or slip dress.
Fall 2020 Boot Trends: Tamara Mellon
This fall, Tamara Mellon wanted to take a practical-yet-fashionable approach to the season's trendiest boots. "I was drawn to rubber sole boots for their function and comfort," she tells TZR. "The Clash are easy to wear and my go-to everyday boots."
Mellon adds that during the pandemic, she's found that customers are seeking out items that offer two things: function and joy. While footwear needs to be comfortable, being able to style them in fun ways has also become a draw for fans of the brand. She says, "we’ve been hearing from our customers that it makes them happy to own these boots and they look forward to wearing them."
Fall 2020 Boot Trends: Simon Miller
"It’s all about Chelsea boots this year," explains Chelsea Hansford, Simon Miller's CEO and Creative Director. For fall, the brand's key style is The Scrambler, a lug sole style that comes in red, black croc, and toffee. "I was drawn to this trend for the same reason I’m obsessed with our Blackout platforms; they give you height without discomfort AND they give you that cool edge that heels cannot."
Hansford adds that during the pandemic, she's seen more fans of the brand coming to them directly instead of finding them through a department store — engaging with the brand in an entirely new way and looking to them for head to toe styling ideas. For the coming months, she suggests trying the boots with their classic rib Cyrene Pants and an oversized tee. "The beauty about this boot is that it can be thrown on with just about anything, no matter how feminine, and still give you that bold edge!"