Every year, with the coming of winter, my shoe collection dwindles significantly. You know that summer’s officially over when the sartorial baton is passed to the winter boot, and all the delightful, flimsy flats and sandals are unceremoniously cast into forced hibernation for six months. From here on out, warmth, comfort and endurance are as important as style. Winter shoes were made for walking, through rain and snow, and for running—to escape said rain and snow. Unfortunate though it may be, no longer will my battered flip-flops—worn to death and then left to perish in a corner somewhere in California—make the cut. It’s time for a more practical approach. Immediate reaction? Yuck.
Now, I firmly believe that no-one—be they a categorical “shoe person”or nay—can deny the pure, materialistic bliss of a beautiful new pair of shoesies. Footwear is fashion’s bastion of form and function, brains and beauty, and none more so than winter footwear. So yes, yes, get excited: good winter shoes are nothing short of a triumph. Done right, they are exciting and fabulous (as well as warm, durable, and so on). Get it wrong, and you’re condemning your wardrobe to six months of hell.
But glad tidings we bring! Every season, there are enough winter-friendly shoes that walk the catwalk for us mortals to have a solid pick. So I wanted to create a decent overview of stylish footwear that will (literally) go the distance this winter.
Now, I’m a girlie girl at the best of times, but a robust pair of big, black biker boots are my personal winter staple. They’re durable – they’ll last through all the long, muddy winter walks and trudge with me to work and back in the snow – but they’re also modestly stylish, adding an unexpected edge to my outfits. These JCrew and Topshop pairs are reasonably priced, and classically cool; I’ll be pairing them with sweet, girly outfits for a fun juxtaposition, but they’re also perfect with a classic pair of skinny jeans and your favorite jacket.
Well, duh. Of course these made the cut. They’re classic. But take heed: don’t just throw on the first pair of leggings and oversized Alma Mater sweater you can find … a really great pair of knee-high boots are worth so much more than that. Take your cue, instead, from the glorious plethora of sixties looks on the catwalks this season, or give a delightfully ladylike pair of long boots a a tomboyish twist with some of the military influences a la Daks and Balmain. Worn with leggings, tights or skinny jeans, they’re an elegant finish to your favorite outfit. Go for a rich, dark brown or a black leather boot, with a sleeker silhouette, for a more grown-up spin on this winter staple; we love this pleasantly affordable pair.
If you’re after something that toes the line between edgy and chic, look no further than a short-but-sweet Chelsea boot. Invest in a high-quality leather (or non-animal alternative) for a style that’ll last all winter; Samsoe and Diesel have some to-die-for styles if you’ve got a bit of cash to splash, but otherwise Gap and Topshop have some great, lower-budget kicks. These wear well with any outfit, giving a stylish dimension to the classic skinny jeans and parka, or an fun twist on a floral dress. Our favorite look? Give a chic miniskirt-and-Breton-top combo a winter outing with thick tights and cute little boots.
Under no circumstances would I advise you to step out of the house in some of the shoes that made it to the A/W 2014 catwalks. For a runway show, it’s all gravy, but for (relative) sartorial plebeians such as ourselves? Best to leave the Miu Miu neon-rainboot-heels to the models. Sorry, guys.
I would also beg of you to be a sensible adult and not start geeking out over the current (ish) New Balance fad. Athletic wear is not stylish. Maybe all these quirky Tumblr-ites believe it to be so … but just imagine how much better your cute oversize sweater and leggings combo would be with, for example, a beautiful pair of leather ankle boots or unexpected, colorful flats. And then weep.
What are your favorite footwear choices for fall/winter? Tweet us @litdarling!
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