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Depending on where you live, winter could be a season filled with blistering snowstorms and caustic 60 mile-per-hour winds — or it could be a temperate, mild few months where the weather hovers around 50 degrees. No matter what sort of season you’re prepping for, there’s a good chance you’re starting with your boots.
The good news is that some of 2021’s winter boot trends were made for harsh weather: The lug-sole trend we’ve seen for the last few seasons has ventured even further into hiking boot territory. But this season’s hiking-adjacent footwear isn’t just functional — many styles also feature fashion-forward details like contrast stitching, color-blocking and elastic insets for a comfortable fit. Platform boots are also fairly weather-friendly depending on the style. Brands like Simon Miller, Nodaleto and Valentino were all ahead of the heightening look.
Other trends aren’t as blizzard-ready, like the resurgence of the stiletto heel. After four straight years of chunky, bulky heels trending for everything from sneakers to mules, the thinner, sleeker stiletto has made a comeback on boots of all heights. Still, there’s something refreshing about the return of a more slender silhouette.
Below, see the top five winter 2021 boot trends to get ahead of now, plus my favorite shopping picks to get the look.
This winter brings on a whole slew of trends — and not just because it’s a new season. After 18 straight months of sweatpants, sneakers, and other work-from-home loungewear, we’re all craving a little elegance. And what’s more elegant than the stiletto?
While the chunky heel will never go away, this season, a second-skin, knee-high boot is especially on the rise — and it’s sexier than ever. You can go the traditional pole-thin stiletto route or, if you crave a little more stability, choose a style with an illusion stiletto, which appears paper-thin from the side, but stretches across the entire back of the heel. Wear yours with a mini skirt while you can — and later, layer them with a billowy, flowing midi dress.
Mango High Heel Leather Boot, $249.99
Zara Stretch Fabric Ankle Boots, $69.90
Schutz Mariana Boot, $238
The lowly hiking boot enjoyed a rebrand in recent years, and this season, it’s even more fashionable than ever. While some iterations stick to the functional silhouette’s lace-up closure and lug sole, others go outside the box of practicality with fun details like color-blocking.
Alohas Can Can Boot, $170
Leather Boots with Tall Leg, $199.99
Staud Bow Boot, $450
The knee-high boot is a perennial favorite for myriad reasons, but chief among them is this: It can make any basic outfit feel, well, instantly less basic. Whether you opt for a skin-tight fit or prefer something looser around the calf, the right knee-high boot can elevate a Canadian tuxedo, polish a traditional suiting look or even make a blah skirt sing.
Ulla Johnson Jett Printed Calf-Hair Boot, $418 (Orig. $930)
Made popular by brands like Nodaleto and Simon Miller, the platform boot is the natural evolution of the corresponding ‘90s trend that we’ve seen in recent summers: the platform mule. Some veer more practical, like LAST’s hiking-inspired platform Chelsea boot, while others lean into the nostalgia of decades past with a groovy, Studio 54-inspired double platform heel.
LAST Trail Chelsea Boots, $300
Sure, technically speaking, oxfords aren’t boots. But the chunkier, lug-sole styles hitting the market this season certainly serve the same purpose. Style them with calf-high socks and a pleated skirt for a fun fall look now, and swap out the skirt for trousers or cuffed jeans when winter hits. (Maybe don’t throw these on for a snow day.)
Mango Track Sole Leather Shoes, $129.99
Marc Fisher Dorin Lug-Sole Oxford, $99.99 (Orig. $170)
Prada Monolith Derby, $995
If you enjoyed this story, check out the 7 fall trends Lauren Caruso is already wearing!
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