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AW19 trends: Feet first

Sandra Halliday
17 April 2019

Key footwear trends for AW19 see designers taking on retro influences and mixing the very practical with their never-quite-shaken-off fondness for the craziest of high heels.

But one thing’s clear, there’s plenty to appeal to the most varied tastes and also to continue making sales around some key on-going trends.

That means the chunky/ugly trainer trend isn’t going to fade any time soon with designer labels generating significant revenue from their trainer offer in recent seasons. Soles stay thick and the approach with pattern, colour and embellishment seems to be ‘the more the merrier’. That means intense colours, shine, textural effects and much more. Good taste is NOT on the agenda.

Also key for lovers of flats is the man-boot. Whether lace-up and semi-fitted or slightly wider as a slip-on, the key here is a heavy, cleated tread, usually in black, often contesting with the main body of the boots when they come in intense reds, yellows and pinks as they did on more than one runway.

Contrast is key too for the huge volume of slip-on boots that were seen this time. A relative of the more girly sock boot, these have trainer-type soles while their supply leather uppers and elasticated inserts are a perfect canvas for colour statements, logos and print detail.

Moving away from the trailer sole, a return to platforms as a star detail sees fitted ankle boots in matte plains or snake finishes with giant soles referencing the mad boots of the late 90s. Back then, they caused numerous accidents and even deaths as their wearers tripped, tumbled and found themselves unable to properly control their cars’ pedals. This time around, soles are slightly more practical at around two inches max so we must hope that the words ‘fashion casualty’ refer only to the wearer’s taste, not their medical status.

For those who like their shoes more traditionally feminine (and it’s debatable just how many of those there are in the age of the trainer), there was also lots of choice.

Most important was the true kitten heel, embraced by many labels in both slingback or pump form. Teamed with a pointed toe and also found on wider-cut ankle boots, this is a retro trend and is a great way to make a more delicate shoe in which women can actually walk.

Delicate ankle straps also made a comeback and were often combined with a higher vamp. It will be interesting to see whether this latter feature takes off. The hope is that it will as, again, it’s something we’ve not really seen since the 90s and would certainly receive the pressure on women’s feet (think bunion-inducing low vamps).

And for a full-on celebration of femininity, we can’t ignore the embellished shoe. It came with anklets or diamanté, allover gems, or loafer fringes in crystal, which should be huge for the party and occasionwear/bridal market.

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