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Buyer’s Guide: Fall ’18 Footwear Trend Report

A new season brings new ideas, opportunities and a flood of trends for buyers to pick through. VAMP has culled the top trends for buyers to know as they prepare for their Fall ’18 buys.


The classic Alpine boot cleans up nicely. Suede accents and unlined leathers add softness and movement to the traditionally rugged silhouette. Color blocked uppers and flexible soles speak to consumers that can’t break their athleisure habit. D-ring hardware and durable laces earn their keep, but we especially like how Emu Australia dressed up its Alpine with sleek hardware and pop color laces.

Alpine boots


These are not your typical beauty queen bows. This fall, brands are turning the girly flourish into sturdy, fuss-free embellishments. Suede and leather bows adds texture and depth to monochromatic styles. The treatment adds an elegant ruching effect to silhouettes like this suede mule from Vionic.



What could be new about two-tone footwear? To be honest, not much. However, the trend has escaped recent fall seasons, making it look fresh and modern for Fall ’18. The technique is a simple way for brands to update neutrals and core silhouettes, or add an instant splash of personality to basic white sneakers like these Lacoste kicks.


After a fury of colorful fur on footwear, there’s something comforting about classic natural shearling. Brands serve it up two ways: as a subtle detail on a traditional lace-up boot or teddy bear-like as the entire upper.

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The fiery statement color is sticking around. Red dominated fast fashion in 2017 and in reverse effect, footwear designers are now adopting the color into their repertoire.



Vamps are creeping up to create a silhouette that looks fresh and new both on the foot and the store shelf. Take the look a step further with retro ankle straps and heels, or a modern mix of prints like Butter’s floral over snake masterpiece.



There’s more to prints than florals. Abstract prints and repetitive patterns are a perfect seasonal update to season-less styles like slip-ons. The lace-free silhouette is an ideal canvas for imaginative designs like this layered style by Summit.


It’s time to for consumers to replace the snow and salt damaged tall boots they’ve worn for several years. While it’s unlikely women will buy multiple pairs of tall boots, retailers should be ready with a few updated classics. Nods to equestrian styling are always chic. The Timberland Boot Company adds an aggressive stacked heel for edge.


Autumnal mustard is a perfect balance between summer’s spirited yellow and holiday’s glamorous gold. On trend silhouettes, including the kitten heel and block heel, help modernize this retro color. Mustard looks cozy on wool constructions, but crushed velvet steals the spotlight by playing high and low contrasts.



A silhouette once saved for mothers of the bride, the kitten heel now looks youthful, fresh and on point with a pair of skinny jeans. Expect to see the heel combined with satin, crystals and other fanciful embellishments like this mesh construction from Nanette by Nanette Lepore. The look combines uptown elegance with downtown cool.



Sweater materials and cozy knits have a permanent place in fall and winter collections, but the newest direction in knit footwear takes style cues from the athletic category. Brands are finding ways to incorporate knit uppers while maintaining their DNA and speaking directly to the athleisure-minded consumer.


Small points of differentiation are the reasons why consumers purchase one brown or black shoe over another. This season, tonal textures like Cat’s boot with rickrack goring and Dansko’s interplay of matte and shiny surfaces, are just the right amount of details to turn a basic into a standout.



Footwear’s fondness for fur (faux and real) trim is hitting peak status. Exaggerated fur trims add a ski bunny-meets-punk princess vibe to cold weather boots like Sporto’s burgundy alpine boot. Meanwhile, slides and clogs with fur uppers offer indoor/outdoor options.


Hardware and boots go hand in hand. This season sees the buckle play a larger role as a functional and decorative element. Expect to see buckles on monk strap boots, crisscrossed on Western-inspired booties and belted on tall boots. Women’s fashion, meanwhile, uses buckle-inspired ornamentation to decorate pumps and sandals.



The new metallic is soft, creamy and colorful. Expect to see brands add just a hint of luster and iridescence to everyday styles like sneakers and boots. The result is a modern version of Space Age fashion.


Who saw this punchy color on the radar for Fall ’18? We didn’t, but we like what we see. Orange brings a work and outdoor element to men’s boots and sneaker boots. For women, the citrus hue brings a welcomed reprieve from the endless variations of millennial pink.


Floral, bird and butterfly embroideries aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. However, Fall ’18 sees a greater influence from Asia and attention to color. Instead of dark bases, brands adding embroidery and appliqués to rich jewel tone colors like cobalt blue and Kelly green. Satin, velvet and even menswear inspired fabrication keep the look inventive.


Basic block heels are saturating the women’s market, so brands are taking their designs one step further with decorative heels. Expect to see block heel booties, mules and pumps spruced up with metallic trims, contrasting stitching and studs. Butter’s unique take on the statement heel proves that monochromatic designs can be unforgettable.



Call it the Allbirds effect. Consumers are gravitating toward wool uppers and brands across the board are responding with wool styles of their own—even leather-heavy brands like Timberland. The cozy material can be found on booties, sneakers, slides, indoor/outdoor footwear and on elegant lace-up boots.



Inspired by the runway, western booties take on a more colorful and opulent appearance than past iterations. Embroidered details break out of the typical western mold and colors are joyful and bright. Here’s a trend where retailers and brands can offer an element of fun without glitter or fur.


Glitter footwear and the Kira Kira app are a match made in social media heaven. Expect to see more glitter and rhinestone uppers with excessive ornamentation for Fall ’18, as women’s fashion shoe brands continue to chase the sparkly look of Saint Laurent’s insta-famous $10,000 Swarovski crystal boots.


Fall and winter brings out women’s fondness for menswear-inspired footwear and fabrications. This year, look for oxfords and brogues to get a slick makeover with glossy patents, pointed toes and silver uppers. Meanwhile, suiting fabrications like Price of Wales checks and classic black and white houndstooth check add a sharp twist to ultra-feminine kitten heels and d’Orsay silhouettes.


This muted shade of green has prowled around for several fall seasons and returns in a big way for Fall ’18. Olive green, along with deeper shades of forest green, update winter staples like duck boots, shearling boots and casual men’s sneaker boots.



We expect Fall ’18 to be the last run of pearl embellished footwear. And as the curtain begins to close, let’s not forget what pearls look best on—dress and special occasion footwear—like these brocade heels by Something Bleu.



Expect to see fewer holiday velvet looks, i.e. black and burgundy, and more novelty constructions. Quilting, fringe and prints help the lush fabrication remain relevant for another fall season.



White boots were an unexpected success for Fall ’17 and brands are hoping to continue that winning streak with more minimalist designs. Leather covered heels and puffy collars keep the look clean and simple, while hints of natural wood and gold hardware add a luxury feeling.