31 August 2021 (updated)

Shoe Style: Fall Trends and Great Looks

There are few accessories as versatile as a great pair of shoes. No matter what your preferred shoe style might be, whether you prefer comfortable sneakers or striking stilettos, here are some great options to wear this fall.

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Shoe Style Variety

Great shoes probably work harder than any of our other clothes. We could pound the pavement with our running shoes, hit the boardroom with some fantastic Italian leather pumps, and ease into the evening with cozy slippers. For the most part, our shoe size doesn’t really fluctuate. So even if our waistlines expand, our favorite shoes will always fit!

As much as we love this essential accessory, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the options. So we’ve scoured the area for some stylish shoes that take us from the summer to fall. Here are some fall shoe trends, shoe style favorites, and favorite places for shoe shopping.

Photo Credit: Erin Heffelfinger @style_erin

Fall Shoe Style and Trends

To get an expert opinion on fall shoes for 2021, we asked Erin Heffelfinger aka Style Erin about her favorite trends for fall footwear this year. "I’m not sure what I’m more excited about this Fall," she says, "lug sole boots, standout sneakers, quirky clogs, or fuzzy, street-worthy slippers. Whatever I choose, my feet will surely be happy!"

"Shoes are like icing on a cake!" says Erin. "They pull an outfit together and add that extra oomph to any ensemble." We wholeheartedly agree, and the ladies below have all chosen some timeless looks for their footwear to take them from summer to fall.

Fall Sandal Shoe Style

Photo Credit: @audreyleishman

While you might think sandals are just for spring, but Audrey’s colorful style could brighten up any season. Her orange Tory Burch sandals perfectly complement her floral dress, which is one of the big trends this fall. Her adorable daughter, Eva, has great floral style, too. And what better place to embrace bright colors and good vibes than Aloha Snacks?!

Style Takeaways:

  • Embrace colorful footwear! Orange is one of the trending colors this fall and it brightens up the rest of the outfit. These shoes would also look great as a fun pop of color on an otherwise neutral look.
  • You’re never too young to wear cute clothes. Eva looks just as gorgeous as her mom in her hibiscus outfit and bow, not to mention her adorable sandals!

Workwear Wedges

Liz has done a fabulous job. She is elongating her legs and completing her outfit with her wedge shoe style. Her floral jumpsuit would be a great spring or summer look as well. But layering a blazer over the rest makes this the perfect transitional outfit for fall.

Wedges are a fabulous versatile shoe to wear with parachute pants, a skirt, or pretty much any textile. You could even wear them as dancing shoes if you want the look of stilettos, but a slightly more comfortable option!

Style Takeaway: 

  • Embrace layers! Especially during an unseasonably warm fall, adding layers to your look, from jewelry to your outfit, pull it together, and allow you to adjust when it’s warm or cool.

Stylish Sneakers

Sneakers, like Kelly’s gorgeous rose gold sports shoes, combine form and function. They’re so cute with her denim shorts, but she could just as easily wear them with jeans or any other pants. It can be difficult to find a good transitional shoe that combines comfort and style. But these Superga shoes definitely fit that description. Added bonus: she can wear them year-round.

Style Takeaway:

  • Embrace classic style. Even though Kelly’s jeans and tee-shirt are a tried-and-true style, her shoes add just the right amount of oomph to her outfit.

High-Quality Boots

Photo Credit: @shannoncollinsphoto 

This outfit is so great because of the way Heather’s fantastic jewelry complements her simple and gorgeous Frankford boots from her company, Rooted Soles. These handmade leather boots are perfect from sole to toe in her casual, yet beautifully styled outfit. You could just as easily dress them up or even get them customized.

Style Takeaways:

  • High-quality shoes are a great investment. They might cost more money, but they look great, last a long time, and keep your feet and toes extra comfortable.
  • Your shoes and accessories (from earrings to handbags) should complement each other, as we can see from Heather’s effortlessly cool vibe.  

Style Erin Shoe Shopping Tips

Photo Credit: Erin Heffelfinger @style_erin

So who’s ready to go shoe shopping, now? Here are some more great tips from Style Erin to “up your game, not your budget.”

  • Do your homework.
  • Check out popular online websites and magazine editorials to see what’s hot or not, or what catches your attention.
  • Most designer brands have “knock-off” versions that are easier on your wallet.
  • If you aren’t worried that you’re wearing shoes from a past season, then wait until the shoes go on sale.
  • Or, you can do it the old fashioned way and save up over time for those fabulous shoes that you just can’t live without!

Shoe Style Shopping Websites

  • 6pm.com: The discount version of Zappos, you can often get really lucky getting great deals on last season’s shoes.
  • Amazon.com: We know- Amazon has everything and it owns shoe giant Zappos. But it’s always worth checking here to see if you can find some great shoe choices at a discount.
  • DSW: Designer Shoe Warehouse offers exactly what its name suggests- a huge selection of shoes with various prices.
  • Nordstrom: Nordstrom offers lots of fabulous shoes in a huge range of sizes. They’ve got a great free shipping/free returns policy, too. Try Nordstrom Rack for some good discounts.
  • Tieks: These flats aren’t cheap, but they’re so cute and unbelievably comfortable. They’re surprisingly durable, and you might be tempted to buy them in every color!
  • Zappos: Become a Zappos VIP and get free one-day shipping and returns. Zappos has an amazing shoe selection, and you have up to a year to return your unworn purchases. I’ll sometimes buy two sizes of the same shoes for my kids so we can get a little more wear out of their favorites. If the bigger size doesn’t end up working out, I can return both.

Photo Credit: Erin Heffelfinger @style_erin

Shoe Style for Fall 2021

The style of the early-mid 2000s is back....could that possibly mean...Uggs?! These cool-weather staples had quite the grip on our fall-winter wardrobe, along with layered tank tops, fedoras, black leggings, and infinity scarves. It was quite a time. But we're excited to see modern twists on the styles we wore 20 years ago!

Over-the-Knee Boots

The 2021 way to wear the miniskirt adds a bit more polish to the cult-favorite 2000s outfit, all the while keeping the look edgy and feminine. We love contrasting the short hemline of a micro mini with a long, tall boot shaft for the statement leg-lengthening effect. Throw on a plain white t-shirt on warmer days or an oversized sweater to polish off the look in cooler weather. Any of these ideas will pair perfectly for a day or night look. And once the temperatures actually drop, you can even throw on a pair of sheer tights for some extra warmth.

Platform Boots

A natural transition from ankle-strap platform sandals, these high-rise boots add dramatic flair to your wardrobe. With a punk-rock aesthetic, these boots command attention. We’re talking sleek black leather and metallic gold boots or ankle boots with a high platform for an edgy look. Combat boots are still in full swing, too! Doc Martens were a sign of the 90s grunge, and these punk-rock leather boots very much back.

Western Cowgirl Boots

Time will tell if this comeback will eclipse the cowboy-boot craze of 2018, but so far, there's evidence that proves they'll be everywhere again with the shift into fall fashion. Fashion models have been spotted wearing them even during the hottest days of summer, so we can’t help but think that the trend will take the fall by storm. We love the idea of wearing them under loose jeans, which is a change from previous seasons when they were often worn with skinny jeans. The trick to this trend is channeling the Western appeal of cowboy boots—think dimly-lit saloons and old-school Americana—with your own flair. Have fun and don't take it too seriously!

Cuban Heel Boots

Sticking with the western theme, Cuban heels are back in a big way. Our top tip for this trend is to lean on the casual premise of Cuban heels. For instance, if your taste in footwear skews towards the lavish side, match your boots with a relaxed oversized shirt to balance out your appearance. Or, if you prefer a worn-in style, complement your brown Cuban heel boots with an ultra-feminine dress for a cowgirl chic look. There are plenty of cute ankle boots or Chelsea boots with Cuban heels for a casual workday or back-to-school look, too!

Make It Monochrome

Photo Credit: @dina_abdelrahman

One of the biggest style trends this fall will be monochrome outfits--and yes, that means boots. While you may not want to invest in a new pair of lavender booties just to keep up with shoe trends, you may be able to use what you already have to your advantage. If it's a pair of white high-top converse, match with light wash jeans, a cream top, and a white blazer. That's right....white after Labor Day. I said it. White has breathability, and some of us live in warmer-climate fall weather. If it's your favorite brown loafer, make it a caramel-brown outfit with warm browns and tans.

Make the Post-Quarantine Style Work for You

Utility boots saw a big rise in sales in 2020--that's because we were all exploring the outdoors in our spare time since we couldn't gather indoors! So whether it's high-cut waterproof hiking boots with extra support or a walking shoe with arch support, embrace the comfortable shoes you wore through quarantine! Make your hiking boots into a rugged pairing with a pair of wide-leg ankle-cut jeans, a black top/bodysuit, a tan linen robe, and some gold jewelry. Pair a sensible tennis shoe with a monochrome athleisure look. Just because the world is opening back up again, it doesn't mean that your comfy must-have pieces have to be sent to the back of the closet.

If we've learned anything from pandemic fashion, it's that comfort is a huge asset. Hopefully, that's something we'll take into the stage of life as we head back to in-person school and meetings at the office.

Are you ready to fall in love with these fall fashion trends? There are so many combinations of shoes. It's hard to pick a favorite! What's your best shoe shopping advice? It might be a great time to get together on FamilyApp and plan a shoe shopping outing with friends or family!



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