Fashion week is upon us, and to little surprise, footwear has remained fertile ground for playful experimentation. (Although weird and wild suiting is certainly gaining ground.) Everywhere you look, it’s hard to miss the shoes: from Prada’s futuristic fare to JW Anderson’s childlike clogs, and the covetable kicks of Wales Bonner and Our Legacy, the runways are chock-full of shoes that will eventually trickle out into the real world. Happily, it looks like we’re in for a fun year of footwear.
At Prada, the dream team of Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada continues to delight. They showed the usual suspects—the Italian label’s polished derby shoes and loafers with ultra-chunky soles—along with a new kid on the block: an eye-grabbing moc toe with exaggerated seams and a sporty outer sole. The silhouette makes appearances as a dress shoe and sneaker, depending on the sole and materials. (It’s hard to look at the layered sole and not think of the Balenciaga Triple S sneaker or Simons’ own Adidas Ozweego.)
JW Anderson, meanwhile, caused a commotion by debuting a collaboration with Wellipets, a British brand beloved for its animal-faced rain boots. The always-playful designer has turned kid’s footwear into colorful clogs for eccentric adults. (It wouldn’t be the first time he’s turned an out-there idea into covetable kicks, look no further than the label’s chain loafer.)
Elsewhere, designers continued to do what they do best. Matthew Williams sent supercharged leather boots down the runway for both Alyx and Givenchy. Our Legacy (whose Camion boot remains a menswear favorite) showed more boots—lace-up ones, and ones with huge heels—and loafers with pointed toes or tassels, proving the Swedish label will continue to keep things delightfully weird. Over at Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent show, the boots were sleek and straightforward without losing any of the label’s dark elegance.
And while sneakers might have had a lighter presence than in years past, but you could still spot shell-toed Adidas sneakers at Wales Bonner alongside some other great animal-printed dress shoes. (One could argue that the Bonner-designed Samba was the Three Stripes’ most covetable collab last year.) And it feels noteworthy that Asics has set up a Parisian pop-up shop, including exclusive collaborations with Andersson Bell, Angelo Baque’s Awake NY, and Brain Dead—a sign that the Asics resurgence is still going strong.
Menswear moves at frenzied speed, and that feels especially true for footwear: over the past few years, mules and loafers quickly took over the former sneaker loyalist’s closet. Only time will tell what the red-hot kicks of 2023 will be—but if these fashion shows are any indicator, buckle up and expect the unexpected.