Fashion puts the boot in and tells us all to take a hike
Hiking boots are it at all the major fashion houses
In the midst of a panic buying spree before my first big music festival last summer, alongside a solar-powered shower bag I threw a pair of hiking boots into my trolley. I found them again while doing a seasonal clear-out. They were mud-free and still in their original box thanks to a dry weekend. However, as I unwrapped them, it struck me that while they had missed their chance to stomp around said festival, they could be put to work as part of my wardrobe. With their thick rubber soles, two-tone laces and shearling lining, they’re ideal for nailing the utilitarian trend that is set to be prevalent next season.
This hardy footwear was originally designed to do what its name indicated – tackle hiking trails and mountain tracks. A quick delve into their history throws up some brilliant photos of women in the 1900s teaming chunky boots with full skirts and corsets. The high-end makeover came much later, although several fashion brands do have a connection to the hiking boot’s provenance. When Tenzing Norgay climbed Everest alongside Edmund Hillary in 1953, he wore a pair of boots specifically designed for him by the Swiss house Bally. Moncler has a similar hiking heritage dating back to 1952, when it started creating boots with D-ring eyelets and thick, striped laces for adventurers.However, for autumn/winter 2018, designers have taken it one step further. Gucci sent a rubber, muddy-green version down the runway, but with an oversized tongue featuring an equally exuberant logo plus crystal embellishment – there’s no mistaking these for functional footwear. Elsewhere, Off-White has teamed up with Timberland to create a range of velvet, treaded-sole boots, while Henry Holland has collaborated with heritage brand Grenson to create neon-hued lace-up ankle boots cleverly incorporating panels of paracord. If you happen to have a pair of sturdy boots lurking around, dig them out, but ditch the rest of your heavy- duty gear. Instead, use them to counterbalance pretty tea dresses and slinky slips. Come colder days, pair with a longer length maxi skirt and woollen knits.TRACKING THE TREND
Mountaineer's Best FriendWhen Tenzing Norgay conquered Mount Everest in 1953 he did so wearing a pair of Bally boots. Designed specifically for him, they featured a felt liner and rubber soles, glued to a leather midsole that reduced the amount of metal used and thus the chances of frostbite.
Street Style Takeover
When Storm Emma hit in the middle of the last fashion month, street style stars were forced to find an alternative to tackling the slush in heels.German fashion editor Veronika Heilbrunner opted for leather lace-up boots by Diemme, Instagram’s Eva Chen sported Dr Martens, while blogger Aimee Song wore Aquazzura boots.
For his final menswear collection for Louis Vuitton earlier this year, Kim Jones took his farewell bow flanked by his supermodel friends Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, who both wore LV monogrammed boots. With a patent finish and industrial steel toe caps they were as durable as they were Instagrammable.
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