Fashion is often a fantasy.
It’s the reason why slipping on a power-shoulder jacket can help you to boss it in the boardroom and why a pair of crystal studded earrings may be all you need to get your head into cocktail hour. It’s also the reason why hiking boots have become a staple in the city slicker’s wardrobe.
Yes, despite the presence of the Tube and absence of any mountain trails, boots that are made for walking have found a footing onto the capital’s fashion landscape. Then again, this may not come as a surprise to anyone who has recently found themselves contemplating the merits of a North Face puffer jacket.
Practi-cool is the new athleisure, which was the new normcore, and seemingly overnight, the style set had swapped their luxe tracksuits for Patagonia fleeces and bumbags. And with that, hiking boots have stepped into the shoes of Stan Smiths. But what’s most telling that this is a trend with legs is how these new adopters are choosing to wear them (ie. with everything).
While there are only a handful of women who could pull off top-to-toe mountaineering chic to trek to their local pub, a pair of tractor-sole boots makes for a surprisingly versatile addition to an uber feminine dress. See Holly Willoughby’s I’m a Celebrity jungle debut on Sunday night, which saw the presenter pair an Isabel Marant lace top and micro mini with Grenson’s Nanette combat boots.
The style has promptly sold out, but is still available on the brand’s site in chestnut brown suede and leather, while a covetable collaboration with House of Holland is a favourite at Urban Outfitters (£350, urbanoutfitters.com) and features the commando-sole boot with a bold braid strapped around the instep and laces sourced from a climbing shop.
Also pioneering the hiking boot as winter’s most fashion-forward footwear is Copenhagen-born street style favourite Ganni. From pouf-sleeve plaid maxi dresses to bubblegum pink boilersuits, Instagram hits are the label’s bread and butter and so it’s no surprise hiking boots play a starring role in its next season offering alongside cowboy boots and kitten heels. Theirs come in monochrome (£370, ganni.com) or desert safari khaki, finished with a specially designed lightweight yet heavy-tread Vibram sole and are styled on the site with everything from pink velvet party dresses to frilled polka dot minis.
Fellow Copenhagen-based shoe brand Ivylee is also worth seeking out — specifically its leopard-print calf-hair Mountain boot (£269, ivyleecopenhagen.com) which features a chunky rubber sole and cosy wool lining — while another Scandi brand Shoe The Bear is the new name to check among style insiders. It’s Agda nubuck lace-up boot (£155, shoethebear.com) is a cross between a hiking boot and a high-top which comes in black, blush pink, navy or pristine white and has been flying off the shelves since launching in the UK this season.
Or for those looking to make a serious investment in the trend, Jimmy Choo’s Hillary style (£995, jimmychoo.com) is a hiking boot designed for with urban adventurers in mind. Of course, with a price nudging four-figures, you might want to save these for city walks, rather than scaling a mountain.