Skip to content

New York Fashion Week: Predicting Autumn/Winter 2015 High Street Shoe Trends

With the world famous New York Fashion Week in full swing, we cut through the noise to give you the definitive lowdown on what shoe styles, materials and overall trends you should be looking for when putting together your Autumn/Winter 2015 wardrobe.

We know it can be easy to get distracted by the more gaudy, “out there” collections of the various fashion shows which spring up at this time of year. However, by and large the trends exhibited up and down the catwalk provide a strong bellwether for which styles will come to define the high street.



Leaving less of your foot exposed to the elements on bitterly cold nights out than classic heels, pumps are a great practical choice for Autumn/Winter as well as a fashionable one. While New York has seen its fair share of strappy sandals as well, the overwhelming trend has been that less foot exposure is more.

Left to right: Zac Posen, Vivienne Tam, Rag & Bone

Zac Posen pumps    Vivienna Tam pumps    Rag & Bone pumps

Heeled ankle boots

Similarly to pumps, ankle boots with heels tap into the same idea of practicality as well as fashion. Great with jeans as well as tights, so if the weather takes a turn for the worse, you'll be prepared.

Left to right: Donna Karan, Rosetta Getty, Prabal Gurung

Donna Karan heeled ankle boots    Rosetta Getty heeled ankle boots    Prabal Gurung heeled ankle boots

Loafers and brogues

Traditionally formal shoes - particularly loafers - have experienced major surges in popularity of late, thanks to a combination of androgynous and vintage trends, and they could reach a nadir in AW 2015. Work just as well in casual outfits as they do in smart.

Left to right: Rag & Bone, Thom Browne, Zoe Jordan

Rag & Bone smart shoes    Thom Browne smart shoes    Zoe Jordan smart shoes

High boots

A perennially popular style that has been out in the wilderness somewhat in recent times (particularly leather versions), the tall boot is riding on the crest of the country attire wave and is set to return with a vengeance.

Left to right: Alice Olivia, Pamella Roland, Karen Walker

Alice Olivia high boots    Pamella Roland high boots    Karen Walker high boots



It goes without saying that leather has been the most popular shoe material of New York Fashion Week, but looking closer has revealed a resurgence in patent leather. Elsewhere, top-grain (leather which has been smoothed to remove natural imperfections and treated to improve durability) seems to be the go-to leather of choice for many designers. Black and white are, unsurprisingly, extremely popular, as a natural, earthy tones.

Left to right: Rosetta Getty, DKNY, Victoria Beckham

Rosetta Getty leather    DKNY leather    Victoria Beckham leather


Once again, it’s no real surprise to see suede everywhere, particularly as tall boots have featured so heavily throughout the week. As with leather, natural, muted colours look to be the designer’s choice, thanks largely to their effortless compatibility with other natural autumnal wardrobe colours.

Left to right: Pamella Roland, Mara Hoffman, Lyn Devon

Pamella Roland suede    Mara Hoffman suede    Lyn Devon suede

Combinations (“Spectator shoes”)

A emerging trend in footwear in general has been shoes which encompass multiple colours or materials, such as different grains of leather. While these are by no means as popular as solid leather or suede offerings, their presence in New York suggests that they’re a style that is here to stay, and could well creep further on to the high street over the coming months.

Left to right: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung

3.1 Phillip Lim spectator shoe    Jason Wu spectator shoe    Prabal Gurung spectator shoe

Overall trends


The predominance of black and white at NYFW speaks volumes, with several designers going for almost completely monochrome collections. Others have allowed flashes of colour into the dichotomy, designed to help brighten up your wardrobe for the winter and hinting at the decline of minimalism, the trend immediately below.

Left to right: Zero + Maria Cornejo, Zero + Maria Cornejo, Thom Browne

Zero + Maria Cornejo monochrome    Zero + Maria Cornejo monochrome    Thom Browne monochrome

Move away from minimalism

2014 was absolutely the year of the minimalist style, with unencumbered cuts, clean lines and a lack of fussiness dominating both the catwalk and the high street. This trend has been expressed primarily through the explosion in monochrome and plain trainers, with brands that have made their name with simple designs such as Common Projects enjoying halcyon days.

For AW15, it’s less about minimalism per se and more about simplicity and cohesion, which gives a little bit more leeway for experimentation, particularly with shoes. Expect to see more embellishments, details and design features on show this year.

Left to right: Tommy Hilfiger, Kanye West x Adidas Originals, Porsche Design

Tommy Hilfiger    Kanye West X Adidas Originals    Porsche Design

Photos courtesy of Pocketguys, Indigital and Vogue.

Leave a comment