While most of 2020’s biggest trends were for staying at home (hello, sweatpants and slippers), one boot trend did make its way out into the world in a big way — literally.
Heavy, lug-soled boots were the antidote to all of the slippers and slides that everyone was wearing inside. And while they may be the opposite of comfort dressing, their dystopian end-of-times vibes were completely appropriate for the uncertainty and unrest that dominated the year 2020.
Call it the apocalyptic boot: pandemic-proof footwear that protects the foot from the muck of today’s world both quite literally (they’re easy to clean with a wipe, after all) and mentally. It’s a piece of armor for venturing out in the new world. Historically, they’ve also had another name: sh*t kickers.
It seems that a few designers had a premonition of the need for such footwear. Last year, Miuccia Prada sent Riot Grrrl-style models down the runway in braids, hot pants and big fat combat boots that immediately took hold (so did the nylon logo ankle pouches that accompanied them). The trend first gained traction (no pun intended) on street style stars during the spring ’20 fashion weeks, in the fall of 2019, when they sold out quickly.
To buy: Prada chunky soled boots, $1,720.
Prada has since continued commercial production of its bestselling boot, and it has remained one of its most recognizable boot styles this year.
For fall ’20, Bottega Veneta (the current purveyor of the “It” shoe, at least immediately prior to the pandemic’s wrath) debuted a series of rain boots with the same clownish proportions applied to its square-toed quilted leather pumps. The footwear offers the same nuance of post-apocalyptic armor — even and especially when paired with a sequined gown. The brand has also introduced the “Tire” boot, another lug-soled pull-on with extra traction.
To buy: Bottega Veneta Puddle boots, $650.
To buy: Bottega Veneta Tire boots, $1,150.
Fashion brands have capitalized on the apocalyptic boot, but one brand remains the clear favorite across different kinds of wearers looking for heavy lug soled boots.
That would Dr. Martens. In particular, its Jadon boot, a traditional lace-up attached to an oversized platform sole, seems to resonate. It has consistently sold out on the brand’s website. And it’s a perennial favorite of Bella Hadid.
To buy: Dr. Martens Jadon boot, $180.
Without a clear end in sight for the pandemic — and some long months of winter ahead — there’s no doubt that the apocalyptic boot will keep kicking in 2021.
Below, more lug-soled boots for pandemic-era protection:
To buy: Ganni Chelsea boot, $445.
To buy: Sam Edelman Winniford boot, $150.
To buy: Stuart Weitzman 5050 Lift boot, $725.
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