Will Cowboy Boots Be Fall's Biggest Footwear Trend?

Designers are making a case for cowboy chic.

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In terms of the style set’s top footwear choice, sneakers aren’t going anywhere. Season after season, the casual shoe has dominated the street style circuit and ignited heated discussion in the blogosphere. But while sneakers’ popularity won’t wane anytime soon, an alternative footwear is slowly catching various designers and fashion-forward consumers’ attention.

Cowboy boots were a recurring trope throughout the Spring/Summer 2018 fashion month. The boot initially made a meme-worthy cameo in defunct alt-streetwear label Hood By Air’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection during New York Fashion Week, but it was Raf Simons’s debut Fall/Winter 2017 collection for Calvin Klein that put cowboy boots on the radar among the high fashion crowd. Not to mention the striking python, crocodile and suede iterations from Kanye West’s YEEZY Season 5 presentation, which certainly perplexed streetwear aficionados.

A few months later, the Western wear was peppered in an even larger range of designer collections, including BalenciagaVetements, Coach 1941 and, yet again, Calvin Klein.

Styled with denim, leather trousers and dress pants, the boots made a buzzy albeit favorable run on the catwalk, but we can’t help but wonder whether they’ll really catch on IRL. After all, they’re not the most approachable booting option out there — far less than the formerly on trend Chelsea boots at least — and then there’s still their affiliation with cattle wranglers and American calvary (who aren’t exactly contemporary fashion icons).

However, if worn confidently and with the right fit, cowboy boots have the trappings of street style gold. The high-low aesthetic popularized by industry tastemakers like Demna Gvasalia, Virgil Abloh and Gosha Rubchinskiy is still a fashionista go-to, and cowboy boots serve as a more formal, but less stiff, alternative to sneakers when worn with streetwear or re-worked business casual (a la Balenciaga).

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Perhaps it’ll take a few more celebrity endorsements before cowboy boots become a staple for mainstream consumers; famed influencer Luka Sabbat is currently the most noteworthy fan of the shoe. But our guess is that the footwear will gain traction with the hip-hop crowd (RiFF RAFF excluded) in a few months time, especially once YEEZY Season 5’s boots hit market.

Will you be copping a pair of cowboy boots? Let us know in the comments section and be sure to stay on top of our Trend Watch series for more of the season’s biggest trends.