By Amanda Randone
After a year-long blur of evolving restrictions coated in copious amounts of hand sanitizer and doom scrolling, one of our main takeaways from 2021 is that there’s only so much we can do to prepare for the ups and downs of life’s path. But when it comes to climbing those proverbial mountains, fashion people know that you can at least dress the part — which explains why the hiking boot trend has officially reached its peak.
Nature looked better than ever over the course of the lockdown, and a ripple effect across wardrobes and social media feeds was quick to follow. First, the nap dress hit the style scene in 2020 in all its tiered and frothy goodness, made for afternoon snoozing and forest frolicking alike. Then, as temperatures dropped with the dawn of a new year on the horizon, what became known as cottagecore morphed into cabincore, another comfort-oriented aesthetic that favored chunky knits, tartan, quilted fabrics, and the footwear to boot: durable, lug-sole shoes designed for adventure — and now, adventurous dressing.
“I think the idea of hiker boots is so of-the-moment because of the casualization of fashion for the winter months ahead. People are prioritizing comfort as part of their style for the season, so the idea of looking chic in a ‘mountaineering outfit’ and pairing it with boots like these are right on trend,” says Shopbop Fashion Director Caroline Maguire. But don’t be mistaken: these are not your average backpacker’s shoes. Maguire highlights the fashion-forward upgrades that elevate these boots to statement piece status, such as the padded cuffs of Gia Borghini boots, translucent platforms by Montelliana, and the speckled laces and stitching of Larroudé’s Jordan style.