20 great pairs of shoes perfect for fall
Here are the best shoes for the new season.
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It’s officially fall now, which means I’ll be circling my block to watch the leaves change and grab a few last vases of wildflowers. There are plenty of seasonal activities for fall, from apple picking, to bonfires, to tailgates. And any outing, especially since they’re limited as we slowly go back to “normal," is a chance to show your style.
I’m especially missing gamedays, outdoor concerts, and game nights with friends. I’m itching to wear all my cozy sweaters and match them with my favorite fall hightops and ankle boots. If you’re like me, you’re reorganizing your Pinterest board and waiting for an invite to go somewhere worth changing out of sweatpants for. Rest assured, we’ve got you covered whether you’re going to the woods, the office, or the living room for another Netflix Party + chill.
1. Warm combat boots
This pair of boots survived a New England winter, which is something to brag about. They’ve got it all: inside zippers for a cozy fit, removable footbeds for added comfort, and long laces to keep feet warm and dry no matter the conditions outside. The Crave boots are ideal for fall and winter, and reviewers claim they’re especially great for anyone with orthopedic needs. Since they’re adjustable, you can stay comfortable without giving up your style. It’s also worth mentioning they come in almost 20 shades and material combinations.
2. Versatile everyday sneaks
You can also consider me a fangirl for Allbirds, nicknamed “the most comfortable shoes” by fans. Allbirds have a sleek and modern look, but they’re also super functional. There is a line of running shoes in addition to lower-impact styles like slip-ons, flats, and even boat shoes. The Wool Runners are my top pick because of the renewable materials, slim design, and moisture-wicking capabilities. (Anyone else have sweaty feet?) I love this shoe in all the earth tones, especially Medjool, but even if you like bright colors Allbirds has you covered.
3. Clogs for around the house
As the temperatures dipped in my house over the past few weeks I unpacked my winter clothes and immediately reached for my Taos clogs. I can’t get over how comfortable and cozy they are. My toes stay warm and my arches are happy even after walking around throughout the day. Additionally, they’ve got great traction for running quick errands or taking out the trash. While they’re a bit expensive for around-the-house footwear, I can promise you they’re well worth the money and will last for several seasons.
4. Stylish Chelsea boots
One of my favorite parts about fall is being able to wear booties again. Whether you prefer black boots, chestnut boots, or printed boots, you surely have a pair hanging around your closet. A Chelsea boot is perfect with any kind of outfit: jeans, midi skirts, even leggings. They can dress up your work-from-home attire for an evening out and simultaneously keep you warm and comfortable while out and about. I’m a big fan of versatile shoes, and the Chelsea Boot from Nisolo (another ethical brand!) is just that. It’s simple and timeless, but also easy to pull on when in a rush. I’m partial to the black boot with the leather sole but decide for yourself.
5. Doc Martens
Most of my friends who own a pair of Docs wear them year round, which speaks to their comfort (once broken in) and durability. Docs are known for being tough, edgy, and you can wear them with practically anything. And with hundreds of styles, fabrics, and prints you can find a pair that fits your style. I’m a fan of the 1460 leather boots because they lace up just high enough to cover socks and keep my feet warm without bothering my shins. They’re ideal for walking through leaves this season and can even double as your winter shoes.
6. Patterned loafers
I’ll admit I don’t wear my loafers as much now that I work from home, but once I start going back to the office I’ll be in them almost every day. I love loafers like the Kena Loafer because the pointed toe is truly comfortable: no squished toes! I also like having that little boost of height from the heel, which is enough to feel a bit dressed up even in jeans. I recommend having two pairs: one solid color to wear with busier outfits and one printed pair that doubles as an accessory itself. I didn’t even realize this pair was cheetah patterned at first, I was just drawn to the speckled pattern that’ll surely match all your closet staples.
7. A pair of classic Crocs
Admit it, Crocs are trendy again. The Classic Clog is all over my Instagram feed lately, and tbh I get it. They’re comfortable, they’re easy to clean, and they’re personalizable with 20+ colors and countless charms called Jibbitz. You can slip a pair on even with fuzzy socks, which is what I need for these upcoming cool mornings. And once I’m going back to soccer games and yoga classes, I’ll be wearing my Crocs as I transition between cleats, my mat, and driving home.
8. Winter-ready Sk8-His
My boyfriend, my brother, and I have a pair of Sk8-Hi MTE shoes. If we could give them six stars we would. My brother wears his as he treks across campus in Upstate New York, so we’re talking several feet of snow and brutal winds. They keep him warm while he’s getting to and from the dining hall, and thankfully they come in a men’s size 13. Mine are perfect for Midwest winters: more sleet than snow but still pretty frigid. I love how Sk8-His lace up tight but let my feet breathe, and the MTE line is no different. I recommend getting a stronger pair of laces than the ones these come with though; mine frayed after a few wears. Regardless, this pair is my top recommendation for anyone who will be doing any walking outdoors in the coming months.
9. Cloud-like trainers
I’m not kidding when I say I live in these shoes. Anyone else I see also wearing them always gives them a double thumbs up and a big smile. Unlike some other Vans shoes the footbed is super plush. It feels like walking on clouds or foam. I have a pair that is olive green and has lasted me three years (so far), and they’ve only become more comfortable with the wear. I’ve worked out in them, ran in them, traveled in them, and they’re still perfectly intact, though faded. I prefer the Ultrarange EXO to the Ultrarange Rapidweild because the EXO has a thinner tongue, which is cozier for me, but both are great for allday, everyday walking and moving.
10. Cutout Oxfords
The Emma d’Orsay Oxford from Nisolo is the Oxford shoe to rule them all. It’s made ethically from high-quality leather by experienced artisans from around the world. The silhouette is my favorite: classic pointed toe, slight heel, and a V-cutout to show off ankles and keep feet cool during a commute. There’s something so satisfying about the side slits that transform the Oxfords from an old staple into a full-on statement piece.
11. Iconic Birkenstocks
Fun fact: a pair of these Birkenstock sandals was the first purchase I made with my first paycheck as a teenager. And I still wear the same pair to this day. If you have a pair you know why they’re a cult favorite: endless comfort, adjustable straps, and an easy-going, effortless style. Birks are my go-to sandals and socks look, and it’s easy to make them stay snug since the staps can be tightened and loosened at any time. Like wine and cheese, Birkenstocks get better with age, and mine are a perfect glove even after almost nine years!
12. Statement sneakers
Chunky sneakers are in style, and Madewell recently dropped its new Kickoff Trainers. They’re a mix of old school and new style with thick soles and statement colorblocking. They looks beyond comfy for anyone who walks their commute or, you know, likes to wear comfy shoes. I image they’re a great conversation piece as well! Madewell also makes them as ethically as possible, with recycled cotton and rubber andsustainably sourced leather. Be sure to check out all the different color combos!
13. All-weather sandals
Chacos have a cult following; just check online! With thousands of rave reviews, the ZX/2 Classic sandal is an easy fan favorite that I swear I’ve seen over and over at festivals. It’s a style thats over 30 years old and has been perfected during that time. Now made from eight parts, each pair is adjustable, comfortable, and supportive whether you’re hiking in the mountains or out at sea. And when the weather gets cold, you can turn them into “sock-o’s,” as my friend Holly says, and wear them with socks and step on top of the toe ring.
14. The coziest slippers
Everyone needs slippers, and it’s a soap box I’ll go out on. Uggs have been my go-to for well over a decade. The shearling/wool interior keeps feet warm, but not sweaty. The outer moccasin is made from water-resistant suede that keeps the shoe (and your feet) dry. Though my pair has worn down significantly, the rubber soles have held up well winter after icy winter and wet spring. I recommend the Ansley pair to everyone, especially if you don’t want any laces to come untied. They also make a great gift!
15. Reliable rainboots
If you’re in need of a reliable rainboot, look no further. This pair is everything I ever wanted. I don’t slip on wet sidewalks or on slippery tile floors and my feet always stay dry. I like the Chelsea style because I can wear them to the office without feeling goofy or ruining my outfit. Plus, you can wear them as a boot on days when it’s not raining and still get compliments. I will say, they aren’t necessarily warm, but they’re roomy enough for a thick pair of socks to get you through the day.
Toms have been popular since the company began 13 years ago. The company’s bestselling shoe—the alpargata—is made from canvas to help feet breathe and stay comfy. I love how simple Toms are; the wrapped canvas reminds me of being snug in a blanket. Toms’ new CloundBound Alpargatas advance their iconic silhouette with a thicker sole for added comfort and a little more traction. They’re a great shoe for running to the farmer’s market or taking the dog for a walk.
17. Sturdy hiking boots
If you plan to hit the trails, make sure you have a good pair of hiking boots and wool socks. This pair—the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX—are made for especially tough trails and descents. They are outfitted with rubber soles that funnels water away from your feet so make slippery rocks and rivers manageable. And though they’re water-resistant, if you happen to get soaked they’re quick drying and have rubber toe caps to keep your toes as dry as possible. Reviewers say they’re comfortable right out of the box, but maybe give them a test run to break them in!
18. Adventure sandals
Fall is a great time for being outdoors. A group of my friends loves backpacking, and they always make sure to have Teva sandals on hand for their travels. The Original Universal sandal has thousands of reviewers who agree that they’re a worthwhile shoe for any adventure. I love my Teva sandals because they have substantial traction, so I can hike and explore without being as clumsy as I certainly would be without them. I’m also a big proponent of biking instead of driving, and my sandals make it easy to slip them on and go, all without fear of them sliding off my feet or catching in my bike chain like shoelaces could.
I can’t write this without including Converse. (Mainly because my roommate has 16 pairs and would kick me out if I failed to mention them.) Converse is a classic, right? You probably have a few pairs yourself. There are low tops and hightops and platforms and limited edition collections galore. While my roommate would tell you to get yellow low tops, I’m including the bestselling Chuck Taylor All Stars because it’s a classic look... you can even customize them with whichever colors and patterns you want. They’re versatile and iconic, and if you’ve ever seen OSU on a gameday they’re everywhere.
20. Comfy and stylish sneakers
Veja’s shoes are my latest shoe-crush. Veja is a France-based ethical company making comfortable, everyday shoes. Its selection of sneakers and flats are slightly retro-inspired, and I’m super into it. The SDU White and Black Natural sneaker is my favorite, and it’s from the company’s collection of Vegan shoes, making sustainable and cute. The upper mesh is made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and the jersey is recycled polyester. This style really makes me miss going on walks with friends after yoga. It’s a great pair for anyone, and Veja has plenty of color combinations like brown, navy, lavender, and pink in this same style.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.