Just as the down jacket has established itself as the winter coat, these are the shoes of the season. Boots often equipped with elastic bands on the sides, fashioned in smooth, well-crafted leather… The difference with “chelsea boots” lies in the thick notched sole which contrasts with the classic look of this traditional boot. For the past few seasons, and more particularly in 2023, they seem to have established themselves as the essential model of city shoes, on the feet of young and old. Not a brand, confidential or mainstream, mid-range or luxury, which does not offer its own version. In short, “utilitarian” shoes are pounding the pavement like never before.
” It is undoubtedly the shoe for this winter, but it has gradually imposed itself. The first really striking model is the Monolith ankle boot from Prada presented during autumn winter 2019 and since integrated into the brand’s permanent collections. There was a warrior side in this laced and notched boot, going up high on the ankle, almost an idea of “this is how to face the end of the world” “explains Alexandra Jubé, founder of the trend office of the same name.
“A bit of the 1990s”
Two years of pandemic have also been there, making you want to wear solid, comfortable shoes to face the unexpected of everyday life. The Chelsea Tire model by Bottega Veneta, released in 2021, is part of this approach: high on the ankle, with an elastic band on the sides and a maxi rubber sole, it is available this season in ten different colors. Balenciaga also offered different versions, notably through a collaboration with Crocs. “Brands with a dystopian aesthetic, whether Balenciaga or Marine Serre for example, very early on offered versions of these shoes”adds Alexandra Jubé.
In this winter’s collections, they are black and laced at Yohji Yamamoto, with buckles at Chloé, going up very high on the ankle at Versace or with thick, notched soles at Celine. “There is a little side to the 1990s, when the Buffalos, these shoes with very thick soles, were everywhere”comments Alexandra Jubé. “Today, needs and uses have changed. Above all, we want comfort, good foot hold and good quality products that we can wear both in the office and on weekend walks.”, adds Mathilde Loizeau, shoe buyer at Bon Marché Rive Gauche. The more accessible brands, from Minelli to Jonak, via Arket or COS, also offer their own version.
The boot therefore meets these current specifications perfectly. Will it supplant basketball, the big winner of recent seasons? “There is a return to a certain classicism in the silhouette in general, the “utilitarian” shoe is one of them. It’s not quite a sign of the end of streetwear, but there is very clearly a desire for more outfit, more elegance »concludes Alexandra Jubé.