Balenciaga Square toed boots
One of my favourite things about autumn and winter fashion is boots. Every year I invest in a new pair so that I don’t thoroughly wear out my existing ones. Not only are boots warm and practical, but the right pair can bring elegance and edge to almost any outfit. The big trend for this winter is a square-toed boot. We’ve not seen these since the 1990s, and I personally find it a particularly tricky shape to wear. It isn’t ladylike like a pointed toe, and it isn’t sweet like a round toe. It also isn’t neutral like the in-between, an almond shaped toe. It is unusual and fashion-forward. A square toe works well with equally fashion-forward and unique clothing (think asymmetrical hem skirts, cropped wide trousers, or loose retro style jeans). It also completely updates wardrobe classics; a basic outfit of jeans, sweater, and a trench coat looks ultra modern with a square-toed boot. This is why the style has become popular so quickly with the fashion crowd, especially the basics-loving Scandis.
Balenciaga boots, Image via Vogue.com
In perpetual pursuit of novelty, fashion’s pendulum always swings to the extremes. We’ve had several years of designers serving up pointed toe shoes. Balenciaga is behind the insanely popular Knife Mule (see below) and has also wheeled out the extreme square toe boot pictured above. At this moment on their website, you can find both. It is unusual to have both an extreme pointed style and an extreme square style playing out in the fashion wild together at the same time from the same brand. Even more confounding, Balenciaga has a few styles called the Square Knife, (which are not square at all).
Despite my usual clear opinions on fashion, square toed shoes and boots are one trend I’m on the fence about. They can look edgy and interesting, but they are also perilously close to fashion victim territory. If you’re not careful, they can actually look a bit ridiculous. With my style and my shape, square toes skew clunky rather than edgy, so I don’t wear them. That’s perfectly fine, I’m happy to sit out trends that don’t serve me and my wardrobe for the long haul. I only buy what really works with my personal style, and a pointed or almond toe is a much better investment in my wardrobe.
I do have to admit that I’m a little tempted by the shiny red Prada subtly-square-toed patent knee boots (So cheerful! So Nancy Sinatra! So superheroine!). The flash of shiny statement colour speaks directly to my aesthetic. Almost any winter skirt or dress would be immediately improved by wearing these gleaming cardinal-red show stopppers. I could probably make these work in my wardrobe, but they still aren’t quite as versatile or enduring as an almond toe style. If my wallet is going to suffer a Prada price tag, the boots have to have serious longevity. Still, let’s just gaze at their wondrousness, shall we? Just imagining them with a turquoise or orange dress is making me dizzy.
Despite square toed boots being a style that can date, if they work with your wardrobe and your personal style, they are well worth investigating. They have such a lovely edge about them. Not only are they more comfortable than a pointed toe, but your trusty basics will get a thoroughly modern reboot by adding them into your wardrobe. I’d never consider the extreme square toe shape (too fashion victim, even for me) but here is a selection of styles to train your eye, or to buy if you’re tempted. I’ve signed up for sale alerts on the red Prada ones, just in case…