Splurge/Spend/Save: 5 Wearable Shoe & Boot Trends for Fall 2018

The most frequent questions I’m getting right now are about shoe and boot trends for fall 2018.

Styles are definitely changing, and that can take some getting used to. Fortunately, fashion is very much “anything goes” these days, which is nice for those of us who have strict parameters around what we can and can’t wear, but there are definitely some styles that are more “of the moment,” and those are the ones I’m talking about today.

While I don’t want to be a slave to fashion, I do like to be a little bit ahead of the trends, so I find it fascinating to watch others who are more fashionable than I to see where the trends are headed. Then I try to incorporate the ones I like in a way that makes sense for my lifestyle and the culture of my area. I think it’s important for us all to take those two factors into account when making decisions about how and when (and whether or not) to incorporate the current trends into our wardrobes.

For example, I watched the white bootie trend take hold over the past year or two, and I’m just now getting around to feeling ready to wear them. They’re not mainstream here, by any stretch, but I’m starting to see them some when I’m in areas that are closer to Philly (i.e. more fashion-forward than my area of the suburbs, which tends to catch on to the trends a little later.)

To decide which styles are trending, I watch the bigger designers and see what they’re bringing out for fall because that’s what trickles down to the more mainstream fashion brands. I thought it might be fun to do a Spend/Splurge/Save post to show you the spendy styles that are setting the stage for fall trends, and then some more affordable options.

FYI, there are three retailers having a Friends & Family Sales this weekend — Bloomingdale’s, Saks, and Neiman’s. I KNOW!!! All three have 25% off a large portion of their inventory, and they all have free shipping and/or Shoprunner. Plus, Nordstrom is price matching. It’s like Black Friday, MDW, and the #NSale all rolled up into one!

Okay, maybe not quite that good, but the 25% off is good on a lot of big designers that don’t usually go on sale like Stuart Weitzman, Tory Burch, and more. All that to say, I’m linking to shoes that are on sale this weekend as much as possible in this post.

5 Shoe & Boot Trends for Fall 2018

Before we get started, let’s talk briefly about heel and toe styles. I’m seeing a lot of block heels and cylindrical heels, which are both nice for comfort and stability. Kitten heels are also gaining popularity, which is a great thing for those who can’t wear a high heel. I’m not seeing a lot of platforms or wedge heels, and while stilettos are a classic and definitely still out there, they don’t seem to be as prevalent this season as they’ve been for the past few years.

I’m seeing all different shaped toes — everything from round to pointy and everything in between — but not many peep toe styles right now.

Okay, here we go!!!

#1. Sock Booties

Ankle boots (or booties) are hot, hot, hot this season, and the sock bootie is one of the most popular styles. Of course, other styles of ankle boot are trending too, but this is a style I would definitely advise considering for your closet this season if you don’t already have a pair.

I tried a few last year, and finally found a Club Monaco pair on sale at the end of the season that I love, and I can’t wait to start wearing them again this year. They’ve been discontinued, but there are tons of new styles to choose from this year.

SLURGE: Stuart Weitzman Margot 75 Round Toe Suede Mid-Heel Booties (note the cylindrical heel)

SPEND: Splendid Charlie Suede & Stretch Booties

SAVE: Circus by Sam Edelman Carinda Sock Bootie

Shop More Sock Booties:

#2. Slouch Boots

I’m seeing slouchy styles in both short boots and tall boots, but I went with tall boots for these product picks.

One question I keep getting asked is about what shaft height is trending this season. Are OTK boots still “in” or is it all about the ankle boot? Basically, anything goes, but I’m definitely seeing to-the-knee boots making a comeback this season. It’s hard to say if they are edging out the OTK boots, or just evening out the playing field, but I find them much easier to style so I’m all for it.

SPLURGE: Stuart Weitzman Eloise 75 Almond Toe Suede Boots

SPEND: Dolce Vita Coop Slouchy Suede Tall Boots

SAVE: Kelly & Katie Kuzma Platform Boot

Shop More Slouchy Boots: (Some of these are just for fun.)

#3. Animal Print Everything

Animal print is one of those classics that never really goes out of style, but right now it’s also a huge trend. From ballet flats to loafers and pumps to booties, it’s all about the animal print — and not just leopard, either. Snakeskin, zebra, cheetah, leopard… it’s all hot right now.


Right now the trend in pumps is leaning towards cylindrical and block heels, and toes are pointy or round. While I love a good stiletto as much as the next fashionista, I can’t help but appreciate the practicality of a block heel, and they have a more casual vibe that works well with my style aesthetic. I’m really jonesing for a pair of these. I love the Alice + Olivia pair, but I’ll probably end up going with the Marc Fisher, if I decide to add a pair to my closet.

SPLURGE: Alice + Olivia Demetra Genuine Calf Hair Pump

SPEND: Marc Fisher Zalaly Leopard Print Calf Hair Pumps

SAVE: 1.State Saffire2 Block Heel Pumps


I think snakeskin is a really fun look in a bootie. It’s neutral but has  great pattern and texture so it will go with so many outfits. I’m currently waiting on this Vince Camuto pair to arrive, but I’m drooling over the Marc Jacobs ones. If only they were on sale…

SPURGE: Marc Jacobs Rocket Round Block Heel Chelsea Booties

SPEND: Vince Camuto Creestal Almond Toe Snakeskin-Embossed Leather Booties

SAVE: Chinese Laundry Daria Booties

Shop More Animal Prints: (Again, I threw in a some that are a little out there, for the fun of it.)

#4. Western Inspired

Western-inspired styles are also gaining ground in popularity this season, but I prefer a subtle take on this trend. Sure, you can rock your cowboy boots, but for me personally, I to look for western elements in a more classic boot. I’m personally crushing on these Dolce Vita suede booties, but I’m not sure I can justify another ankle boot purchase this fall. ☺️

SPLURGE: Allsaints Melanie Suede Western Pointed Toe Booties

SPEND: Dolce Vita Saint Suede Zip-Up Booties

SAVE: Easy Street Legend Western Booties

Shop More Western Inspired Shoes:

#5. White Out

Yes, white shoes and boots are still trending, and probably hotter than ever. I realize this trend may be out of the comfort zone of many, but I felt like it deserved a spot in the top 5.

The bootie I picked as my splurge inspiration incorporates several trends of the moment — the kitten heel, the white trend (of course), and it also has just a touch of western flair in the shape of the shaft. Personally, I prefer a more casual white bootie, but I had a hard time finding what I had in my head, and I realize that’s because that’s what was trending the past two years. This year the pointy toe and short stiletto/kitten heel seems to be emerging, although you can definitely find all styles of booties in white.

SPLURGE: Joie Ralean Almond Toe Bootie

SPEND: Something Navy Nix Bootie

SAVE: IMPO Nixxie Booties

Shop More White Shoes & Booties:

Notable Mentions:

Combat Boots

I didn’t include this trend in my top 5 because it’s just starting to surface, and I doubt many of us are ready for it yet, but leveled up hiking boots and combat boots are also a big trend for fall. I’m going to give this one a few seasons, though…


Loafers are still going strong, but they’re well into their second or third season by now. I’m definitely gravitating more to loafers and less to ballet flats these days, even though I still like and wear both. Loafers just seem more of the moment.


Again, this is a trend that’s been around for a few years and is pretty mainstream, but they’re not going anywhere this season, and I love them. I’ll be sad when it gets too cold to wear them.

So what do you think? Any of these trends resonate with you? Are you already wearing them, or just getting ready to try one or two? 

And before you tell me you aren’t seeing them where you are yet, that’s okay! They will come, and it’s fun to be a little bit ahead of the trends. Don’t wait until everyone else is wearing them. Dare to be the first!

If you like a trend but you’re on the fence, I suggest trying it in a budget-friendly version first to see how it works for you. If you end up loving it, you can always invest in a quality piece later on. If not, no great loss.

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37 thoughts on “Splurge/Spend/Save: 5 Wearable Shoe & Boot Trends for Fall 2018

  1. Jo-Lynne
    Thank you, thank you for this post today!!! While there are some trends I will never wear at my age, I love seeing what is in style this year!! I also love that you included the three price points. You are really kind to us and spoil us with all the information we need.

  2. Jolynne, I have a question about the circumference of the boot shaft for knee high boots. The circumference of the shaft increases with the size of the boot. I take a size 10. While I don’t have narrow calves, I take a size 4 in pants and so relative to my boot size, my calves are narrow and there is usually a fairly big gap between my leg and the boot. How snugly should the boot fit to your calf?  Also, I tried some boots marketed as having narrow shafts but they were too narrow. Do you have any suggestions for boots that run narrow in the shaft without being specifically designed for woman with thin  legs?  Thanks!

    1. Wow, interesting! I never thought about boot shafts getting bigger with the size of the shoe, but I suppose they would. They should fit closely enough to not gap too much, but not tight enough to be uncomfortable or ripple in the ankles… if that makes sense.

  3. Wow! Thanks for doing all that work. This was such a fun, informative post and I love how easy you make it to find affordable versions of all the styles. This is such an easy blog to navigate and shop from.
    I am glad I waited a bit to add new fall footwear to my closet because this post helped me figure out that if I want to expand my wardrobe I should get another pair of ankle boots and a pair of loafers. Then I will have to stop shopping. #somanypairsofshoessolittletimetowearthem

  4. Great post. Now I want white booties. I’m in NYC so pretty much feel like I can wear anything whenever, although I’m not sure this trend has made its way to my friends and coworkers yet 🙂 But it definitely looks fashion forward. I’m imagining them with an all-black outfit. Thanks!

      1. I’m in downtown Brooklyn 🙂 But my job takes me all over the city on a daily basis because we work in all five boroughs. I certainly do see it all! 

        1. I’ll bet! I have a friend who lives in Brooklyn — Nicole runs MomTrends.com. I also follow Brooklyn Blonde although I don’t know Helena personally. Do you follow either of them?

  5. I LOVE the animal print!! I got the leopard printed Sole Society booties and a pair that Cyndi styled of leopard heels (Louise et Cie)  Still not a fan of the white.  Great post with the variety of price points too! Thank you!! 

  6. Wow and if we weren’t confused enough about the latest trends this post certainly shows that anything goes these days! Round toe, pointy toe, block heel to kitten heel, its like the designers didn’t even know what would be on trend lol. But like you said, wear what your comfortable in and what you like because if it’s not in style now,…it will come back. And Im so glad I didn’t invest in the OTK boots, they just didn’t look good on my petite legs and would have been a waste of money. I’ve learned as I get older to stick with the classics and just add a few trendy pieces and that’s usually a safe bet. 

  7. Wow I tell you what wow!  You must be pooped!  Ha!  But your hard work is appreciated. 

    Lots of options!  I bought a pair of leopard loafers last year but haven’t worn them. I think I’ll get brave this year.  🤪

    My daughter LOVES combat boots – specifically Doc Martens!   

    Sounds like you had a great time last night with all your kids and hubby too!  😊

  8. Great post!  This will be so helpful as I evaluate my shoe needs (and wants!).  I do have a question though.  My old black riding boots are worn out, so I just ordered a pair of the popular Sam Edelman Penny in black.  Will riding boots still be in style?  They seem so practical for my lifestyle, but now I’m wondering if I should have purchased something trendier. 

    1. Riding boots are a classic so I don’t think you can go wrong with them, especially since the Western inspired styles are trending this fall. They aren’t as trendy as some, but they still carry them at Nordstrom — and the are one of the only knee high styles that they had on the floor when I was there last week, so I think they’re still going strong.

  9. SUCH a great post! Thank you so much for your hard work. Having said that, the only trends that I really feel like I want to get on board with are the snakeskin and combat boot trends! (I *love* combat boots!) I do like the slouch boots, but I’m never sure if they really look that good on me since I’m only 5′ tall, but I have riding boots, so maybe it’s not a big deal. If I end up getting a pair of the snakeskin booties, I feel like I probably need to stick with the “save” option, since I’m not sure how much use I would get out of them, even though I love how they look. I very much doubt my ability to style them well. 😀

  10. Thanks for a great post! I have riding boots in black and a pair in brown and a few pair of booties. I think I’ll stick with those since here in the Midwest we are always slower to take up trendy styles. I like that you said to take into account where you live! I’m really happy to see loafers make a comeback since I’ve never been able to wear ballet shoes.(they hit me wrong across the toes) I really like these splurge spend save posts and appreciate the hard work they are.

  11. I’m loving the leopard and snakeskin that is trending in footwear. I don’t think I would spend several hundred on a pair, as they might not have lasting power, but I would buy a $200 pair. They are fun! 
    Let’s hear it for the block heel! Loving it! 💗  Also, the tall boot! I didn’t think the OTK would be a mainstream look. 
    Mules and loafers won’t be in my wardrobe. My feet are narrow and they slip in both. 
    I’m a real sucker for booties and have to stop myself from buying more, especially black ones. Although I did see a pair of black ones yesterday that I almost bought…might still. They had a turn down cuff that was red. I loved that touch. You could also roll it up for a solid black column. I’ve been drawn to the ones with a little stud going on, too. Not too radical…just the right amount. Yes! I can see them coming home. 

  12. I had the biggest smile on my face reading about the high school football game last night, how the high school band members treated the middle schoolers, how much your daughter enjoyed it, how she looks up to David, and how he interacted with the students.  So fabulous!  It reminds me of a fairly new Luke Bryan song, I BELIEVE MOST PEOPLE ARE GOOD.
    I can’t wait to see the laundry room pictures!  Now to the boot/shoes trends:  while a lot of them don’t suit my lifestyle, the temperatures where we live, or my feet, I still like them.  I am thinking I should have been a shoe designer so there would be more options for all of my foot challenges.  While I haven’t changed over my clothes yet, I have noticed that I have several pairs of chunky shoes in the attic, that require socks, that I am going to donate.  I no longer wear shoes that require socks that will show below the pant leg, so no use in keeping them.  And from what you’ve shared and I’ve seen, chunky shoes are no longer trending.  Have a great day!

  13. Fantastic post! I believe I have mules and animal prints pretty much covered, lol. I’m always a fan of leopard, but I also just added snakeskin to the mix to lighten things up a bit. I do like the sock booties too, I’ve just held off because I don’t see them working well for me. I typically need a lower shaft and these are the total opposite…I love the look though!

  14. Thank you for this!  Do you have any suggestions on styling the sock booties?  I struggle with these but love the look!  Should I be trying for a really cropped jean? Or a boyfriend and the sock part tucks inside?  I usually wear skinny jeans.  Thank you!

  15. Jo-Lynne: thank you so much for all this helpful research! Wow! Love all the shoes ( except the white — was RN in first career so can’t do it! HA). I have narrow feet which I have mentioned so that limits me ( good for “budget”). Plan on doing some weekend shopping so you had the greatest timing with all these sakes!  

  16. Hi Jo-Lynne! Great post- love seeing all the fall fashion trends in boots/footwear. Thank you for putting this together for us! I can tell it took a lot of time/effort. Question for you: I listened to your FB live the other day and I thought I heard you say that wedge boots/booties were on their way out….is that what you said? I may have just heard it wrong. I went back to try and find the replay and couldn’t get it to load for some reason. I have been looking at the Aileena Sole Society mushroom colored low wedge boot, but don’t want to buy them if they are on their way out. I work on concrete floors every day and I just can’t wear anything higher than about 2 inches for an 8+ hour day. Any thoughts on these or any other lower heeled options in a knee high gray or neutral color? Thank you!

    1. Wedges are definitely not as trendy as block heel styles, but I wouldn’t NOT buy a pair if I liked them. I just looked at those, and they’re really cute. Plus the OTK style keeps them on trend, I think.

  17. Thanks for this info filled post, Jo-Lynne. I do pay attention to the trends, but like you, I kind of pick and choose which ones I like and feel more confident wearing. I like the kitten heeled white boots, but I haven’t embraced that trend yet. I usually try to see which trends are more lasting, then make purchases in those areas via clearance and thrift options. I’m a bit behind, but for me that works. I always appreciate those bloggers that are ahead of or on top of the trends. You do the work for the rest of us. Thanks! Hope you are having a great weekend! – Amy

  18. Wow!!!! You sure did a lot of work on this post. Great job. So helpful. Not liking the white or snakeskin ones. Nice hearing about your family game night. Sounds like everyone had great time. Have a good weekend. 

  19. Hi Jo-Lynne,
    Thanks for all the work you did to put together the Fall shoe and boot trends. I feel like I need to step up my game because I’ve worn the same booties for the past couple of years! Reading about your son and daughter brought a tear to my eye. There’s something so special about kids in band. My two daughters were in band in high school and college and made a lot of memories with their band friends!

  20. Can you wear open toe shoes in the fall/winter. I have black leather very small toe opening block heal shoes that I love and wear mostly with longer jeans. I’m not a shoe person, so I do not have multiple styles in multiple colors. More of a black/bone/brown/tan low or no heel kinda person. In fact I only have 2 pair of heels tan and black.

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