Top Five Hot Shoe Trends for Fall/Winter 2012

If you flipped through even one of the September Issues that came out this month, the focus on shoes was hard to miss. In addition to articles telling us what's hot for our hoofs this season, advertising also focused heavily on shoes. Harper's Bazaar ran a gorgeous, black-and-white pictorial (shot by Terry Richardson) starring Miranda Kerr in nothing but her birthday suit and pair after pair of some of the season's hottest boots. (Our favorites: the Tod's riding boots show in slide two, $1,155. A versatile riding boot is a better investment than an edgy, trendy shoe that will look dated in a year or two -- like the Givenchy by Ricardo Tisci boots in slide five.)

There are a few tiresome trends that won't seem to go away. For example, boots and booties with a peep toe. Since boots are essentially designed to keep feet warm and dry, peep-toe versions seem slightly ridiculous. Another shoe that can walk right off the runway and never appear again is the heel-less high heel--you know, those ridiculous things that make everyone look like they're about to pitch forward onto their face?

But enough of the negative, let's talk about the positive. Specifically, five shoe trends that we think look very promising for fall/winter 2012. Warm up your credit card!

Trend 5: Smoking Slippers

Think less "Hugh Hefner" and more "cute, embellished ballet flats." You can go full-on Playboy magnate if you like, but there are tons of choices that will allow you to indulge in this trend without looking like you are about to light a pipe, next to a roaring fire.

To go full Hefner, try Marc Jacobs Embroidered Smoking Slipper ($495).

For a less obvious -- and less expensive -- option, try this Cole Haan ($168) in a rich, bright turquoise suede.

Trend 4: Boots

Technically it's stupid to call a boot a "trend," especially when we are entering a season in which almost anything goes: tall and short, chunky heeled or sleek stilettos, booties and thigh-high, and everything in between. But the boot is big, and it's everywhere. To get the most out of your money, stick with a classic that will look as good in two years as it does now, regardless of where trouser leg shapes or hemlines may migrate to...

A riding boot is always a good investment -- a wardrobe workhorse. These two-tone Tommy Hilfigers ($189) are classic but distinctive; gold accents give them some oomph.

Ivanka Trump booties for less than $200 is a nice surprise! Again, gold details and the buckle make a basic shoe more memorable.

Trend 3: Mary Janes

Although the Mary Jane is technically another classic shape, they are heavily represented in this year's trend reports. The great news about Mary Janes is that, because they are such a classic staple shoe, you can let yourself go a little wild in the pattern, texture and/or color departments and keep wearing it for a season or two.

Pick a statement color -- cobalt blue is hot this fall -- and grab a Mary Jane that will grab you some attention. We love these sexy stilettos in cobalt suede, as much for the color as the price tag ($22). http://www.myhotshoes.com/product/SONNY-21-COB-VSU/Cobalt-Blue-Mary-Jane-Pumps.html. Too over-the-top? How about this wedge heel version by Guess for just $60.

Trend 2: Graphic Black-and-White

A big nod to the spectator pump is evident everywhere, from pumps to booties, but the black-and-white trend is not limited to that particular pattern so you will also see stripes, zebra prints and plenty of houndstooth. But do yourself a favor and Google "spectator pump." Just 'cause it's fun.

Our current obsession is a trend combo -- this black & white bootie is part-spectator, part gangster, and all for just $79!

These Betsy Johnson houndstooth flats ($99) have a pointed toe, giving them a bit of an edge. Incidentally, this may be the least precious thing ever made with Johnson's name on them. (And that's a compliment.)

Trend 1: Studs/Metal Details

OHEMGEE. Possibly the most fun trend, and likely the quickest to fade, the studs and metal details are turning shoes into wearable medieval weapons. And we love it. Not limited to shoes, almost every accessory for fall/winter 2012 will be studded with studs and all manner of metal embellishment. Bet you wish you had kept that Bedazzler, huh?

Studded ballet flats from LuLu ($27) in pink or black won't break the bank.

If you want to splurge, these McQ studded pumps are super-duper extra-sexy...and they better be for $445. The military green is an interesting neutral, and the studding is reserved to around the back of the heel, so you'll get more than one season's worth of mileage out of them, making them worth the investment.

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