Next Autumn-Winter 23/24 will be dedicated to the essential. The desire for classic footwear is growing

[On the cover: Prada and J.W. Anderson FW23/24 fashion shows]

More product and less styling, more concreteness and less appearance: this is the common thread that unites the clothing and accessories presented at Pitti Uomo and at Milan fashion week, almost a call to put aside the superfluous to concentrate on the essence of things. Subtracting, rather than adding or exaggerating was the paradigm of the catwalks, from Dolce&Gabbana to the eagerly awaited Gucci show, from Prada to Giorgio Armani. Outfits made up of tailored jackets, well-constructed coats, soft trousers, sweaters that have often taken the place of sweatshirts and shirts, a return to the archetypes of tailoring and refined comfort, with some concessions to long skirts at Gucci, corset-girdles from Dolce&Gabbana, to capes from Fendi (tank tops are no longer headline news and have already been given the OK for men in the last two seasons). And then there are the shoes, beautiful and well-made ones typical of ‘Made in Italy’, which recover the classic models, but which must be updated to please the new generations. A survey conducted in 2022 by the BOF newspaper in partnership with the research company Altiant, specialised in the luxury segment, showed that the majority of men interviewed in the US and UK are more inclined to buy classic rather than casual shoes.

Thus, moccasins, lace-ups, ankle boots, models with one or two buckles are updated with thicker and more robust soles, belonging to the sports sphere, in a hybridisation process that for some seasons has become the path chosen by designers and accessory brands. Of course, the catwalks did not lack provocative ideas such as the frog clog by J.W Anderson, which was born from the collaboration with Wellipets, the famous British frog-shaped wellingtons that even Lady Diana had her children wear (the designer proposes them for the adult), but in general the turn towards the classic has taken over. However, this does not exclude sneakers, less present on the catwalks than in the past, but still loved by young people. Also in this case the proposals are divided between models with clean lines and those (again) with chunky bottoms.

Classic reloaded

Models that come out of the archives, rich in history, with processes typical of Italian expertise to make young people appreciate the value of tradition as well. To update double-buckle shoes, moccasins, Oxfords and Derbies, they have been hybridised with more accentuated soles and, more suitable for winter, also in the lug rubber version.

Versatile ankle boots

The Beatle boot is omnipresent in more classic versions with antiqued or brushed leathers and leather soles or with suede uppers and sturdy or lug soles. There is no shortage of biker boots and hiking boots, a model now available also in a city version.


Sneakers between past and future

The gym shoe is inspired by the iconic models of the past, those worn by the great basketball or running champions. To bring them up to date, leathers give a vintage effect or shaded with air-spray techniques. There is no shortage of sneaker contaminations with other models, especially hiking shoes, but for the next season trainers with a clean line with a box sole and uppers made of fine leathers and wools or sophisticated knitted materials will take over.