Fall's 'It' Shoes

From skyscraper heels to punk-rock studding, the new footwear styles aren't for the faint of heart.

08.19.09 10:53 PM ET

Gone are the days of the 'It' bag. This fall, fashion's collective focus has fallen farther south, specifically just below the ankle. (After all, putting your money where your feet are seems a far more practical, and therefore acceptable, form of consumption given the current economic climate.) Meet the new 'It' shoes: From sci-fi-inspired statement heels to skyscraper monstrosities that have been buzzed about since they paraded down Fall 2009 catwalks in February, this season's dominating footwear styles are anything but demure. But that's not to say a handful of foresighted designers weren't outfitting their models in simple men's brogues as well (much to the relief of their harried mannequins who on more than one occasion tumbled atop catwalks this past fashion week). Hey, even Anna Wintour (the Vogue editor in chief notorious for never leaving home with at least 2 additional inches in place below her heel) was recently photographed in a pair.

Click Image Below to View Our Gallery

Models at both Chloe and Rodarte were seen strapping on leather boots so tall they simultaneously channeled Captain Hook and A River Runs Through It. Less subtle were the studs which surfaced seemingly left and right; not to mention feathers fashioned as accents on already eye-catching tall heels. Numerous designers have meanwhile crafted Fall wedges so tall they'll likely have insurance companies shaking in their... well, you know. For the most part, Fall shoes proved anything but prudish (and if they were, they were pawns in a protest against footwear reaching arguably absurd heights). In fact, footwear seemed to be the one aspect of fashion where designers agreed one could embrace frivolity this season, as well as champion a recession-ready warrior woman equipped with half-a-foot-tall footwear. After all, it can't all be doom and gloom, can it?

Plus: Check out Fashion Beast, for more news on the latest runway shows, hot designers, and emerging trends .

Alisa Gould-Simon is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer. She also covers fashion and culture for BlackBook, New York magazine, and PAPER among other publications.