iStyle: Too Cool for School with sensible shoes

The shoes of the season are strictly sensible – and mercifully comfortable, says Naomi Attwood

Whether you’re 14 or 44, one of the top items on your shopping list this autumn should be a pair of sensible shoes, the kind mum would approve of – perfect for starting the new term as you mean to go on.

The fashion gods are smiling benevolently on feet right now – with flat-soled styles being the pairs to wear. For proof, turn to the catwalk of rapidly ascending London designer, Simone Rocha, who sent her models down the runway in her trademark footwear – a sort of glammed-up version of the three-hole shoes reminiscent of regulation school uniform.

In New York, 10 Crosby Derek Lam chose flat pointy slip-ons, and, most surprisingly, Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, a designer who excels at eveningwear, paired his cocktail dresses with mannish Oxfords, some fastened with laces, others with silk-satin ribbons at Paris Fashion Week.

While falling into the category of ugly-cool, certain versions are perhaps redeemed in the eyes of more glam fashion enthusiasts their detailing – Rocha’s use of crystals, glitter and perspex, or traditional brand Church’s brogues with stud embellishments or oversized tassles.

Those not requiring such bells and whistles are well served by brands such as Dr Martens and Kurt Geiger, which offer high shine, plainer versions, as well as Topshop which has just released a collaboration with Loake, resulting in the 130-year-old brand creating footwear for women for the first time.

A compromise for those who might find black lace-ups a touch too dour would be a pair in a rich oxblood or even the new season’s petrol blue. For those concerned that such a frumpy style will do their legs no favours, Rocha’s catwalk offered two potential remedies; wear with cropped, wide-legged trousers and a simple top or fitted blouse, or go for a skirt, coat or dress with a hemline ending just above the knee.