So you think you know ballet flats. And wedges. And boat shoes. And, for that matter, sneakers.
Well, shoe-makers are having some fun with you this fall. Studs and bows, shine and glitter and animal prints aplenty may just kick shoes to the top of your must-have list.
These fresh styles combined with back-to-school shopping trips and Labor Day weekend sales have shoe departments buzzing this week.
Because, really now, is there anything quite like a new pair of shoes?
One trend: Ballet flats really get a workout this fall. Leopard and cheetah prints are available in all price ranges. Talbots and other retailers offer them in tweeds and plaids. Patent leather is not just for spring anymore. And Gap offers leather ballet flats in a rainbow of colors (cute with colored skinny jeans.)
But if you really want to sparkle this fall, go for grown-up, glitter ballet flats. LOFT and other brands have them in various colors.
And there's much more. "One of the biggest trends - not just in shoes but in all accessories - is tribal, Western and Aztec prints," said Valerie Gasiewicz, of the Shoe Suite, 4446 Main St., Snyder.
Coming soon: The Tapestry boot, with the look of a riding boot but with a shaft made of a great woven pattern and texture, she said.
Bows are big, as are studs - quite in contrast, wouldn't you say? At Macy's, the Seana flat from AK Anne Klein sports a bow at the back of the heel.
As for those studs, Steve Madden and other brands feature them on sections of - or all over - shoes of many styles. A pair of animal-print platform leather pumps by Vince Camuto, spotted at Lord & Taylor, has studded vamps, backs and high heels, for example. The word "fierce" comes to mind.
Two other words to remember this fall: toe caps - perhaps in patent, glitter, studs or metallics.
These show up not only on ballet flats but also on pumps and 1940s-style T-straps that remind one of dance shoes.
"The T-strap gives it a vintage flair, but the metallic toe gives it more of a bold and modern flair," Gasiewicz said.
Menswear influences: "One of the fun things we're seeing is the menswear look and the interesting mixing of textiles and patterns - mixing animal prints with suede. It's a season of pattern; you can really mix and match as an expression of your creativity," said Deborah Tangelder, owner of Get Heeled, a women's shoe boutique at 6000 Goodrich Road, Clarence Center.
"I love some of the bright colors; I love the reds and the moccasins that have flaps over them and a few tassels," she added.
Also picture flats inspired by men's old-fashioned smoking slippers in materials ranging from rich velvets to fanciful metallics. You'll also see traditional menswear patterns, such as houndstooth and glen plaid, in flats, pumps and other styles. Oxfords are another option; some even have contrasting soles, such as the Olsenboye Oxford at JCPenney.
Boat shoes: The popularity of this style as a casual, everyday shoe continues in ways a previous water-loving generation could not have imagined. Who knew? This fall, Sperry offers boat shoes with silver sequins or animal prints, to name just two.
Classic pumps: These appeared on the fashion runways with tailored suits - to add that feminine touch. Very classic.
"The platform high heel is huge. It's part of the dress-up look for fall. It's not a very heavy heel, but more of a chunky platform with a feminine heel that goes with it," Tangelder said.
The classic pump in rich colors is beautiful and timeless, she said. It carries through to the tailored looks of the season, but also goes beyond suits.
"You can also wear them with skinny jeans and a fun sweater and look awesome," she added.
Boots: InStyle magazine's September fashion issue highlights five boot trends you'll spot around town: Riding boots (nice with tucked-in skinny pants or skirts long enough to cover the tops); lace-ups (animal prints and color-blocking effects show up here); wedges ("the jewel tones and luxe fabrics are so on trend for fall"), Chelsea ('60s-style boot), and moto-style boots (some high-heeled and quite dressy).
Finally, sneakers are something else to check out this fall as wedge styles and other hybrids continue to resemble anything but your average canvas sneaker or workout shoe.