Lug-soled boots are this season’s most in-demand style, but you might be surprised to learn that they have a history that stretches right back to the 1930s. Prized for their practicality – both then and now – they were the invention of Italian mountaineer Vitale Bramani. A sartorial and athletic innovation, they were designed by Bramani after six of his friends perished during an expedition in the Italian Alps – a tragedy he blamed on the inadequate equipment of the day. Instantly recognizable thanks to their chunky rubber sole and exaggerated tread, this season they’ve been championed by agenda-setting labels including Bottega Veneta, Proenza Schouler and eco-pioneer Stella McCartney.
At a time during which lockdown made many of us re-evaluate our style and utilitarian pieces have become de rigueur, FW20’s lug-soled boots strike the perfect balance between form and function. It’s this dichotomy that drew McCartney towards the style, and it’s a tension she’s built upon during the design process. “I love how bold they are; exaggerated by the added height of a platform, but with our signature effortless, utilitarian feel. The ‘Emilie’ is a boot you can wear every day, yet will continue to be a timeless statement piece season after season,” says the British designer. “For fall, I’ll be wearing mine with an oversized checked wool coat, a classic fine-knit sweater and a pair of our black vegan leather pants.”
True to form, McCartney’s directional designs are also as eco-conscious as they are covetable. The wooden mid-sole, a design detail that sets them apart from more traditional lug-soled styles, is crafted from traceable and certified-sustainable beech wood. “It’s hugely important, as it prevents deforestation and promotes responsible management of the world’s forests,” says McCartney. Meanwhile, the signature gum sole is created from 49 percent renewable resources, which, as she points out, “enables us to use less petroleum-based plastic in our products”.