The fashion trend influenced by a heritage outdoor aesthetic has enjoyed a much longer shelf life than most seasonal trends. From flannel to fair isle, it is a practical answer to fall and winter wardrobes and offers a large pool of crafted details for today’s designers to be inspired by in their modern interpretations. The classic hiking boot, specifically, is the perfect starting point from which to spin an understandable but fashion forward iteration, and there have been many! I, myself, was bitten by the outdoor bug while designing at Vans in early 2009 and decided to veneer one of our women’s high-top sneakers with traditional hiking boot styling. The shoe was a big hit and I’ve been adding distressed leathers and boot hardware to my sneaker designs ever since.
Somewhere along the way, I remember hearing from my product manager at Vans that Kristen Stewart’s stylist had requested a few pairs of our Wellesley Hikers for potential use in one of the upcoming Twilight movies. Fast forward a couple of years and this cool bit of information came flooding back to me as soon as I spotted my shoe designs on the big screen in Breaking Dawn: Part 1. They’re featured in an irresistibly cute scene, in which Bella, the natural beauty naive to all things fashion, agonizes over having to practice walking in the white satin high heel wedding shoes her soon-to-be sister-in-law has picked out for her. She can’t wait to get back into her trusty hiking boot sneaks, which fit perfectly with her woodsy Washington-state style. Oh the irony that in such an effortless outfit, Bella is, in fact, on trend.
As honored as I am that both Kristen and her character, Bella, seem to like my design, the custom wedding shoe designer in me can’t help but give pause to the hypothetical question of whether Bella might have preferred a hiking boot inspired wedding shoe? Maybe white lace-embossed leather on a wedge with a luggy sole and of course, the traditional red hiker laces. Thankfully, the high-heeled hiker is already a reality in the marketplace and with a continuous stream of evolutions on this rustic-chic hybrid, it’s safe to say the outdoor fashion trend isn’t going anywhere.