Play By Your Own Rules: This Fall, Bold Men Require Bold Shoes

The collections of Milan, Paris, New York and London were divided when it came to the creative direction of men’s footwear this season: some hewed close to the traditional end of the spectrum, while others pushed new boundaries. We gave you the rundown on some of the more classic collections last week, but if you’re a forward-thinking man looking for footwear with an edge, we’re here to tell you that there are three labels to turn to this fall: Rick Owens, Arfango and Christian Louboutin.

Let’s start with Rick Owens. This gothic-infused, California-bred designer has built a career dedicated to a shaded palette of black, white and grey with asymmetrical lines and atypical silhouettes. His footwear upholds to the same creative pillars. His stark black leather lace-up combat boots are surely a statement-making pair. With a slim-fitting black suit, they take cocktail-party attire to a new level; or wear them with a white chambray shirt, fitted khaki pant and a denim jacket to channel your inner fashion editor (as well as the heritage Americana trend). The same goes for Mr. Owens’ high-top laceless sneaker. They’re not for the faint of heart, but isn’t caution overrated?

Arfango, founded in 1902 but recently reinvigorated by Creative Director Alberto Moretti, is also stepping up the cobbling game. Its slipper-esque loafers, exclusive to Barneys New York, showcase luxe materials—with a particular emphasis on velvet—and eye-catching embellishment, like embroidery and tassels. One of our favorite pairs is the cheeky peephole loafer, which shows off the underside of a lady’s skirt as seen through a keyhole. Staid they are not.

Another pair we have our eyes on for fall comes from the very talented mind of Christian Louboutin, who took an understated black loafer and gave it an edge (literally) with tufts of leopard-printed trim. They are the embodiment of the word dapper. (And of course they flash that signature red sole when you walk.)

From urban kicks to formal slip-ons, what all these designers share is a willingness to take men’s footwear into new and uncharted waters. And all you have to do is dip your toe in. Take your pick of kicks below or shop the entire men’s shoe collection at

1. Rick Owens high-top laceless sneaker; 2. Rick Owens side-zip combat boot; 3. Arfango peephole embroidered loafer; 4. Arfango floral embroidered loafer; 5. Christian Louboutin loafer (call 212.826.8900 to order); 6. Arfango apron-toe tassel loafer