While it may not be time to put the loafers, the slippers or the sneakers aside just yet, it is time to best start planning your personal take on this autumn / winter’s choice of footwear for when the leaves will finally disappear, leaving place to more rain, mud and eventually heavy snow. Finding sturdy, practical and waterproof shoes that are cool without being overdone is a task made easy this autumn.

The fall 2013 menswear runways made a case out of pointing out how this season’s footwear is all about being practical, just as much as it is about being stylish. In this particular scenario, the hiking boots are set as the best possible example, unifying the sense of adventure with the concept of heritage in one big statement that has been perfectly adapted to the urban fashion context.

After the break, we’re taking a closer look at this season’s hiking boot renditions, talking key styles and how to make these chunky shoes stand-out for all the right reasons.

Hiking boots for men in 2013

The hiking boots made a very strong first impression on 2010′s menswear runways, as part of the entire worker-wear theme revival. Back then they merely served to style the plaid shirts and the cozy gilets, thus failing to give rise to a proper trend. This year instead, their resurgence met new heights when powerhouses like Louis Vuitton, Topman and Bally took the outdoor inspiration and turned it into a cool pretext of gearing up right for the harsh months of fall and winter. As expected, new styles have emerged and what was once destined exclusively to getting one through rocky terrain, now makes total sense in an urban environment.

Men's hiking boots

Authenticity

They are meant to be functional, resilient and sturdy, but although defining, these qualities are often ignored by both the low-cost and the luxury brands set on creating a mass-product that will sell regardless. So, when talking hiking boots, the number one rule is to seek authenticity. Authentic quality coming from heritage brands that have built their reputation in this field specifically, counts as the only certification for a wise and durable investment. The urban adventurer, much like the hiking enthusiast himself, will grow to appreciate genuine quality, more so in what’s supposed to be a true staple of the men’s wardrobe.

Men's hiking boots

Key styles

Now that we fully expressed how important authenticity is in picking the right pair of hiking boots destined to carry you through the many season to come, it’s time to talk key styles and top brands. It all leads back to the Red Wing Shoe Company and their tough and comfortable hiking boots building a reputation that spans over a century. With each pair made to last and protect, Red Wing becomes the very first choice when talking legendary hiking boots. Made out of full grain, waterproof leather and enhanced with a rubber-blown rubber traction tred, these hiking boots offer the best kind of resistance.

Shop: Red Wing 411 Red Wing Men’s 8-inch Boot Brown

Men's hiking boots

Another perfect example of when authenticity meets greater style comes from Italian brand Car Shoe. Developing high performance in their sturdy series of products for over 50 years, the brand creates footwear that’s destined for both the mountains and the big cities, particularly during winter time.

Shop: Car Shoe Leather Hiking Boots

Men's hiking boots

Bally’s Everest collection celebrates 60 years of the first Everest ascent with an updated look on the hiking boots that helped make it all possible. Modern but relaxed, offering stability and weather protection, Bally’s hiking boots would look outstanding amongst what builds a man’s winter wardrobe today.

Shop: Bally Viller boots

Men's hiking boots

Stylish enough for everyday leisure wear, the North Face mens Ballard 6 Inch black mountain blue hiking boots are also built as to withstand serious weather conditions. Making them ideal for icy or wet terrain, they come carrying rubber lugs, efficient insulation and waterproof protection.

Shop: The North Face mens Ballard 6 Inch boots

Men's hiking boots

Meindl’s exceptional boots harbor over 300 years of Bavarian history which fully stands for their expert leather working heritage. Durability, foot-contouring comfort, weatherproofing and stunning attention to detail are all qualities that turn these hiking boots into a potentially wise and indubitable perennial investment.

Shop: Meindl Mens Burma Pro GTX Boot

Men's hiking boots

How to choose the right hiking boots

Leaving aside the strive for genuine quality, functionality and durability, when choosing the right pair of hiking boots try to also think about:

  • the reason you’re purchasing them – either for backpacking, occasional hiking or for a gutsy take on a winter’s wardrobe, make sure the type of hiking boots you end up picking up matches your very own set of requirements
  • a good fit – it may sound weird but a perfect fit is considered to be the most important factor of the boot selection. From length (toes should wiggle easily inside the footwear) and width (feet should not slide around inside footwear) to volume, every single aspect counts
  • boot materials and construction – needless to say these two impact everything in between a boot’s weight, breathability, durability and water resistance

How to style the hiking boots

The hiking boots are most commonly paired with clothing that shares their similar characteristics, meaning lots of quilting, plaid and check shirts alike and of course, thick knitwear. Topman’s design director Gordon Richardson chose a more adventurous direction for his fall/winter 2013 collection, pairing the chunky boots with smarter casual pieces. Over-sized parkas and printed pea coats looked particularly good as layered on top of sleek blazers. To really turn the boots into a statement, tuck your chinos or jeans into the boots and choose colors in your garments that will look modern, but elegant at the same time.

Think rich burgundy, timeless navy or a palette of winter whites, ivory and cream. When styling these big, chunky boots remember to pay extra attention to proportion. As far as the accessories go, you can’t be wrong in pairing the boots with cool backpacks, slouchy beanies and fingerless gloves.

Men's hiking boots
Hiking boots at Topman F/W ’13 men’s

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