It was only a few days ago when we last revisited the infamous Manolo/Timberland mashup which I affectionately (sort of) like to call Timbernolos, and now another shoe has appeared to allow us to continue the discussion. If you can look at the Alaia Lace-Up Suede Ankle Boots (by a totally important designer) and think of anything else, your mind has somehow created far different associations than mine has.
I was never a fan of the original luxury work boot and I didn’t like Tory Burch’s recent iteration much better, but this pair is working for me in a way that those two never did. Not only does the design embrace the chunky charm of utilitarian fashion from top to bottom, but it manages to update your average Timberlands in a way that is totally on-trend for fall.
I would have never thought that I’d find myself saying nice things about a pair of shoes like this, but here we go. Instead of the stiletto heel favored on both the original Timbernolos and the recent Tory Burches, this shoe goes for a chunky heel and big platform. Not only does that combination fit current trends much more closely, but it works with the overall scale of the work boot inspiration. They’re a chunky shoe by nature, and they deserve a substantial heel when made feminine.
Alaia made another great choice by making this shoe in charcoal suede (also available in black) instead of the caramel color that most of us associate with Timberlands. The color prevents the shoe from becoming too loud or stereotypical while simultaneously letting the other work-boot details take center stage and create the design’s aesthetic mood. When you have the trim around the top, the lug sole and the industrial laces, you don’t need to color as well. These are still not shoes that will appeal to everyone, but Alaia did a far better job of making a chic shoe out of a Timberland boot than any of the other designers to give it a try thus far. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $1710.