Chunky knits, long johns, shearling jackets, knapsacks and hiking boots all add to a practical, outdoors mood this season. When they first sent their autumn/winter collections onto the London and Paris catwalks back in January, Dunhill, Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Hermès, Dior and Paul Smith all riffed on the sturdy boot, and Milan's big menswear names trod the same path.
Boots are being offered with thicker soles in a lug pattern, and in variants that veer more or less towards hiking boots or casual dress boots. They can be high or low, leather or suede, laced or slip-on; it is the sole that is the defining fashion statement. Skinny fashion boys around town like to wear them with an Artful Dodgerish, Victorian dandy air, while British menswear's designer-of the-moment Aitor Throup is rarely seen without trousers tucked into the long socks that rise above his.
Dunhill's new hiking boots come in three colours of nature: navy oiled wool, brown vegetable-tanned calfskin and, most luxurious of all, rich and waxy green alligator skin. These are paired with gunmetal hardware, bright yellow laces and welted Vibram soles - first invented by Vitale Bramani in the 1930s, after an Alpine mountaineering disaster that was blamed on inadequate footwear, and later worn by the Italian team that first conquered K2. Not only are these boots on trend, they could even be a lifesaver - a perfect fit for the safety-conscious, stylish gent.