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Children's footwear fashion for Autumn-Winter 2021-22: here are inspirations, suggestions, styles and key products developed by WGSN's trend analysts.

Children's footwear for the upcoming AW21-22 embeds a sense of comfort combined with versatile and functional design, which amplifies the desire for a more sustainable product assortment.

There are four key words for the season: modular design, circularity, comfort and inclusiveness. Designers will have to interpret them by creating footwear that expands its commercial potential through multiple styling options, with sustainable materials that are recyclable or biodegradable at the end of their life, using soft, enveloping and protective shapes and materials, and with a genderless perspective that is also increasingly popular in the kid's world.

How do these suggestions translate into pattern making? In response to the growing demand for sustainable products, next winter we will see more and more trainers made according to the dictates of circularity, recycled/recyclable or biodegradable materials, or materials that extend the life of the product - such as waterproof covers. In terms of sustainability, we will also be looking at the manufacturing processes, with on-demand production models that avoid overproduction and waste.

Innovative and modular design will be the starting point for shoes that can transform their style, becoming another shoe, and expand to accommodate foot growth and size changes. More and more, trainers will become a domain of play and fun: underpinned by digital design, the use ofARandVR, they will be transformed into extraordinary items featuring rounded shapes, bright colours and soles with a chunky aesthetic.

In terms of boots, four trends are emerging.

Comfort and style go hand in hand in the Yeti boot: with a nostalgic-retro design and slip-on boot silhouette, it renews the comfort experienced at home with soft, warm materials, fur and teddy wool. The same applies to the Sock Slipper Boot, which reconfirms its versatile and comfortable style, suitable for both indoors and outdoors, with ribbed knits, fun patterns, and wrapping soles. On the other hand, the Trail Boot is a hybrid mix of trainers and outdoor boots with technical materials, wraparound and ultra-protective laces and voluminous soles; the Stormer Boot, with its futuristic style, contaminates utility design with influences from the trekking world and comes in waterproof materials, padding, lace buckles and soft linings; the Western Boot from the 90s, which has more of a fashion edge, mixes the Texan boot and its iconic designs with combat-boot inspired soles.

While the above-mentioned designs are increasingly genderless, the next two are more focused on the world of little girls: the Craft Mule turns clogs and mules into canvases on which handcrafted looks can be created in a balanced mix of aesthetics, comfort, and functionality, with soft, sustainable materials such as teddy wool, boiled wool and fur, imaginative patterns, functional and fun details, in line with the DIY ("do-it-yourself") philosophy that introduces playful elements. Finally, the Sling Back Penny Loafer has evolved the iconic heritage model in a sling back version, adding new materials, ironic decorations, and energetic colors.