From tall to short, fall's always about the boot

Sexy stiletto boots never go out of style. But this fall, boots are getting shorter - it's all about the "shootie" - and rounding out into softer toes and chunkier heels. The masculine looks that dominated runways last summer are popping up in winter footwear. Flat boots are back again, echoing the spring/summer demand for low or no heels. And gray, long a neglected neutral, has found equal footing with black and brown, particularly if spiked with some metallic shine. Here are some of our favorite looks for fall.

- Shooties, one of fall's most ubiquitous trends, require a certain amount of caution. You can't just pull them on with a dress for a sexy evening look. We like the side-zip leather Guccis with a 3 3/4-inch heel. $825, Neiman Marcus. A classic pair of ankle boots should be a staple for any footwear fashionista. Nancie boots from Coach in pebbled calfskin feature rich buckle detailing at the ankle and a sturdy stacked heel, $428.

- Manolo Blahnik tall boots in graphic black and white snakeskin take the classic stiletto a sexy step forward with texture and pattern. $1,495, Neiman Marcus. Boots lean toward the casual this fall when they're flats like the knee-high quilted suede Diors with brass grommets and touches of patent leather. $690, Saks Fifth Avenue. This season, soft gray is hot, particularly in the Yolanda Air boots by Cole Haan in mixed suede and smooth leather style with bold silver metal buckles. $525.