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There’s a lot to consider when buying a new pair of shoes. Will they hold up two years from now? Are they comfortable enough to walk in? And once you’ve gotten that far, do they even look good?
Sure, it’s easy to stick to the brands you know and love, but there are also plenty of reasons to try something new from the younger class of designers we’ve featured here. What they don’t have (yet) in long-term credibility they make up for with refreshing commitments to transparency, attention to detail, and passion for the craft, which is, of course, making really good shoes.
Read on for our favorite, not-so-obvious shoe suggestions for the season.
Isobel Schofield had always wanted to learn how to make shoes, so in 2012 she quit her job as a retail deign director to do just that. Her line, Bryr, (which means “to care” in Swedish), is a labor of love for all things well-made. From sourcing the best locally tanned leathers to crafting every pair by hand with her small team in their San Francisco workshop, her eye for quality and sharp attention to detail can’t be overlooked.
The collection itself is made up of updated takes on the centuries-old wooden shoe, with modern silhouettes, rich colors, and thoughtful touches (like a little fringe here and there).
For Amélie Pichard, there are no rules. The Parisian shoe designer launched her cheeky namesake label in 2011, and with it, introduced her world of off-beat, infectious creativity.
“My shoes are slightly unorthodox yet wearable, sexy but casual, vintage but unmistakably urban,” she shares on website. It’s those contradictions that make the brand all the more exciting to watch. Whether you go for a bright blue block heel covered in shearling corduroy or a lambskin stretch boot finished with a glass heel, each piece translates Pichard’s dream-like, cinematic inspirations into everyday, modern shoes.
"INTENTIONALLY __________." is the solo project of shoe veteran Ty McBride, whose talents have been influential to the growth of companies like Jefferey Campbell and Solestruck.
As the name would suggest, the shoes are understated with a purpose; McBride’s goal is for every shoe to have a seamless transition to the owner’s already established and unique wardrobe. This is not to say the shoes are boring, though; the fall collection is full of modern twists to classic styles like the ankle boot, mule, and block heel, plus a surprise glitter pump or two.
Does anything say dedication more than changing your name? In anticipation for the early 2016 launch of Frances Valentine, Kate Valentine (formerly Spade), along with her husband, knew the only way to separate her newest venture from Kate Spade the label was to reinvent entirely.
“We’re not trying to be cheeky or coy,” she shared with Business of Fashion earlier this year. “It really was to distinguish the name and separate the two worlds. Obviously we’re super proud of Kate Spade and we want to be respective of both.”
The brands fall collection is a delightfully unexpected balance between mature silhouettes and youthful accents. Add a little life to your 9-to-5 uniform with bold embellishments, patterns, and all-over-metallics.
Dear Frances | @dear_frances
This British shoe brand that’s honing in on “easy elegance” is probably one you’ve heard of recently, but worthy of another mention regardless. Dear Frances made its stateside debut less than a year ago in February, and it’s already collecting A-list cosigns from celebrities like Bella Hadid, Sophia Bush, and Bella Thorne.
While the brand is young, designer Jane Frances is no newcomer. Frances studied footwear design in both Milan and London before taking an internship at a family-owned footwear factory in Northern Italy, to which she credits her refined skill, and where each Dear Frances shoes is made by hand today.
Crafted in supple leathers and soft-to-touch suedes in seasonal shades and textures like forest green and tanned croc, these everyday, low-effort shoes are rich in detail and, without a doubt, worth the price tag.