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Ten Independent Shoe Brands to Have on Your Radar for Summer

Updated: May 5

Most of us have surely got the memo by now: go slow, go independent and go vintage when it comes to buying clothes. Landfill clothing mountains that can be seen from space are (hopefully) inspiring mindset altering buying decisions. All agreed? Good. But. What about our shoes? While most of us can reel off at least a couple of independent clothing brands we now count amongst our go to's, slow shoe brands have not fully moved into the collective consciousness. Most of us will still admit to heading straight to the big hitters when it comes to shoes. In the words of Julia Roberts- Big Mistake. Big.

Asra London: highstreet sandal shopping immediately ditched.


I recently worked on a campaign for Asra shoes- An excellent family run shoe brand with a charitable mindset. So I thought in the spirit of excellent independent shoe appreciation, this week I would serve you some other lovely brands from across the globe doing good and interesting things in the world of footwear, whether sustainably made, family run or with an ethical mindset. Absolutely worth putting on your radar this Summer.


ASRA LONDON

Best for: Chunky Designer Esque Sandals

Asra have been quietly sneaking into the picture since launching in 2019, specialising primarily in chunky leather sandals with statement hardware. Designed in London and made in India with an ethical focus: They work closely with the Aasraa charity providing children's education. The ss24 season has just landed and is giving serious The Row/Alaia vibes at a very sensible price point. A must look.



LAIDBACK LONDON

Best for: Moccasins

A recent discovery, Laidback has been working with local communities in Kenya since 2014 to produce artisan made sandals and moccasin shoes and boots with quirky detailing from neon stitching to leopard print. Oh and Beyonce is a fan. Nuff said



KIT + CLOGS Best for: Classic clogs

A British brand in love with the Swedish clog: Kit and Clogs have been producing their clogs in Sweden since 2016, working with traditional makers who have made clogs since the 1950's. Think classic shapes in natural colours, plus a jazzy metallic 'party edit'. They now have clothing and lifestyle range too to extend their slow living ethos.



CALLA PARIS Best For: Statement Slides

A high end sustainable brand for the bold of statement, Calla slippers and sandals are one of a kind: The Babouche series are handmade in the souks of Marrakesh using upcycled Berber rugs. I spotted these on a mini break to Palma last year and have been lusting after them ever since.



ASPIGA

Best for: Cowboy boots

Yes please to Summer cowboy boots: Aspiga, who started out as an ethical Kenyan sandals brand in 2005, have now added to their footwear offering with a good line in cowboy boots from ethical Spanish brand Alpa. The white Ganni-esque pair (at a fraction of the price) are firmly on my wishlist.


MOI

Best for: Mary Janes

Moi shoes was launched in 2021 by two women realising during lockdown the corporate heel had had its day. Their insta friendly mary janes are handmade in Istanbul and come in a plethora of colours and fabric (do one thing and do it well etc) The tan boucle and polka mesh are calling me- plus they now sell cute shoe up-leveling anklets for Summer ( immediately adds to basket)



ESSKA Best for: Colourful Comfy Trainers

London designed and Portugese produced Esska launched in 2006, with it's Architect founder's aim to make stylish and structural shoes comfortable. ( Oh alongside high sustainability and vegan creds) New this season are colourful trainers that can rival the mega trainer brands. Go Esska.



BOBOs

Best For: The Evening flat

Born in 2010, originally as an espadrille brand, Bobo's is a Spanish brand with a French aesthetic that gives major Audrey Hepburn vibes with its grown up 'toe cleavage' ballet flats. Many of the shoes are limited edition and produced on demand. Surely a shoe to leave high heels redundant.



ESSEN

Best for: A Minimal ballet pump

Australian brand Essen produce 'no compromise staples': seasonless, sustainable and timeless with the motto 'Fewer Pieces more Love'. and only produce on demand and in limited colours. Their foundation flat is the minimal ballet flat dream: I've been wearing my lilac pair for the last 5 years and am in the market for a woven update.


GURKEES

Best for: Rope sandals

The holiday sandal arena can be a minefield, with many holiday purchases likely to expire after two weeks of sand and sea. I return year on year to my Gurkee sandals, produced in West Virginia since 1984, made from sand and sea resistant vegan polypropylene rope, and considered a work of handmade art.


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