We recently did a comprehensive story on 20 brands to know before everyone else this year, and frankly, you guys loved it. So we decided to turn this concept into a franchise. Since we kicked off the series with cool brands in general, our next stop on our under-the-radar brands tour is shoes—you wear them every day and they are probably an item in your closet you regularly invest in, plus they are really pretty.
Ahead, we've gathered 15 fresh and cool brands we feel not enough people are talking about but will be soon. You know us, we love to keep you up to speed on the latest and greatest in this industry, and under-the-radar brands are no exception. We know you pride yourself on wearing a brand none of your friends have heard of before, and we are here to support you in that. Because if we know you as well we think we know you, being the first to know about something while simultaneously supporting an up-and-coming designer are two things that bring you the utmost pleasure in life, and stripping you of that would be a crime. With that said, we bring you the shoe brands we need you to start talking about ASAP.
Salondeju contains the shoes your feet never knew they needed. Everything from the boots to the pump contains a unique detail that will inevitably have people asking where you got them. Started by Korean designer Sungju An in 2015, this brand is already gaining major steam thanks to a handful of devout influencers. And guess what? You're next.
Not to choose favorites, but Liudmila is a shoe brand that has quickly won our hearts over the past few years. Designer Najeeba Hayat started the brand after daydreaming just enough of the romantic and playful shoes that could be, but aren't yet. Here you'll find everything from lace-up boots to gingham sandals to shoes that come with matching anklets. We'll let that one sink in a bit.
3. Suzanne Rae
You may know Brooklyn-based designer Suzanne Rae for her ready-to-wear collections, but it's her shoes that we have been fawning over throughout her more recent collections. After getting a sneak peek at her F/W 18 collection, we can assure you that as far as cool footwear go, Suzanne is only getting better and better.
We came across this new Italian shoe brand via the niche website, W Concept. Doratore was designed with the intention of bringing a "flirtatious fun" to the wardrobe "with a touch of playfulness." The styles are classic enough to make you feel comfortable but have that fashion-girl edge we know you're probably craving.
5. Alchimia Di Ballin
Made in Italy by the Ballin family, this shoe brand just launched in 2016 and is already stocked on major retailers like Farfetch and Moda Operandi. In case you haven't already noticed, we appreciate a practical shoe with a forward detail or two, and Alchimia di Ballin serves up exactly that and then some.
Founded in 2015 by Luisa Krogmann and Constantin Langholz-Baikousis, Aeydē offers designs that suit a modern wardrobe. Aeydē is a direct-to-consumer brand that caters to fierce independent women who know the difference a killer shoe can make to her overall look. Pretty sure everything about this brand is speaking right to our hearts.
7. Idée Fixe
This new shoe brand is based in Tbilisi, Georgia, an up-and-coming destination in the fashion industry right now. Each shoe is handmade and perfectly simplistic in nature. Between the crushed velvet flats, elegant block heels, and that perfect ballet pink hue, there's nothing not to immediately love about this new label.
Neous is based in the UK and was started thanks to a 10-year friendship between fashion stylist Vanissa Antonious and designer Alan Buanne. Scrolling through its site, Neous describes itself as "minimalist, pared back, considered. Less, but more." Honestly, sold.
Buffalo is definitely not a new shoe brand (considering it was founded in 1979), but thanks to the return of cult-classic brands like Fila and potentially even Skechers, Buffalo fits right in. Opening Ceremony is currently stalking these intense platform sneakers in a low- and high-top version. Are we surprised they've already gained the likes of influencers? No, we're not.
10. Reike Nen
Aiming to create a contemporary yet refined style, Korean brand Reike Ne puts forth beautiful shoes you can actually wear. At first glance, these might look like the kinds of shoes you wear once and then tuck away on a cute little shelf somewhere, but at second glance, you'll quickly realize the heel height, colors, and shapes make these designs extremely wearable.
11. Toga Pulla
No, it's not just because this brand gives off major Western vibes, which is totally a trend right now, it's also because each pair of shoes Toga Pulla produces has so many details, you can't help but stare for a little longer than normal. I guess we can call this a statement shoe, and here at Who What Wear, we love a good statement shoe.
Handmade in Los Angeles by a total of 20 artisans, Rafa is a footwear brand that isn't trying to be trendy, but effortlessly timeless. The wide range of colors offered make each design feel fresh, which is why this brand immediately caught our eye. And did we mention the brand is also eco-friendly? Yeah, we're in love.
13. Yuule Yie
"Nothing about Yuule Yie is ordinary,"—a statement boldly proclaimed on the brand's website that describes the designs better than I ever could. Yuule Yie is a Korean footwear label that was founded in 2010 and has since gained the likes of fashion girls who pride themselves on finding those brands no one else knows. However, now that Yuule Yie is stocked on both Moda Operandi and W Concept, we have a feeling it won't be kept a secret for much longer.
14. Gray Matters
Gray Matters has been an editor-approved shoe brand for quite some time, so now it's time for word of the sleek footwear line to slip off of our lips and onto yours. The designer, Silvia Avanzi, takes inspiration from Italy (where she is from) in addition to her current city, New York, to create shoes that are versatile yet sophisticated.
15. Oliver Cabell
Last but certainly not least, we have a new brand for the sleek yet practical girl at heart. The Oliver Cabell sneaker is handmade and designed with a timeless shape in mind. In other words, definitely worth it. These are the kinds of sneakers you can throw on without any hesitation, for you know that no matter what you're wearing, they will add a casual yet cool finish to your look.