Good news: eye-wateringly expensive shoes aren't cool anymore. Just take a look at this season's front rows; instead of big-budget brands, the editors, buyers, stylists and bloggers were championing a new wave of lesser-known, independent footwear designers. From Icelandic label Kalda’s butter-soft leather slingbacks to Berlin-based Aeyde’s intricate sculptural heels, the new favourites offer comfort, sustainability and affordability without skimping on design values.
How does a London fashion editor come across a small Icelandic brand like Kalda in the first place? Social media, of course. "I would have to credit Instagram," says founder Katrín on how people discovered her label. "It has been instrumental in reaching a new audience, especially buyers and industry people," she says.
Discovering hot new designers feels even better when the price is right: most of these new footwear labels pitch a pair of luxury leather shoes at around £250 – not exactly high street cheap, but far more accessible than the latest £6k feather boots by Saint Laurent. "We source the same materials as big luxury houses," explains Aeyde cofounder Luisa, "but due to our direct-to-consumer approach and strong digital strategy, we're able to provide our products at a different price point."
If designer-looking shoes without the designer price tag sounds good to you, read on for six of the new cult shoe brands on every fashion girl’s radar.