There are many incredibly inspiring footwear brands currently on the market, there are also a lot of shitty brands out there too. Below is a list of just 5 footwear brands that currently inspire me the most. Whether it be their intelligent, honest and sleek design or their high level of production quality and attention to detail, each brand is special. I could have easily added onto this list, but I think this is a good start, there are also a couple brands I’m working personally with right now that will have some incredibly inspiring things coming soon.
Anyway, check out my list of the 5 most inspiring independent footwear brands right now, below –
London based footwear brand, Mr. Hare is a blend of beautiful craftsmanship and subtle, exquisite design. It’s simple, clean and timeless. What I enjoy most from Mr. Hare’s designs, is in essence, the lack of design; the simplicity and beautiful design language that allows the material to be the star detail. The quality of these shoe’s just oozes through the screen, this is a great example of how to do shoes, the right way.
Mr. Hare, the person, has no formal training in shoe design or any other form of design. He just knows what he needs and knows what he likes. He needs food and love and music and fresh air. He likes MF Doom, cooking, surfing, his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, dancing, bespoke suits, flip flops, camping, riding mountains, the Wu-Tang especially ODB, girls, White Wine and Dark Rum, but not together, Spinach and many other things, but these are the ones I have remembered today.
No real introduction needed here, Visvim‘s Hiroki Nakamura has been providing the footwear industry with a much needed boost of creativity for years now.
The most inspiring aspect of this brand, aside from their beautifully designed footwear, has to be the dedication and nomadic nature that Hiroki has applied to constantly learn, improve, and create high quality, innovative product. During his earlier years he traveled to Italy to learn from a master leather maker, and the following season went north to run with wild animals to learn to make shoes from the local people there –
If I can watch the process from beginning to end then I can put my personality into the product (and know that it has integrity.) I think in any creation it’s important to put your philosophy into it. I’m sad when I see things being produced without any personal feelings.
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Now before you look at their work and think they’re just knocking off famous silhouettes, have a look their full catalogue of work, they have some really beautiful stuff.
A few brands have tried to copy famous sport shoe silhouettes and pull them off high(ish) end casual footwear, and for the most part failed miserably. However, the level of beauty and quality of Ryo Kashiwazaki’s, Hender Scheme is undeniable, and I can’t help but respect a brand that has executed an idea that’s somewhat unoriginal, and done it so amazingly well.
How does the saying go…’Good artists copy, great ones steal’.
At the end of the day, they ingenuity used to bring some of these sport silhouettes across to a higher end leather shoe, are pretty genius.
Australian brothers Josh & Tull Price are both incredibly inspiring. Having created what I can only say are some of the most beautiful shoe’s I have ever seen in my life, they continue to innovate and push their brand forward in new and exciting directions.
The perfect example of that being their fully bio-trainer that I posted about a while ago. This is the type of innovation we need. FEIT is a fully functioning, solar powered Ferrari; Beautiful to look at, eco friendly (and their shoes at-least look like they’ve been made in Italy).
You can see an interview I did with Josh & Tull for CK about a year ago, here.
Without a doubt one of my favorite brands out right now, Thorocraft is next level innovation for casual footwear. From moulded, copper rivet accent logos, to braided leather, laser cut vamps and just beautiful material selection and colour blocking, Thorocraft shoes are just special.
The design group behind the brand, FLGSHP CONSORTIUM CORPORATION deserve some type of medal.
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