6 Indie Footwear Brands Currently Showing Inspiring New Styles

It’s that time of year again. The time of over priced booths, flamboyant sneakerheads and industry insiders/buyers roaming the the aisles in search of the next hype sneaker/brand. It’s trade-show season. And despite what my previous comments might lead you to believe, I think it’s a great time of the year. From these show-cases, you can get small nuggets of info on how the upcoming seasons are going to shape up.

Generally there’s not too much new, inspiring stuff on display. It’s mainly new colour-ways/material-ways of existing styles, or a few brands that are trying a little too hard to fit in. However, every once in a while, in the tiny, dark recesses of the show, there’s a new brand that holstering some serious heat. These are some of the snap shots I’ve seen of new styles (either through over zealous trade-show goers, or from the brands themselves), that have got me extremely intrigued.

In no particular order, these are 6 Indie Footwear Brands Currently Showing Inspiring New Styles.


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1. Casbia

Love what Casbia has been showing as of late, especially this runner style. With what looks to be a one-piece upper construction (aside from the heel counter/pull tab), they’ve created a very unique look, and managed to add the elastic piece in a functional, but still aesthetically pleasing manner. The sole unit also looks to be Hurrache inspired, which is always a good look. Really feeling these.


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2. Akio

Akio has been impressing me a lot with just they’re overall high level of execution. From the design and development of the shoe’s themselves, through to the website layout, everything is seriously on point. Above is a look at their current offering (out later this year), though i’ve seen random pictures of their next style and it looks like they’re planning to continue their high level of execution into 2016.



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3. Article N°

Honestly, everything else from Article N° is cool and all, but this style alone is the reason they’re on this list. I’ve still yet to see it from other angles, but goodness, this is a beautiful shoe. The sole unit is super unique with great proportions. The suede upper gives a nice contrast, features interesting stitch patterns and covers the inner bootie and invisible lacing at the throat of the shoe. An interesting collar shape and a sleek last create a shoe that’s very unique, but still palatable. This shoe is just super inspiring, I’m looking forward to checking it out in further detail soon.


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4. ekn x MrBailey

It’s my website, and if I can’t post my own shit, what’s the point in having it? Besides, we really do have some beautiful styles coming up. Though a lot are still running through sampling (they’re a lot more complex then the previous models, so they take longer to get right), what I’m seeing so far has got me very excited. You can expect interesting plays on one-piece uppers that utilize a Guayule (a plant based, neoprene-like material) bootie. The main question with this collection was; how can we create “on trend” footwear, with unique design and sustainable elements. Anyone can design different and wild footwear, but how can you design a shoe that doesn’t alienate a current customer base, but rather move them forward and educate them while generating new followers and altering the way sustainable footwear is viewed. Stay tuned.


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5. Safa Sahin

I have no idea if these will ever even come out, but I want to see whatever happens asap.


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6. Brandblack

Nobodies doing it like Brandblack right now. They maneuver like the big boys, applying everything from HF Welding to flyknit and moulded uppers to their sneakers. This particular shoe is a brilliant example of what makes them great; a combination of an athletic silhouette, with casual/fashion elements. I could easily see myself wearing this playing Basketball, just as I could wearing it with a casual outfit. Brands just don’t that anymore. Barring the re-re-releasing of retro’d Jordans, these (for me) are the only brand right now that are crossing the athletic/casual market and are straight killing it.


Mr. Bailey

Product Designer + Footwear Architect | Founder of @ConceptKicks | www.MrBailey.co.uk

Join the conversation

  • Akono Dylan - 5 years ago

    Hi, first excuse my english i don’t really speak very well but i will try my best to be understandable.

    I’m a graphic design student, i’m 17 and i’m from swiss and i really love the world of sneakers and i really want to be a sneaker designer, i know it’s very difficult that’s why i’m here to ask you how to proceed. You can check my IG i drew some sneakers.


    Akono Dylan

  • Nate Parker - 3 years ago

    Do you have a free catalog for your customers to view.