There are two things you'll want to prioritize when shoe shopping this time of year: efficiency and creativity. You need footwear that allows you to flex your fall styling skills, all the while keeping your toes warm. Ideally, the best boots, heels, and flats of the season have both above-average design and the versatility to be worn with an array of outfit options. It’s something the newest indie shoe brands defining fall's footwear trends are especially successful in.
A combination of both new brands and names that still fly a bit more under the radar, the lines below are the kind that inspire you to get dressed from the ground up. Nicole Saldana's use of heavy soles with dainty prints and Suzanne Rae's vintage designs in rich, saturated colors for matching (or purposefully clashing) are both fresh,modern re-imaginations of what constitutes fall footwear. They each make a distinct statement intended to amplify whatever they’re worn with, not just simply blend in. And while these labels have already earned the attention of editors, stylists, and fashion insiders everywhere (a quick glance at Instagram or Fashion Week street style can confirm), they still far from the ubiquitous — making each inspired pair feel all the more special.
So, before you buy your first pair of fall boots, scope out the brands that will help you stand (and step) out from the crowd this season.
Founded by designer Havva Mustafa and her brother Ali, Havva is the result of a family steeped in the tradition of footwear (their family has a multi-generational legacy designing traditional Turkish footwear) , as well as Mustafa’s own desire to create designs that break the mold. Not only do they pay immense attention to the craftsmanship and comfort of the brand’s designs, but Havva’s aesthetic speaks directly to a daring dresser who wouldn’t hesitate to wear a flame-covered toes or double-tongued designs in place of your run-of-the-mill everyday bootie.
Though just launched in 2017, Nicole Saldana’s signature chunky soles have become a clear favorite among some of the best dressers on Instagram. The former Opening Ceremony designer’s approach is playful and practical with its use of prints, unique materials, and walkable soles, including a more delicate curved heel design you can find on boots and Mary Janes alike.
There’s a lot to love about Suzanne Rae. Most obviously might be her collection of charming, vintage-inspired Mary Janes that come in an array of punchy colors. But beyond the designs, the approximately nine-year-old brand is one to cheer for when it comes to its commitment to responsible production and its inclusive approach to style in general, recently evident in the diverse casting for its New York Fashion Week runway show which included musicians CJCJ and Verduch, and models Amrit Sandhu and Mar Chan.
Italian line Paris Texas launched nearly five years ago, however the brand's designs have become particularly popular in the last couple years, specifically the brand's attention-grabbing, knee-high snakeskin boots and Western style. For a somewhat more subtle approach, the label's expert use of textures (snakeskin and moc croc, in particular) and colors are also seen on clean lined booties and mules.
Following the fashion world’s obsession with Wandler’s handbags, the Amsterdam-based brand launched footwear at the beginning of 2019. Suffice it to say, it was met with great enthusiasm. Like the bags that have a modern yet minimal shape, the shoes also include a combination of simplicity with excitement. See: ‘60s knee-high boots in colorblocked leather and sleek pumps with square toes and ankle wrap details.
For the last few years, Seoul-based Salondeju has offered a new interpretation on classic, polished shoe themes for fall. The result feels nostalgic but also contemporary by way of prim, pointed mules in luxe neutral shades and fresh takes on T-strap heels.
BY FAR is a shoe line loved by minimalists. The detailing is super unfussy, its lines are clean and classic. But as far as unique, can’t-be-missed shoe choices go, it deserves a shout out for its thoughtful use of textures and colors that make even its most timeless silhouettes feel extra special.
Imagine the kind of shoe that deserves a double take. Its shape may seem familiar but its colors are a little unexpected. The details, just a touch quirky. This is the kind of effect Manu Atelier's boots possess. As another brand lead by a sibling duo with long-running family ties in leather manufacturing, the Turkish label is creating its own legacy with its hard-not-to-love designs.
One-year-old Labucq is the creative vision of Lauren Bucquet, the former footwear and accessories director at Rag & Bone. Like the iconic American brand, Labucq has elements of classic style and is wearable in anyone’s wardrobe. However, the details that make it one to watch are its chunky, ‘70s style heels and flatforms, as well as fabric choices in colorful snakeskin, velvet, and colorblocked leather.