Often the best outfits are the low-maintenance kind — a T-shirt and jeans, a slip dress and mules, a button-down and trousers: delightfully simple and yet so classic. The only way to make these fail-safe formulas better is by adding an eye-catching accessory into the mix and what better way to do so than with a new pair of statement shoes for fall?
Now, before you assume every attention-grabbing shoe is an uncomfortable one, let it be known that fall’s leading shoe trends range from low-to-the-ground kitten heels to walkable cowboy boots and hefty soles of the hiking and biker variety. In other words, practicality and comfort are on deck for the season.
While big name brands like Gucci, Prada, and Balenciaga make some of the best notice-me shoes in the biz, this time around, consider looking for something new. That's where emerging and contemporary shoe brands come into play — designs that set any outfit apart with a sleek and sculptural silhouette or a colorful thick-soled design for chilly months ahead. The genius lies within the fact that these artistic and architectural shoe styles do the sartorial talking, so to speak — meaning you can keep the rest of your outfit simple.
Outfit-making footwear is an easy way to breathe a little life into your work wardrobe, too. Yes, minimalist pumps, ankle boots, and flats are all versatile options for Monday through Friday, but when you want to really command a meeting, an exceptional shoe will easily earn you instant style credit — and who doesn’t want the bosses stamp of approval?
Also worth noting is the simple satisfaction that comes in discovering (and wearing) an under-the-radar shoe brand before anyone else does. Especially when your outfit is rooted in basics, venturing outside your comfort zone with an uncharted footwear brand will feel incredibly gratifying.
Ready to shop statement shoes for fall? Ahead, seven unique footwear brands suited for the job.
“Minimalist, pared back, considered” is how this London-based brand aptly describes its elegantly off-kilter aesthetic. With architectural heels, geometric details, and innovative splashes of color and print at the crux of Neous’ design philosophy, every pair of mules, slingbacks, and ankle boots is thoughtfully designed with the modern woman in mind. Lean on this brand for statement making-style at work and beyond.
For a punky-feminine play on boots, loafers, and mules, look no further than California native, Nicole Saldaña who cut her teeth designing at Tory Burch, Kenzo, and Opening Ceremony before launching her namesake label in 2017. When itching for some cool factor, everything from satin-embroidered heels to floral-printed lug-sole Mary Janes and nylon and leather utility boots will stand out in a sea of neutral footwear with ‘90s-era appeal.
For transitional footwear to wear now and with spirited socks and hosiery later in the season, Souliers Martinez is a must. Crafted with a hand lacing technique discovered by the designer, Julien Martinez, in Alicante, Spain, woven pumps and ankle boots are the brands mainstay in a neutral palette of tan, black, white and mixed-colors that look like tweed.
For a fanciful twist on timeless footwear, Gia Couture will be your newest obsession. Founded by Barbara Borghini in January 2016, the Italian label handcrafts luxurious sandals, pumps, and flats with a whimsical spirit — think multicolored palettes and playfully elegant fabrics. Every silhouette is timeless yet cheerful. You’ll be vying for their popular Bandana accented pumps, leopard-print kitten-heel ankle boots, and black and white western boots to wear with well, everything for fall.
For the minimalist looking for impact, Bulgarian brand by Far is choice. Spurred from the idea of what the founders would want to wear every day, unfussy yet directional shapes are the brand’s signature with a playful nod to vintage eras (cue the Victorian and ‘90s references). It’s no wonder why celebrities and influencers from Bella Hadid to Jeanne Damas are smitten with the brand: Everything from pared-back pumps to boots and block heels — in a range of elevated textures and offbeat colors — are effortlessly chic with literally everything in your closet.
Founded in January 2010, Seoul-based brand, Reike Nen is the epitome of Korean cool. Combining classic elements with a contemporary vision, everyday staples like ankle boots, mules, and pumps feel decidedly fresh and playful whether it’s a corduroy bootie with a square toe, sleek loafer touched with polished hardware, or a fuzzy-heeled mule in a rust hue. The brand even collaborated with on-the-rise ready-to-wear label, Beaufille, on a five-piece black-and-white capsule for Spring/Summer 2019. Warning: you’ll want to add every versatile pair to your shopping cart.
For sculptural showstoppers, Gray Matters is the label du jour, which per the brand’s about page, equates to “objects with a life of their own or enhancing the character of women like no other.” And enhance they do. Every single shoe is sophisticated, distinctive, and delightfully quirky. The brand — designed by Silvia Avanzi — became famous for its egg-shaped heels and this idiosyncratic vision has expanded to new shapes like irregular marbled stones, oversize cubes, and diamond-shaped clear plexi heels. Each silhouette reads as a work of art whether worn with tattered denim or your smartest suit.