Around the world in shoes
Sweden – Swedish Hasbeens.
If you haven’t heard of Swedish Hasbeens what shoe shaped rock have you been living under for the past 3 years? Coveted by celebrities and Travelettes alike this brand came back for one hell of a revival and have become one of Sweden’s fastest growing fashion brands – and hey a brand that can push Sarah Jessica Parker to switch from her beloved Manolos to a wooden clog must be onto something good! Despite their current fashion status, what I love about the brand is that the shoes are still handmade with respect for the environment and natural materials in the old traditional way these clogs were made in the 60’s and the 70’s – each pair even comes with a care guide instructing you on how to ensure you’ll be able to hand down your clogs to your grandkids. So not only do I love their style and their ethos, they manage to produce some dam cool lookbooks every season;
Portugal – Eureka
Recommended by fellow Travelette Katherine as a shoe mecca on my recent trip to Portugal I was not disappointed when I visited Eureka. Within the four walls of the store I visited there was literally a pair of shoes for everyone in this Portugese foot heaven. The prices are very reasonable for good quality leather shoes and their collection ranges from crazy high fashion shoes to classic brogues in every colour imaginable.
Spain – Adolfo Dominguez
I discovered Adolfo Dominguez shoes when I got stuck in Madrid airport for 8 hours when my flight was delayed. Not only did I follow Nina’s tips on 20 things to do at the airport when your flight is delayed but I decided to get creative and add my own things to this list, naturally that included visiting all the shops and trying on all the shoes available to buy in the duty free section. Turns out that in the end this delay wasn’t so bad as I managed to keep amused, get some work done (shock horror) and discover what has become one of my favorite shoe brands all in one go. His shoes are pricier than the average high street shoe brand (between €80 and €150 a pair) but they are super comfortable, made from organic leather and mine still look like new after 6 months of constant use, plus they often have great sales if you shop in their online store.
Spain – Camper
Yes, the Spanish are so good with shoes they deserve a second entry. Camper is yet another local brand on my list which a great ethical record for their shoe production. Their shoes are often a bit off the wall and cater for a slightly hipper taste than the average but they are without a doubt some of the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. I find that every year their collections get stronger and they manage to produce some unique styles which still reflect current trends.
Australia – Ugg
When the Ugg boot crazy hit the UK a few years ago I was kinda revolted by the transformation that happened to the hig
h street; all I could see was previously stylish women going outside shopping or to cafe’s and bars in glorified pairs of extremely expensive slippers. They seemed like a chiropractors dream providing no support at all and made your feet look like big fury animal hooves. There was no way that I was jumping on this shoe trend and don’t even get my started on the men that decided Ugg boots were cool! However finally Ugg realised that not all of us want to walk around in our slippers 24/7 and over the past year or so have come out with a collection of sexy high heels and what I’d consider to be more suitable and stylish outside footwear.
Brazil – Melissa
When I first came across the Melissa brand I was seriously excited; I’d never seen anything so fun and colourful in an adult shoe size before and to top it off each one comes scented with the most amazing smells meaning that your feet smell like sweets and bubbegum and not sweat! The shoes are made from injected plastic which means they are really comfortable and seriously flexible so you can squeeze them into a suitcase with no problems at all. These adult jelly shoes have exploded in popularity and can be bought far and wide from retailers like Asos, Urban Outfitters, Collette and many many others. Further collaborations with designers like Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gautier have further push this brand to its current global status.
Germany – Birkenstock
Virtually everybody knows them: the healthy shoes with unrivalled comfort, Birkenstocks have been the shoe of choice for grannies, crazy uncles, medical professionals and hippies for a long while now. Their moulded sole helps exercise your legs and improve circulation and over the past 10 years their designs have become more youthful, colourful and fun making it a must have summer shoe.
The brand was given a further boost in the high fashion stakes when Germany’s most famous topmodel, Heidi Klum started designing for them and today the brand has futher diversified and is now making its own “healthy” high heel. What more could a Travelette desire than a shoe that makes her legs look great which is not only comfortable but good for her at the same time?
What other great local brands would you add to the list of need to discover world shoe brands?