In the age of fast fashion, mass-produced shoes leave a huge footprint. For big brands, the goal is to produce as much product as possible with the least amount of money. Cheap materials, lack of attention to detail, and low-grade production methods are the same of course. And who finally loses? The consumer, also known as you.
In this climate, it’s easy to see why independent brands of handmade footwear are enjoying a renaissance. There is a growing demographic group of quality-conscious customers who value good craftsmanship and premium materials above the hype trends and pursuit. They are willing to pay a little more to have a product that has been carefully made and built to last, and there are some fantastic labels that allow them to do so.
These brands still manufacture their footwear in small batches, by hand, and are not bound to monolithic parent organizations that force them to cheapen production. They are free to do things their way and as a result, they are producing some the best shoes on the market today.
Why choose handmade?
Buying from a brand of handmade footwear is a no-brainer for those who value quality and attention to detail. Because shoes are made individually and not in large batches, the people who make them can pay more attention and attention to the process.
Shoes from these brands are often made in Europe with high-end Italian leather and are sewn by hand. Styles vary greatly from brand to brand and prices generally range from £ 100. In other words, these shoes are not only better made than their mass-produced counterparts, but can also be purchased at similar prices.
Handmade footwear brands that you should know
There are many independent brands that make excellent shoes, but here at Ape we have some of the favorites. Below are our brands of handmade shoes, which cover from luxury sneakers to very sharp Derby shoes.
Launched in 2019, Artisan Lab is a newcomer to the footwear game, but don’t let that discourage you from trying on your shoes. The brand ‘s range of footwear consists mainly of minimalist leather sneakers, handmade in Italy, and at prices that make them much more affordable than Common Projects.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Artsan Labs is the company’s approach to production. The products are designed, customers register their interest, the shoes are made to order and the styles that work best end up available in stock to buy them at any time. This allows the brand to minimize waste and produce the product that customers really want. Sustainable purchases to the maximum.
The direct brand to the consumer Velasca is about making the best possible shoes with the lowest possible price. All the models on the label are handmade by highly skilled artisans in the Italian footwear capital, Marche, and feature the quality and attention to detail expected of footwear made in this region.
Velasca Derby shoes, in particular, are quite special. The Cumenda, for example, is a classic black design that will combine with almost anything and never date. It is made of very smooth calfskin and has been assembled in Italy with a blake-fast construction for easy resolution.
“French” and “work clothes” are two words that are always good to see together, and that’s what Kleman is all about. Since the 80s, that french brand has been producing handmade footwear for various public organizations – railways, fire brigades and French police forces to name a few – but also for a faithful monitoring of the company’s shoes for their quality and style.
The range includes classic silhouettes such as Derbis, moccasins i sandals, but the star of the show is the Padror shoe. It is a work shoe with a French moc-toe toe, handmade in France with traditional techniques.
Coming from Amsterdam, ETQ. makes clean, minimalist footwear that flies in the face the thick maximalist who has dominated the world of sneakers for the past five years. Their designs are timeless and discreet, making use of high quality materials, with everything that is produced in Portugal.
Recently, ETQ. has been experimenting with recycled materials. The brand still offers basic classics like its iconic LT 01 leather sneaker, but newer styles incorporate unconventional fabrics like regenerated nylon. The brand’s LT 01 ECONYL is an eco-friendly version of the cult classic, offering the same classic silhouette with a comfortable knit top.
Mryqvist is a brand with a clear goal: to allow more men to enjoy the luxury of handmade footwear. He Swedish brand is able to do this by operating on direct model to the consumer, which means no brands, lower operating costs and, ultimately, premium shoes at affordable prices.
The brand’s range covers all types of footwear, from oxfords to luxury sneakers. Everything is handmade in Portugal with high quality materials from France and England, and there is even the option to make custom-made shoes.
Luxury sneakers are great. They are timeless, go with everything and are made to last. The only problem is that they can be quite expensive, but Oliver Cabell makes the prospect of equipping yourself with a partner a little more realistic.
If you’ve been drawn to shoes like Common Projects ’Low Achilles, but the amazing price tag and weird size, then Oliver Hair’s Low 1 might be more to your liking. It is a luxury minimalist sneaker that offers wide adjustments and is more affordable.
Instead of keeping bulk stock, some of which may not be sold, Comovita makes its shoes to order. This ensures that the brand only produces what it will sell, that is, that no unsold product ends up in the landfill. The brand also produces several vegan options.
Fancy a pair of high-end minimalist sneakers but don’t want to pay outrageous prices? Uniform Standard has many options to choose from, and the best part is that they also use a lot of recycled materials.
Naturally, the top of the Standard Uniform shoes is made with precious leather from some of the best tanneries in Italy, but all the rest of the shoes are recycled. We are talking about soles, insoles, dust bags, insoles and plastic-free packaging.
Duke and Dexter
From sneakers to moccasins and boots slippers – The British footwear brand Duke and Dexter does it all, and also very well. The brand produces all of its shoes in England, working closely with its artisans to obtain high quality materials to create premium pieces that are built to withstand the passage of time.
There is also some strange collaboration. In fact, Duke and Dexter have recently teamed up with another fantastic independent footwear label, Fracap from Italy, in a trio of handmade pieces. hiking boots. Do you want something completely unique? You can even have a pair of shoes made to measure by the house artist Jess, who will be happy to talk about your design and bring your vision to life.
Designed in London and made in Italy, Oliver Sweeney’s luxury footwear takes the best of both countries and unites them. Two nations with a rich heritage of shoes that work closely to produce an impressive range of shoes, covering all bases, from smart to casual.
We especially like Oliver Sweeney’s Scarpone hiking boot. It is a high-end version of a traditional hiking silhouette, with a sole with a Norwegian sole, a stacked heel and an antique leather upper.