We Brits are known for our laid-back, fashion-forward take on dressing, and just about every major trend to come from the capital city in the last few years has gone global (and kick-started a few hashtags in the process). From city-girl normcore to countryside cottagecore, whichever you identify with, British women have always known how to make fashion functional. But no matter your style, there's one piece in particular that speaks to just about everybody, and it just so happens to be one that British women are particularly taken with too.
It's no coincidence that many of the best-selling and most sought-after pieces over the last few months have been shoes. From designer gems (Prada and Gucci, we're looking at you) to high-street heroes (who better than M&S?), Londoners have invested heavily in seasonal chunky Chelsea boots and party-ready heels, but no matter where you look up and down the country, you'll spot an outfit-elevating shoe that was carefully planned.
From The Row's minimalist Zipped Boot 1 to Birkenstock's ultra-comfy clogs, the shoes I see time and again on my commute to the Who What Wear office got me thinking about which brands in particular are British best sellers, so I took to Instagram to find the shoes that social media's most stylish are investing in now, and the results might surprise you.
As we head further into the depths of winter, top-performing categories are without a doubt flat shoes (loafers, trainers and ballet pumps score highly) and, of course, boots (namely ankle and knee-high). So which brands are best at nailing these trending styles? I've put together a handy roundup of the 10 high-street, mid-range and designer footwear brands that Brit girls are shopping now, so all you have to do is decide what to wear them with.
1. NEW BALANCE
Style Notes: Sorry, Adidas. Every is wearing New Balance right now. With waiting lists for new drops and just about every influencer owning a pair of the sporty sneakers, New Balance has reinvented itself as the cool trainer of choice for casual wear. I love Hedvig Opshaug's tonal take on styling trainers, and by layering up cashmere, the look automatically feels more expensive than leisurewear.
Style Notes: We'll never get tired of timeless loafers, and Hermès's polished take on slip-ons, chunky soles and mules makes anything less look scruffy. While everyone is distracted by looking at the glossy, black loafers, allow me to turn your attention to shearling-lined mules, a cosy, informal alternative for lazy weekends.
Berlin-based brand Aeyde was founded in 2015 by Luisa Dames. Inspired by a stripped-back, German take on modern minimalism, the collection is best known for combining form and function with clean lines, wearable heels and premium-quality fabrics. The influencers' shoe of choice? Any black ankle boot with a sculptural heel.
4. THE ROW
Style Notes: Although technically not a footwear brand, we can't talk about shoes that Brits are wearing now without mentioning The Row. If its not the zip-up flatform boot, it'll be the simple ballet pumps, and Monikh is the first person we consult when it comes to styling these chic styles.
Style Notes: You won't be surprised to find out that London-based brand Neous is inspired by the architectural principle "less is more" when designing its slick shoes and bags. You'll always spot Neous on the feet of understated and stylish dressers with a penchant for tailoring.
6. CAREL PARIS
Style Notes: Chances are, if you've seen a pair of Mary Janes recently, they could be from Carel. The French brand nails the effortlessly elegant Parisian style we've been taking notes on and adds a little je ne sais quoi. The hero style is without a doubt the Alice pump (available in four colours). It's the perfect pairing to a turtleneck, miniskirt and tights—our favourite cold-weather outfit combination right now.
7. DEAR FRANCES
Style Notes: Dear Frances can count Margot Robbie, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Kaia Gerber, Hailey Bieber, Selena Gomez, Zoë Kravitz, Emma Roberts and Sienna Miller as fans, and it's easy to see how it's racked up such an impressive following. Made in small batches by artisan shoemakers in Italy, each new release touches on its core principles: luxury craftsmanship, classical design and versatility.
Style Notes: Yes, those Hunter boots, and no, the brand doesn't just make wellies (although, it is particularly good at them). After fashionable stints at Glastonbury on the feet of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, Hunter boots became synonymous with countryside-cool, but it's got plenty of city-ready styles too. Just ask Camille Charrière.
9. RUSSELL & BROMLEY
Style Notes: From the high street to Who What Wear cover stars, we're all obsessed with Russell & Bromley as of late, and it might have something to do with the fact the brand is putting out some of its best shoes ever just in time for Christmas. Whether you're in need of a sturdy winter boot or a glitzy party heel, you're guaranteed to find it at Russell & Bromley, and you'll treasure them for years to come.
10. KURT GEIGER
Style Notes: Kurt Geiger has been putting the "fun" into functional for decades now, so it's only right that some of our favourite statement dressers are cottoning on to the brand too. There is nowhere to find colourful, attention-grabbing and comfortable shoes on the high street, and if you're looking for accessible takes on runway trends, Kurt is your man. Take the fuss out of outfit planning this party season and try our easy formula. A simple, all-black outfit + a pair of bold Kurt Geiger heels = a winning combination.