Shoes and shoe brands are something of a weak spot for me and my bank account, but on the plus side, it makes me an excellent resource for your own shoe collection.
The obsession means I'm usually one step ahead of the latest footwear launches, trends, brands and brand comebacks, and I like to pride myself on spotting a really killer pair from 50 paces or within an endless stream of shoefies.
Whether high street or high fashion, casual or formal, heritage label or brand new Instagram startup, the team at Who What Wear UK is adept at bringing you the soon-to-be It shoes before they sell out and hit the big time. We're also just as keen on pinpointing the classics that will serve your wardrobe and multiple outfit ideas for many years to come.
It's been a strong year for coveted footwear, particularly in the sandals department: Tevas have taken off, with designer iterations from Prada and Suicoke proving to be just as popular despite their higher price tags. Veja trainers continue their reign as the go-to sneaks for fashion girls across the globe.
Some older brands have been reborn: Bottega Veneta has never been so crazy-popular, Chanel has seen its PVC mules light up on Instagram, and Burberry's new Mary-Janes have proven to be a real hit for flat shoe-loving ladies from London to L.A.
Contemporary brands like Staud, By Far, Manu Atelier and Miista continue to pave the way when it comes to directional design for a more reasonable mid-range price point, particularly when it comes to low and kitten heels we can last in all day. And there's so much more! Keep reading to discover the cool shoe brands of 2019, and then shop them for yourself.
With their distinctive square toes, you'll have probably noticed Bottega Veneta's mules, strappy sandals and mesh courts all over your feed lately. New creative director Daniel Lee has managed to incite the kind of uncontrollable levels of obsession that Phoebe Philo would often generate at Celine. We know girls who are buying them in bulk, so don't expect many styles to be left in stock…
By Far's midi heels have always been of interest to the fashion crowds, but this summer's slew of kitten styles (the Libra and Virgo mules) have really picked up quite the fan club. European girls can't get enough of the slip-on styles like these, and because they come in a rainbow of colours and finishes, I can guarantee there's a pair to match any outfit you could think of. Perfect for work, weddings, parties and holidays.
As far as affordable footwear goes, Vagabond definitely needs to be on your list. The Scandi brand started off life as a far more casual option, but this summer, its strappy sandals have proven to be as much of a hit as their sneakers and flats.
This gallery is literally split down the middle between chunky flat shoes and high delicate ones. Dr Martens' sandals obviously fall into the former camp and have been spotted by our team all over London. The thicker the straps and the soles, the better. Sure, your older relatives are going to hate them, but stylish girls will give you the nod.
Italian It girl and shoe designer extraordinaire Amina Muaddi has a girl gang of fans as sassy as her curvaceous party stilettos. Her footwear creations are all about the glam, so it's no wonder they've been doing the rounds on the A-list circuit: Rihanna, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Kendall Jenner are already part of the club.
You may not have yet heard of Fabrizio Viti, but that's because the Italian shoe designer has been beavering away behind the scenes at Louis Vuitton before launching his eponymous line back in 2016. It's this summer that has really seen his fun, summery styles really become major Instagram fodder. Who could resist photographing a pair of sandals or courts covered in daisies? We're only human!
Just what did we do before Veja trainers—walk barefoot everywhere? The consciously produced sneakers are still going great guns and have many ardent supporters from eco celebrity warriors like Emma Watson through to London's coolest influencers like Lucy Williams. They're bloody comfy, too.
Another week, another pair of Velcro sandals stealing our hearts by surprise. Suicoke has kind of come out of nowhere (well, Japan actually) and become the in-between option if you can't afford Prada and want something a little more "fashion" than Tevas. The internet has responded with great enthusiasm. It's very hard to find these in stock.
The tulle bow sandals pictured on the left here (on Thora Valdimars) have been a smash amongst the party set this year. They're called Aveline and come in both a black version and a white version, both featuring the asymmetric flounce that we've come to instantly recognise in street style pictures. If you are a die-hard high-high heels kind of girl, these are for you.
If kooky shoes are your jam then Miista is most definitely catering to your needs. From mad Perspex sandals to metallic boots, gingham slides to chunky-heeled platforms, you can be guaranteed to always find something different from this brand. Spanish founder Laura Villasenin now operates from east London, so it's a case of top-quality production meets trendsetting aesthetic. There's also an off-shoot range called E8 by Miista, which is slightly more affordable.
Topshop, who knew you were going to be so hot on the shoe trail this year? The high-street store's speciality has lain in strappies, with these mules being the second style to take off after the original Strippy sandals started the trend. More iterations are coming in thick and fast, and they never hang around for long…
On the flipside to this fancy, delicate sandal extravaganza comes styles like this: Burberry's flat, chunky, schoolish dolly loafers. Most commonly worn with socks and voluminous dresses, these practical shoes have been a standout hit for the brand since Riccardo Tisci took over the creative helm. There are a few slightly different versions, but it's this chunkiest-of-chunky styles—the Aldwych—that keeps selling out.
High-heeled flip-flops were a shock to the system when we first discovered them, but this trend is a grower—trust us. Delicate, comfortable and minimal, they are unexpectedly useful to have in one's wardrobe. As such, Toteme (designed by Elin Kling, the OG influencer), the brand leading this charge, is constantly selling out of them.
Chanel is loved for its many iconic classics, but every now and then, a wildcard item is offered up and it becomes a runaway success. Case in point? Some £800 PVC Chanel-emblazoned granny mules. Although we've seen them being appreciated the world over, it's the Scandi lot who have been particularly keen on snapping them for social media.
From £800 designer mules to £40 hiking sandals, you can't say we don't offer a breadth of options when it comes to picking out trending items. This summer has been the summer of Tevas. Everyone in our office and friendship circles now owns a pair (or three in my case), but you're just as likely to share the enthusiasm with your parents.
The Row's Bare sandals can be accredited as the initial spark from which all other strappy sandal trends were born. They first hit the market last year and have seen been re-stocked in new colourways. Our inside reports say that they're comfortable, so perhaps that goes some way to explaining why women are snapping up multiple colourways despite the heavy price tag. The Row has multiple other shoe styles outside of these floss heels that are popular: bow-fronted mules, slip-on midi heels and chunky buckle-up flats to name a few.
You may be more familiar with Staud's bags, and they're still hugely popular, but we've turned our attention to its shoe lineup on more than one occasion this summer. Monikh has talked me into buying these go-with-everything mules.
Again, you'll be au fait with Wandler's beloved bags, but did you know they've just launched their first shoe collection? In a similar vein to the arm candy, you'll find angular styles, unusual shades of leather and for everything to be subtle and simple enough to go with a lot of what you already have in your wardrobe. The square-toe mules have been the frontrunner, but we expect the ankle boots to come into their own once autumn arrives.
If you're strappy sandal'd out, then I'm really sorry. But there's always room for a little Zara intel, right? Along with loose-fitting dresses and great co-ords, one of the retailer's major strengths this year has been in summer shoes. They were one of the first affordable stores to provide the kind of fine stilettos Carrie Bradshaw would be proud to wear and are charging full steam ahead with the trend, producing slightly different variations for every single drop.
If your mind is already on the shoe trends of autumn/winter 2019, then you need to know about Paris Texas and their highly documented snake-print boots. Celebs like Emily Ratajkowski are into them, as are influencers like Eva Chen. The Italian brand first started last autumn and are now introducing the signature knee style in really fabulous colourways. Want!
Signing off with my favourite discover: Turkish brand Manu Atelier is another handbag label that has ventured into shoes, and they are heavenly. Mini heels, '90s silhouettes, all the strappiness we clearly need… The debut collection is small but mighty.