As Carrie Bradshaw once said, “Men I may not know, but shoes, shoes I know.” I think this quote universally applies to all women. Whether you’re a hoarder with 500 pairs or someone who sticks to their classic four, picking the right pair of shoes instantly uplifts your whole look. While we have our favourite global footwear brands bookmarked every time we’re looking to shop, it’s about time we make space for the homegrown shoe labels that have leveled the playing field.
From authentic zardosi juttis, block heels, mules and loafers to interesting flip flops and mary janes, the options are endless. Indian footwear labels also offer alternatives in terms of material and surface ornamentation. Usage of local fabrics and handicrafts make these footwear labels even more distinguished, as compared to the high-street brands we’ve grown up consuming. If that’s not enough to convince you, these indigenous brands are budget-friendly and won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Here’s our edit of the six best homegrown shoe labels you need to check out.
An e-commerce label based in Mumbai, STFY was founded by two sisters, Kinjal and Prachi in 2015. The online store houses everything - from sliders and flip-flops to sneakers and heels. They even specialise in customized designs. Made out of locally sourced vegan leather, the brand consciously aims at reducing its carbon footprint.
What We Love: Shoes That Fits You was started with the intention of reducing animal cruelty and providing consumers with a less harmful alternative.
What We Love: Oceedee perfectly fits the bill if you're looking for a non-traditional black-tie shoe. While there are a number of homegrown brands that are amalgamating the Indian and western sensibilities when it comes to footwear, Oceedee has remained strictly classic and is offering the audiences a well-constructed western shoe which is made in India.
The brand is a PETA-approved vegan shoe brand, committed to using alternatives such as cotton, hemp, and jute in its collections. Currently, PAIO is innovating to create cruelty-free traditional Indian juttis and mojaris – one of the firsts in the industry.
What We Love: PAIO Shoes is collaborating with the 5RCycle Foundation for a Footwear Donation drive. You can donate your old pairs from PAIO’s or any other brand and these donations will be refurbished and donated to those in dire need.
Established by Dhanraj and Aradhna Minawala, the brand was built with a vision to bridge the gap between high-quality, trendy and affordable shoes for the experimental, conscious women of today. Ranging from open and closed flats to heels and wedges in multiple colours, patterns, and embellishments, CAI has a number of versatile silhouettes to choose from.
What We Love: The CAI footwear's comfort and durability is measured for a month before launching it for their consumers, laying emphasis on creating a shoe that lasts longer.
Her love for kolhapuris led to the inception of her eponymous label. In her quest to create the perfect Indian sandal, she discovered the best artisans hidden in the smaller towns of the country, who created the hybrid (Kolhapuri + heel) which became her signature silhouette.
What We Love: The footwear label creates stylish sandals without compromising on comfort. They use memory foam cushions for health reasons and the heels are lightweight and eco-friendly, made from leatherette (non-leather).