FN’s four cover stars were Ryan and Adam Goldston of APL, Aurora James of Brother Vellies and Sarah Flint. Shot by photographer Alexandra Gavillet, these designers represent the perfect mixture of today’s diverse footwear market.
After having their Load ‘N’ Launch technology banned by the NBA in 2010, the Goldston twins have have since garnered serious street cred for their trainers.
“We played basketball in college and always wanted to jump higher,” said Adam. “We worked for four years in our dorm room creating the technology.”
James — who produces her men’s, women’s and kids’ shoes in South Africa, Ethiopia, Morocco and Kenya — stays true to regional styles by using natural materials in her looks, such as the fur Babouche mule.
Flint launched her made-in-Italy women’s collection in 2013 with a goal of creating “something you can go to work in, but still feel elegant and feminine,” she said of her signature low heels. Blake Lively is a fan.
For a behind-the-scenes look at our cover shoot, click through the gallery.
Other women’s brands on FN’s list include Australia’s Meandher, Paris-based Amélie Pichard and Giannico.
Men’s brands that made the list include Article No. sneakers, Galet loafers and C.B. Made in Italy, a Milan-based loafer line.