Italian Fashion Labels Reveal Their Breakout Shoes

“Made In Italy” — it’s a footwear signifier we all look for when purchasing our shoes, and shoppers are increasingly valuing its assurance of craftsmanship and luxury. In celebration of Italy’s rich shoemaking heritage, this week’s “Salute To Italy” issue of Footwear News highlights the leading forces shaping Italian fashion.

Below, 13 thoroughly Italian fashion labels reveal their breakout shoe moments — from past hits to present sensations.

Iconic styles that come to mind include Gucci’s classic horsebit loafer, a timeless staple first introduced in 1953. The label’s new creative director, Alessandro Michele, has made the style a focal point once again, presenting new spins on it, such as fur-lined and eelskin versions.

Gucci Men's Spring 2016 Shoes Gucci’s eelskin horsebit loafer. Courtesy of brand.

Another recent hit is Marni’s flatform sandal. Debuting on the 2014 runway, the style is often included in designer Consuelo Castiglioni’s collections, but its original foam sole and sport-sandal Velcro strapping quickly went viral after the shoe bounced down the runway. “This design was born from both a Japanese influence and elements from our iconic Fussbett sandal,” said Castiglioni.

Emerging designers have also managed to make their mark with standout shoes.

Álvaro González, a veteran in-house designer, has become known for his luxe minimalism. While his Alberta sandal is streamlined, with its stitch-free sole and stripped-down upper, in luxe fabrications like matte crocodile, shagreen and feathers, it’s anything but basic. “One of the first sandals I designed was this reductionist two-strap. I reworked it from a classic Capri style,” said González.

1938, Salvatore Ferragamo: The extreme structure of this exaggerated platform was originally created to give petite Hollywood starlets serious height. Current Creative Director Massimiliano Giornetti designed an updated pair for the brand's new Beverly Hills flagship, opening in September. 1938, Salvatore Ferragamo: The extreme structure of this exaggerated platform was originally created to give petite Hollywood starlets serious height. Current Creative Director Massimiliano Giornetti designed an updated pair for the brand’s new Beverly Hills flagship, opening in September. Courtesy of brand.

Marco de Vincenzo, who moonlights as head accessory designer at Fendi, created an equally memorable style for 2015 with his plushy pillow stilettos. “It had to be like a raspberry: soft, velvety, sensual, eccentric in shape and color,” said de Vincenzo.

The men’s market has presented a slew of iconic Italian shoes as well. Church’s monk strap and Tod’s Gommino loafer have become staples, while Santoni’s blue dress shoes have become a recurring colorway.

“I dress only in the blue double monk in different styles. I love this kind of shoe. It is classic, elegant, but not monotonous,” said Giuseppe Santoni.

For more iconic Italian shoes, click through the gallery

View Slideshow

Gucci Men’s Spring 2016 Shoe Collection

Valentino Men’s Spring 2016 Shoe Collection