President Trump’s visit to Israel today may not be limited to politics. While the Israelis are known for their practical way of thinking, there’s a vibrant fashion community — especially when it comes to footwear.
Among the best known designers is Kobi Levi, who caught the eye of Lady Gaga, who famously wore his Double Boot design in her “Born This Way” music video. Levi is a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design in Jerusalem, and his avant grade fashions are made by hand in his design studio and available online.
Like Levi, fellow artisan Anat Dahari, the founder of Walk Handmade Shoes, studied architecture at the school. Today her signature architectural styles, infused with comfort and simplicity, are made in a small family-run workshop in Tel Aviv.
Also part of the artisan movement is Maya Levi, founder of the Olive Thomas collection, featuring designs with a sophisticated point of view and crafted in a small factory outside Tel Aviv.
While Israel boasts a roster of independent designers, there are also more mainstream brands produced in Israel and readily available in the U.S.
Among them is Naot, known for its comfort-driven men’s and women’s looks that are produced on a kibbutz in Israel. They run the gamut from sandals to boots and feature the brand’s signature footbeds.
On the dressier side is Beautifeel, founded by Ami Bar Nahor in 1989, which incorporates cushioning into every style. All shoes are made in Israel and designed by Bar Nahor’s wife, Anya Bar Nahor.
Americans have also been intrigued by Israeli craftsmanship. Karen Crivelli, founder of Jafa shoes, based in the U.S., has created a line of colorful casuals designed and made exclusively in Israel.
So before Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump head off to Rome, they should consider doing some shoe shopping in Israel.
Click through the gallery to seen FN’s picks.