I’ve Received More Compliments Wearing This Shoe Than Any Other — Ever

The term “statement shoe” has its connotations. It can be thought of as a street-style thing, where influencers are vying for attention and trying to top each other’s look-at-me ensembles. It can be a red-carpet thing, with crystals and other exquisite embellishments underneath the couture gowns of actresses. It can be a fashion thing, when models venture out onto the runway in the most perilous and/or jaw-dropping of footwear.

But the most satisfying statement shoes are often the ones that live in a more quotidian way; the footwear that elicits a reaction from a non-fashion person in a non-fashion environment.

Such was the immediate experience I had upon trying Yuul Yie’s pumps. South Korean designer Sunyuul Yie may have been in the shoe game since 2010, but it’s only in the past few years that she has gained traction in the U.S. and Europe — which is why she was named one of FN’s Emerging Designers for 2018. Her quirky, artful creations are now sold at Nordstrom, Dover Street Market, Harvey Nichols, Shopbop, 10 Corso Como and Level Shoes in Dubai (to name just a few).

yuul yie sculptural pumps fall 2018 statement shoes
The author in New York, wearing Yuul Yie’s sculptural leather pumps.
CREDIT: George Chinsee

I received a pair of Yie’s “Y” heels in September, just as fashion month commenced. Done in matte olive leather with Yie’s signature “Y” heel (which she has attributed as her breakout style) in white leather, the pumps initially seemed a little plain, even quiet — the exact opposite of a statement shoe. They immediately felt like sleek gloves on my feet, though (no wearing in necessary), so I planned to give them a try as chic-but-discreet travel shoes for my flights and train rides through Europe.

Yuul yie fall 2018 pumps
Yuul Yie’s Glam 70 leather pumps on the streets of New York.
CREDIT: George Chinsee

It was in transit where the shoes caught the most attention. Whether it was catching the tube in London, standing on line for security for a flight from Milan to Paris, or walking to the office back in New York, I received constant questions and comments. “Wow, look at those shoes!” “Those are crazy!” and “Where did you find those!?” One man, a young 20-something in a Supreme tee, even stopped to ask me the brand name so he could take notes and buy a pair for his girlfriend.

Yuul Yie’s statement pumps on the street.

The attention was well warranted. With a sculptural metal ball heel accent and a slightly asymmetrical slanted toe, the pumps have just enough oomph to make people look twice, but they are still casual enough to wear with jeans and a sweater. And while Yie’s Y-shaped heel is pretty cool, it’s the all-day sturdiness of the pumps that makes them truly complimentary.

Yuul Yie Glam 70 leather pumps.
yuul yie pearl leather pump y heel moda operandi
Yuul Yie Pearl leather pump.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Moda Operandi

All products featured have been independently selected and curated by our editorial team. If you buy something through the links included on our site, FN may earn a commission.

Want more?

I Tried It: Kenneth Cole’s Riley Heels for the ‘Modern Woman on Her Feet All Day Long’

People Are Buying These $23 Cowboy Boots Like Crazy on Amazon

5 Chic Holiday Party Heels That Are Actually Comfortable

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content