The countdown is on: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are mere weeks — maybe even days — away from welcoming their first child. Just like cousins Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, the newest royal baby (whose gender has yet to be revealed) is expected to bring a major boost to the British economy.
The U.K.’s Centre for Retail Research estimates that spending on children’s wear and infant products alone will increase by nearly $1.5 billion during Baby Sussex’s first two years. So any brand lucky enough to grace the little one’s wardrobe can count on a serious sales spike, not to mention some priceless publicity.
As young George, Charlotte and Louis have appeared in public in their picture-perfect outfits, several shoe companies have already experienced just how powerful the royal seal of approval can be. The trio’s fashion-loving mother, Kate Middleton, is said to be very hands-on in choosing their clothing and footwear, and she will likely pass on some of her style secrets to sister-in-law Markle as the new mom navigates the children’s wear world for the first time.
Keeping with tradition, Middleton has shown a strong preference for dressing her kids in very classic English shoe brands such as Start-rite, Early Days and Papouelli. In addition, the royal nanny, Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, has reportedly turned Middleton on to a few collections from her home country of Spain, among them Doña Carmen, which has become a go-to for Charlotte. Middleton has also won over fashion fans by mixing in some surprisingly affordable and down-to-earth labels such as Crocs and Emu Australia, helping to lend an air of accessibility and reliability to the royal family.
Here, we take a closer look at eight shoe brands that have benefited from the Windsor baby boom:
1. Early Days
When George was photographed wearing a tiny pair of Early Days’ handmade leather crib shoes during an overseas trip in 2014, the small Leicester, England-based company — in business since 1952 — wasn’t prepared for the sudden flood of demand that ensued. Within a half hour of the photos hitting the internet, Early Days was completely sold out of the shoes and forced to shut down its website.
Like his father, Prince William, and grandfather Prince Charles, before him, George has worn many styles by Start-rite, one of Britain’s oldest surviving shoemakers, established in 1792. Middleton dressed the little prince in the brand’s classic navy blue Jo T-strap shoes for the family’s 2014 and 2015 Christmas portraits, as well as for official photos commemorating Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday in 2016. George has also been photographed in other looks from the brand such as loafers and laceups.
3. Doña Carmen
Middleton found a go-to style for Charlotte in Spanish brand Doña Carmen’s scallop-trimmed Mary Janes. The young royal stepped out in several colorways of the buckle-strap shoes (including red and blue) for big moments such as her first day of nursery school and Buckingham Palace’s 2017 Trooping the Color celebration in honor of the queen’s birthday.
Since Middleton discovered it during George’s baby years, Papouelli has remained in heavy rotation in the Cambridge kids’ wardrobes. George has worn the London label’s classic Barney loafers countless times, including for his first day of school in September 2017 and at his younger brother’s 2018 christening. Sister Charlotte sported the brand’s classic Mary Jane shoes when she served as a bridesmaid in the weddings of Princess Eugenie (2018) and Pippa Middleton (2017).
5. Hampton Canvas
Both George and Charlotte have been spotted at various equestrian events running and playing in Hampton Canvas’ simple canvas sneakers, which feature an easy-to-wear laceless design and rubber vulcanized bottoms. Handmade in Spain using a natural cotton fabric, the shoes are available in a rainbow of colors and prints for kids and are surprisingly affordable, starting at $35 a pair.
Who could forget the adorable moment in 2016 — shared in a series of Instagram photos released by Kensington Palace — when George met former U.S. President Barack Obama? Dressed for bedtime in blue and white check-print pajamas, a monogrammed robe and velvet slippers by Trotters, the famous royal sparked a shopping frenzy online. His slippers, which were decorated with airplane embroideries on the toe, not surprisingly sold out almost instantly.
Royal fans were delighted to see George show off a more casual side at a 2015 charity polo match at England’s Beaufort Polo Club. The tiny prince ran and tumbled in the grass dressed in a wool sweater, twill shorts and an affordable pair of navy-blue Crocs clogs. Within days, the Colorado footwear brand’s sales skyrocketed by more than 1,500 percent worldwide.
8. Emu Australia
Though she was too young to hit the slopes, Charlotte’s après-ski style was on point during a 2016 family trip to the French Alps. Seen in snaps taken by royal photographer John Stillwell, the then-10-month-old princess bundled up against the cold in a cozy pair of blush pink Emu Australia soft-sole baby booties. The day after the photos were published, Emu saw sales of that particular style jump by 97 percent.
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