Before Carrie Bradshaw wore them, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo weren’t exactly household names. Soon, every fashionista was breaking her bank account (not to mention her back) and charging up her credit card to trot around in some serious stiletto heels. These coveted brands sell some of the most beautiful shoes we’ve ever seen. Today brands like Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik are the standard for luxury footwear.
However, the world of glamorous luxury shoes goes way beyond Blahnik. There are many new and some older shoes designers that are very cutting edge, but not well-known to the mainstream yet. The list below includes designers that are big with celebrities and one line is even designed by one. These are the brands you only know about, if you are in the know. To reveal another secret, even the richest celebrities don’t always spend thousands of dollars on well made, luxury shoes. These great lines demonstrate it is possible to buy stunning shoes for relatively accessible prices. If you have to ask yourself, “What would Carrie Bradshaw buy?” I can assure you, she would definitely buy more than one pair of shoes from all the brands listed here.
9 Jeffrey Campbell
If shoes could be that cool, mysterious guy you crushed on in high school, those shoes would be Jeffrey Campbell. Hailed by Buzzfeed as the “JD Salanger of Platform Shoes,” who Mr. Campbell actually is remains a mystery even among the fashion elite. Some people aren’t even sure Jeffrey Campbell is his real name. We do know he comes from Los Angeles and runs the company with his brother, Dean. Campbell’s designs are eccentric and runway inspired. However, his shoes are wearable and comfortable. One of the most infamous designs are the leather and Lucite booties with Barbie doll heads. At around $200, these are the shoe equivalent of an art installation. It’s not exactly shocking that Hollywood bad girls, Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan are both fans of Jeffrey Campbell.
8 French Sole
French Sole shoes certainly have a French soul, although they are a New York company. The fine ladies of New York have traipsed around the city in French Sole’s ballet flats for over 30 years now. Celebrities including the late Elizabeth Taylor, Olivia Palermo, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, Cindy Crawford, Candice Bergen, and The Duchess of York have also been in on the secret.
Most of French Sole’s shoes are ballet flats or based on a ballet flat style. French Sole’s designs show that just because the shoe is a flat doesn’t mean the style has to be flat. They are comfortable and practical, but still luxurious and glamorous at a price between $200 and $300 for most.
7 Via Spiga
If glamorous can also be practical, Via Spiga has it nailed. The shoes are named for the famed Milan shopping district. Via Spiga offers a wide variety of styles that are perfect for everything from the office to a dinner date at the hottest restaurant. Reasonably priced, most of the shoes are under $300. For the ultimate Via Spiga experience, visit their flagship boutique in Soho, New York. Celebrities such as Rachel Bilson, Eva Longoria and Lea Michele love this line. Check out the practical, yet fabulous, booties above for $250.
6 Badgley Mischka
Fun, feminine and flirty are three ways to describe Bagdley Mischka shoes. Hailed as one of the “Top Ten American Designers” by Vogue magazine, Mark Badgley and James Mischka are known more for their frilly runway collections than for their shoes.
Most Badgley Mischka shoes are made from satin and then embellished with rhinestones or adorned with ornaments and have high heels and open toes as well. More on the formal side, these shoes are perfect for weddings and other special occasions, but it is possible to incorporate them into a more casual wardrobe. Most of the shoes cost between $225 and $300.
5 Pour la Victoire
Pour La Victoire is a French named, New York brand that has been around since 2007. The French name "Pour la Victoire" translates to “For Victory.” If you haven’t heard of this victorious brand yet, you certainly will soon, as they recently named actress Cameron Diaz as the brand’s artistic director. Her collection of high heels and booties are simple and just a little bit sexy, but still remain functional. Diaz simply isn’t just lending her name to the brand, but she is truly involved behind the scenes to create the line. Luxurious, but priced within reach, most of the shoes cost under $300. Ashley Tisdale, Ashley Greene and Bethenny Frankel have adorned their feet in Pour La Victoire pumps.
4 Rebecca Minkoff
Rebecca Minkoff is a newer New York based designer who is best known for her edgy, but cool handbags. After designing her first handbag in 2005, her collection now offers everything from ready-to-wear to footwear. Most of Minkoff’s shoes are adorned with studs, as well as other hardware. There are many kinds of shoes offered from flats to heels to boots and even sneakers. At $525, the Rita Gladiator Sandal Boots shown above are certainly not for every day, but good to have an unforgettable night on the town. Bijou Phillips, Juliette Lewis, Amanda Seyfried and Hilary Duff are all lovers of this brand.
3 Freda Salvador
Freda Salvador is a line of artisanal, but comfort focused shoes designed by Cristina Palomo-Nelson and Megan Papay. They are manufactured in Spain, but designed in San Francisco. A very new company, Freda Salvador was founded in 2011, so while they had success (Saks Fifth Avenue picked up the line after their first season, which is relatively unheard of) and consistently mentioned by fashion blogs, they still aren’t a household name yet. Made of sturdy, rich leathers, this line demonstrates that well-crafted comfortable footwear doesn’t have to be boring. Salvador’s shoes and boots have a slightly masculine edge, with moderate sized heels, setting them apart from the pack in the world of woman’s footwear.
Gina is one of the UK’s best fashion imports since Top Shop. Founded in 1954 in London by Mehmet Kurdash, the line is named for his muse, Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. Lollobrigida became a movie icon in the 60’s from such classics as The World's Most Beautiful Woman and later a television icon on Falcon Crest.
A favorite among both American and British celebrities Madonna, Victoria Beckham, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears all have been spotted wearing the brand. Gina shoes are finely handcrafted in Italy and have so many unique kinds of shoes from bright leather daytime pumps to rhinestone adorned stilettos for the evening. You can never go wrong with the Gemma peep toe pumps shown above for $1,040.
1 Giuseppe Zanotti
Giuseppe Zanotti designs shoes with a va va voom sex appeal unlike many brands out there. Originally a DJ, Zanotti stated the line in 1994 in Italy. These are not everyday shoes you wear to the super market, these are what you wear to be seen in because they are definitely a show stopper. Most of Zanotti’s designs have very high heels and have straps made of leather. One of the most unique pair of shoes in the line are the Nirvana python print sandals pictured above. With a distressed gold anklet in the shape of a snake, these sandals are not just sexy, but are also fit for a Goddess at a price of $1,6950.