In recent years, we've witnessed a global outcry over racial injustice. Stitched into the fabric of American history, racism has been prevalent for 400-plus years, and though it's not new, it’s imperative that we do all we can to dismantle it. One way to help do that is to shop and support Black-owned businesses.
While this moment has shone a new light on these businesses, great Black-owned fashion brands are nothing new. Designers like Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes, noted for being the brainpower behind the original Playboy Bunny costume, and Stephen Burrows, who was the only Black American designer of the five chosen to represent the U.S. at the iconic Battle of Versailles fashion show, paved the way for those to succeed. As we enter a new era, the emergence of designers like Christopher John Rogers, Pyer Moss, and Victor Glemaud have continued to push the status quo through their designs while defeating the odds.
It’s our responsibility to continue highlighting their work in the weeks, months, and years to come. While there are a slew of Black-owned companies to explore (and you can do so here), we're specifically highlighting the shoe brands worth investing in.
Founded in 2013, this line has developed a cult following. Designer Aurora James has a background in a mix of fields—fashion, journalism, horticulture, music and art—and her past experiences all influence her glamorous and bohemian designs.
From minimal strappy styles to heavily embellished pairs, there's a style here for every type of gal. Plus, these bad boys come in at a good price point. A win-win.
The search for the perfect skin-tone pump ends here. Founder Jamela Acheampong saw a hole in the market for skin-toe heels in all shades. She launched her own luxury line in 2016; it's quickly become one of our favorites when searching for the ideal nude.
Loza Maleombho founded her namesake brand in 2009 in NYC and has since relocated to Côte d’Ivoire. Working with artisans who have crafted their skills for decades, she aims to blend "Ivorian tribal aesthetics and New York City’s urban fashion."
The perfect satin pair for evening. Once a star in politics PR, Monet made the career jump to the shoe industry and crafted her first pair entirely by hand. These shoes come in six shades and each pair has a "recessed platform", providing additional comfort under the ball of your foot.
Named for her daughters, designer Theresa Ebagua founded this sustainable line in 2012. From mules to booties to flats, theres a style for all (although we're partial to their strappy sandals)!
Founded in Sydney, Australia, Shekudo’s origins began with womenswear. Now based in Lagos, Nigeria, creative director Akudo Iheakanwa has shifted the brand’s focus to producing chic footwear and accessories created by local artisans.
Tejahn Burnett is a Jamaican-Canadian footwear designer who founded her label in 2018. Available for pre-order in two different colors, the Simijah heel is a must-have for those summer date nights.
Who doesn't love a heel that's equal parts comfortable and stylish? Designed with the goal of creating the ultimate comfy nude heel, AM:PM knows exactly what a girl wants. With three collections released so far, they strive to create "diversity, design, and quality that instantly elevates any outfit."
Chunky mules and abstract loafers are just some of the styles you get when shopping with Nigerian-based brand Kkerle. All shoes are handmade on demand, taking up to three weeks to be made, but trust us, they’re definitely worth the wait.
Feeling detached from her everyday life, designer Katherine Theobalds conceived Zou Xou while on a quest for purposeful living. The brand works with Argentinian shoe artisans and traditional techniques to create shoes for every woman. In Theobalds' words, “A good shoe has a distinct character and captures an emotion. That’s why I only design what I love and have use for.”
Sustainable? Check. Vegan? Check. Sustainable stylist Jo-Anne Vernay noticed a lack of stylish options available in the luxury vegan footwear market. With change in mind, she, along with Italian artisans, created the Mel Heel made from pineapple leaf fiber. Can’t go wrong with fashion and sustainability.
Founded by a Sudanese brother-sister duo, Barkal embraces tradition and modernity with their simple leather flats. The shoes are gender-neutral and come in a variety of colors.
From bold heels to statement boots, Kendall Miles has already proved to be a force when it comes to creating unique shoes. This family-ran shoe brand believes in producing high-quality wardrobe must-haves.
In Latin, Res Ipsa translates to the thing that speaks for itself and these shoes created by former lawyers Josh & Odini don’t need any introduction. Made from repurposed fabrics, we are obsessed with these one-of-a-kind masterpieces.
Designer Kenya Martin left her life in corporate America behind to embark on a different journey in luxury footwear. Her footwear brand, Keeyahri, is noted for faux fur and a signature spiral heel that will have heads turning.
Drawing inspiration from the colorful culture of Africa and the stripped-down Danish approach to design, designer Yvonne One aims to create timeless pieces in her own way.
Bright, unapologetic, and fearless are a few words that come to mind when one thinks of Kkira feet. Born out of the need to express herself in the most authentic way possible, Mauryn decided to create a shoe brand she hoped would inspire people to explore and embrace who they are at their core.
Launched back in 2012, Aminah Abdul Jillil is now distributed in over 50 countries. Striking and bold designs are central to this namesake brand. Fun-fact about Aminah: She's a professional dancer who has performed with Janet Jackson and Britney Spears.
Looking for a shoe with a classic silhouette and an elegant feel? Titi Adesa has got you covered. Since the brand's inception in 2019, she's released a myriad of styles for every occasion.