Most people have a weakness for beautiful shoes, but often comfort is compromised for beauty as we suffer in painful heels. A sign of an exceptional footwear designer is when beauty and comfort go hand-in-hand. These ten Israeli footwear designers each possess a unique style that combine quality, comfort and contemporary design. Culture Trip brings you the ten fashion-forward Israeli footwear designers you should know.
Shoe designer Shani Lax’s love of shoes began as a tribute to her beloved late grandfather who was a skilled shoemaker. Shani graduated from the School of Shoe design in Tel Aviv, and then trained in the art of footwear design under the guidance of her teacher and mentor Kobi Levi. Over time, Shani has shaped her own signature style. Her style comprises a dreamy contrast of textures, combined patterns, a minimalist color palette and occasional flashes of patent metallic leather. A delicious recipe for success!
At first guess this designer shoe brand sounds like an international brand, however it was founded by talented Israeli designer Maya Levi. Maya has excellent taste and her practical yet stylish collections prove she very much deserves to stay at the top. Olive Thomas shoes are all handmade in Israel and are made in small batches. The brand’s classic footwear can be worn for any occasion and by women of any age.
Similar to some of the best designers in Israel, Tamar Shalem studied at the prestigious Shenkar Design College and at the only school to teach handmade leather shoe-making in Israel, The Guild. From the very start, Tamar was experimenting with unusual materials to create her masterpieces. Using fruit and vegetables, Tamar now has a vegan collection of shoes and uses her design skills to produce timeless but trendy footwear. Tamar has a studio in South Tel Aviv and sells online via Etsy.
Norman and Bella is a shoe designer brand that caters to both the fashionable man and woman, offering stylish, quality footwear. Shoe designer Tal Arbel completed her design studies at the distinguished art school Bezalel in Jerusalem and then went on to study in Italy’s famous ‘Cercal’ research center and international shoe school, in San Mauro Pascoli. After graduation, Tal started working with Master Enzo Bonafè and fell in love with designing men’s footwear. Norman and Bella shows off Tal’s exceptional craftsmanship and although she has two distinct male and female lines, Tal’s designs are distinctly androgynous.
Another distinctly special brand, Una Una are unique and easily recognized from their very quirky design. It’s no surprise these shoes are lovingly hand-made and the result is exquisite. Designers Almog Weiss and Mira Gafni can take days or weeks to complete each creation made in their studio. Una Una have also thought about women with larger feet with sizes going up to 12.5 (US).
When footwear married art and design, Kobi Levi’s vision was born. After seeing a glimpse of his creations you won’t forget his name. Currently most famous for designing shoes for the design-addict Lady Gaga, Kobi’s designs were seen all over the internet including a full page in Bored Panda. Kobi designs his eccentric footwear from everyday objects, and the result is something special with a piece of art fit for the MET on your feet.
Already a Tel Aviv staple, Couple of have been on the market since 1999 and have impressed fans with their quality craftsmanship and for being ahead of the design trends while mixing vintage and modern designs. Designers Shelly and Elon Satat-Kombor only use the finest quality materials and don’t mass produce.
The Brand LUCCA was first launched in 2008, and since then Noa Luria has been working under that name. Noa Luria graduated from the Holon Academic Institute of technology’s department of art and design, and ‘Achilles’ – school of shoes design and production. Her background in art and theater has led her to design minimalist, unconventional, however elegant and sophisticated shoes. The shoes are handmade in Tel Aviv and produced in limited editions.