Quirky Eastern ShoEurope

I’ve always loved shoes. Since I was just a kid I’d spend all my allowance money for shoes.  After school I would hit the shops, find the shoes to totally drool over, start drooling over them night and day. It was really bad, my shoe addiction I mean, not the drooling. One of the most important things in my life at that time was to have unique shoes and clothes nobody else had. And I wasn’t particularly extrovert person who wanted to be looked at, but for some reason I wanted to be different and I wanted my shoes to be WOW.

Now, a zillion years later, I am a dorky boy-mom with messy hair, wearing cargo pants and sneakers.  But deep down, I still love shoes. Sometimes I just want to buy a pair to have them, knowing I will never, ever put them on in this lifetime. But I don’t (usually)…I have kids now to torture. Boys. They still let me grow their hair, dress them in pink shirts and put polka dot shoes on them and I plan to take advantage of that till I can.

We shared some Fashion Impossible moments with you from this years London fashion week the other day which instantly became hugely popular. Today I want to share some of the fantastic footwear designers, each of them completely different in style and purpose. Have a look:

Lolice shoe collection is the graduation work of product designer Belma Arnautović based in Sarajevo. Produced in cooperation with crafted shoemaker in Sarajevo in December 2009. these conceptual shoes were inspired by candies and cakes, but as the designer herself says "they are completely wearable".

LaLaShoes are too cute to be true baby shoes out of 100% wool felt handmade by graphic and product designer Daria Ausenak who is based in Zagreb, Croatia.

Burak Uyan Turkish origin, eclectic creativity, Italian crafstmanship! Burak Uyan doesn't only design platforms and stiletos, he also does flats and loves to experiment with unusual heel shapes.

Gucio Shoes are kids shoes that feature both crazy cute design and unique ergonomic form. Designed Slawomir Piwowarczyk says that with their wide forefoot, elastic sole and unique self-reinforcing back they are the perfect shoe for your little ones. Apple Martin (Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter) had them back in 2006 already. Gucio only makes this one type of shoe in wide variety of colors also in perforated summery version.

Pleasemachine peculiar footwear is a brand established by Budapest based Siberian girl Anna Zaboeva. The legend says she hitchiked from Novosibirsk to Budapest sometimes in 2006. Now, several years later you can find her shoes in Saint Petersburg, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade, Berlin, San Francisco, New York and of course, Budapest. Her Budapest shop, named symbolically Siberia has been flagged as the best shoe-shop in Budapest, it is also the only shoe-shop with it's own handcrafting manufacture.

All shoes are 100% handmade, almost each pair unique, or very limited edition. Zaboeva is especially proud of her "reuse for shoes" limited edition collection of shoes made exclusively out of waste materials.

Anastasia Redevich a Canadian-born designer of Belarus origin. She is a third generation shoe-maker and before she launched her first independent collection she interned for big names in shoe industry, like Alexander McQueen and Nicholas Kirkwood. Her shoe collections Lost civilizations, Dreamfall or Biofuture are, similarly to their names, all but your everyday shoe.

EFVVA, a polish designer brand making unique children's clothing and shoes. Their shoes are handmade in Poland using high quality natural materials, personally designed and finished by Ewa Wróbel-Hultqvist. My son owns a pair of snowflake shoes lined with real sheep-skin snowflakes hand painted on them and my heart is already aching at the thought of them being too small next winter. I seek comfort in the fact I have one more son who might be able to wear them later on. To get up, close and personal check out the interview with Ewa on my blog.

Borosane - the good, the bad, the ugly. They were the ultimate ugly but comfortable shoe every cleaning lady or a waitress wore in Croatia when I was little. Borosane are back for a while now, but worn by true-blood hipsters of today. Redesigned by the creative studio Sheriff&Cherry they are available in different colors and patterns. As proof of their coolness serves the fact that the design has been snatched by the likes of Lacoste. Borovo on the other hand is being relaxed about it standing behind their motto: If it is not Borovo, it is not Borosana. Hooray to that!

What is your relationship with shoes? Who are your favorite footwear designers? Tell me, I need to know!

About the author

Petra Tkalcec

Petra is a Co-founder and Executive Editor of EastOK Europe. She is a Croatian living in Budapest with her Serbian husband, two sons and an English bulldog.

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