The French excel in many realms, from their world-renowned cuisine and celebrated art to their influential music, film, and, of course, fashion. Let's not forget about a crucial element of fashion: footwear. When it comes to shoes, French brands are unmatched in elegance, craftsmanship, and innovation. Icons like Roger Vivier, the genius behind the modern-day stiletto, and Christian Louboutin, who brought us an even higher and more daring version, have set high standards in shoe design.
There's an entire world of French footwear waiting to be discovered, ranging from luxury giants to family-run labels like Sartore, the timeless elegance of Repetto, and even budget-friendly yet chic options like Jonak. Each brand offers something special, whether it's the perfect summer sandal or a classic ballet flat, all embodying the rich heritage and impeccable standards of French fashion.
After thorough research, we've curated a list of the crème de la crème—here are the thirteen top French shoe brands you need to know.
Established in 1947 by Rose Repetto, this French brand quickly carved a niche in the world of dance, gaining the admiration of leading ballet dancers for its high-quality dancewear and ballet shoes. Repetto first rose to prominence with the creation of the Cendrillon ballerina flat, specifically designed for Brigitte Bardot's role in the 1956 film, “Et Dieu… créa la femme.” This design not only cemented Repetto's reputation as a premier provider of ballet shoes for top French ballet companies, including the National Opera of Paris but also marked the brand's foray into mainstream fashion.
Repetto has expanded its repertoire beyond the ballet world and has collaborated with major fashion houses including Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garcons, Karl Lagerfeld, and currently Noir Kei Ninomiya. Today, in addition to the Cendrillon flats, Repetto's range now includes a variety of styles from the popular Camille trotter heel which is a ballet pump to ankle boots, heeled sandals, loafers, Mary Janes, and even sneakers. Repetto's iconic flats continue to be a favorite among a new generation of it-girls, with trendsetters like Lily-Rose Depp and Hailey Bieber among its admirers. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect ballet flat, Repetto is the answer.
Roger Vivier, the esteemed French luxury footwear brand, is renowned for its innovative and elegant designs that have left a lasting mark on the world of high fashion. Vivier, often credited with the invention of the stiletto heel in the 1950s, brought a unique artistic flair to shoe design, influencing fashion icons and major luxury houses alike. His creations such as the iconic buckle pumps famously worn by Catherine Deneuve in the 1967 film Belle de Jour have adorned the feet of Joséphine Baker, Queen Elizabeth II, and Brigitte Bardot.
In recent years, Roger Vivier has continued to redefine luxury footwear. The brand's newer styles, which include crystal-adorned designs and sky-high platforms, are a staple on red carpets and magazine covers. Worn by celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Billie Eilish, Jennifer Lopez, Olivia Rodrigo, and Rihanna, a great Roger Vivier shoe is a classic that’s worth every penny.
As you wander through the streets of Paris, you'll likely notice the absence of sky-high heels. French women, always on the move, favor a blend of fashion and function in their footwear choices. Ballet flats, loafers, and sneakers are the go-to options for achieving that effortlessly chic French girl look. To embody this style, consider adding a pair of sleek white sneakers to your wardrobe. Enter Veja: the chic French sneaker brand crafted in Brazil. Known for its commitment to sustainability, Veja uses organic and eco-friendly materials, making it not just a fashionable choice, but a conscious one too.
Vejas have been spotted on some of our favorite celebs such as Meghan Markle, Emma Watson, Emily Ratajowski, Reese Witherspoon, and Kate Middleton. The sneakers retail for around $150 but can be found on sale often from a wide assortment of retailers ranging from Nordstrom, Saks, Matches, Ssense, to Anthropologie, Free People, and Zappos.
Christian Louboutin is undoubtedly one of the biggest shoe designers of all time, famed for his red-lacquered soles that have become a universal symbol of status and style. His creations are celebrated for their bold and daring designs, characterized by sky-high heel heights and dramatic shapes. Louboutin himself has been quoted saying that feeling sexy in his shoes is more important than comfort. This philosophy underscores his belief in shoes as a powerful tool for empowerment and confidence. Adored by A-list celebrities like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Oprah (just to name a few) Louboutin's shoes are more than just a fashion statement; they are a work of art.
Pierre Hardy began his career illustrating for fashion magazines before transitioning to shoe design in the mid-1980s. He launched his label in 1999, celebrated for its architectural and geometric styles in both women's and men's footwear. Known for his artistic approach, Hardy draws inspiration from visual arts and architecture, evident in his bold and innovative designs.
Launched in 2008, Laurence Dacade’s eponymous brand reflects her celebrated Parisian design ethos, honed from her time designing for Chanel and Givenchy. Her creations artfully blend French-inspired sensuality with chic sophistication, often incorporating vibrant colors, patterns, and textures for an unexpected twist. Drawing inspiration from the dynamic lifestyles of women she observes in airports and train stations, Dacade designs for the “woman on the go.” A graduate of the AFPIC School, she excels in the technical craftsmanship of shoemaking, ensuring each pair of shoes is as comfortable as it is stylish. Dacade's designs are a testament to her belief that beauty and comfort should go hand in hand.
We love Laurence Dacade’s shoes because they feel fresh and exciting. Take the “Androgynous Loafer” for example, her use of metallic leather transformed an otherwise masculine shoe. Or how she added transparent straps on a studded block sandal—totally unexpected. The brand does provide international shipping through their website, or you can purchase on Farfetch.
Sézane, a Parisian brand, epitomizes a modern girlboss fairytale. Morgane Sézalory's fashion journey began with selling vintage pieces on eBay, eventually leading to the creation of her own website, Les Composantes, where she sold reworked vintage items in popular monthly drops or rendezvous. These exclusive sales quickly became a sensation in Paris, with pieces selling out within minutes. Riding on this wave of success, Sézalory launched Sézane in 2013, a direct-to-consumer brand that has since become synonymous with “French girl fashion.”
With its carefully curated selection of clothing, accessories, and jewelry, Sézane has garnered a cult-like following. The brand is known for its accessible pricing, embodying Sézalory's belief in “je ne sais quoi for all.” The footwear, priced between $170 and $300 (with taller boots being slightly higher), ranges from classic loafers to chic flats. Beyond fashion, Sézane's commitment to sustainability is a core aspect of its identity. As a B-Corp-certified company, it champions the use of eco-friendly materials and practices. For those seeking both style and sustainability, Sézane offers a perfect blend, making it a go-to choice for fashion with a conscience.
If you’re looking for the perfect summertime sandal look no further than K.Jacques. The brand boasts a rich heritage in the sun-drenched streets of Saint-Tropez, France. For 90 years this family-run business has built its reputation of crafting artisanal leather sandals. Renowned for their timeless design and exceptional durability, K.Jacques shoes are the epitome of effortless French Riviera style. Each pair is meticulously handmade, showcasing the brand's commitment to quality and tradition.
K.Jacques sandals are designed to last, with styles ranging from $185-$330 due to a wide range of leather options, studs, and straps. These are a summer wardrobe essential, perfect for both beachside strolls and chic urban outings for years to come. You don’t have to travel all the way to Saint-Tropez to get your hands on a pair of K.Jacques (Sorry if you needed an excuse to book a flight) they can be found at Bloomingdales, on Net-a-Porter, Farfetch, Shopbop, and even Amazon.
Founded in 1981 by Robert Clergerie, the brand has become synonymous with innovative, architectural shoe designs that challenge conventional aesthetics. Known for combining masculine and feminine elements, Clergerie shoes are celebrated for their unique silhouettes, exceptional comfort, and use of high-quality materials. The brand is particularly famous for its reinterpretation of classic styles, like brogues and loafers.
We love how a pair of Clergerie shoes can add an unexpected element to an otherwise simple ensemble. Great for the days when you can’t put much effort into your look, a cool pair of Clergerie brogues can instantly elevate your outfit from drab to fab.
You don’t have to forgo style for sustainability thanks to Bobbies. Bobbies is a Paris-based footwear and leather goods brand with collections for both men and women. Super popular for its ultra-chic boots and suede-paneled sneakers, the brand is known for incorporating vintage touches into its contemporary designs. While the shoes are designed in Paris, they are actually crafted in Portugal using sustainable practices and high-quality leather. With tons of attainable options ranging from boots to brogues, we love Bobbies' commitment to the environment along with their chic selection.
Mastering the French-girl look doesn’t have to break the bank with Jonak, a family-run business in Paris since 1964. Known for their fashion-forward yet accessible footwear, Jonak strikes a perfect balance between trendiness and enduring quality without straining your wallet. Jonak's diverse collection caters to all styles, ranging from timeless classics to contemporary trends. Among our current favorites is the Pointed Toe Ballerina with Straps. These sleek patent leather shoes, priced at $170, look more luxurious than their cost suggests. Pair them with sheer socks and a mini skirt for a chic, modern ensemble. For under $200, these black penny loafers are a classic and are sure to become a staple in your wardrobe. Lastly, in a noteworthy collaboration with Schott NYC, known for their leather jackets and motorcycle apparel, Jonak introduces the trendy Biker Boots.
What started as a small riding boot cobbler shop in the countryside of Nice ultimately led to Paul Sartore establishing the Sartore brand with his wife Marcelle in 1959. Initially crafting men's moccasins, the brand gradually expanded its repertoire to include women's riding boots, skillfully blending traditional craftsmanship with innovative designs. As the years progressed, Sartore continued to diversify its collection, introducing clogs and western-inspired boots that merge masculine and feminine style elements in their unique designs.
Today, Sartore stands as a testament to evolution and innovation in fashion. The brand has transcended its humble beginnings, now offering contemporary styles like patchwork leather clogs adorned with silver studs and western boots accented with red details. These designs fuse rustic charm with modern sophistication, showcasing Sartore's ability to stay at the forefront of fashion trends. Despite this evolution, the brand remains true to its roots of luxury and quality, attributes that have been its cornerstone for over six decades.
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