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Labels to Watch: Avant-garde fashion footwear

By Ole Spötter


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Demon Footwear x Vibram Credits: Demon Footwear

Shoe styles usually focus on a simple silhouette and a conservative look, in the menswear sector in particular. Little colour and not standing out seems to be the preferred approach, regardless of whether it is a pair of sneakers, brogues or boots. However, the following brands have proven that things can be done differently, with their unique silhouettes that definitely stand out from the crowd.

Studio Hagel

Studio Hagel’s campaign for “The Shroud”. Credits: Studio Hagel

Studio Hagel was founded in 2015. It is an experimental shoe design studio that develops and designs collections based on a concept that can be used multifunctionally. Hagel has worked for major sportswear and streetwear brands such as Off-White and Puma as well as luxury brands such as Coach, Moncler, Valentino and Botter.

The Amsterdam studio led by Mathieu Hagelaars now also offers two of its own sneaker styles, whose conceptual silhouettes make the shoe a key piece. “In everything we do, we don’t settle for the ordinary,” explains Hagelaars. “High quality” and “innovative sole technology” play a role for the styles that are developed and manufactured at Ecco in Portugal.

Hagel “Shroud” in colourways RTE Mango, Ice White and Black Sand. Credits: Studio Hagel
Hagel “Tent”. Credits: Studio Hagel

About Studio Hagel:

  • Bestseller: The Shroud (Ice White & Black)
  • Target audience: Someone who is looking for something different and unprecedented and also dares to stand out with their fit
  • Point of sale: Online shop and Oallery Amsterdam
  • Contact: contact@hagelhagel.com
  • Price: 289 euros for “Tent” and 450 euros for “The Shroud”
  • Production: “Shroud” & “Tent” at Ecco Portugal

Demon Footwear

Demon Footwear was founded in 1963 by Girolamo Deon in Montebelluna, Italy, and revitalised in 2020 with a new vision by grandson Alberto Deon. The brand is still at home in the region, which has a long tradition in the production of mountain sports shoes, and also produces its modern styles here. The brand can only do some of the steps necessary in Montebelluna because only a few specialists have this knowledge and can carry them out, explains Alberto Deon. “It is not general knowledge; very often there are at least two or three steps that must be carried out by hand with great care.” The materials for the styles also come from the region and are otherwise used for high-tech hiking shoes - the origin of the brand.

The technical know-how is deeply rooted and meets an avant-garde approach that gives the rustic hiking boots a fashionable component with new shapes. The angular silhouettes meet mostly dark colours and rough surfaces, which, in combination with the brand DNA, bring out dark vibes.

Credits: Demon Footwear

“I took over the brand founded by my grandfather in 1963 to create completely innovative shoes, a mix of design, architecture and post-industrial decadentism while evoking the ancestors: a kind of ‘post-internet archaeology’ built in a pre-existing archive of materials and craft techniques, recovering archetypes and essential forms and reshaping them according to a new terminology dictated by new technologies, through the most extreme experiments that liberate the Italian aesthetic from the nostalgic image: Made in Italy can be ultra-contemporary - has to be,” sums up Deon.

He used to work as an architect for the architectural firm Claudio Silvestrin Architects and at that time was involved in projects such as the Yeezy Campus, a ranch owned by artist Kanye West in the US state of Wyoming, as well as Giada and Armani stores.

SS24 styles Credits: Demon Footwear

About Demon Footwear:

  • Bestseller: Poyana, a dark and artistic Gorpcore take on the typical mountain sports silhouette
  • Target audience: Unisex, 25 to 45 years old, intellectual, urban, working in a creative industry
  • Point of sale: Online shop, Darklands in Berlin, Slam Jam, Ssense and H.Lorenzo
  • Contact: salesdept@demonfootwear.com
  • Price: 400 to 500 euros
  • Production: Montebelluna, Italy – traditionally a stronghold of mountain shoe production


Rombaut is a vegan-oriented shoe and accessories brand that uses plant-based materials, recycled fibres and faux leather – including apples. Belgian Mats Rombaut, whose label is currently based in Paris, finds inspiration in cultural stereotypes, which he uses when crossing classic shoe types. The silhouette of a sneaker blurs into that of a cowboy boot and a racing bike shoe meets a formal shoe.

Rombaut’s “Nucleo Boot Quicksilver”. Credits: Rombaut
Boccaccio II Boot Black Credits: Rombaut

About Rombaut:

  • Bestseller: Nucleo Volcanic Black, Boccaccio II Boot Black and Nucleo Boot Quicksilver
  • Target audience: Artistic and future-oriented people who are between 18 and 40 years old and predominantly live in big cities such as Paris, London, New York or Tokyo, lovers of electronic/experimental music, environmentally conscious people who shop mindfully, and people who are interested in designer fashion and avant-garde designs
  • Point of sale: Online shop, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps in Paris, LN-CC and Shyness in London, Stijl in Brussels, The Code and Darklands in Berlin, Horst Wanschura in Stuttgart, Ssense
  • Contact: sofia@rombaut.com
  • Price: 320 to 700 euros
  • Production: 80 percent of the pieces in Portugal und 20 percent in China


Paris-based label Virón also uses vegan materials for its boots. The leather alternatives that the brand uses are made from apples and corn that come as waste from the food industry. It also utilises materials made from recycled synthetic products to minimise the use of virgin materials.

The brand wants to promote the circularity of its products through its own recycling program “Loop”, in which customers can send back their used shoes and these will then be processed into new shoe soles for the brand.

Virón’s “1992” Credits: Virón

About Virón:

  • Signature styles: 1992, 1997, Paradigm, Quantum, Impulse
  • Point of sale: Online shop, Afew in Düsseldorf, Breuninger in Stuttgart, The Wasted Hours und Allike in Hamburg, Galeries Lafayette und La Samaritaine in Paris, Antonioli in Mailand, Apoc, LN-CC and Ssense
  • Contact: sales@viron-world.com
  • Price: 160 to 450 euros
  • Production: Portugal

This article was originally published on http://FashionUnited.de . Edited and translated by Simone Preuss.

Labels To Watch