Shoes are a make-or-break aspect of any wedding outfit, whether you’re the bride, part of the bridal party, or a guest. The venue and dress code will, of course, steer you in a particular direction. But similar to your selected dress, suit, two-piece set, or jumpsuit, you want the shoes to be good—even if you barely see them.
There are brands synonymous with wedding footwear like Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik (we’ll forever swoon over the iconic Hangisi embellished satin pumps worn by Carrie Bradshaw on Sex The City) to contemporary designs from the likes of Loeffler Randall and Bella Belle. But if you’re the type to be different or live for brand discovery, we’re spotlighting six brands that make utterly stunning wedding shoes ahead. From comfortable block heels to bold booties, keep reading to discover the perfect wedding shoe for you. Plus, each designer shares a few trend predictions and shopping picks.
Marina Larroudé, the co-founder of her namesake shoe label Larroudé, says brides are taking risks with their fashion choices more than ever before, embracing trends and wearing multiple looks throughout their engagement and wedding weekend. "For the big day, a lot of brides are choosing to wear crystals and vinyl shoes—a little play on the modern Cinderella," Larroudé tells us. "Our Lola sandal in suede with crystals is just perfect—it has the right amount of glitz but still classic to not compete with the dress."
With offerings that span trendy kitten heels, chunky platforms, and classic sandals, every Larroudé shoe is handmade with high-end leather, suede outsoles, and a memory foam insole for extra comfort. "Our shoes are designer shoes that you can dance for nine hours and cost at least half of any other designer shoe in the market," Larroudé says.
"There’s always that conflict about not wanting to spend a lot of money when you’re asked to be a bridesmaid and not wanting to buy a plastic shoe that will last for one night," Larroudé explains of her mission to create covetable, high-quality, and well-priced shoes. "My goal when creating the line was to create a collection that women can count on and wear season after season, especially when browsing for a bridesmaid or wedding shoe."
As for Larroudé’s top wedding picks, she says: "I love a classic strappy simple white sandal—very Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. It’s clean, sophisticated, and chic and doesn’t compete with the dress. If the bride is wearing a big voluminous dress, it’s best to wear a platform. If it’s a garden party, a wedge or platform works best. And always have party flats with you so you can change in the middle of the night."
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"I feel there’s a shift away from purchasing a pair of shoes specifically for your wedding day, which you may never wear again. Instead, our customers are after something they will wear time and time again," Vanissa Antonious says. Antonious is the founder and creative director of the UK-based Italian-made shoe and handbag brand Neous.
With an understated and architectural signature, Neous shoes are the kinds that get noticed, whether it’s a uniquely placed strap or geometric cutout—perfect for modern brides with a penchant for minimalism. "I’ve never designed for the intention of a shoe being specifically for bridal," Antonious reveals. "Cream footwear has been an important part of our collection since the beginning; it’s as versatile as black, and I feel it always adds a sense of modernity and lightness to an outfit," she says. Antonious shared that many women looking for a wide array of modern shoes for their weddings contacted the brand.
"The Jumel and Alkes styles are great examples of styles within our collection that you would wear for the day and after," Antonious tells us. "I feel they are the styles you feel great in, whether they make you taller or ensure you can dance all night long in them. Nothing is more important on your wedding day than feeling confident."
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Jamela Acheampong launched her luxury shoe line, Kahmune, as a way to offer sleek and timeless shoes that matched all women’s skin tones. Each of the ten shades, ranging from fair to dark brown, is named after the women of the cities and regions whose skin tones inspired them. They're all made from premium Italian leather sourced from environmentally responsible factories.
"The word 'nude' itself is historically incredibly exclusive," Acheampong says. "If you Googled ‘nude footwear’ today, you would still have a hard time finding brands that offer nudes for various skin tones. Given that the word nude implies naked, I think it’s incredibly important for nude products to ring true to this. It’s extremely important to us that all women of all backgrounds and complexions feel like they have an option. Our shade range allows us to include all that are searching for the perfect nude shoe."
Acheampong predicts a shift towards practicality in the bridal shoe market, with more versatile and budget-friendly styles becoming the norm. Think less of the traditional ivory and sparkles and more low-heel options, flats, wedges, and neutral skin-tone options. "Between lockdown and the social unrest, we saw last year a lot of women are thinking twice not only about where they’re shopping but how they’re shopping," she explains. "I think brides will be thinking twice about spending a large amount on a pair of shoes they can only wear once, and I think they’ll also be thinking about comfort. After a year inside, we’re all a little wobbly in those heels. We’re going to see more women opting to shop small, local, and with underrepresented designers."
As her brand’s signature, Acheampong favors nude shoes for a subtle and sophisticated wedding moment, like her Lesley Sandal (featuring a one-inch platform with two layers of memory foam padding), Becky Pumps (offered in various heel heights), and Kennedy Flats for casual style. "A nude shoe is a perfect option for the bride looking to show off her dress," she says. "We love a good strappy sandal for spring and summer weddings and a pump for fall and winter. For outdoor weddings, we suggest a flat or wedge for brides who will be walking through grass."
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If your preference skews minimal and effortless, you’re likely familiar with Los Angeles-based brand Emme Parsons. Her barely-there string sandals have risen to cult status among fashion insiders, from lace-ups to slides and mid-height heels—each one a beautifully understated bridal shoe choice.
"I think women are always on the hunt for timeless, high-quality shoes," Parsons tells us. "We’ve received so many customer emails about wedding and honeymoon sandals as well as tags and mentions on Instagram. To be honest, I never set out to specifically design bridal shoes, but I’m incredibly honored that so many women have chosen to wear our shoes for such a special time in their lives."
In terms of 2021 trends for brides and beyond, Parsons says, "Women have gotten so used to comfort dressing, and I think that trend will stay with us even after the pandemic. I have a feeling brides will opt for classic, lower heel heights or elegant flats that can be worn on their wedding day and long after."
Parson’s pick for a wedding attire: "Metallic shoes provide a nice contrast to a white or ivory gown but still feel very neutral yet festive," she says.
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If your ideal wedding shoe is comfortable and classic with a modern touch, look no further than the bridal offerings from the direct-to-consumer label Margaux.
"Our styles are designed with ease and elegance in mind and made to deliver all-day comfort without sacrificing style," co-founder Alexa Buckley says. "This just-right balance of style and comfort makes our shoes perfect for a wedding. With a busy day of festivities and dancing that often goes well into the night, comfort is often top of mind for brides," she adds, noting the City block-heel sandal and Pointe flat as two bridal best-sellers.
While Margaux’s ready-to-wear styles stand out, Buckley notes a renewed interest in the label’s bridal Atelier, which requires a longer lead time but allows an entirely customized shoe. "We’re one of few brands that offer a truly bespoke experience," she says, "When ordering a pair, brides can customize every detail of their shoe, from lining leather and fabrication to adding a monogram or wedding date to the sole of their shoes."
For any bride, bridesmaid, or wedding guest, Buckley recommends shoes you feel comfortable and wholly yourself in. "The last thing you want to be thinking about is a pair of uncomfortable shoes on your wedding day," she says, "Comfort is absolutely key."
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"When I got married in April 2019, I struggled in choosing the right pair [of shoes] that was glamorous yet modern enough so it could be worn on multiple occasions after the wedding," designer Houda Ghazal says of her brand’s beginnings. "I wanted to fill in that gap in the market."
At Ghazal, they don’t offer traditional bridal collections as they believe in timeless products. They shared that many of their bridal clients have gravitated to the brand because they offer versatile shoes that aren’t just for your wedding day. "Even for such a special occasion like a wedding, people are shopping more consciously and look for something that they can wear for years to come," Ghazal says.
Optimistic for the return of celebratory weddings in 2021 and beyond, Ghazal says that everyone is longing for some fun, glitz, and glamour this year. Her trend prediction? A turn toward bold statement shoes, like metallic booties, sandals, and crystal-adorned mules. "Our goal in the bridal market is to offer something that is both glamorous yet very easy to wear and doesn’t feel like a traditional bridal shoe," she adds.
Ghazal recommends two different shoes for a wedding day: a pump, platform, or open-toe sandal to enhance posture and elongate the lines of a dress during photos and a ceremony, and a more comfortable style for dancing, like a mid-heel or embellished flat sandal.