We love a self-made story. Someone with raw talent teaching themselves something they've always wanted to learn and bringing that talent and idea to fruition. That is the story of self-taught fashion designer, Franky Baca, who created his first garments in 2013 and launched a full collection in 2014. With many of his fashion pieces being gender neutral, a unisex shoe was the next logical step - which led to the Franky Baca 1 Low Sneakers.

Franky Baca 1 Low Sneakers

Franky Baca draws inspiration for his designs from nature, architecture, classic paintings, film, and his Bay Area home neighborhood; so it's no surprise that his namesake sneakers is comprised of leather, and composite materials to ensure durability. The gender-neutral style is simple, yet versatile with unique features. It boasts a blood orange patent leather tongue, removable grey patent lace guard emblazoned with this designer's signature; and detachable mesh ankle support for a comfortable and insulated fit with or without laces.

Franky Baca 1 Low Sneakers 
Franky Baca 1 Low Unisex Shoe

Franky says "My goal in creation is for the customer to question why something is strange, and why is something still beautiful to them. I want to challenge them to what they knew about beauty. I always wanted to design clothing and loved fashion but I was hesitant because I didn't want to design for others. I thought it took away from my individuality, I was selfish. I realized I could never be them and they could never be me, and I knew I wanted to move forward. We need to inspire people any chance we get."
Available in white/bone/blood orange/silver, the F.B.1 sneakers can be yours for $110.00, down from the original price of $220.00. Sizes run from as small as a women's 5 1/2 to a men's 12. Get yours now on www.frankybaca.com.

PNKElephant Icconic Slides
PNKElephant Icconic Slides
PNKElephant Icconic Slides
PNKElephant Icconic Slides

I know it might not seem like the time to go shoe shopping (we know you don't leave the house much these days) but it is actually the perfect time to snag some lovely new footwear. Remember, no matter how much weight you put on, your shoes will always fit. Unlike clothes, shoes don't punish for you for indulging a bit. We recommend you start with the PNKElephant Icconic Studded Slides. Proving that there is nothing basic about classic black, this modern slipper/sandal hybrid gets an edgy update of hardware. Known for it's oversized bow at the toe, the Icconic Slides grabs all the attention. A square toe and makes this flat shoe even more contemporary.

 Officially dropping August 10th, you can pre-order these now for the intro price of $73.95 (they are normally $87.00) on www.peblair.com.

Shoeography Shoe of the Day | Voyette Latoy Ankle Boots

Shoeography Shoe of the Day | Voyette Latoy Ankle Boots

Shoeography Shoe of the Day | Voyette Latoy Ankle Boots

Although the idea of wearing anything in these high temperatures may be the last thing on your mind, we couldn't help but fawn over these stunning ankle booties. We're happy to say they are made for this weather. You see, the Voyette Latoy Ankle Boots feature a mesh upper with leather trim, so there's lots of breathability. These gorgeous nude darlings are draped oh-so-chicly and adored with a bejeweled brooch and boasts a statuesque 4 1/2" heel. To claim your own, head over to www.voyette.com and pick these up for $299.99.

American companies of all shapes and sizes base their operations in different countries around the world. Whether it's a small company selling embroidered patches that are effective in marketing a business's corporate identity or a large corporation that has retail locations in every state, reshoring allows companies to find diverse talent while cutting costs. The footwear industry is no exception to this trend, with manufacturers for major brands spread across various continents.

How the Dominican Republic is a Cornerstone of American Footwear Companies

Although it is a relatively small country, the Dominican Republic is attracting many American footwear companies looking to reshore. In fact, the DR is a top 10 footwear exporter to the United States. In 2018, the U.S. was the DR's most important export trading partner of footwear and had an export value of about $253 million.

This popularity is made possible by the Dominican Republic Free Zones, a globally-recognized network of 74 free trade zones. The DR Free Zones were intentionally designed to improve business productivity, scale targeted industry sectors, and reduce global business barriers. As the DR Free Zones celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019, the network has certainly seen success in its goals.

Footwear companies have been particularly successful, especially after the President of the DR created the National Footwear Commission in 2014. This organization helps footwear brands by focusing on supply chain development, the promotion of exports, and strengthening training programs. American retailers deal with about $44 million in inventory shrink, according to statistics from the National Retail Security Survey, but footwear companies that manufacture in the DR Free Zones don't have to worry about lapses in communication that can lead to inventory shrink. When companies reshore to the Dominican Republic's Free Zones, they benefit from high-quality connectivity as well as tax incentives, government support, and the country's political stability.

How the Dominican Republic is a Cornerstone of American Footwear Companies

Global footwear brands that have operations in the DR Free Zones include Timberland, Sperry, Vans, and Allen Edmonds. These brands and others have seen success because of the highly competitive local supply chain that has had an increased capacity for producing most of the raw materials and components manufacturers of footwear and leather products require. The workforce in the DR Free Zones also have a significant amount of skills and specific knowledge when it comes to high-end leather shoes for European and American markets.

While the footwear industry is a major part of the DR Free Zones, other industry sectors have found success there too. From electronics and medical devices to textiles and jewelry, a wide range of sectors rely on the DR Free Zones for their manufacturing needs. The DR Free Zones also provide outsourcing services, such as Business Process Outsourcing and Contact Centers, contributing to a managed services market that was projected to reach $170 billion worldwide by 2019. This service has been particularly helpful for American companies looking to reduce costs and maintain quality, as the DR has a highly skilled workforce and is geographically close to the United States.

As a small country with an impressive incentive structure and vibrant community, the Dominican Republic is proving to be a place that can make things happen. Even if you don't know it, your favorite American footwear company may be relying on the DR Free Zones to get you high-quality shoes. By continuing to support these companies, you can help them and the people of the Dominican Republic prosper.

Welcome back to shoe love. After a much needed and brief break, we are back with more gorgeous footwear. Today's Shoeography Shoe of the Day is the ultra chic Eleanor Anukam Iruoma Pump. Accentuated by a series of round, edgy hardware, this pointed toe stiletto is guaranteed to turn heads. Featuring a silk satin upper, this beauty is sure to leave lookie-loos green with envy. The adorning gold ball detail descend in size from large to small pulling gazes from top to bottom of it's statuesque 4" satin-covered heel.

What makes the Eleanor Anukam Footwear brand even more amazing? They specialize in shoes for tall and plus size women, ranging in sizes from 9-13. We love the Iruoma Pump in Emerald Green with gold accents, but it also is available in monochromatic Black/Black, Royal Blue/Pewter, and Black/Pewter.

Normally retailing for $375.00, you can get all four colors at the great sale price of $99.00 on www.eleanoranukam.com. We recommend you hurry before they are gone.
Popular sportswear brand Fila and Italian label Tatras joined together to release an exclusive collection that will be released in two stages - Vol.1 and Vol.2. The items that were launched on June 5th as part of Vol. 1 consist of a Cap and T-shirt, which are the protagonists of the upcoming season. We are, however, concentrating on the shoes that will be released as part of Vol.2.

The on-trend "Dad sneaker" TATRAS X FILA Sneakers make their space in the current fashion trends for their high comfort and retro look. This pair goes further on the chunky edge with eye-catching zebra print and glitter logo embroideries. Expect Vol. 2 to drop in the middle of July.

A symbol of FILA, TATRAS revisited the tricolor Logo in bold letters on unisex sportswear accessories and over-sized tops for a street look with a vintage touch. TATRAS' high-quality fabrics and sophistication embrace the utility and simple silhouettes shaping FILA’s philosophy, inviting all generations to enjoy Sports in their daily lives.

This collection is exclusively available at TATRAS corners in department stores in Japan, the TATRAS Milanese flagship store in Via della Spiga 3, as well as on its online retail stores.

Here is another Black Designer and her gorgeous, luxury footwear to add to your list. Join me in drooling over the Diarrablu Finetti Ndar Mules, the beautiful handcrafted works of art you see above. The stunning flats feature a jacquard printed upper, which coordinates back to their breathtaking Ndar Tunic Dress; a thin leather strap separate from its closed front; leather sole; and leather loops made especially for the extra fabric ties it comes with to go from a classic slip-on to a wraparound mule. This beauty can be yours for $135.00 on www.diarrablu.com.

In addition to its eye-catching beauty, all Diarrablu shoes are made in their workshop in Senegal by local artisan communities. Founded by Diarra Bousso, an artist haling from Dakar, in 2013, the Dakar Boutique Group and Diarrablu celebrates her African heritage while empowering local artisan communities. She is a strong activist for the global celebration of the African cultural legacy and represents Senegal at the United Nations’ new platform for art and heritage. Today she has built a global fashion business through her innovative design concept merging algorithms, tradition and sustainability. Diarra has showcased her collections during New York and Paris Fashion weeks and represented Senegal at World Fashion Week Paris. Her work has been featured in several prominent publications, including Vogue, Forbes, CNN and The NY Times

We've hit the affordable, handcrafted jackpot. In our continued support of Black Footwear Designers, we came upon Kwame Baah Brands (thanks Facebook ads) and his highly affordable, handcrafted, Kente print and woven sandals and sneakers. One look at the super cute Kwame Baah Fryie Sandals and you see why it stopped us while we were scrolling our timeline. These easy, slip-on-sandals feature a Kente print fabric, perfect to add a pop of color to your wardrobe or celebrate the ancestors. The cotton upper keeps these casual sandals comfortable, while the rubber soles made from recycled tires keep the style environmentally friendly. Each shoe also boasts a soft and comfortable insole that molds to your feet over time. This particular silhouette is available in a solid black so those who prefer to be less bold, but it the prints, like the above Fryie, and the below Dunu (green/gold Kente print) and Waaba (orange/red/blue Kente print) that steals our hearts.

Apart from these being beautiful, they are amazing affordable. All three styles are currently on sale for $15.00-$20.00 each on www.kwamebaah.com.The beauty and price is just one of the things that make this label amazing.

Founded by George Kwame Baah, an engineer from Akim-Oda, Ghana, wanted an avenue to help raise his family and hometown out of poverty. He train artisans from his hometown and nearby regions to make sandals and accessories following his own designs. They currently have eleven artisans that handcraft their shoes and accessories in Ghana, providing a living wage that has improved their lives.

Here are more stunning women's shoes from another Black Fashion Designer. We were completely blown away from the beauty and craftsmanship of the gorgeous Josephine Valerie Josephine Heels. These exquisite handcrafted heels features a Caramel suede upper with a wide, multi-colored beaded strap across the toe, suede covered feathers wrapped by hand in signature red thread, and a statuesque 4" stiletto heel. The beauty of the feathers being handcrafted and hand placed is no two shoes are alike. For those who want to stand out even more, the Josephine also comes in Black suede with a leather snakeskin printed strap across the toe.

Whichever color you choose, both of these luxury shoes are available fro $250.00 on www.josephinevalerie.com.
When two industries come together, amazing innovations take place. The tech company 4D ShoeTech is doing just that by applying the latest technologies to their passion for footwear. In late June, the company plans to launch a digital online platform that allows users to design, develop, and view shoes.

With this platform, footwear designers and developers can bring their ideas to life, create prototypes, and display their visions in 4D, which is a photorealistic digital 3D image. They can do all of this without making a physical sample, an essential perk in the COVID-19 age. The 4D ShoeTech digital sample doesn't appear flat or static, like regular .JPEG or .PNG images do. Instead, this photo realistic 3D digitization has the ability to move or spin, as an object in animation does. By using this platform, a designer's shoes will appear life-like and viewers will be able to experience the texture of the product as if it were there in front of them.

How exactly is 4D ShoeTech creating these impressive digitizations? They've got a suite of digital solutions to help them do it. The first solution is photorealistic 3D CAD modeling. This allows designers and developers to digitally create the individual elements of a shoe, including the heels, bottoms, and outsoles. Once the elements come together, they can then sample the product as a photo realistic 4D digital sample.

The next step in the process is using 3D material swatch scanning that is platform-neutral or 3D material appearance capturing that uses X-Rite Pantone TAC7 technology. Either of these solutions can capture textures, allowing users to showcase details of their designs such as fur, embroidery, glitter, rhinestones, and embossed leather. A simple video on a website's landing page can increase conversion rates by up to 80%. 4D ShoeTech's photo realistic material capture, however, has the ability to really show viewers the product that they could be buying and could be a great asset in increasing conversion rates even further.

The suite of digital solutions from 4D ShoeTech also includes 3D printer-enabled prototyping in rigid or flexible material. Industries of all kinds have been utilizing 3D printing technology for a wide variety of reasons, creating everything from simple toys to bridges that can hold up to 250 pounds. 4D ShoeTech is using this impressive technology to allow users to 3D print and prototype outsoles, heels, bottoms, lasts, components, and accessories for their products. This saves designers and developers a lot of time and money when compared to using traditional methods of prototyping.
4D ShoeTech is envisioning its online platform to be a resource for more than just designers and developers. They are imagining this platform as a collaborative workspace for designers, developers, their partners and team members, manufacturers, sales reps, and buyers. Whoever is using this platform will be able to select a shoe and drag and drop various swatches and colors, essentially allowing them to sample different versions of a shoe without the traditional sample costs. This makes the platform a virtual showroom, replacing the sales trade shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has put on hold.

4D ShoeTech was founded in 2017, but it's already making major headway in both the tech and footwear industries. The company is not quite 5 years old yet, a landmark that only 50% of small businesses survive, but these innovations that allow operations to continue in a world that relies on remote work are a good indication that the tech company has what it takes to survive that 5-year mark. The technology from 4D ShoeTech could not only allow designers and developers to keep pursuing their creative passions, but it could allow the greater footwear market to survive this pandemic.
It was love at first sight when we first laid eyes on this work of art. We weren't familiar with Keeyahri before but thanks to #blackouttuesday, this gorgeous heel was was gifted to our eyes. Say hello to the Keeyahri Jenine Feathered Pumps. These magical pumps are inspired by Jenine Howard, wife of former basketball player, Juwan Howard. Like something out of a fable, these open side pumps boast a leather upper layered in beautiful, hand applied feathers; a pointed toe box; and a 4" custom Keeyahri swirl heel, inspired by the structural genius that is the Ribbon Wedding Chapel in Onomichi, Japan.
Available in Paradise Mint Green and Light Peach Bloom, you may feel your inner Black Swan emerge into breathtaking loveliness once your feet are graced with their elegance.

For those of you who prefer an all-year-round option, the Jenine is available in a classic Black leather that is unfeathered. This will allow you to draw gasps with your wardrobe options. All three styles can be purchased on preorder on www.keeyahri.com. The Mint and Peach are available for a specialintroductory price of $549.00 (normally $825.00), while the classic Black is available for $459.00 (normally $800.00).

Not familiar with this Black Footwear Designer? Let's fix that right now. Founded by Keya Martin, the Keeyahri label focuses on luxury, Italian craftsmanship and evocative textures. The limited edition, luxury shoes are released in small-scale seasonal collections, so once they're gone, they are gone for good. Their unique shoes celebrate self-empowerment, self-expression, and the eclectic women who love them. We are completely enamored with her collection and you will be too.

We couldn't let the month of June go without celebrating Pride. Online luxury boutique, Olivela, has released new Pride-themed products, and one of them is the darling Alepel Rainbow Pride Butterfly Mules. The eye-catching slip-on loafer boasts a white leather upper with a kaleidoscope of rainbow butterflies, hand painted by local Florida-based artists. A wonderfully chic way to celebrate Pride and LGBTQIA Month.

Together, Miami-based Alepel and Olivela developed this exclusive partnership collection. In this exclusive collection for Olivela, the brand developed patterns that exalts the tropical motifs present in the Miami flora alongside inspiration from Olivela’s mission to give back. For instance, purchasing these Rainbow Pride Butterfly Mules provides 9 essential supplies for a family in need, through Save the Children.

The luxury mules are only available in whole sizes and retail for $245.00 on www.olivela.com.
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