Italy is known for its alta moda (high fashion), and its shoes are some of the most desirable in the world. Crafted from supple leather and suede, they’re sought after by men and women alike for their superb craftsmanship and high-quality materials often hovering around a budget-friendly price point.
America Domani has created a short list of three incredible Italian women’s shoe brands to shop from. The brands’ shoes range in price from $89 to $398 depending on style and materials used. All three footwear businesses are handcrafted in Italy by artisans who own and work in intergenerational family-run factories. They all can be shopped online and offer shipping and returns within the United States.
Founded in 2015 by Maria Gangemi who was inspired by growing up in Sicily, M. Gemi is a luxury footwear business that sells sandals, flats, clogs, mules, sneakers, heels, and drivers for women. All shoes are made from high-quality leather and handworked by 13 intergenerational family workshops across Italy, from Tuscany to Naples to Pisa.
The company is notable for releasing limited-edition designs each week. By building small batches of inventory quicker than typical manufacturing models, M. Gemi has created a limited surplus inventory. The footwear business launches over 75 unique styles every year and offers 453 color and material options to choose from.
Shoes range in price from $198 to $398. M. Gemi has primary offices in Boston and New York City and ships within the continental United States for $8. Orders are expected to arrive between three and six business days.
Founded in 2015 by Venetian sisters Viola and Vera Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga, ViBi VENEZiA is a love letter to their fond childhood memories of being dressed in furlane by their mother. Furlane, Venetian slippers that date to the 19th century, are today a symbol of Italian elegance and are a staple in every Italian woman’s closet.
The company sells classic furlane in a rainbow of colors as well as stylish gym loafers that retain a velvet exterior but have a thicker sole and a canvas or leather interior. Their shoes are handmade by local Venetian artisans to ensure premium made-in-Italy quality.
ViBi VENEZiA makes shoes for men, women, and children. The brand ships internationally to the United States and Canada with a shipping fee of €36 ($38). Products are expected to arrive within 5 to 7 business days. ViBi VENEZiA also sells at two stores in the United States: at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City and at Desert Vintage in Tucson, Arizona.
Classic furlane cost €90, or $96.
Leonardo Shoes is a luxury brand of handcrafted leather shoes made in Tuscany that follow the ancient Tuscan manufacturing art of leather processing. Founded in 1986 by Anan Alshalabi, who is of Palestinian origin, the brand’s shoe designs are interwoven with Middle Eastern and Florentine Renaissance elements.
The company partners with local artisans to handcraft a variety of shoes ranging from ballerinas, loafers, and ankle boots to sneakers, heels, and moccasins. Leonardo Shoes also handcrafts bags, jackets, and accessories for both men and women.
Shoes range in price from $89 to $280. The company ships to the United States within two and six business days and is free for orders over €200 ($219). For orders less than €200, a shipping fee of €19 ($21) is imposed.
Asia London Palomba
Asia London Palomba is a trilingual freelance journalist from Rome, Italy. In the past, her work on culture, travel, and history has been published in The Boston Globe, Atlas Obscura, The Christian Science Monitor, and Grub Street, New York Magazine's food section. In her free time, Asia enjoys traveling home to Italy to spend time with family and friends, drinking Hugo Spritzes, and making her nonna's homemade cavatelli.