Step In Style With These Sophisticated & Timeless Homegrown Footwear Labels
R: Banjaaran Studio L: Theater

Step In Style With These Sophisticated & Timeless Homegrown Footwear Labels

I don’t know about you, but I remember a time not too long ago when the Bata EBallet flats made from a jelly-like material were the most common footwear for young women. And although Bata isn't actually an Indian brand, it might as well be owing to the cultural influence it has had, which you can read about here. But in recent times, with an increased love for preservation of craft and melding it with modern style, there is definitely a growing number of Indian footwear brands entering the market.

These truly homegrown labels are providing an alternate choice to global brands that are highly priced and might not even be a practical choice for the needs of the average Indian. While my Eva Birkenstock might continue to be a staple in my wardrobe, the pieces from Theatre XYZ or Banjaaran Studio are great homegrown additions I’d easily invest in, for their undeniable craft and quality. If you're someone like me, who is on the look out to invest in quality, made-in-India footwear, you've come to the right place.

1. 1919

Referring to themselves as a label that makes “premium leather footwear to get you through a full day of wandering around”, 1919 is a fashion and design-forward homegrown footwear label. Founded by Khushbhoo Sehrawat and Lavisha Varma, the label crafts contemporary designs with cult classic elements in vegan leather, that will resonate with women across generations and outlooks. Their meticulously crafted footwear is distinctive in staying away from mass production and highlights the joy of being distinctive. In addition to the footwear, the label also offers elegant leather handbags with clean lines and appeal to classic sensibilities. On its website, the label also mentions how it hopes to use its brand and platform to encourage “budding artists and designers from the fraternity, bringing into being capsule collections that are ingenious in their league.”

You can follow them here.

2. Banjaaran

Founded in 2019 by a sibling duo, Banjaaran Studios is one that has gained deserving renown for taking India’s footwear crafting legacy to the world. Mehandee Meera Dureja and Karanveer Dureja started the brand from Faridabad, Haryana, with the intent to capture a narrative of tradition and conscious craftsmanship. Whether it is their sneakers, brogues, mules or slip-ons, each pair is handmade in their relentless attempt to protect India’s 400-year-old heritage and craft of shoemaking. Highlighting the story behind their products, Banjaaran Studios attempts to rethink one's approach towards footwear, encouraging a deeper appreciation for craftsmanship, and heritage. They also seek to start more conversations around sustainability and looking at footwear as more than a passing buy, but rather a worthy investment if you are discerning. 

You can follow them here.


A Bangalore-based contemporary sneaker brand, ZEESH was founded and designed by Zeeshan Avoor who is personally passionate about footwear and hails from a family that is deeply rooted in the Indian footwear manufacturing industry. In the last three decades, his family-owned footwear manufacturing business has crafted luxury footwear for leading European brands. After gaining formal education in shoe design from the Footwear Design and Development Institute, Chennai, Zeeshan launched ZEESH in 2021 with a mission to elevate the Indian footwear market to European luxury standards. Today, his label is gaining acclaim for blending luxury and minimal design in footwear, while still being affordable to young, stylish Indians, and beyond. 

Follow them here.

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4. Theater

A brand that has become go-to for classic Mary Janes and Doc Marten-esque boots in the Indian market, Theater originated in Chandigarh in 2022. It was founded by Sarthak Aggarwal, Vikram Jain, Karan Jain and Shruti Aggarwal. Shruti, the creative director of Theater, was the owner of the now-defunct Retro Days shopping platform for which she carefully curated vintage/vintage-inspired pieces. Even with Theater, there is a clear love for classic, vintage design that is evident. The best part of the brand for this pop-culture enthusiast is definitely how their shoes are named after iconic pop-culture figures/references that range from boots called Elton (John) and Buffy (The Vampire Slayer!!) to flats called Gibsons Jimmy Page that are an ode to the lead guitarist of Led Zeppelin and his beloved guitar. As a brand, Theater is not limiting their creativity to just the realm of footwear and offers stylish and varied range of stockings, socks, bags and other accessories, as well. 

You can follow them here.


An innovative, maximalist footwear brand founded in 2022 by visual artist duo Shraddha Konduru and Subrat Pandey, Ikoho touts itself as a footwear brand that is provocatively declaring that they are beckoning a ‘post-sneaker era’. Crafted from vegan leather by hand, the pieces from Ikoho use centuries-old footwear-making techniques, but in fresh, contemporary designs that resonate with the modern sensibilities and trends. What began as creating unique stacked puffer boots handmade with grain sacks that they titled Rohas during their university days, is what has now become Ikoho. The brand's philosophy of 'more is more' is reflected in its bold physical forms and vibrant colour palettes, captivating viewers with irregular shapes and disruptive concepts - playing clearly into the love for maximalism and playfulness that is taking hold of people globally. 

You can follow them here.

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