Footwear from the Netherlands has it’s own distinct style that sets it apart from other kinds of European footwear. Dutch brands are known for minimalist (but by no means boring or simplistic) designs and understated colors that support the rest of the outfit without stealing the show.
Many Dutch shoe makers are environmentally and socially conscious of the impact of their products, and specifically set out to utilize recycled and sustainably obtained materials to use in the development of their shoes.
More than a few of these brands set their factory locations in Portugal and other European countries, where they can ensure fair wages, humane working conditions, mitigate environmental impacts, and uphold higher standards than could be managed in the sweatshops often associated with the footwear industry.
Many of these factories are small and family owned, or employ skilled artisans who make the shoes by hand rather than by machine.
If you’re looking for high quality, fashionable footwear with a minimalist sensibility and a high level of social responsibility, then you’ll fall in love with these Dutch shoe brands.
Top Dutch Shoe Brands
1.Shabbies Amsterdam – Best Boot
Shabbies Amsterdam, a sister company to fashion magnate Fred de la Bretoniere, offers the best winter boot to tackle the cold winters of the Netherlands.
These boots were designed to bring a shabby edge to a bold boot that’s as functional as it is fashionable. These boots are primarily made from luxurious leather, and come in a range of colors and textures, with both flat and high heel versions available.
Along with their popular classic boot, Shabbies Amsterdam also features ankle books, Western boots, and Chelsea boots.
One of the most notable are their croco printed nigh boots, which are described as the pinnacle of femininity from Shabbies Amterdam, and feature a crocodile print and loops on the side to help you out in this high, narrow boot.
2.Fred de la Bretoniere – Best Women’s Dress Shoe
Fred de la Bretoniere is a Dutch brand offering sharp, professional women’s dress shoes that will look good in any kind of formal occasion. Founded in 1970, Fred de la Bretoniere offers the best lace up dress shoes, loafers, espadrilles, and sandals in the Netherlands.
These shoes are all handmade in sustainably operated factories in Europe, with factory locations in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, where their environmental impact can be monitored more efficiently than in third world factories. Like many other Dutch brands, Fred de la Bretoniere also offers cork and vegan options for those who want their dress shoes to make an impact on fashion, rather than the environment.
Some of the dress shoes offered by Fred de la Bretoniere that you’ll want to take a look at include their patent leather lace up zwart shoe, which has a classic, timeless design, and their printed leather loafer.
3.Filling Pieces – Best Men’s Sneaker
Filling Pieces is a brand of footwear designed to bridge the gap between high fashion and everyday comfortable street wear. This Amsterdam based brand has their high quality sneakers handmade in Portugal, ensuring both low price and high levels of quality control.
Filling Piece’s most popular design is their Low Top sneakers, which come in an assortment of colors and fabrics to suit your personal tastes.
Some great selections from Falling Pieces include their extremely popular Low Top sneaker, the classic Mondo sneaker, and the retro Court Strata sneaker. But their most notable sneaker is the newly released Court 683 sneaker.
This sneaker was designed with sustainably sourced materials, and uses only fully-traceable, organic Dutch leather hides. In addition to it’s exceptional leather, this sneaker also utilizes PET mesh lining, organic cotton laces, and recycled cork insoles, as well as a sugar-cane EVA based rubber alternative for the sole.
This sustainable sneaker is the first in the 683 line of products, and is their new flagship shoe as the company moves into a more sustainable direction.
The Court 683 comes with a scan-able QR code tag that directs customers to a website where they can read about the responsible steps involved in making their new favorite sneaker.
4.Woden – Best Women’s Sneaker
Woden is a recent brand, started in 2013 by a master shoemaker, and has taken the Netherlands by storm. This brand specializes in women’s sneakers made from high quality natural materials for an affordable price.
Shoes made by Woden are not only comfortable and stylish, but they also contain a substantial amount of recycled materials, giving a second life to materials that would have otherwise pilled up in landfills.
In addition to their renowned women’s sneakers, Woden also makes boots, sandals, and children’s footwear.
A popular sneaker from this brand is the Nora III. The Nora III comes in several different colors, and is made of calf suede and leather, shock absorbing cork a combination of natural and recycled rubber for the sole, and backing made with 50% polyester sourced from recycled PET bottles.
5.Scapino – Best Family Brand
Scapino is a shoe and clothing brand scattered all throughout the Netherlands, and is the best all around family brand for footwear. Scapino has a shoe for every member of the family for every occasion, and has developed products for men, women, and children of all ages at an affordable price.
This brand includes boots, sneakers, sandals, clogs, and much more under their own name brand for some of the most affordable prices in the Netherlands. Scapino is proud to advertise itself as fur-free in an effort to make their department stores cruelty free, and specifically selects environmentally friendly paper to print it’s brochures.
Some Scapino shoes worth checking out include their women’s snow boots, children’s water shoes, men’s loafers, and unisex open heel clogs. These affordable shoes are great for the whole family.
6.ETQ Amsterdam – Best Casual Wear
ETQ Amsterdam was founded in 2010 in Amsterdam in response to what the founders considered over-branding and excessive pricing in the footwear industry.
The result is a brand with a minimalist philosophy and a higher focus on sustainability and durability of products. But this doesn’t mean that the shoes are simple or basic.
Instead, they are examples of how fashionable the traditionally understated Dutch style can be.
The flagship sneaker of ETQ Amsterdam is their LT 01 VEGEA sneaker. This sneaker is made of an artificial leather crafted from recycled grape skins leftover from the wine-making industry.
Despite it’s unconventional origin, this material still has the textured look and toughness of real calf leather. The insoles make use of innovative techniques to add to their comfort and durability, and the outsoles are made from real natural rubber.
Each VEGEA shoe in handcrafted in Portugal, and shipped in a 100% recycled cardboard shoe box.
7.EIJK – Best High Heel
EIJK’s fashionable designer shoes are designed to be comfortable enough to wear all day without compromising their style or fashion. The founder of this Amsterdam based company, Jolanda van Eijk, founded the brand with the dream of making a flirty heel comfortable enough to wear all day.
To achieve this, she custom designed a unique heel that looks like a stilleto from the back, and a wedge from the side. This unique heel gives EIJK shoes their distinct designer look, while also offering better support and comfort for your foot.
EIJK’s Chelsea boots, knee-high boots, zipper booties, and pumps all utilize this proprietary heel design. EIJK’s shoes are made in Italy by small scale artisan shoemakers, and are made of soft leather, wooden heels, and rubber soles.
Some of EIJK’s head turning shoes include the Anne platform pumps, the Chris ankle boot, and the Maggie strappy sandals.
8.QURC – Best Sustainable Shoe
Many Dutch brands strive to include sustainably sourced and recycled materials in their shoes, but QURC beats out the competition for the best sustainable shoe brand.
Established in Amsterdam in 2019, this up and coming brand is making waves showing how their sustainable and vegan shoes can compete with traditionally made fashion brands.
QURC shoes are made in a small factory in Portugal, where employees are paid fairly and uphold a high ethical standard. The materials used by QURC are specifically sourced to be vegan, ethically sourced, and cruelty free.
QURC shoes are as comfortable for your feet as they are for your conscience. The QURC Essential (available in both men and women’s versions) is the most popular design from QURC.
These sneaker feature a timeless design that goes well with just about any outfit, comes in several colors, and is well suited to both formal and informal occasions.
The materials used to make the Essential include CORK-leather, cotton laces, and recycled rubber soles.
9.United Nude – Designer Shoe
United Nude offers some of the most innovative shoe designs in the Netherlands. Founded by architect Rem D. Koolhaas, United Nude uses geometric designs for truly unique designer heels, boots, and flats.
United Nude utilizes cutting edge 3D printing to manufacture some of their most unique shoes, such as the nature inspired Beyond Wilderness shoes, inspired by the banyan tree, which allows for an organic look to sculptural shoes.
Choosing just a few shoes to recommend from United Nude is a challenge, as there are so many completely unique designs. The Mobius Hi, based on the infinitely looping Mobius strip, is a lightweight, open wedge heel fashioned from a single band if fiber-reinforced nylon.
The Pocket Lev is a pointed toe, high heel boot featuring pockets, straps, and detachable nylon accessories, crossing high fashion with a utilitarian design.
Finally, the Zaha Nova is a collaborative design between the director of United Nude and Zaha Hadid (a famed architect) that is truly one of a kind. This heel features a rippled pattern on a zig-zag base, but despite it’s out-of-this-world look is still comfortable to wear, despite breaking all the rules of conventional shoe-making.
10.Van Lier – Best Men’s Dress Shoe
The first brand in our list is Van Lier, a brand that’s been a staple in Dutch footwear for the past two hundred years. Of all the shoe brands covered in this list, it’s the only Dutch shoe brand to have its own mono-brand stores in all major cities in the Netherlands, which is a testament to the brand’s quality and enduring popularity.
The brand is best known for it’s wide selection of men’s dress shoes, as well as some exceptionally high quality sneakers and work boots. Most of Van Lier’s most popular shoes are made from rich cognac or black leather, with a variety of distinguished designs.
In order to offset the company’s CO2 emissions, Van Lier has planted and maintains a forest near Vught, located on the Halse Barrier estate.
This forest is open to the public so that everyone can enjoy it’s natural beauty, even as it offsets the unavoidable environmental impact generated by the operating and running of a footwear company.
Some notable examples that you’ll find available from Van Lier include the Goliad lace up shoe, the Rhodes buckle shoe, the Fritz boot, and the vegan Novara sneaker (the first in their footwear collection to be completely free of animal materials).
Dutch footwear, with their minimalist and urban designs, match well with many different outfits and looks. There are a wide range of styles and fashions that include recycled and re-purposed materials, and even the ones made from more conventional materials have a high level of sustainability.
The sharp, modern look of Dutch show brands is sure to turn heads and prove that high fashion doesn’t need to be harsh on the natural environment or human society.
Whether they are planting trees to offset emissions and opening up the environment to the public like Van Lier, recycling materials like Woden and Filling Pieces, or creating and utilizing unique new materials like ETQ Amterdam, you’ll find a happy marriage between sustainability and modern fashion in Dutch shoe brands.