Puffed by Deborah Kiwi

The Global Footwear Awards Crowns 4th Edition Winners with Emphasis on Technology and Sustainability.

December 19, 2023

Join us in celebrating the future of footwear! Explore the groundbreaking designs that clinched victory in the 4th edition of the Global Footwear Awards. Witness how technology and sustainability are reshaping the industry. 

The Global Footwear Awards (GFA) is excited to reveal the distinguished winners of its fourth edition, having received an impressive array of over 200 projects from 25 countries.

The 2023 Footwear Brand of the Year is The Cryptide, earning recognition for their design of the CRYPTIDE ONE, led by designer Stephan Henrich. This luxury lifestyle shoe is entirely 3D printed from a single flexible material. The upper part, designed like a perforated sock for optimal ventilation, can be shaped based on a 3D scan of the wearer’s foot. The distinctive sole design is segmented for the toe, ball, and heel areas, while the midsole features a branching structure tailored to the wearer’s weight through FEA and topology optimization. On-demand manufacturing prevents overproduction, and its single-material construction facilitates easy recycling.

The Independent Footwear Designer of the Year title goes to Constantinos Panayiotou for his outstanding creation, Vertex Love. Founder and creative director of PET LIGER, Constantinos is a globally acclaimed visionary artist who has created an impressive array of footwear explorations through his daily artworks series.

The Emerging Footwear Designer of the Year award goes to Madeline Helt, a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Collaborating with colleagues Jack Winkler (3-D printing) and Emily Lacomba (sock design), they reimagined climbing boots by integrating technology to retain heat. Structural patterns were strategically repeated to create a new textile for the outdoor space. The sole concept focuses on customizability and sustainability, allowing users to swap or change the sole after wear.

Winners receiving the “The Best Overall Design” included Base Camp Mule by The North Face, 2023 Asics FireBlast Basketball shoe concept by Jake Lin, Stealth Formations by Jóse Monroy, PUMA NFRNO by Hyon Park and many more. Other winners included Bottega Veneta Sardine Boot Concept by Anna Boutashkova, Concept Nike CONQUEROR by Marc Van Tichelen, Skechers by Jeffrey Hernandez, FILA Wings by Martin Chapuy, JOMA | Evolution Cup 23 by Piotrek J. Pérez, Adidas XPLD Football Cleat Design by James Bleakley, Astro Heel by Noriyuki Misawa, Jordan 3 2021 by James Howe and Footwear for Barefoot by Bao Qiancheng.

This year’s distinguished panel of judges, drawn from experts in fashion, design, media, and art, has been carefully assembled to guarantee that the winning designs truly epitomize the pinnacle of footwear excellence. Comprising a collective wealth of knowledge, the jury boasts renowned figures such as Oronzo De Matteis, CEO Founder & Creative Director of OROORO BRAND LUXURY; Anna Maria Giano, Contributing Editor at Vogue Italia; Monica Mei, Footwear Designer and Product Manager at Vera Wang; Sean Williams, OSD, SOLEcial Studies Co-Founder. Adding further expertise to the panel are Mathew Kurien, Head of Department at MIT Institute of Design, and Fionn Corcoran-Tadd, Innovation Designer at adidas, among others.

“I’m thrilled to see so many of this year’s GFA winners embracing sustainability and technology in their designs, offering us a glimpse into the future of eco-friendly footwear. It’s inspiring to witness the perfect blend of style and innovation. These designers aren’t just making shoes; they’re crafting a narrative of mindful steps towards a more sustainable and tech-driven future,” commented Astrid Hebert, GFA Program Director. 

To view all winners, visit globalfootwearawards.com. With the conclusion of the fourth edition, the GFA looks forward to the continued success of these designers, confident they will inspire and reshape the future of footwear with style, sustainability, and innovation.