The Global Footwear Design Awards (GFA) has announced the winners of its 3rd edition, showcasing a variety of exceptional creative potential across 20+ categories in all levels: Brands, Independents, and Students. The GFA recognizes visionary design talent from around the world with an ambition to provide the highest recognition to footwear designers in all categories including sustainability and social impact. 

The submissions closed at the end of January 2023, leaving the jury panel composed of 33 experienced designers, academics, retailers, and media representatives in the Footwear Design industry to select the winners in each category. The programme received a record number of submissions from talented footwear designers, fashion enthusiasts and students from 35 countries, making the competition tougher than ever before. 

The Global Footwear Design Awards 2023 winners are:

Brand of the Year: SPLIT designed by Marjolijn Van Agt, Netherland – Vanagtshoes 

Independent Designer of the Year: AYUMA. designed by Catia Di Carlo, Italy 

Emerging Designer of the Year: VOLT designed by Dempsey Pauwels, UK – Academy Of Fine Arts Sint-niklaas (sask) 

Other winners receiving the “The Best Overall Design” included Timberland Timberloop™ Trekker by Chris Mcgrath, Global VP of Footwear at Timberland, AWAKENING by Ying Ou, a student of the University Of The Arts London, NIKE ISPA KIDS CONCEPT designed by Jianwei Sun, a student of the Artcenter College Of Design, BBLU – Printing The Future by Andrew Artajaya, a student of The Köln International School Of Design and many more. 

Organizers extend their heartfelt thanks to the judges for their dedication and hard work in selecting the winners. They have been inspired by the level of innovation and design vision showcased by many young professionals and established brands: 

As noted by Timon Kuhlenkamp, On Running Footwear Designer, “the Global Footwear Awards is a great competition for both young and aspiring designers to showcase their concepts and also for established brands to let their work compete against each other.”  

Apart from enjoying the variety in creativity, I was most happy to see that more and more designers start to think of footwear as an area to tackle socio-political issues and so plays a part in taking the discipline beyond only reproducing styles of fashion, and playing with technology, and engaging with real-life issues,” stated Eelko Moorer, LCF MA footwear course leader. 

Congratulations to all the winners and their respective teams for their remarkable contributions to the design industry. The Global Footwear Design Awards will continue to provide a platform igniting creativity and showcasing the work of aspiring designers, professionals, and brands pushing the boundaries of Footwear design. 

For more information, please visit: www.globalfootwearawards

Brand of the Year

Company: Vanagtshoes
Lead designer: Marjolijn Van Agt

The SPLIT collection represents both sides within myself. Femininity combined with a dark edge. This is best seen in the heel which contains both hard edges and soft round curves. The epoxy heel is entirely made by hand from sanded plaster before poured into a mold. The upper materials are a mixture between soft tule, leather, pearls and beads. 

Independent Designer of the Year 

Lead Designer: Catia Di Carlo

The upper is created as a pixel effect achieved via a totally handmade technique and art of weaving of leather. Working with left-over leather, left over Eva rubber pieces coming from soles and wood. Every pair can be slightly different as well easy to manage in production. 

Emerging Designer of the Year

Lead Designer: Dempsey Pauwels
University: Academy Of Fine Arts Sint-niklaas 

The VOLT collection is inspired by cable management. Pauwels always chooses as a source of inspiration a method that ensures efficiency and order. They give him peace of mind and originate in his basic law studies. 

About Global Footwear Awards 

The Global Footwear Awards honours the best in the industry, addressing creativity, innovationsustainability and social impact. GFA provides the highest recognition to footwear designers on all levels, from emerging designers to businesses and corporations. The award offers global visibility to designers, providing greater opportunities in the footwear business and beyond. GFA also provides an international platform, generating a network of leading professionals in the support of moving the industry forward. Furthermore, The Global Footwear Awards honours strategic thinking and innovative solutions to sustainability and social impact, from design to manufacturing and beyond. More information on:


About 3C Awards

3C Awards is a leading organization curating and promoting design across the globe. The company represents today’s diversity and innovation in Design, each program is a symbol of design excellence around the world, showcasing Professional and Emerging designers’ work to over 100 expert jury members. The 3C awards is part of Three C Group GmbH, a Swiss-registered company based in Grabenstrasse 15a, 6340 Baar, Switzerland.
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