It’s important children’s shoes are comfortable, durable and if they can look rather wonderful in the process even better. Spanish label Novel Walk do just this, good quality manufacturing, sensible yet beautiful and very cool. They also have the most clever, eye catching photography campaigns. Definitely a label to check out if you are at Pitti 87 and Playtime Paris this coming season. We chat with designer and co founder Cati Ferragut to find out more about this little shoe label with huge potential!
How many individuals make up Novel Walk and what are your roles?
As the brand founder I am in charge of the creative and product areas, whilst my partner Cristina is in charge of the business development and managing area.
What are your backgrounds? And how did you get into designing for the children’s market?
I have spent all my professional career as a shoe designer in most premium international shoe brands. In the last company I worked for I met Cristina and this is where we built our professional relationship. We both shared the same idea of what a good design is.
When we both became mothers, we shared long conversations of how difficult it was to find the kind of shoes we wanted for our kids. After a few nights of non-sleep :) this is when I launched Novel Walk and Cristina followed me short after.
What do you believe good children’s design to be…?
From my point of view, good design is the perfect synergy between innovation, aesthetic and functionality.
In regards to kid’s shoes, the design and raw materials are fundamental for having not only healthy feet but a good growing development of their column. While their feet grow, it is important that children are wearing shoes that respect their growing process and can adapt to the needs of their age.
Where do you find the inspiration for your collections?
All kind of tales or subjects that kids are interested in are always our main inspiration. We are both moms so we get a good part of it while we share time with our kids: it could come from some homework they need to share, from playing to make paper figures on a rainy afternoon or just from a conversation about interesting things they observe during our walk back home from school, anything!!!
We always get inspired for their children’s universe, this is why we always try to tell stories through our shoes that children can connect with.
What is your companies ethos?
Novel Walk shoes are made in an environmentally friendly way, which also cares for the people involved in the process. We are very interested in the handcrafted side of production, the human perspective, the know-how and the working conditions of the people behind it.
The value of sustainability is not a differentiating factor but an essential requirement, not just in production but also when it comes to making any developments and approaching any process.
For that reason, Novel Walk shoes generally use a greater number of chrome-free vegetable tanned leathers and nickel-free trimmings. Our philosophy is to always aim to have transparent, as well as realistic, processes.
Describe your range of products?
The richness of the textures, the taste for colors full of shades, the quality materials and the pleasure of a crafted and playful aesthetic, define Novel Walk collections. A personal look that offers the freedom of movement, ergonomics and the comfort that children need.
Novel Walk shoes use well-studied lasts as a starting point, ensuring excellent fit and comfort, without sacrificing style.
We pay special attention to detail without losing sight of the aim of creating captivating and protective shoes, sizes go from 24 to 39 (it is a long range that we had to extend as moms were demanding a pair for themselves!!!)
What are the main materials you use?
Novel Walk shoes are mainly made with first quality leather as it is the best material for children’s foot health. It’s got natural properties such as its breathability and high quality soles that combines lightness, flexibility and resistance.
In how many countries can we find your label?
You can buy Novel Walk shoes in Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, China, South Korea and the US.
Countries of manufacturing?
We have recently moved our manufacturing to Portugal, it is our neighbor country and it has an old artisan tradition industry that uses last technological tools which makes a perfect mix for Novel Walk.
Apart from that, being so near to us let us follow up during the whole manufacturing process, we love making shoes and this is why we care about every part and want to be involved with it. This is part of what we love about Novel Walk.
Where would you like to take the label in the future?
We would like to grow our brand awareness into the kids fashion business and open new markets.
And of course, our best wish for the future is to keep on enjoying our job at Novel Walk as much as we do now!
Any news from when we last spoke?
We have moved our manufacturing to Portugal and have increased two more sizes in our collection, as we mentioned.
What Trade Shows will we find you this forthcoming season?
Pitti Bimbo and Playtime Paris.
3 words to describe your next collection?
Different, fresh and imaginative.
Finally, where do you keep your Pirouette One to Watch ’Spyglass’ award?
Our spyglass award is based in our office, however, once in a while it disappears as our kids love to play with it and imagine plenty of adventures and stories.
We will take it soon to travel with us as it will be displayed in our booths in Pitti, Florence and Playtime Paris, we are so proud of it!!!!
Pitti Bimbo 87 – The nest T/17
Playtime Paris – Q01