found: young soles

A few months back, I saw the most beautiful pair of children’s shoes on Instagram, and decided it would be my lifes work to track them down and buy a pair for Daisy – and this was where my love affair with Young Soles began. Launched by established footwear designer Louise Shill, the designs have been inspired by classic styling and British heritage – think brogues, creepers, t-bars and Mary-Janes in leather, suede and patent materials. After seeing the lookbook, I immediately fell in love – the whole range embodies everything I look for desperately when buying shoes for both my children; good quality, beautiful details and fantastic design. I’ve always found footwear a challenge to be honest – if you’ve got a boy, everything is smothered with animals, diggers or slogans, while if you’re a mother to a girl, you’re faced with pink, glitter and flowers. And, err, that’s it. To say I’m excited about these shoes is an understatement;  versatile enough to be matched with any outfit, hardy enough to withstand the enthusiasm of young children and wonderfully classically style – what’s not to love?

I was lucky enough to have a few minutes to catch up with owner and designer Louise, where I picked her brains a little, and found out a bit more about the whole design process.

were your top three priorities when designing the Young Soles range?

are so many, but if I had to choose I’d have to begin with where I start the
design process; choosing lasts (the shape of the shoe) that follow the contours
of the foot and ensuring that each design functions as a child’s shoe; constructing
the uppers to be soft and comfortable to wear -I’m lucky that my daughter
happily lets me wear test all of my designs on her; and finally, ensuring that
each design stays true to the Young Soles brand, blending retro-cool, British
heritage and contemporary detailing.

important are ethical and environmentally friendly practices to you?

I believe ethical and
environmentally friendly practices affect most businesses today. Every business
should have a conscience and take the responsibility to do what they can.
 I chose to manufacture Young Soles in Europe, to
keep my carbon footprint as low as it can be; I also use, wherever possible,
locally sourced materials in support of the European shoe industry.

so refreshing to find a footwear brand for children that keeps things simple
and doesn’t smother their shoes with dinosaurs and hearts. I’d love to put my
daughter in some of the boy’s shoes as well; particularly Morris, and I think
some of the mums of boys would love the Vera.
Did you design with elements of gender-free styles in mind or was it a
happy accident?

always like to design simply, to ensure my shoes are versatile and work with many
different outfits, and I was aware when designing that some styles would work
for both boys and girls, however the odd style has been a surprise, such as ‘Vera’,
that has been picked up for both boys and girls.

you have a favorite shoe, and what do you love about this particular design?

favorite design has to be the ‘Rosie’ T-bar, this was the first style I
designed for the Young Soles collection. It brings back a sense of nostalgia for
me and has had the most positive reaction from buyers and the general
public.  My daughter and I have been
stopped many times and asked where her ‘Rosie’ T bars have come from. ‘Rosie’ T
bars looks really cool with a pair of skinny jeans, and equally as great with a
pretty dress.

was the biggest challenge when designing the range?

It’s a
continuous challenge to keep the range a reasonable size and it’s been tough
keeping the collection to just ten styles – I’m bursting with ideas for next

For more information, head to the Young Soles website, or pop over to their Facebook page. A huge thanks to Louise for taking the time to answer my questions, and also to Lisa for all her help.

All photography courtesy of Flannery O’Kaffka, shot on location at Benjamin Barker Barber and Shop.


  1. Bonnie Rose
    March 21, 2014 / 1:16 pm

    Your son in those yellow socks and shoes…adorable! I would love to get a pari of those for my sons too.

    • Vicky
      March 21, 2014 / 1:31 pm

      That's not Ben, it's one of the press images shot by the talented Flannery O'Kaffka 🙂

  2. Claire Evans
    March 21, 2014 / 5:29 pm

    Oh they are lovely. I love the old fashioned t-bar shoes! I found it really hard just to get plain brown leather shoes for my youngest- everything was pink or purple. x

  3. Lori Taylor Arnold
    March 21, 2014 / 5:43 pm

    I love these shoes and too have seen them posted all over IG and twitter (how I love social media). I can't wait until Felix needs a new pair. Great interview, thanks for sharing! x

  4. Jess @ Along Came Cherry
    March 21, 2014 / 7:39 pm

    Love them! I thought that was your son too! Very handsome young man, love his outfit! x

  5. laura redburn
    March 21, 2014 / 9:24 pm

    i just cannot get over the cute! i don't know why, but i really like baby shoes ..why are tiny baby/kids feet so cute?

  6. Lottie :: Oyster and Pearl
    March 21, 2014 / 10:05 pm

    Oh my goodness, they are so cute!

  7. Laura Side Street
    March 22, 2014 / 2:27 am

    Oh my these are so cute, I am in love with them – so adorable and great they make for both boys and girlsLaura x

  8. fritha strickland
    March 22, 2014 / 5:00 pm

    LOVE, I've been lusting after them for a while now too..great to hear more about the company! x

  9. Sophie Wearing
    March 25, 2014 / 1:16 pm

    oHMYGOODNESS I love these! Is it wrong that id love some for my daughter plus in "me" size?!

  10. Melanie Barnes
    March 25, 2014 / 9:38 pm

    They are fantastic! Good finding. Heading over now to take a look 🙂

Leave a Reply