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These Are the Independent Sneaker Brands You Need to Know

Fugazi One In the Chamber

The sneaker game is hard to crack, not only for us consumers trying to cop kicks but for start-up and independent sneaker brands as well.

When you look beyond the bigger names of the sneakersphere like adidas, Nike and New Balance, there’s a whole world of eclectic independent footwear brands with wild and forward-thinking designs. Some have creative interpretations of products that already exist, while others look to the future for their innovative designs.

Here are the independent sneaker brands that you need to know about!


Independent performance-based brands have continued to pop up, and the latest player to the game is Canadian-based norda. Their range of silhouettes provide consumers a sustainability-focused option for outdoor activities like trail running and hiking.


Zellerfeld has been a continued presence in today’s sneakersphere, making headlines thanks to their futuristic take on footwear. So far, they’ve collaborated with a bevy of brands including Heron Preston and Pharrell’s Louis Vuitton for the LV Cobra.

Studio Hagel

You may be already familiar with Studio Hagel, as we interviewed them back in 2018 about their out-of-this-world approach to footwear design. Founded by Mathieu Hagelaars in 2015, Studio Hagel was started as a footwear design and consultancy studio. Back then, they were known for their Instagram series called Makers Monday, which saw experimental footwear created out of everything from IKEA bags to multiple different soles.

In 2022, they’re off and running with their latest venture, creating their first in-house sneaker dubbed the Shroud. Packed underneath the engulfing top layer of the shoe is a ton of intricate details. We appreciated the design so much, we featured it in Issue 47!

Hagel is now on track to create a slew of new colourways of the shroud, including a white pair that’s arriving this June.


Starting in the UK in 2020, independent sneaker brand notwoways have grown quite the following over the past two years thanks to their distinct design features and recognisable aesthetic. They craft a range of silhouette options that lean towards the chunkier end of the spectrum. Despite being only two years old, their customer base has shown to be loyal with many of their silhouettes experiencing rapid sell-out times.


The ARKTISK label is a subdivision of brand Norse Projects, and they focus on creating a ‘responsive wardrobe system for all conditions’. Lately, their footwear options have caught the eye of many outdoorsmen, including their Mountain Runner that’s equiped with a Vibram sole and Cordura upper.


Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Trevor Gorji’s Fugazi imprint isn’t your run of the mill brand. While focusing his talents across multiple disciplines, from apparel to accessories, Fugazi are most well known for their footwear creations. They take already-existing models and craft replica-esque depictions.

Their most recent was a sartorial portrayal of the Margiela GAT or German Army Trainer. Named the FATs, Gorji re-engineered it to look like a skate shoe from the early-2000s by beefing up the tooling and adding a sneaky stash pocket tongue. You may also be familiar with their depiction of the Air Jordan 1, which they dubbed ‘One in The Chamber’.

Flower Mountain

Founded in 2015 by friends Keisuke Ota and Yang Chao, Flower Mountain exudes a trail vibe like no other. Their options are lifestyle leaning and have been injected with tranquil vibes. Recently, they collaborated with sneakersphere legend Kish, which was featured in Sneaker Freaker Issue 49.


Also founded in 2015, Italian ROA have made a splash in the fashion scene over the past decade they’ve been in operation. With links to the outdoors, ROA craft both footwear and ready to wear apparel that are both premium luxury and trail-ready.


There's a wide selection of brands creating wildly futuristic designs, but SCRY Lab is leading the charge. Founded in 2020 by Zixiong Wei, they create experimental footwear that we would expect to see worn on the feet of aliens from a distant planet. Since its beginnings, SCRY has looked to innovation and the future as a guide. Their flagship model, dubbed the Shuttle, is created using an involved printing process that doesn’t need an assembly line or produce any waste.

Rapidly increasing their product line over the past two years, they now feature four different silhouettes, each in two separate colourways. Their price points are high but worth every penny!

730 Footwear

Asspizza AKA Austin Babbitt is a cultural icon and has made his mark on the younger generation of fashion enthusiasts by creating clothes and art. A product of social media, he came up in New York alongside individuals such as Father Steve, Luka Sabbat and Kerwin Frost. Nowadays, he's expanding his business and has just launched a sneaker brand titled 730 FOOTWEAR. The first product takes inspiration from the Nike Air More Uptempo and will debut in a black colourway. Pairs haven't released just yet but stay tuned to the 730 socials for updates.

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