The Alpine terrain of France has inspired many of its inhabitants to establish brands that help explore the landscape.
The country is the birthplace of several footwear brands that made it to international success. There are brands for every taste, from those looking for outdoor shoes to those looking for casual sneakers to wear every day.
Today we’ll focus on sneakers! This article explores 6 of the best French sneaker brands that impress with durability and style.
1. Hoka One One
Hoka One One official website – Women’s lifestyle sneakers
In 2009, two former Salomon employees founded Hoka One One in France. They gained attention for their extra-cushioned shoes, which they developed to ease downhill runs.
Earlier, HOKA exclusively specialized in athletic running shoes. However, the brand now offers track spikes and road shoes.
Some of the brand’s features include ultra-light, shock-absorbing midsoles, Meta-Rocker to complement gait geometry, and Active Foot Frame for heel support. HOKA’s TenNine is one of the brand’s signature models featuring enhanced cushioning.
Trail-ultra runners were the first customers to take interest in Hoka’s sneakers because of their stability and extra cushioning.
However, the brand quickly got embraced by other triathlons, track and field, and roadrunners. HOKA spotlights stories of striving runners because they’re still the most important customer group.
If you’re a runner, a pair from HOKA is worth investing in. Some of HOKA’s designs can easily blend with everyday outfits, so they can be your all-purpose footwear staple.
In 2016, Hoka One One joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the largest initiative of its kind, committed to implementing universal sustainability principles.
Price Range: $80-$250 (affordable)
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Salomon official website – Women’s sportstyle sneakers collection
Salomon was founded in 1947 in Annecy, France. It started as a small workshop crafting skis edges.
The brand now offers a variety of sports equipment, mainly geared for snow sports. The brand offers shoes for trail running, road running, and hiking.
When it comes to sustainability, the company is focused on reducing its environmental impact and is aiming for a 30% decrease in its carbon emissions by 2030.
Like HOKA, Salomon is designed for strenuous outdoor activities and mainly targets runners. However, there are also Salomon models with a more traditional look. Salomon will perfectly suit you if you’re an experienced runner who doesn’t need HOKA’s extra cushioning.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a pair of casual shoes to wear every day in your city and match your day-to-day outfits, Salomon’s sportstyle sneakers collection is a good option to take into consideration.
Price range: $100-$300
3. Le Coq Sportif
Le Coq Sportif official website – Women’s sneakers
Le Coq Sportif was founded in 1882 in north-central France. It has a well-known cycling heritage because of its distinctive cycling jerseys.
As for sustainability goals, the brand has introduced some plant-based sneaker styles in the last few years.
Le Coq Sportif offers a wide range of sports equipment, sportswear, footwear, and casual clothing. Their sneakers are praised for their comfort, durability, style, and attention to detail. The brand offers a variety of casual sneakers that go well with everyday fashion.
Cyclists are most likely to be drawn to Le Coq Sportif for its authentic heritage in cycling, but the brand’s casual sports-inspired footwear is aimed at the wider population.
A stylish pair of sneakers from this brand can be the highlight of your smart-casual outfit at the office. It will equally serve you in style on your active days around the city.
Prices: $70-$150 (affordable)
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Lafuma official website – Leaf women’s outdoor shoes
Lafuma was founded by the three Lafuma brothers in 1930. They initially worked from their small artisan workshop in Anneyron, Drôme. Today the headquarters are based in Annecy, in the French Alps, which inspires its outdoor products.
Currently, 80% of their collection is eco-designed, and they aim to hit the 100% target by 2025.
Lafuma’s success started with a sturdy backpack. The brand’s first shoes were introduced later. Lafuma’s high-quality products compare to other popular outdoor clothing and footwear brands.
Lafuma has associated itself with well-known mountaineers like Catherine Destivelle, Christophe Dumarest, and Patrick Gabarrou to inspire highly active customers.
Lafuma’s footwear is designed more for advanced outdoor enthusiasts who will appreciate the fancy features like OutDry technology, Vibram outsoles, and particular lacing systems.
Lafuma’s footwear is more durable than stylish. If intensive outdoor activities are part of your lifestyle, we recommend investing in Lafuma’s reliable shoes.
Price range: $90-$150.
Read next: 8 German Boot Brands For Your Casual Outfits
Aigle official website – Women’s sneakers and city shoes
Aigle was founded in 1853 in Montargis, France. Its founder, an American businessman, applied the newly patented vulcanization process to produce rubber boots and then raincoats.
The company has a detailed plan to reduce carbon emissions and source more sustainable materials.
Aigle currently specializes in their well-known Wellington boots in addition to shoes and clothes. The brand offers thick-soled footwear in various styles, including casual, formal, and trail-inspired sneakers for more demanding activities.
Aigle has a wide range of products for both athletes and casual users. If you have to constantly walk in your day-to-day activities, the sneakers by Aigle will offer comfort to your feet in style.
Price range: $60-$230
Millet official website – Women’s hiking outdoor shoe
Millet was founded in 1921 in Annecy, France. Its specialty is outdoor and climbing equipment, like backpacks and sleeping bags, but they also offer technical footwear for climbers.
Currently, Millet sources a part of its materials from low-impact or renewable sources. They aim to entirely rely on sustainable materials in the next few years.
Millet targets both professional and amateur climbers and hikers. There are shoes that offer athletic features but maintain a casual look. But, generally, this brand won’t suit you if you’re looking for an everyday pair that matches most outfits.
So, Millet is your option if you want stylish shoes to wear on your outdoor adventures.
Price range: $100-$300 (affordable to expensive)