By Amanda Randone
As soon as summer hits, we're all about walking around in the nude. No, not that way (although give us a few more weeks of working from home and that could very well change) — we’re talking about flesh-toned shoes. Neutral footwear has long been a popular styling choice because of its versatility, but the category hasn't always been done well. Because despite what countless product descriptions have been selling us for years, there simply is no single shade of nude.
The naked truth here is not pretty: fashion has a diversity problem, and the use of the word "nude" as it pertains to color palettes is just one example. For far too long, the footwear market has offered a restrictive interpretation of the shade as being very light, and very beige — excluding a tremendous number of female shoppers while simultaneously favoring one skin tone over all others. When it comes to flesh-colored footwear, Christian Louboutin was among the first to address this issue with a debut collection he hoped would provide more options for women looking to match their stilettos to their skin tones. It's a category Louboutin has continued to develop and expand since its 2013 launch, and as the designer makes strides towards a more inclusive industry, a few companies have taken to following in his red-bottomed footsteps. There are also independent designers like Rebecca Allen and Jeneba Barrie who have channeled their personal struggles of finding the right flesh-toned shades into the launch of their own shoe brands. The necessity of this work does more than just expose the problem — it's revolutionizing how we use the word "nude" in fashion.
Ahead, find a list that we'll continue to update featuring companies that are getting it right.
This influencer-approved label is the product of years of experience and expertise in design. Founded by seasoned fashion director Marina Larroudé, the brand often sees certain stand-out styles flying off its shelves. But its most popular shoe, the Gloria (named for the designer's daughter - aw!), isn't just back in time for all those IRL events you've got on the calendar this summer, it's also available in new and more inclusive shades of nude.