Fashion Spotlight Features

Inez Puts Quality Over Quantity to Design Heels Women Love

Photo courtesy of INEZ

After studying apparel design, Hannah Spinelli, founder and creative director of Inez, landed her first design job in Italy. While living in Florence, Spinelli became obsessed with local footwear and custom shoemaker shops. She found herself back in New York in the late 90s with an itch to learn how shoes were made and soon returned to Italy where she landed back in one of the global fashion capitals, Milan. Spinelli worked at Ralph Lauren for more than 10 years where she had the opportunity to work with top-tier factories.

The concept for Inez came from Spinelli’s own experience. She lost the tolerance for uncomfortable shoes and knew many women that felt the same. “I never expect heels to feel like sneakers, but I knew it was possible to make them more comfortable,” Spinelli said. “Inez is inspired by the idea to create shoes that make women feel beautiful while prioritizing their comfort.”

Although the inspiration came organically, the name Inez did not. The team wished to acknowledge its Spanish craftsmanship and liked the simplicity and familiarity of a woman’s name. There were a lot of contenders, and it took months to decide, but ultimately everyone loved the sound and look of Inez.

For a creative director and founder, picking a favorite shoe is difficult. As a New Yorker, Spinelli walks a lot and finds herself wearing the Mila boot the most. In these heels, she never has to think twice about where the day will take her.

Spinelli’s favorite style from the fall collection is Cleo, a black patent Mary Jane pump. Cleo blends vintage 90s vibes with modern elegance.

Manufacturing shoes in Spain is a key part of Inez’s ethos. Spain has shoemaking that dates back many generations and as well as advanced technical capabilities. “Our proprietary insoles are developed by biomechanics engineers and then tailored to fit into our heels by expert shoemakers,” Spinelli said. “Spain offers this mix of modern technology and old-world know-how that is fundamental to the look and function of our heels.”

Spain is also known for high quality leather, particularly nappa and kid suede that are soft yet resilient. High quality materials, proprietary insoles with arch support and multiple width options make Inez heels a game changer for many women.

At Inez, a concept called “enduring fashion” is the internal compass for how they do things. Inez focuses on small batch production and tight inventory management to fight the overstock issue in the footwear industry. They also offer a concentrated and focused collection. “From a design standpoint, I want our customers to enjoy styles that are well made and relevant for years to come,” Spinelli said.

For the upcoming Fall collection, Inez is introducing new styles alongside their best-sellers in updated materials and colors. The aesthetic focuses on clean lines and pure shapes featured in luxe materials and textures.  The palette features deep rich burgundy and olive calf, velvety chestnut suede and dark metallics. The new collection will also showcase wide-calf options for their boots.

For anyone looking to start a line, Spinelli suggests working at a company to get an understanding of the design and development process. She also suggests learning the language of the shoemaking location. “Being able to communicate directly with the heel and pattern makers and technicians without an interpreter is super valuable,” Spinelli said.

The success of Inez is driven by Spinelli and her vision for comfortable heels. Their objective is to always make women feel beautiful in comfort.