These Are The Flat Shoes Making Everyone Want To Ditch Their Heels

Rogue Matilda has gone from start-up to celeb favourite in record timing

rogue matilda flat shoes

by Hannah Banks-Walker |
Updated on

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to find a pair of really, truly great flat shoes. Short of spending a fortune, it’s actually not that easy. If you need something more supportive than a ballet shoe, your options are limited – mostly to trainers. It’s exactly this sense of frustration that saw Katie Matilda Cary leave her job as a buyer at Fenwick in London and start Rogue Matilda, the brand currently favoured by everyone from Gigi Hadid to Julia Roberts.

katie rogue matilda
Katie Cary, founder of Rogue Matilda

“I felt that there was a gap in the market for some flats that had all the fun of heels, the craft and credentials of a traditional brogue and the comfort of a trainer,” says Cary. “I took out a small loan to get some samples made and place an initial order, and once I launched online I was blown away by the press I received, the sales that came in and the interest from top retailers in the UK. From there it's just all sort of snowballed over the years, but what I love about owning a small business is that you're involved in every aspect of the company: whether designing, marketing or selling, and that's what makes each day so different and interesting.” Indeed, Cary’s label has experienced incredible success since she launched Rogue Matilda in 2015, thanks to her distinctive designs and playful approach. Each pair of shoes is handmade in the brand’s Portugal factory and, despite the high quality, the prices are all under £200.

“The factory that I work with in Portugal have been making shoes by hand for generations and pride themselves as artisans in the field. Their skill and knowledge is vast, and as a company I want to be supporting these traditional techniques and at the same time producing a product that feels authentic and unique.” Not only does Cary support traditional modes of production, she’s also more conscious than ever about the need for greater sustainability in the fashion industry. “All the leathers [we use] are sourced from local tanneries as by-products of the meat industry, and soles and laces are also produced locally to keep our carbon footprint minimal. I'm often asked online when we're making a 'vegan leather' range and at the moment we have no plans to as 'vegan leather' is essentially PVC and is nowhere near as durable as the real thing. You would be wearing through the shoes much faster and they would then be hard to recycle. As a brand we encourage people to buy fewer, better quality products, and to resole and care for your shoes along the way. Fast fashion is the biggest problem facing the industry and sustainability at the moment, and I feel that we have to move away from this modern mentality of wearing clothes a couple of times and then throwing them away. Personally, I shop vintage a lot and resell a lot of my clothes on eBay, but I would never buy second hand shoes.”

Enjoying such success so quickly doesn’t mean Cary is nonchalant when it comes to who’s wearing her shoes – “Seeing Julia Roberts in Rogues was incredible!” she says. And as well as the brand’s famous fans, there’s a whole community of women on social media who are loyal fans of Rogue Matilda. Could this rapidly growing following also have something to do with the fact that there’s been such a shift away from heels?

“I've definitely seen this,” says Cary. “It was actually one of the reasons I started the brand. We're all just so busy now aren't we? Life's too short to be getting blisters and sore feet when most women are either running from their desk straight out to dinner or chasing children around all day. I think fashion, thanks maybe in part to Instagram, is becoming a lot more real and women are seeing the value in day-to-day pieces rather than splashing out on an occasional party dress and heels. Our lifestyles have changed and evolved to become more casual and heels aren't the most practical choice of footwear day in, day out. The huge influx of trainers that we've seen in the last few years from designer brands has made dressing down an art in itself. We sell lots of our Sweetheart sneakers to brides who want to be able to dance all night on their wedding day without the hassle of heels, and I think this sentiment sums up the shifting relationship between heels and flats. Heels aren't the only option anymore, and many women are opting out.”

Cary, of course, wore her Sweetheart trainers for her own wedding, suggesting she saw exactly where things were heading. Online fashion search platform Lyst, for example, just published its wedding report for 2019, which revealed that searches for white personalied trainers have increased by a huge 61 per cent year on year. If you are in the market for bespoke details on your own pair of wedding kicks, Rogue Matilda encourages its customers to get in touch before placing an order. With the wedding market covered, then, and a hoard of influential fans, what’s next? Well, Rogues has just launched Mary-Janes, which defy the brand’s usual style with a small block heel. They, are, however, comfortable enough to run around in all day – and I say that from personal experience. “This is a big year for the brand as we're expanding into accessories,” says Cary. “In August we have some bags launching and a range of belts, all of which play on my love of colour. It seemed like an organic next step as the materials we use are the same across the styles. We've also got some amazing loafers coming out next year.”

Given that Rogues is a British brand (and this is Grazia’s Best of British week), what does Cary think sums up British style? “Individual quirk. We're incredibly lucky here in the UK that we have such free and eclectic style. We don't all dress the same and there's very much the attitude to wear what makes you feel good rather than dressing your age or following specific guidelines. I think the British have a great talent for seeing trends but then wearing them in their own way, throwing the rulebook out the window to some extent in the process.”

SHOP: Rogue Matilda's Fancy Flats


Rogue Matilda's Fancy Flats

Suede Brogues With Animal Print, £1691 of 11

Suede Brogues With Animal Print, £169

Raffia Mary-Janes, £992 of 11

Raffia Mary-Janes, £99

Mint Flatform Shoes, £1253 of 11

Mint Flatform Shoes, £125

Navy Striped Shoes, £1254 of 11

Navy Striped Shoes, £125

Pastel Violet Shoes, £1595 of 11

Pastel Violet Shoes, £159

Yellow Mary-Janes, £996 of 11

Yellow Mary-Janes, £99

Animal Print Detail Brogues, £1697 of 11

Animal Print Detail Brogues, £169

Zebra Print Trainers, £998 of 11

Zebra Print Trainers, £99

Chunky Cork Sole Shoes, £999 of 11

Chunky Cork Sole Shoes, £99

Heart Detail Trainers, £14910 of 11

Heart Detail Trainers, £149

Blue Brogues, £11511 of 11

Blue Brogues, £115

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