In America, it can be challenging to hear about and buy from these designers as they are not carried in many stores here. If they don't have an online shop, it's almost impossible to buy from them, which is sad, because there are some amazing and whimsical shoes coming out of these countries.
Finland designer, Minna Parikka is a long favorite due to her uber-feminine designs that range from sweet and girly to strong and sexy.
I am now totally smitten with Fam Irvoll from Norway. Her clothes are over the top, giddy, colorful and amazingly fun. Tongue-in-cheek, yes, but with wit as well. I was totally pining over the "Hope He Calls" booties above. Sadly they are out of my size. Sad face. But you can bet I'll be checking back for her new collections.
Aase Hopstock, also from Norway, has gorgeous classic shoes that just ooze an almost 1940s sophistication. She just showed a collection in 2010 and looks to have the stuff to become a breakout name in the industry. Her limited production runs ensure you'll have a collectible design that will be timeless.
It's not every day that you see a furniture design duo turn their sights to footwear but Swedish designer Cate Högdahl and her Spanish counterpart Nelson Ruiz-Acal of Cate & Nelson have created a funky yet, I think, sensual shoe - the Spline. I love the cozy way it envelopes and caresses your ankle.
There are tons more designers in this area. I really need to do some further exploration. If you have a favorite too, please let me know!