More to the Story: Emily Landsman, Della Terra Shoes

Taylor Harrington 3/2/2021 12:43pm ET

Emily Landsman

“In some ways, I feel like I should have done this sooner, I should have had the confidence to really step out there, but then I also feel like della terra was born at exactly the right moment. Follow your gut with these sorts of things, but just know that you can do it. You definitely can.”Emily Landsman, della terra Shoes

Della Terra
Photographer: Andrew Werner

Emily Landsman is an experienced shoe designer with a passion for giving back to our planet and each other. 

In Italian, della terra means “of the earth”, and that’s exactly what della terra shoes are. Emily has found a way to create a sustainable shoe brand, and it is her mission to continue growing and learning while bringing real shoes to real people.

We are so excited to share with you Emily’s new shoe line, della terra, and her story of compassion and heart.

There are so many special things about the shoe line you are launching, della terra. So Emily, how long have you been in the shoe business?

For the first 16 years of my career, I designed shoes for other people. So brands like Alice and Olivia, Diane von F├╝rstenberg, Vera Wang, and several more along the way. I really learned a lot about the industry and different types of design, which was so much fun. Now I’m so excited to share something that’s just completely new.

Della Terra
Photographer: Andrew Werner

What is the story behind the name della terra?

Della terra means “of the land” or “of the earth” in Italian. Part of the reason I chose della terra is because my last name is Landsman, which is a fantastic last name, but not really a chic name for a brand. I wanted a sort of nod to my last name, but to come up with a name for the brand that really had its own legs that could live and breathe, so we felt like della terra was perfect because we are of the land. We’re walking on the land in our shoes, but we’re also respecting the planet as we go. Everything from there has really taken on that same DNA. All of the names are probably too carefully chosen, but everything has to do with elements of organic pieces of land, of Earth, and of water.

Photographer: Andrew Werner

Your shoe line is so connected to a path of sustainability and helping our world, what can you tell me about that?

We all can contribute to in our own way to helping the planet. So at della terra, we’re always working toward sustainability, because there’s always more we can be doing. So right off the bat, we know that the fashion industry is a huge offender in this area, arguably the worst offender in the area of sustainability. For so long, I think it was seen as too big of a challenge to tackle, but now the consumer is really demanding that we make some changes in this area. We are so excited to provide a product that is doing just that. We’re using a lot of recycled materials in the shoes, and we’re also planting a tree for every pair of shoes sold in collaboration with One Tree Planted. We also encourage charitable donations of your gently worn shoes, ones you’re ready to give away, to an organization called Soles for Souls, which gives you a discount on your new pair of della terra shoes in the meantime.

So many great things all in one business and that just shows me how much heart you have given to this. It’s not just a company, this is something that you really want to bring people together and get them involved in.

Photographer: Andrew Werner

Thank you, I really appreciate you giving that the weight that it deserves because as I said, we can all do a little something to better our planet, and we really need this planet. So you better be good to it.

Can you tell us about della terra’s collaboration with Soles for Souls?

Once we launch our website you will be able to go on there for the details about donating a pair of pre-loved shoes to Soles for Souls, and then we’ll send you a discount code for 10% off your next della terra shoes order. We want to be really conscious of recycling the best we can and making sure that those shoes end up in the best place. Soles for Souls is a fantastic organization because they will pair the type of shoes you’re donating with the person who needs that exact type of shoes and you wouldn’t really think about that, but every type of shoe is needed somewhere for some occasion whether it’s you know people who need shoes to run in and people who need shoes to go into a new job with. So really, your pumps and your sneakers are all welcome.

Photographer: Andrew Werner

What can you tell me about your partnership with One Tree Planted?

One Tree Planted is a fantastic organization that we have partnered with that will plant a tree for every pair of della terra shoes sold. They also give us the ability to target different areas, so if for example, there’s a wildfire somewhere, we can make sure we’re planting trees in that location. We will be constantly reaching out to our customer base to see where they want the trees planted from their orders to go. We’ll also try to balance out some of our production. Right now, we’re primarily producing things in Brazil, a little bit in Spain, and Portugal. So we’ll be planting extra trees in those areas as well. The more trees planted, the better because in the grand scheme of things, it’s something really small that we can do that I think can have a huge impact over time. We’ll also be keeping track, so we’ll let you know how many trees you’ve personally planted when you log into your profile at della terra.

Photographer: Andrew Werner

What kind of sustainability products are you using in the shoes and where are they sourced from?

One of the hardest challenges with a business like this because we’re essentially challenging the mold that has been used to make shoes for generations. We want to take advantage of some of the beautiful craftsmanship that’s involved in these processes. The first thing that we’re doing is we are using only vegan materials in this line. A lot of the reason I got into this business is that I was so excited and impressed by the innovation that’s out there. We’re experimenting with leather that’s made of literally cactus leaves, apples, and grape leaves. Every day I’m learning about something new, and every day we are trying to add something new to our repertoire in terms of that and being really responsible with how much waste we’re producing along the way.

Shoes and leather made out of cactus and apples?!

And mushrooms. You would not believe, but every day, there is something new that we’re experimenting with.

It used to be seen as this choice that you needed to make between fashion and sustainability or even between fashion and comfort. At della terra, we have decided that you are too busy and important to make those kinds of compromises, so we’ve got to give you all of it at once. That’s really what we’re working towards every single day. We want to be that brand that is synonymous with sustainability as we keep growing too because I think they go hand and hand in the future.

Where are we going to be able to find della terra shoes?

We will be selling primarily on our website, and we just can’t wait to show them to you. You can also follow us on instagram at @dellaterrashoes.

What made you so passionate about shoes in the first place, Emily?

Well, it’s a really long story that goes back to my childhood, but for the Cliff’s notes version, I really became passionate about shoes because there’s just some magic involved. I think that there’s something about shoes that makes you feel different from anything else out there. Shoes are also more difficult to design than anything else because they’ve got to support your entire body weight. They’ve got to keep going where you go, they’ve got to bend. I think that I compare them often to architecture because I think there’s a lot of architectural principles that apply to shoes. At della terra, we really think about empowering the person wearing the shoe and also being inspired by that person. It’s about where you’re going and we just make sure you look real good and feel great while you’re getting there.

Photographer: Andrew Werner

Where are you getting your style ideas from for this line?

Where am I not getting my style inspiration from? I love to pull inspiration from everything. Prior to the world we’re currently living in I would say travel is a big part of that. I do really love to travel and experience different cultures and especially things like colors and textures and incorporate those into what I’m designing at the moment. I think I’m still doing a lot of fantasizing about travel. It’s also inspired by moods, seasons, nature. everything that’s going on around us does influence the design as well. I love art and architecture as well as fashion, so of course, I’m always going to be following what’s going on on the runway, but also what are people wearing out and about on the street and in their real lives?

Are della terra shoes are going to be available in multiple colors?

We tried to narrow down colors, and it was hard. We’ve definitely got a color assortment there, and I would say most of the things are a mix of colors as well. Even if you’ve got a really easy to wear neutral, there’s a little twist on that shoe that will introduce some color and introduce some texture into the mix.

What’s your favorite shoe that you’ve designed so far?

Photographer: Andrew Werner

I would say that there is a style that’s very close to my heart at della terra, and it will be the first thing we’re really featuring in our big ad campaign. So you’ll probably start seeing that fairly soon, but it is a block heel. Part of the reason that shoe is so close to my heart is because it is the first thing that I designed for della terra. When this was just an idea and I was still in the process of perpetually talking myself out of it, and telling myself how impractical it would be to start a shoe line, I designed this one style. I think that she’s pretty special- she’s got a fun fashion twist, but she’s really easy to wear at the same time.

We are so excited for the future of della terra because it is a shoe line that is set out to help so many people and places, and Emily’s reason behind it isn’t just to put out a shoe line, it’s to change the world around us.

We want to say thank you to Emily and della terra for just being so encouraging because when people see others following their dreams, it makes them realize that they can follow theirs, too.

Emily Landsman and della terra are inspiring so many people through their story and journey with their heart of kindness, and we cannot wait to shop the shoes at

  • Della Terra