Travel guides have lots of unique pointers on categorizing the highlights of different destinations, like restaurants, beaches, and nightlife. But for unknown reasons they always fail to highlight exactly what, to us at least, is of main concern: the shoe-shopping situation. With summer holiday season is upon us here is our definitive roundup of the best cities for footwear pursuits, in no specific order.
Using its heritage cobblers such as ballerina-maker E. Porselli in addition to both the local and international luxury brands which line the Golden Triangle region of Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga and adjoining streets (Via San’t Andrea, Via Gesù, Via Borgospesso), Italy’s fashion capital is still the world’s finest place to go searching for extravagant shoes. It helps that the support of staff is particularly good in shops such as Gucci, Gianvito Rossi, Casadei, Rene Caovilla and Santoni.
While Harrods made quite the splash in 2015 with the opening of its Shoe Heaven, widely considered the largest shoe flooring of almost any department store, containing an array of womens pumps, plenty of smaller boutiques create shopping in the British capital for an endless delight. Matches, the favorite e-destination, has a number of brick-and-mortar locations known because of their unique edit, while Browns London often pegs the upcoming major name before anybody else. Also, have a look at English labels and Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton favorites such as Penelope Chilvers (who makes her cherished country riding boots) and L.K. Bennett (her go-to pumps). For the gents, it’s a dapper shoe-fest with tags such as Gieves & Hawkes, John Lobb, Grenson and Olivier Sweeney, turning out smart and classic brogues, wingtips and Chelsea boots.
No trip to Spain is complete without stocking up on espadrilles, and this is their birthplace. Many regional purveyors dot the city’s marketplaces, but the main attraction from them all is Castañer. While they fabricate the jute-soled summer shoes for Hèrmes, Paul Andrew, Valentino and many others, they also have their own sizable line of spot-on styles.
The state and city are important footwear hubs inhabited by tons of smaller neighborhood brands. Check out Eureka for its in-house tag of Portuguese-made shoes which are street savvy and incredibly money friendly. Think suede flatform sneakers for under $120 dollars. For a more Old-school approach, there’s Sapataria do Carmo, a charming handmade
While the country’s biggest shoe manufacturer might nevertheless be Havaianas, which Brazilians buy in bulk at the grocery store, lace connoisseurs flock to shopping Iguatemi, a lavish mall selling Arezzo’s classic pumps, Rio surfer bran Osklen’s raffia slingback and lots more. And do not leave town without a set of Alexandre Birman’s signature Clarita stilettos.
Yes, to many it is the shopping capital of the world, but most importantly, it is home to Level Shoes, one helluva footwear fantasyland and reason enough to go to the city. The department-store concept is completely devoted to shoes at every price point, like flip-flops, womens sneakers, custom made croc loafers and everything in between. The newest assortment increases the wonderland result, from basic brands like Chanel and Celine into some bold mix of new artists and limited-edition creations.
A pair of handmade sandals created in front of your very eyes. The Capri Touch hotel in Ana Capri has one of the more glamorous setups for supple comfort sandals that may be bedazzled a bit or a lot.
The scene here is similar to an amusement park on your own credit card. For the most satisfaction, visit the topsy-turvy Comme des Garcon-run Dover Street Market, opening ceremony, and Japanese department store Isetan. The display and merchandising alone is eye-popping.
Lane Crawford and its sister store Joyce have built a sterling reputation as the place to search for exquisite luxury shoes in the city. Added incentive: contrary to so many major department stores, there’s an emphasis here on both the Asian and worldwide brands, so you really get a feeling of regional preferences.
It’s difficult to not be smitten by all the Western regalia in Texas and to leave town without your own honky-tonk cowboy boots. For the most immersive experience, swing by Cavender’s, that has quite a few stores in the region (and they are still family run). At Fort Worth, Fincher’s is another fantastic shop for snip-toes and saddle-ready fashions.
New York City
To get a shoe brand, making it in New York remains a significant feat. Madison Avenue is a leading designer mecca, with Aquazzura recently opening up shop a rock’s throw from Louis Leeman, Jimmy Choo and Roger Vivier. Along with the 3 B’s (Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York and Bloomingdale’s) continue to distribute an infinite supply of dream shoes including womens and mens sandals.
While the grand old usual suspects, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and Bon Marche, have plenty to rave about, authentic shoe aficionados have a stroll down Rue de Grenelle for its selection of multi-brand boutiques such as Iris and for a visit to Christian Louboutin’s unique store.