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Fashion Stores

Durumi & Chocolate Shoes

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on April 13, 2011

Durumi TorontoDurumi & Chocolate Shoes are two stores sharing a new space on Queen Street just west of Spadina. Though they are two separate businesses, the pretty flats and heels from Chocolate Shoes have a way of matching perfectly with the vintage-inspired Durumi duds.

The two businesses sprang up around the same time about a year ago. They first moved into a shared space at 639 Queen St. West where they kept their merchandise separate. But here at 416 Queen, everything is integrated.

"This just works better," Hyeon Moon, owner of Chocolate Shoes tells, me. "Our shoes and clothes go well together."

Chocolate Shoes TorontoMost of the Chocolate shoes come from Korea where Moon's sister scopes out the latest styles. "While Toronto is very fashionable," Moon says, "it's a little slower than some other countries. My goal is to bring in new styles."

Durumi Chocolate Shoes TorontoThe shoes at Chocolate Shoes are either flirty-feminine or tomboy-industrial. There doesn't seem to be an in-between. Ranging from $50 to $120, Chocolate Shoes is a sea of flats with a few heels and boots thrown in for good measure. The signature style is a rounded toe with bow detail, repeated in various incarnations throughout the store (most $60). Though since I'm more of a heel person, I was naturally drawn to a pair of chunky black pumps ($80), which, Moon showed me, could be easily dressed up with one of her handmade shoe clips ($25/pair).

"They're really big in Korea," Moon says as she fastens a bright pink flower to the toe of the shoe. "But you still don't see them a lot here."

Durumi Chocolate ShoesDurumi also, coincidentally, was born from trends brewing in Korea that weren't being picked up here. Durumi, which means, "crane" in Korean, began as an exclusive leggings retailer. "Here, most people wear black or solid colour leggings," Joan from Durumi says. "But in Korea, it's totally different; they wear everything."

Durumi Chocolate Shoes TorontoSo Durumi has an incredible selection of leggings--everything from lace to fleece, knit and leather--ranging from about $12 to $50 each. The ones that stood out to me (in a good way) were the knit reindeer printed leggings (on sale for $20) and (in a not so good way) a pair of stretchy fluorescent eyelet leggings selling for $25.

Durumi Chocolate Shoes TorontoAbout a month after its opening, Durumi decided to expand its merchandise to offer vintage-inspired merchandise also from Korea. It stocks just a few of each item, and pieces such as the blush polka dot dress ($105) and oversized two-toned knit sweater ($62) certainly have that once-loved feel. But Durumi's selection of pocket-watch necklaces kept me glued to the accessory table. Ranging from about $30-$45 and available in a variety of different styles, my pick was a toonie-sized brass-coloured watch on a leather string ($39). Perfect with some black pumps.

Durumi Chocolate Shoes TorontoDurumi Chocolate Shoes TorontoPhotos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

18 Comments

Claudia / April 13, 2011 at 01:30 pm
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Does anyone know if this place's merchandise is actually sourced from small Korean brands or if it's just wholesale stuff from Zipia and gmarket?
Cat / April 13, 2011 at 06:26 pm
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Unfortunately, the largest shoe size that this place carries in most of its shoes is a size 8. I'm told they don't often get sizes larger than that in most of their styles. Other than that, they offer a fairly eclectic selection of cute dresses and shirts.
Anya / April 14, 2011 at 02:10 am
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Im definitely a repeat customer. They have great selection and well priced too. The cut is great, especially for the t-shirts. So much better than the crap urban outfitters has been puking out.
totemyoates / April 14, 2011 at 07:48 am
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"While Toronto is very fashionable," Moon says, "it's a little slower than some other countries. My goal is to bring in new styles."

Dear lord I hope this is a typo or out of context. Toronto as a country? Hellloooooo....
I can't imagine anyone being either that clueless or that conceited.

I WILL say though, those clothes look frickin cute.
Candice / June 2, 2011 at 01:12 pm
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What a great find! I was just browsing queen west while I got in this cute little shop. They have very pretty and also Very comfortable shoes for a very descent price. the staff is very helpful and not pushy which makes it a great shopping experience.
Kk / October 28, 2011 at 08:56 pm
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I hate to say it but what the owner said is true, compared to other places, Toronto is a bit behind. And I don't think the owner is that clueless to imply that Toronto is a country.
cc replying to a comment from totemyoates / December 17, 2011 at 06:13 am
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It doesn't necessarily imply that Toronto is a country............ "My arm hurts more than other peoples' legs hurt" doesn't imply that my arm is a leg. And she's right, there's some really nice stuff there that you don't see people on the street wearing. Prices are not terrible either.
Raya / January 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm
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I'm a European girl, who grew up in Korea and travelled around Asia. I've grown to love the continent and I have a soft spot for Korea and Japan, especially when it comes to their fashion-forward trends. I was extremely excited to discover Durumi earlier this year and since then, it's become one of my favorite places to visit and shop at on Queen West.
I purchased my first pair of Chocolate Shoes this summer and I have to say they are not only extremely comfortable but very trendy and not like anything other stores have to offer in the city.
I'm happy to see they are making the Best Fashion Store lists and hope to see them grow even further!
Nina / March 19, 2012 at 10:54 am
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I visited this shop this weekend and was very impressed! The owners/staff were very friendly. I purchased some really interesting jewellery and my friend purchased 2 tops! After a day of boutiques on Queen I was refreshed by finding some friendly staff here!

A.
Lisa / April 18, 2012 at 05:40 pm
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I visited this shop last weekend. The staff was super friendly and encouraged me to try things on. The clothes are cute and the shoes are comfortable. I will go back!
Kelly / September 18, 2012 at 03:40 pm
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Amazing, affordable and on trend. http://thingsthatareawesome.com/2012/09/07/shop-here-durumi-chocolate/
joannah / September 20, 2012 at 10:21 am
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I'm a senior-and a repeat customer. Very affordable, and fairly classic. Wearable at any age-and the staff girls are adorable and friendly.
Sarah / September 20, 2012 at 11:02 pm
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I just bought a dress 2 days ago, the price is $48, it's really good deal. I will keep coming back and gonna apply a part- time job there!! Good luck for myself!!
Adrianne / January 20, 2013 at 12:30 am
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I was really disappointed with the service that I received on my last visit. The staff were pretty rude - it was clear that they didn't like the fact that I was taking my time to look through their merchandise. When I was in the fitting room trying on some clothes, the girl relentlessly HOVERED over me and wouldn't give me a moment of privacy. Jesus woman! I need to a moment to decide if I like something!
Drea / April 9, 2013 at 01:54 pm
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I bought shoes here last year, very cute mocha boots, and three days after my purchase they ripped. I was so disappointed. I will still go back, strictly because the shoes are so unique.
Mayari / September 18, 2013 at 03:27 pm
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I visited once and received very judgmental service. They said that I was out of their size range and that the things I was looking for were not trendy enough for them to carry.

If I'm too fat for you, I'll take my money elsewhere.
Anise / December 7, 2013 at 01:26 am
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Terrible, terrible, terrible service. The four to eight girls working there at a time are always judgemental and pushy. They could not care less about how they treat you or how uncomfortable they make you feel. To add, all these "unique" items can be purchased from wholesale websites.
Jay / May 14, 2014 at 05:01 pm
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I've been here a couple of times and I love the decor as well as their merchandise! I purchased a pair of loafers and jeweller and have been satisfied with both. However their service isn't that great. I like to look around and take my time before I purchase anything. But when I shop here, the workers would literally linger and hover around me, making me feel awkward. Regardless I'd still go back there as they offer products that aren't quite found in Toronto!

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