7 stores to find unconventional footwear in Toronto
Unconventional footwear for women in Toronto is not for the faint of heart. These shoes are for only the most eccentric of women--those who want to stand out in a sea of boring, black stilettos and plain Jane Mary Janes. They're made of outlandish materials, stacked at ridiculous heights, come in crazy colours, or are all-around wacky. Of course, these reasons probably make these shoes immensely impractical, but for some people in certain outfits, they just work. So ladies, wear `em loud and wear `em proud. Here are 8 places to find unconventional footwear for women in Toronto.
Brodawka & Friends
The newly opened Brodawka & Friends is a minimalistic space with a far-from-minimalistic shoe collection. Every piece is conceived by owner Jeff and meticulously crafted in Mexico, ensuring both uniqueness and quality. The use of eccentric colours, intricate details, and many different types of leather (in just one pair!) are what make this West Queen West newcomer a pro at unconventional footwear.
Although Groovy is located in the busy shopping neighbourhood of Queen West, it's easy to miss because of its size and low-key street presence. But, consumers of all things odd will agree that what the retailer lacks in appearance, it makes up for in insane footwear. Brands including the infamous Irregular Choice, sky-high leather goods such as T.U.K creepers, and exclusive collections like Star Wars Adidas are what make Groovy well worth the benefit of the doubt.
Self-proclaimed as "the most interesting store in Canada--definitely not for the masses," Kaliyana at Yonge and Eglinton doesn't fall short of its online description. Aside from their architectural, asymmetric, and generally weird-as-hell clothing designs, the boutique also carries three strikingly wacky footwear brands: Trippen, Arche, and Chie Mihara. Warning: their website also advertises that "most guys just don't get it," so if you're looking to impress a certain someone, this might not be the best place.
As somebody who's no stranger to oddly shaped heels, I was surprised to find myself in awe of the styles at John Fluevog on Queen Street West. Most look as if they were made to be worn by sexy female gnomes on acid, perfect for any and all awesome trend-rejecting women. This might be because I need to get out more, but I can honestly say I've never seen footwear like it.
Although flats can be found in abundance at Heel Boy - and are, not to mention, the most practical piece of footwear in a woman's wardrobe - their large selection of high heels is way more fun to look at. With brands like Dolce Vita, Seychelles, and Boutique 9 (as well as boring stuff like Uggs and Hunter), a girl could spend hours in there.
Swoon-worthy. That's the only word I can use to describe Balisi without being overdramatic or over-selling it. The well-stocked collection of women's footwear includes--but is not limited to--brands such as Jump, Naughty Monkey, Melissa, and Chocolate Negro. If you haven't heard of them, take my word: they're wonderfully weird, surprisingly affordable, and unreasonably cool.
Seduction Love Boutique
You can't have expected me to write a list on unusual footwear and let a sex shop slip by. After all, I do have a weakness for stripper shoes with clear heels, and many fashionistas would back me up on patent stilettoes at ankle-breaking heights. Or maybe I'm alone here... who knows. Regardless, their giant wall of funny, sexy footwear is definitely considered unconventional and had to be mentioned.
Photo of Brodawka & Friends by Jesse Milns