5 places to shop for shoes on Queen St.
This month Toronto is celebrating the Shop Small program - a new movement focused on giving some thought to the importance of small, independent businesses and the vibrancy and culture they bring to our neighbourhoods. To mark the occasion, every Saturday morning for the next four weeks we'll be featuring some of our favourite small businesses in a different neighbourhood in Toronto. Today we begin with West Queen West. Check out and support small businesses in your neighbourhood by pledging to #ShopSmall.
I have a problem. A strange addiction. One which has the power to keep me up at night and can send me into a greedy whirlwind of excitement. That addiction...shoes. I know, how typical-a chick who likes shoes. I'm going out on a limb here guys, so quit judging.
Toronto is chock full of great shoe shopping but when my feet are aching for something new and exciting, a little je ne sais quoi you might say, I like to walk my tootsies on down to Queen to check out the boutique options available for the consummate shoe connoisseur.
Here are five of my favourite spots on Queen to shop for all things shoes, shoes, shoes.
Consistently one of the most well-stocked shoe shops on the block, Heel Boy is an absolute go-to for shoes for any occasion. With a wide variety of labels, running the gamut from extremely affordable (a pair of Keds for $40 or leather Dolce Vita sandals for $80) to the slightly more wish list-worthy (a pair of Steve Madden dicker boots will run you a still sensible $200), the selection of brands available help keep my feet happy without burning a hole in my wallet.
When Korean boutique Durumi & Chocolate Shoes (two stores housed in one space) opened up in 2011, it was as though my feet had met their soul mate. Chocolate owner Hyeon Moon stocks her shop with all the latest styles straight from Seoul, each pair completely on-trend and completely affordable. The wide selection of flats sit in the $60 range while the lace-up heels I couldn't help but try on ran a little more than $120. Add to that the great selection of apparel available from store-mate Durumi, and I'm like a kid in a candy store. Except I'm not. I'm a grown woman. In a shoe store.
BRODAWKA + FRIENDS
A former designer for footwear aficionado John Fluevog, Jeff Brodawka definitely knows his way around a shoe. Opening the doors to his stand-alone store last Spring, Brodawka is quickly making a name for himself as the purveyor of hand-crafted, exclusive and unique footwear for men and women. Working closely with manufacturers in Portugal and Mexico, every pair of Brodawka shoes is made with an artistic flare and a critical eye. Where else are you going to find tri-colored men's oxfords in buttery leather that looks good enough to eat ($265) or sensible yet stylish heels for women that won't break your toes on your morning commute ($250)? Though the somewhat quirky designs may not be everyone's cup of tea, these shoes are definitely worth a look.
Flipping through the pages of my monthly fashion glossies can be equal parts inspiring and tortuous. Beautiful designer shoes from the likes of Christian Dior, Prada and Proenza litter the pages, yet remain entirely unattainable to the likes of me. That's where designer consignment stores like Fashionably Yours come in to save the day. Owner Janet Han and store manager Hoda Perez are incredibly knowledgeable about every item that comes into the store, and the pair can sniff out a knock-off like a Bloodhound. Find simple Louboutin pumps or Rodarte x Opening Ceremony sandals for $100 or splurge on a pair of exclusive Guiseppe Zanotti x Swarovski wedges for a mere $1,500. Fashionably Yours even provides customers with a money-back guarantee on authenticity.
Though spotting the sign outside may feel like a game of Where's Waldo, C Squared's location just west of Bathurst on Queen is stocked full of great picks from a wide range of designers. With a focus on practicality and comfort, brands like Sperry, Frye and Camper are right at home. Utility by no means denotes a lack of style, but in fact, C Squared aims to marry the two at an affordable price. As much as I love experimenting with new designers, sometimes a girl just needs a pair of Sperry boat shoes ($100) to trek around in on a hot summer day.
Have a fave Shop Small business in Toronto? Vote for them in the Neighbourhood Gems contest on the American Express Canada Facebook page. You can vote once per day through April 21st and the then again between April 29th and May 5th for the finalist voting period. Each vote earns you on entry into a daily draw to win a$50 Amex Gift Card. Check it out.
Thanks to Amex Bank of Canada for sponsoring this post