Smart and stylish well made new shoes that lead a modest, restrained life come back in the next one as wonderful vintage shoes………without the actual need to re-incarnate.
Finding the perfect vintage pair of vintage shoes in the right size (a UK 6.5 in my case) will always be a bit of a lottery, even for a vintage buyer such as myself. Most true vintage shoes are in the smaller sizes due to past generations having smaller feet. That’s great news if you are a size 3 to 4.5, if not, then patience, much browsing and quick decision-making powers will be helpful attributes in securing suitable pairs on the internet.
It also helps to have those wonderful strong-willed unfussy feet, capable of ‘breaking-in’ shoes. I unfortunately have no such pain threshold and require all my shoes to fit like socks from the first wear.
When I do have to buy a new pair of shoes, I think of them as a potential legacy pair. Quality brands and iconic styles all have an instant re-sale value and vintage potential if properly looked after.
Should a vintage search not deliver me an ideal pair of shoes, then any past savings achieved from savvy vintage buying are comprehensively blown on the purchase of a fabulous new pair that look and feel great.
There are just a handful of shoe shops that I might visit on such occasions. Exclusive they are! Cheap they ain't !
Availability of these brands is limited to only a couple or so of outlets/stores in the UK. Bearing this in mind, it is worth keeping an online lookout both in the UK and abroad for any new or (even better) any vintage or preloved pairs that might have your name on them.
My ‘Secret Comfy Shoe List’ is now revealed:
Range: Breathtaking high heels and a selection of flats and mid heels.
Amazing quality. Very unique shoes in a range of skins and coloured leathers. The convex ‘claw heel’ is their signature piece but they always have a capsule range of flats and mid-height heels. Even the gorgeous high brown pair of ankle boots below that I bought a couple of years provide great stability for the height.
Some ankle boots by Walter Steiger; below the impossible 'claw heel' and a mid-heel interpretation.
Range: Flats, lace-ups and mid heels
I love this little independent shoe shop in London just behind the Fulham Road. It has only recently gone online, but unfortunately the website is completely unrepresentative of what they actually have. Do not be put off by the shockingly dull selection. You can see below a couple of the interesting pairs that I have bought from them in the recent past.
Their shoes are wonderfully made. The leathers are soft and light and the underlying focus is on comfort. They always have wonderful brogues and lace-ups, cowboy style boots, elegant leather trainers with small wedges as well as classic style pumps.
It is well worth a visit to this store if comfort is your thing and you like the Marshmallow Mountain shoe aesthetic.
Range: All types...... from the proudly outlandish....... to the classic with a twist
Don’t be frightened off by the fetish heels, gargantuan platforms or the jelly-ish plastic ones!
This heritage brand always produces beautifully made classic styles with a hint of true originality. The wonderfully soft leathers and rich colours are to be appreciated. My favourites are the Mary-Jane, moulded-toe style (shown below in blue) which also comes as a T-bar, ankle-strap and plain pump. They are sumptuous and the shapely modest heel works really well from day-to-night.
Take note of the mid-height cuban heels that are currently featuring on the ankle boots and Velma shoes shown in their e-shop.
Range: Platforms, wedges, mids, brogues, flats – they got it all!
A leading luxury French brand, Robert Clergerie has produced some of the most exciting styles over the past few decades. A distinctive solid silhouette is always part of the look. I love their amazing brogues as well as the sculptural flatforms and platforms.
Range: Wide selection kitten heels and ballet flats as well as evening shoes.
This brand produces elegant ‘ladylike’ shapes, as well as squared-toed trainers and practical boots. They are renowned for evening and special occasion shoes produced in interesting fabrics and textures with glamorous embellishments.
I am s a sucker for a pointed toe, slingback strap and kitten heel as exemplified in the pair below that I bought a few years ago.
The London store does fabulous sales with an ongoing ‘sale rack’ where you can always snap up a real bargain.
Other exclusive, stylish, comfortable brands that I would recommend include:
No dedicated UK store, but small selections are available at the Natural Shoe Store and some other retail outlets. Check online.
They offer an in-store and online custom-made service, where you can choose the type and colour of leather for a style as well as the colour of the sole.