Whether you're indulging your inner Carrie Bradshaw's need for Manolo Blahnik or looking for your sneaker holy grail, Los Angeles has a shoe store for you. Here's a rundown of where to find the pumps, loafers, trainers, wedges, slingbacks, flats and everything in between to satisfy anyone's retifism.
10. Off Broadway Shoes
When you want something easy — say a new pair of pumps or loafers to wear to work, an affordable pair of riding boots to go with a new pair of skinny jeans, or a selection of sneakers that are meant more for aerobics class than as a fashion statement — there's Off Broadway Shoes. They may not always have designer labels, but they also don't have the price tags that come with said labels. The behemoth location in Hollywood is a convenient shopping trip, in part because of its giant parking lot and late hours (it's open until 10 p.m. daily). 6920 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd. (323) 962-0332, offbroadwayshoes.com.
Because every girl needs a sexy pair of heels, there's Lush on Studio City's main Ventura Boulevard shopping drag. The sister store to Melrose Avenue's XTC, this is the place to find funky designer brands like Jeffrey Campbell and L.A.M.B., as well as their own XTC brand. Prices can be high, especially if you're not the type to wear these styles every day, but the store has a decent end-of-season sale. 12188 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. (818) 752-9018, www.xtcshoes.com.
8. Vamp Shoes
Despite what the name may imply, sky-high stilettos are not the main draw at Los Feliz's Vamp Shoes. Tailored, colorful (and sometimes slightly retro) heels, sandals, wedges and boots from no-fuss labels like Rachel Comey and Camper fill the clean, minimalist-style space that fits in well with the other shops (Panty Raid, Carol Young | Undesigned) on this stretch of Hillhurst Avenue. 1951 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz. (323) 662-1150, www.vampshoes.myshopify.com.
7. Sportie LA
The staff at Sportie LA can immediately tell if you're more of a Puma type than a Converse or if your personality lends itself better to stripes than solid. This retail store, which opened its flagship location in 1985 on Melrose Avenue, specializes in hard-to-find colors and designs from these brands and countless others in an effort to keep your street style cred intact. 7753 Melrose Ave., Fairfax District. (323) 651-1553, www.sportiela.com.
A little bit rockabilly, a little bit New Wave and a little ... Dutch. Whatever the style, Canadian shoe designer John Fluevog does retro cool with a dash of modern personality. His Southern California store opened in 2004 on Melrose Avenue to make it easier for hip Angelenos to find his signature pumps, boots, saddle shoes and clogs. 7475 Melrose Ave., Fairfax District. (323) 951-9555, www.fluevog.com.
While the quality of clothing offerings from the various stores in this chain can differ between locations, there is almost always an excellent shoe selection at all branches of this mall staple — a nice mix of high and medium-end brands that range from young and fun to proper and sophisticated styles. And, if the price point isn't to your liking, you can always try your luck in a few months at the Nordstrom Rack clearance stores. Nordstrom Santa Monica, 220 Broadway, Santa Monica. (310) 752-2701, shop.nordstrom.com.
4. Saks Fifth Avenue
Sarah Jessica Parker famously told Vanity Fair that "if you're a nice person and you work hard, you get to go shopping at Barneys," but honestly the shoe selection next door at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills is bigger and (depending on what you're looking for) better. This is a place to go if you want to treat yourself, and it is a wonderful reward to wander the rows of Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Brian Atwood and countless other labels lifted straight from the Fashion Week reports — even if it is just to have a Breakfast at Tiffany's kind of moment. 9634 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 275-4211, www.saksfifthavenue.com.
3. Kicks Sole Provider
These Adidas, Asics and Converse are decidedly not meant to get scuffed on the court. While the selection on display at the Larchmont location of Kicks may not be as vast as at some other places, the local chain is big on developing an individual's look, meaning the colors and styles you find here aren't going to be readily available at your friendly neighborhood Foot Locker. 141 N Larchmont Blvd., (323) 468-9794, www.kickssoleprovider.com.
2. Re-mix Vintage Shoes
Want to look like you can hang with Don Draper, but feel a little skeevy about wearing someone else's old, musty shoes? Re-mix on Beverly Boulevard recreates both men's and women's shoe styles from the first part of the last century, usually in color schemes appropriate for that time (think lots of dark blues, browns and greens). 7605 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax District. (888) 254-1813, www.remixvintageshoes.com.
1. Milk & Honey
Well, if you want something done right ... Sisters Ilissa and Dori Howard's popular DIY website allows you to custom build your own fabulous footwear to your own specifications — a life-saver if you're a bride-to-be, a busy online shopper looking for the perfect fit, or if you want to create your own (probably cheaper) version of those Louboutins or Jimmy Choos you've been coveting. (They also work with celebrities to create shoes to help charities, such as the above gold pumps that Whitney Cummings designed to benefit Operation Smile.) Bring your vision to life through the store's website or by booking an appointment in Milk & Honey's downtown showroom. Orders take around six to eight weeks to arrive. 117 West 9th Street, #205, dwntwn. (310) 691-3000, www.milkandhoneyshoes.com.
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