I love shopping for shoes. Shoes always go with your hair and rarely make you look fat, so shopping for shoes is a lot more satisfying than shopping for bathing suits or jeans. It doesn’t matter if it is summer and time to poke out the currently purple toe nails in sandals or it is winter and I’m checking out the latest Uggs. I like wandering through shoe departments and checking out the most appealing and most appalling options.
There are countless stores selling shoes in the San Fernando Valley or Westside of Los Angeles in close proximity to my home. The days of cute independent shoe stores are long gone around here where everything is a chain. Many of the chains are brand specific, which is great if you know what you want or saw something cute in a magazine and want to try it on. But going to a brand’s store, whether Skechers or Aldo or Jimmy Choo, doesn’t offer the variety of options available in larger show emporiums.
Here are four options in the area that are great shoe shopping haunts, each for different reasons:
- Nordstrom, various locations.
Nordstrom may be known for a great selection of high- and medium-end brands offered with renowned service, but it was originally a shoe store and still is a great one. That’s right, from 1901 to 1960, it was a shoe store in the state of Washington. During the 1960s, they ventured into apparel and added locations.Now, the clothing offered varies by location, but there is always a great selection of shoes (with great sale prices knocking outrageously priced ones down to my reality). There are trendy, fun options as well as practical work ones. Shoes at Nordstrom can cost from $20 to $2,000. And, if they do not have what you want or the size, they will get it. The return policy is legendary for leniency. I took back a pair of shoes that broke after several wears and immediately was offered a refund with no questions or delays. The Web site is great too!
- DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, various locations.
DSW is fun to walk into and browse with an open mind. There are rows and rows of shoes laid out by type (e.g. flat sandals, dress sandals, boots) from most major brands. In upscale areas, there is also a selection of top designer brands. I love walking in DSW thinking I need sporty shoes for walking around on weekends and having 100 pairs to try on from $20 to $200. It was also a great place to take my teenage son one day while he was wearing ratty shoes and tell him you can’t leave without a new pair; even he had to admit that he found several to his liking.
- O’My Sole, 8 California locations.
Just their slogan along made me check them out: “Life is too short to wear boring shoes!” I used to go to the Marina del Rey locations, but I’ve heard it closed. However, there are a couple of others near, Calabasas and Burbank. O’My Sole specializes in comfortable shoes for the whole family, including lines like Ecco, Dr. Martens, Dr. Scholl, Rocket Dog, Clarks, Merrells and Seychelles. I like this store because it’s unique. That said, because it is a small chain, they have a limited return policy and the staff if uneven (some great, some not).
- Nine West, various locations.
Okay, I am including one brand specific store, primarily because they have always been helpful (shout out Sherman Oaks store). They also have a great selection of relatively inexpensive yet stylish shoes, including ones that work for – dare I say – more mature people like me and for my teenage daughter.