Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Finding Sydney's Feet

by James Lourey

I've said it before and I'll say it again, a person's attention to the detail and wellbeing of their shoes tells the people around them a great deal. As the infamous New York street shoe shiner Don Ward proclaims to his observers, "Can't look neat if your shoes are beat". Mr. Ward believes it only takes three seconds to grasp a preliminary judgement solely based on a persons footwear; although this view may seem fairly objective and overcritical, a person's attention and taste in their shoes is in my opinion in quickest and most cost effective way to heighten their sense of style. That being said, fellow Sydneysiders may have shared my frustration with the lack of good shoe stores within our fair harbour city, for both men and women included. 

Although we'd never like to admit it, our Melbourne neighbours well and truly have us beat when it comes time for some retail therapy, with shopping districts such as Bridge road, Chapel St, Chadstone and the newly opened CBD Emporium competing with Sydney's Pitt St mall and ....... Chatswood? Shit. 

The extent of Sydney's shoe shop shortage was highlighted to me earlier in the year prior to a job interview. Realising that my scuffed up school shoes from the year past probably wouldn't go down well, I set out to try to put some respect back on my feet. After scouring throughout the city and being told by an over confident salesman at David Jones that all black converse look great with a suit, I called it a day. 

For all the ladies and gentlemen who have wondered where's best to grab good quality shoes around Sydney, The XY Venture presents the Top 5 footwear destinations you can rely on to for any occasion. 

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As always, ladies first. Now ladies, I can only imagine the vast confusing world surrounding what shoes are to you; hopefully I can help you in building your collection with hidden gems and value on that terrifying price tag. It's true, the most prestigious ladies shoes cost can make a boyfriend's colour drain from his face, and unless you're on first name basis with the staff at Christian Louboutin, you have to be open to research what Sydney has to offer.

Starting from five and working our way down, I uncover the top locations for Sydney's princesses to find the perfect fit.

5. Zomp 
4/255C Oxford St. Paddington 
573 Military Rd. Mosman


Zomp's strong suit is certainly their range, with over 68 labels covering the bases with boots, pumps, platforms and wedges. Zomp is in continuous growth within the Australian market with the recent second birthday of their online store and increasingly impressive season look-books and photo shoots. Zomp truly encapsulates a 'one stop shop' description for ladies stocking from casual to formal. Enticing labels constantly appear at Zomp including Senso, Lucchesi and even Beau Coops for the girl seeking recognition. 
Boots by 2 Baia Vista 

Boots by Beau Coops

Pumps by Carrano 


4. Dèsordre  
323 S Dowling St. Darlinghurst


The unique partner owned boutique opened in 2009 focussing on a selection of exclusive designers, with the popularity of the temporary pop up stores causing the opening of their Darlinghurst store in June 2010. Like any boutique, the obligation of offering customers new and exciting pieces, and due to their increasing demand the online boutique was effectively made available to their growing following. In regards to shoes, the cult fashion approach is seen in their range of daring Sophia Webster heels, monotoned Senso heels and stylish casual National Standard sneakers. 

Basketball Hightops by National Standard 

Carrie Metallic Heels by Sophia Webster 

Tabitha Boot by Senso 


3. The Corner Shop
Shop 55 Level 1, The Strand Arcade, George St
43 William St. Paddington



Following our recent interview with Corner Shop's Strand Arcade manager Sarah Jones, our attention to their in depth and elegant shoe collection on offer certainly came into fruition. Buyers Danielle Barker and Jacky Yencken pay essential attention to trend and constantly innovating the style guides many Sydney women follow. The best way to gain an insight of the Corner Shop's shoe collection is through their Instagram

Chloe Boots

Aquazzura Blondie Pumps

Isabel Marant Royston Leather Ankle Boots


2. Parlour X 
213 Glenmore Rd. Paddington 


Parlour X is one of the most stylish and upmarket women's boutiques in Australia, housing some of the most famous and sought after designers and labels in the world. For the lovers of the French, Parlour X is the one and only independent boutique in Sydney with Saint Laurent footwear. The Paddington-based store also highlights their collections of Balenciaga, Isabel Marant, Valentino and Margiela's cutaway label, MM6.

Blue Neoprene Glove Heels Electric Blue by Balenciaga

Paris Thorn Pump by Saint Laurent

Rock Stud by Valentino 


1. Tuchuzy 
Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach 

Much deserving of the top spot, the well placed Bondi boutique has hosted some of the world's most covered fashion personalities and currently stocks arguably one of the biggest designers in the fashion industry right now, Alexander Wang. Tuchuzy proves their competitive advantage with experienced and committed buyers placing themselves in part of the best high end women's boutiques in Australia, with shoes ranging from $2,000 Margeila's to $40 Jeffrey Campbell's. Approaching the celebrations of their 19th Birthday, Tuchuzy is constantly turning over new and exciting shoe pieces fitting with their laid back yet stylish geographical surroundings. While the buyers ensure their prices are notably fair, Tuchuzy also hosts a bi-annual pop-up sale clearing the most sought after designer pieces at cut prices. 
Kai Black Patent Sandal by Alexander Wang


Boone Boots by Jeffrey Campbell 

Josa Sandals by ATP Atelier 


There you go ladies, hopefully I've shown you a couple of places to next spend your rent or money for uni books. 

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Fellas, the same goes for you, if you're walking into Harrolds and the guy already knows your size and holiday plans for the summer, you no longer need my help. Us bastards can either love or hate shoe shopping; some embrace the journey of spotting the right style and colour while others dread the thought trudging around town to finally remark, "these ones I guess". Like I said, taking pride in your shoes and taking care of them properly translates how you like to present yourself to others. If you're still not sold on the notion that your shoes have an impact on your surroundings, GQ's 2013 'Stylish Homme' research uncovered that 73% of women will draw a subconscious judgement on a guy based solely on his footwear. 

Shoes are one of the easiest part of a man's wardrobe to correct; size and style, that's it. Shoes are also  key to dressing up or dressing down an outfit, whether it be a pair of leather loafers with jeans and a t-shirt or some sneakers with a suit jacket, your shoes are invaluable statements in any situation. Personally, I like to always one up the dress code of my shoes, wearing a pair of shoes smarter than the actual occasion is a point of understated class. 

Unfortunately Sydney doesn't make it easy for the standard gentlemen to build his shoe rack with a respectable arsenal, however through word of mouth, reviews and constant marketing, these are my top five shoe stores worthy of your visit list. 

5. Aquila 
450 George St. Sydney CBD 

Kicking us off is the only impressive dedicated shoe chain in Sydney in my opinion. You'll be able to find Aquila in most shopping districts around sydney with styles sorting you out from casual weekends to all the formalities of the upcoming summer season. Special mention to their double monk and boots range, two of the most comfortable shoes I own. 
Cage Black Boot

Rawlins Tan Double Monk

Denham Brown Boot 


4. Joseph's Shoes 
412-414 George St, The Strand Arcade, Sydney CBD


A very high respect for my next choice, The famous Strand Arcade could not be a better venue for this classic English fit out shoe store. With some of the best men's shoe labels available such as Church's, Loake and Brando, stepping into Joseph's shoes holds a distinct gentlemen feel to the Sydney shopping experience, so desperately needed and appreciated. 
Tassel Loafers by Loake 
Burwood by Churchs

Burgundy Tassel Loafer by Churchs


3. Harrolds 
77 Castlereagh St, Sydney CBD

Oh how grand life would be if this was your casual saturday walk in store. Harrolds dresses 130 of the country's 200 richest men, and if you've ever gotten the chance to have a browse around the chic metropolis, you'd understand why. Harrolds house the worlds most prestigious mens labels such as Brioni, Comme des Garçons and the illustrious Tom Ford. Even though some of the price tags on the footwear you'll find in the store can break your heart, know there is good finds! As part of Comme des Garçon's PLAY line, the converse went for a unheard of $110 at Harrolds; if you can find a pair of designer sneakers cheaper, let me know. 
 High top Calf Sneakers by Tom Ford

PLAY converse by Comme des Garçons 

Kanye fans recognise these?
Triple Strap Laceless Sneakers by Maison Martin Margeila

2. Herringbone 
455 George St, The Queen Victoria Building, Sydney CBD

Strange choice for such a high placement, hear me out. Herringbone are the only retail store in Sydney that have the licence to sell English made shoes Crockett & Jones, my favourite shoe label in terms of quality, presentation and value. Unlike many others, C&J are a completely vertical company, with all the shoe manufacturing processes from the first designing sketches to wrapping of the finished product into boxes completed in Northampton England. All Crockett and Jones shoes are extremely well hand made and feel exceptional from the moment you put them on. The value of these shoes are very reasonable starting at $499, if you ever want to invest in a pair of shoes that will last you past a decade, take a stroll into Herringbone. 
Drummond in Tan by Crockett & Jones 
 Lowndes in Espresso Suede
Edgware in Dark Brown Calf


1. Sneakerboy
3 Temperance Lane, Sydney CBD 

Without a doubt one of the coolest store's in Sydney and well deserving of the top spot. The sheer location of Sneakerboy says exclusivity. The hidden away futuristic cylinder store surrounds you with designer labels with the most sought after kicks for those in the know. Sneakerboy has fantastic customer service and constant promotions for their shoes. You'll be able to find your much needed Balenciaga, Buscemi, Rick Owens, Saint Laurent, Maison Martin Margeila and the list goes on and on. Thank you Sneakerboy for advancing Australia's flair. 
125mm Navy by Buscemi 
SL/02H High Top by Saint Laurent
Black Coates Monochrome by Balenciaga 



There you have it ladies and gentlemen, hopefully one day soon you can get out for an afternoon of feet measurement and store socks to bring home your new cherished investments. 


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