Answers from Our Experts (3)
For me, the best place to buy shoes is somewhere with a lot of different styles and brands to choose from. Selfridges, home to the largest shoe department in the world, is therefore the ideal place to begin a footwear quest. The sprawling women’s shoe galleries have been around for a few years now, but the men’s area only opened in 2012. The tens of thousands of pairs on offer range from high street brands all the way up to made-to-measure products from designer names. Exploring the galleries can be a bewildering experience, but there's no doubt that this is a shoe lover’s heaven. The Harrods Shoe Salon isn’t on quite the same scale as its Selfridges equivalent, but the range of designer brands on offer at this luxurious location is certainly not to be sniffed at. Name a top designer of shoes, boots or sandals and chances are you’ll find them represented here.
For a more manageable shoe shopping experience, I like Poste Mistress in Covent Garden (61-63 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9EP; 020 7379 4040). The big sister boutique of high street footwear favourite Office, Poste Mistress stocks its own-brand range as well as a selection of designer names including Eley Kishimoto, Stella McCartney and Miu Miu. The store sells women’s shoes only but male footwear fans shouldn’t feel left out – Poste, Office’s upmarket men’s shoes boutique can be found in Mayfair (10 South Molton Street, W1K 5QJ; 020 7499 8002).
Those who desire designer shoes on their feet, but don't have much time on their hands, should head straight to Selfridges on Oxford Street. The shoe department of this historic store is the largest in the world, and boasts extensive collections from designers including Jimmy Choo, Louboutin, Vans, Prada, Givenchy, Manolo Blahnik and Balenciaga. If you're planning to do a lot of walking in London, Oxford Street is also the perfect place to pick up a pair of casual shoes, with high street shops including Mango, Dune, Esprit, Bershka and Walk.
Alternatively, if you do have the time to seek out individual stores, you'll be rewarded. Take a trip to the celebrity-favorite Church's on Regent's Street in the West End, or head for top shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood on Mount Street in Mayfair. Or if you're looking for something a little less conventional, consider a trip to Irregular Choice in Carnaby Street, Soho.
As with most things, the answer of where to buy the best of anything is Bond Street and the area immediately around it. Shoes are no exception.
Head to Selfridges department store on Oxford Street and you'll find the Shoe Lounge, home to every footwear designer you've ever coveted from Jimmy Choo to Manolo Blahnik. This is a great place to get a feel for which designers and brands suit or fit you best and staff are extremely helpful.
On Mount Street you'll find the boutique of Christian Louboutin, home to the famous red soles, while New Bond Street has Salvatore Ferragamo and Russell & Bromley.
Alternatively, head west to Knightsbridge and Harvey Nichols department store, where you can shop for everything from Hunter wellies to Valentino pumps.