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My sister always told me growing up that "women always look at a man's shoes". It turns out she's not as silly as I look. From dress shoes to work wear and dancefloor specials, we've picked out our top shoe shops in Melbourne, Sydney and elsewhere. These are your best bets when it comes to getting some quality tread on your toes.
Shoes for work
1. Lloyd ($$)
If you're a businessman with business needs, Lloyd should be high on your list. German-made and built to last, Lloyd shoes include contemporary and classic collections that will fit perfectly with suits of all descriptions. Stay away from anything square toed, and instead get yourself a nice cap-toe Oxford or brogue to spice up that work attire. They last, which is why I'm putting them in first. Located in both Melbourne and Sydney.
2. McCloud Shoes ($$$)
Located in Melbourne's CBD, McCloud Shoes is perfect for the older gentleman who prefers traditional dress/work shoes. Don't be fooled, though, because McCloud also has some cool Loake shoes for the younger gent. Expect to pay around $500 for a pair, but rest assured that your feet are in good hands … or is that good shoes?
3. Aquila ($$)
Australian brand Aquila is a good solution for those who don't want to spend a fortune. It has a large range that suits both work and dress occasions. As with Lloyd, we recommend sticking to more traditionally shaped shoes, as the point thing is done and dusted. Sitting as they do at a lower price point, expect these shoes to require a little more care. Aquila is located in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Adelaide … and online, too. Check out some of their brogue boots – they're rather special.
Shoes for dressing up
1. Luisa Leather Boutique ($$$)
My personal favourite in Melbourne is Luisa. It's a no-fuss importer of amazing men's footwear. If you're after Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, DSquared and Lanvin, this is the place. Located in the city and out in Murrumbeena, Luisa is my first stop when I need new dress shoes.
2. Double Monk ($$$$)
I've yet to set foot in this store but hear nothing but good things about it. I recommend Double Monk for my cash flow-positive friends who are after quality and longevity. Stocking names such as John Lobb and George Cleverley, Double Monk is probably the best 'elegant' shoe offering in Australia.
3. Andrew McDonald Shoemaker ($$$)
If you're into handmade shoes with personality and style, then Andrew McDonald is a winner. Located in the new and improved Strand Arcade in Melbourne and George Street in Sydney, Andrew McDonald is a master of Derby-style boots and shoes. It even offers a made-to-order service for someone who's looking for something super-special.
4. Beggar Man Thief ($$$)
Based in South Melbourne, BMT offers a nice mix of dress shoes and refined, but still cool, sneakers. The shop is filled with other cool manly finery and the staff are knowledgeable and friendly. You'll find brands such as Grenson and Loake. For those who like to save a dollar, we recommend checking out their 'cheap' store, The Canny Man, located in the South Melbourne Market.
Shoes for play
1. Sneakerboy ($$$$)
The most talked-about sneaker shop this century is Melbourne and Sydney's Sneakerboy. The brainchild of Chris Kyvetos, Sneakerboy is the go-to place for luxury men's sneakers. Lanvin, Balenciaga, Kris Van Assche and more. What's most cool is that you try on a shoe in-store, then they ship them to you from their HQ overseas. Your new sneakers arrive in a couple of days, which is no stress for most. If you're not in Melbourne or Sydney, don't worry, you can shop online from anywhere in Australia. (Picture: Concrete Playground)
2. Prime Athletic ($$)
Prime Athletic has been a go-to location for sneakers and hipster dress shoes for many years. Located in Melbourne's St Kilda and Fitzroy, Prime is the people's shoe store. It stocks the likes of Nike, ASICS and New Balance, making Prime our 'little engine that could' pick. There's always something cool to be found here.
3. HYPE DC ($)
If you're after a no-fuss shoe store that stocks the latest street kicks, then look to HYPE DC . I often find Nikes here that I've never seen anywhere else. It stocks many brands (Nike, Converse, New Balance, Adidas, etc) and has stores all over Australia, which is perfect for people in other capital cities. HYPE DC also offers an online shopping service for the 'too lazy to try-on' types.
4. Highs & Lows ($$)
Perth residents are lucky to have such an awesome sneaker shop on their door step. Highs & Lows is located in Perth, Claremont and Mount Lawley, and stocks a range of the most up-front kicks in Australia. It has even worked on a few collaborations in the past that had sneaker-heads all around the world talking.
New or noteworthy
1. Frankies Shoes ($$)
A new start-up by lawyer-gone-rogue Francis Egan, Sydney-based Frankies Shoes is an interesting and much-needed breath of fresh air in the often dull Australian shoe market. The Frankies range started with loafers, but is now expanding into dress shoes and other interesting styles. European inspired, Frankies is worth checking out.
2. Wootten ($$$)
If handmade shoes are your game, Wootten in Melbourne's Prahran is where you want to play it. Offering custom designed footwear, orthotic, prosthetic and engineer sportswear, Wootten is up for almost anything you can throw at them. Shop online if you want to speed up the process.
Honourable mentions go to David Jones, which has a great dress shoe selection, as well as Hugo Boss, which makes an awesome range of men's shoes. Both retailers can be found in capital city locations around Australia.
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