Well heeled: the best shoe boutiques in London
Christian Louboutin, the French king of footwear, celebrates 20 years of his iconic red-soled shoes with a retrospective exhibition at the Design Museum. In recognition of his achievement, Global Blue guides you around the very best shoe boutiques in London to ensure you always put your best foot forward
Selfridges Shoe Galleries
Covering 35,000 square feet and home to six different salons and over 5,000 pairs of shoes, the Shoe Galleries at Selfridges, designed by architect Jamie Fobert, are a shoe lover’s dream. Each room has a distinctive feel, from a minimalist art gallery room exhibiting shoes on clear plastic plinths to a boudoir with dimmed lights and shoes set beneath spotlights. The bespoke designer rooms are well worth exploring; Chanel’s section recreates Coco’s apartment, Christian Louboutin’s room features a red carpet and chandelier and Ugg Australia’s log cabin is as cosy as its boots.
Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB, +44 (0)800 123400, +44 (0)113 369 8040 (international)
Browns’ shoe salon, which first opened 35 years ago, hosts styles by some of the world’s most prestigious shoe brands. Christian Louboutin, Yves Saint Laurent and Biba can be found in the store, while owner Joan Burstein is known for seeking out the very best new designers, so visitors are guaranteed to find styles by the hottest up-and-coming talents as well as established names. The personalised service is especially useful – and ideal when looking for the perfect footwear to complete an occasion outfit.
Browns, 24-27 South Molton Street, London W1K 5RD, +44 (0)20 7514 0016
For shoes that make a statement, head to Nicholas Kirkwood’s Mount Street boutique, where the shelves are stocked with his distinctive architectural designs. Set within a Grade II listed building, the boutique’s interior is surprisingly contemporary, with stripped floors, whitewashed walls and shoes displayed on graffiti-scribbled plinths and suspended, as if floating, from walls. Kirkwood is known for his use of innovative materials, including hand-printed suede, devoré satin, laser-cut mirrored leather and even shaved stingray – his styles are sure to draw attention.
Nicholas Kirkwood, 5 Mount Street, London W1K 3NE, +44 (0)20 7290 1404
Since Austrian designer Kurt Geiger opened his first Bond Street boutique in 1963, his eponymous label has delighted shoe enthusiasts with its unrivalled range at affordable prices. Inspired by major catwalk styles, the store stocks everything from stacked platforms to towering stilettos and chic ballet pumps in incarnations that were deemed the coolest in the UK by Vogue readers. The label now sells two million pairs each year; make sure you visit every season to avoid missing out.
Kurt Geiger, 1 James Street, London WC2E 8BG, +44 (0)20 7240 6269
The Jacksons, one of Notting Hill’s best kept secrets, is an independent shoe boutique known for stocking individual styles that set it apart from the rest of the high street. Twin sisters Joey and Louise Jackson have sourced styles that are quintessentially British and set them alongside pieces from international artisans, such as handmade Spanish clogs. The Biddy, a classic brogue, will suit almost all ensembles, while the Otty, a blue velvet Chelsea boot, is the perfect twist on a traditional style.
The Jacksons, 5 All Saints Road, London W11 1HA, +44 (0)20 7792 8336
The World of Manolo at Liberty
Manolo Blahnik shoes, which have a new home on Liberty’s second floor, are known for their exquisite craftsmanship and consistent design aesthetic; Manolos are chic, feminine, playful and, simultaneously, classic pieces. Highlights from Blahnik’s 30-year career can be found in the Liberty store, from the popular Sedaraby d’Orsay pump in a range of colours to the traditional Campari Mary Jane – hailed by many as the world’s best designed shoe – in black, nude and purple.
The World of Manolo, Liberty, Regent Street, London W1B 5AH, +44 (0)20 7734 1234
The French king of footwear reigns over Mount Street with his distinctively stylish red-soled stilettos. Louboutin has stocked the crystal shelves of his boutique with his trademark skyscraper heels in a range of designs, from subtle nude patent pairs to pieces embellished with crystals, feathers and fringing.
Christian Louboutin, 17 Mount Street, London W1K 2RJ, +44 (0)20 7491 0033