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Buying shoes in London

I need to get better walking shoes! Never good to have to buy and wear, but I had a packing snafu. Usually wear SAS, Merrell, Keen, so function over glamour. Any suggestions for where to buy in London? As long as I’m going to wind up with shoes as a souvenir, any suggestions for supportive shoes that are more available in England?

Posted by
2011 posts

I'd suggest trying European brands. Ecco is a good option I find for what you want.

Not sure where to buy. I have seen them in lots of stores in Europe, but never looked in the UK. An online search shows they have stores in Convent Garden and it looks like they might be having an "end of season sale"

Good Luck

Posted by
2658 posts

I would suggest a pair of Clark’s, which are made in England. There is a store on Kensington High Street and Oxford Street, I’m sure there are other locations in London.

Posted by
926 posts

Hi Beatrice -

Merrell and Keen are stocked in the UK. My local Go Outdoors stocks both. Google to see where there is a branch near you in London. Also try Cotswold Outdoor, another high street retailer who I believe stock both, plus a variety of other makes. Sport Direct have a limited range of Merrell.

There are dozens of other good makes of shoe. I quite like Scarpa (Italian) and they do good boots and approach shoes if that’s what you are after. Somewhere like Cotswold and GO will spend some time recommending and fitting shoes if you are unsure and it’s always worth asking their advice.

Happy (shoe) hunting!

Ian

Posted by
5547 posts

Head to Southampton Street in Covent Garden, where you will find 2 shops next to each other - Ellis Brigham and Cotswold Outdoors, where you should get something suitable.

Posted by
2125 posts

Remember UK shoe sizes are different from US sizes, i.e. a 6 in the UK could be the equivalent to a 7 in the US.

Posted by
1063 posts

"I would suggest a pair of Clark’s, which are made in England."

Not made in England any more, from the internet:

"Apart from lending its name to the shopping centre, Clarks, the biggest shoe brand in the world, has little to do with the success of Clarks Village. Its shoes are in fact now made in China, India, Brazil and Vietnam but not in Britain, after the site and the Village brand was sold.10 Mar 2011"

Remember UK shoe sizes are different from US sizes, i.e. a 6 in the UK
could be the equivalent to a 7 in the US.

I think a UK 6 is actually a US 8 (in women’s sizes, at least).

Neal Street in Covent Garden has a bunch of shoe shops. Or as others have said, look for a branch of one of the many hiking/outdoor shops - like Cotswold, Mountain Warehouse etc.

Posted by
2658 posts

Clarks’ shoes manufacturing is in Somerset........... the British shoemaker and retailer, will return to large-scale manufacturing in the UK for the first time in over a decade when a new factory in southwest England.

Harleydonski....that’s sad to hear.

Posted by
837 posts

I’m a Merrell and Ecco fan, but my daughter LOVES Fly and there’s a Fly store in Covent Garden. Comfort + style + a British souvenir.

Posted by
3932 posts

I sold shoes from 2000 for about 11 yrs - hardly any of our Clarks were from England - lots of China, Brazil, Vietnam - I even got a gorgeous pair of high leather boots that were made in Romania. My memory isn't 100%, but I think the Clarks Originals (like the desert boot and wallabies, and the Springer sandal for a time) were made in England.

That being said - Clarks were one of my fav brands, and one of our most popular. I loved the clogs, but even those were cheaping out at the end of my time selling them - going from suede lined insoles to some hot irritating fabric. We didn't sell Ecco, but the store across the street did and they seemed very popular. Not sure if they still make them but the Clarks unstructured were lovely with a super soft leather lining.

Posted by
5547 posts

I googled Fly, as I have never heard of them - they are Portuguese owned and manufactured, so not a British souvenir! Their range is very clumpy and not my taste, but each to their own.

My mum likes Ecco, but they are expensive. Hotter Shoes are a high street chain that aren’t “hot”, but offer lightweight shoes with support - sensible shoes, as my mum would call them.

I don’t think I have bought a pair of Clark’s since I was at school (their sandals were compulsory indoor shoe wear at my school, so I still make that association even 30+ years later).

Posted by
3932 posts

One of our buyers brought in some Fly shoes for a few seasons before I left. The styles he picked were def...different, funky, colourful. And expensive. We honestly practically gave them away. The boots were in the $300+ (Cdn) range and the shoes were usually between $175-225. NO ONE was going to pay that for them, and they usually ended up in clearance for about 70% off. Such a waste, because we had to go begging for the budget to bring in stuff like Birks and Blundstones, which flew off the shelf, but they'd drop all this money on these shoes that they ended up losing money on (that being said, apparently they were comfy!)

Posted by
13079 posts

I bought a pair of running shows at the Cotswold store in Covent Garden, mentioned by Jennifer above. I really like the store and the shoes. I just looked and the size chart says “UK 4, US 6.5, EU 37”.

For walking shoes, my preferred brands are Lowa, Merrell and Clark’s, in that order. The Lowa’s are leather so not great for summer. I am sure you can find the other two in London. Mesh or fabric shoes should need no breaking in.

Posted by
4684 posts

I like Ecco shoes, although they do have a slight tendency for the inner sole to come loose after a while.

Posted by
33 posts

I highly recommend Vionic shoes...I had extremely painful plantar fasciitis and was very worried about all the walking I was going to do in Paris last year. The Vionic website said 30 day return for full refund, so I figured 'What the heck'...Well, I followed their directions as far as wearing the shoes for a few hours a day over several weeks to get my feet used to them...and the shoes are a life-changer for me!!! I now own 4 pairs (sandals, slip-ons, high-top sneakers, slippers) and never wear anything else. Not only are they absolutely GREAT for long days of walking, but they are available in stylish treatments (I went for the snakeskin print on my high-tops) so they don't look fuddy duddy. The monetary exchange rate between dollars and pounds is not great...why pay a LOT for something you may not love?! If I had known about this company a few years ago, I could have saved myself a lot of pain.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you for all the suggestions. Cotswold Outdoors was great and I fit wonderfully into a new Lowa shoe that did the job.