News & Politics

10 Terrific Shoe Stores in Washington

Fairytales have been written about them and fetishes born of them. Here’s where to find fabulous shoes that fit every style, size, and budget.

SimplySoles at National Harbor. Photograph courtesy of SimplySoles.

1. Bishop Boutique
From curvy-heeled Loeffler Randall pumps to sub-$200 Schutz sandals that can take you from office to date night, this tiny Old Town gem offers a great selection of designer shoes you’ll actually wear. For the baby fashionista, there are By Paige needlepoint infant booties. The showstopper is the colorful selection of Ilse Jacobsen lace-up rain boots—so chic you’ll be doing a rain dance. 815-B King St., Alexandria; 571-312-0042.

2. DSW
On a mission to find a pair of shoes—or five? DSW is the place. The superstore may leave something to be desired in customer service, checkout, and organization, but the selection of women’s, men’s, and children’s shoes is extensive: You can spend hours scouring the aisles of sneakers, sandals, platforms—you name it—in a broad range of prices and brands, from Guess and Clarks to Coach and Cole Haan. Multiple Maryland and Virginia locations;

3. Hu’s Shoes
Carrie Bradshaw would be in heaven here. Hu’s arguably boasts Washington’s best array of designer footwear, including standout styles such as Brian Atwood’s recent multicolored neon skyscraper heels (at $765, not for the budget-conscious). Shoe connoisseurs drool over such labels as Bottega Veneta, Giuseppe Zanotti, and coveted newcomer Chelsea Paris. 3005 M St., NW; 202-342-0202.

4. Nordstrom
Silver-sequined Toms? Check. Rachel Zoe stilettos? Check. Super-narrow to extra-wide styles? They’ve got it. Regardless of your style, budget, or size, you’re likely to find the right fit at Nordstrom. While other department stores may have equally good selections, Nordstrom’s customer service is legendary. If the store doesn’t have your size, salespeople will have it shipped to you. Multiple Maryland and Virginia locations;

5. Nordstrom Rack
Love the designers you find at Nordstrom but refuse to pay full retail? Meet its price-slashing sister store—affectionately known as the Rack. The semiannual Large Size Shoe Event brings in women’s sizes 10½ through 13 and men’s 14 through 16 from such designers as Bruno Magli and Robert Zur. Cinderella might prefer the semiannual Small Size Event, which caters to the size-four-to-six crowd. Multiple area locations;

6. Saks Off Fifth
Bargain hunters, take note: The $600 L.A.M.B.s and Yves Saint Laurents that sent your inner Imelda Marcos reeling last season at Saks now could make their way into your closet via Saks Off Fifth—for about $400 less. With slashed prices and frequent sales of an additional 40 percent off, there’s no reason you can’t own those Uggs, Cole Haans, and Guccis. Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets, Leesburg, 703-443-9700; Potomac Mills, Woodbridge, 703-497-2100.

7. Sassanova
Sassanova’s expensive designer selection proves you can’t put a price on love. From brightly colored Moschinos to Bloch ballet flats, the store offers plenty of styles and heel heights. If you believe no child should be left behind—at least when it comes to footwear—bring your little shoe addict to the children’s section for some of the prettiest styles anywhere. 1641 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-471-4400; 7134 Bethesda La., Bethesda, 301-654-7403.

8. Shoe Hive
If you’re looking for funky footwear, keep walking. This boutique is home to a small but smartly picked selection of classic designers such as Tory Burch and Diane von Furstenberg. You can pick up a pair of Sam Edelman slingbacks for around $100 or splurge on $340 Attilio Giusti Leombruni laser-cut leather flats. Even better are the sales: On a recent visit, a pair of Italian-made Butter peep-toes was marked down to $85 from $201. 127 S. Fairfax St., Alexandria; 703-548-7105.

9. SimplySoles
At this eclectic shop, every find is handpicked by über-stylish owner Kassie Rempel, whose own Lillybee line is an affordable exclusive. Traditionalists will love the mix of Stuart Weitzman and Donald J. Pliner, while the retro-obsessed will be hooked on the Mad Men-esque, kitten-heeled Bettye Muller collection. National Harbor, 138 Waterfront St., Oxon Hill; 301-749-1744.

10. Zelaya
Owner Tony Zelaya stocks this charming boutique with hard-to-find designers such as Chie Mihara and Coclico as well as high-end favorites including Kate Spade. He’ll go out of his way to show you new styles and has been known to keep the shop open after hours to ensure that his loyal following is happily heeled. Best of all, the prices are generally 20 to 75 percent off retail. 4940 St. Elmo Ave., Bethesda; 301-656-8550.