SHOES.COM just got real. Like, IRL real.
Their first foray into brick and mortar opens this weekend at 356 Queen Street West with a 3,000 sq. ft. showroom intended to impress.
And impress it does.
SHOES.COM regularly carries 500 brands across its website, but rather than try to stuff everything possible into its first Canadian store, they’ve decided to outfit it in semi-separate rooms, each offering something different.
Reflecting the online experience you get at SHOES.COM, the first room you enter off of Queen Street West is the ‘Home Room’ and is intended to feel like the site’s homepage. It’s a showcase of what’s new, what’s hot, and what’s exclusive – including Vancouver-based People Footwear.
The rest of the store unfolds into a shoe-lover’s heaven, with brands from around the world recieving their own space to show off. There’s a wall of Guess shoes (their ’90s denim is coming back, store manager Shaemara Rosemond tells us), a corner devoted to running shoes, and a hub dedicated to Californian lifestyle accessories brand Richer Poorer, where men can pick up playful socks, quality underwear, and reliable Ts.
The store then sprawls into a beautiful back space called the Editor’s Room, in which you’ll find a large bar area serving up coffee and snacks, as well as small rotating collections from local artisans that have been carefully curated to represent the Toronto community. Currently, they include handmade hats, handmade jewellery, and even hand-painted leather duffel bags.
The theme of SHOES.COM’s first Canadian store is #MadeToBeBroken. And in case you’re wondering what that refers to, it’s rules. They aim to show that former fashion faux pas like socks and sandals are no longer representative of our new generation.
We wear what we want, when we want – and we make it look damn good too.
Of course, no online-to-mainline store would be able to complete its transition without bringing some smart tech along with it. In SHOES.COM’s case it’s their AI-powered shopping tool called the Smart Shopper.
Essentially, you hop up on one of those barstools and use one of their computer’s to search through SHOES.COM for a new pair of kicks. The difference here is that you’ll do so visually. Rather than scrolling through thousands of shoes you don’t want to see, with every click (see: choice) you make on the image of a pair of shoes, the program instantly delivers new choices that better represent your style. This continues until you’ve found your next perfect pair.
Warning: whether in the new store or online, it will only take you seconds to do so.