Yodeling pickles, nerd glasses, and other kitsch are as much a part of the Heavenly Soles experience as its shoe selection. There’s what you’d expect from this edgy, urban store—functional Palladium flats, comfy rubber-soled Campers, and chunky vegetarian shoes—but there’s also an unexpected collection of more refined, fashion-forward pairs, like funky Frye pumps and grown-up schoolgirl styles from Miz Mooz. After perusing this eclectic mix, get a laugh from the store’s avant-garde greeting cards in back.
615 Lake St., Minneapolis, 612-822-2169
Pumpz & Company
Responding to shoppers’ cries for a fashionable shoe store, Galleria’s former leasing manager, Marlys Badzin, opened this glossy boutique. The shop’s loyal clientele clamor for Tory Burch flats, appreciate emerging European labels, and stop by often to socialize with the seasoned sales staff. Pumpz differentiates itself from the Cities’ high-end department stores by touting exclusives like Hogan, a brand known for its comfy yet chic shoes and handbags, and by hosting meet-and-greet trunk shows with sought-after designers.
Galleria, Edina, 952-926-2252
La Rue Marché
Forget the Packers’ game plan. The best-kept secret in Wisconsin just might be La Rue Marché’s shoe selection. Girly, flirty, and unlikely to be spotted on shelves this side of the border, these are the shoes of your dreams. That is, if you dream that every outfit in your closet looks sophisticated in that Parisian way. Bejeweled flats or candy-colored Mary Janes (usually for under $100, to boot) will do that. If you’re the type who buys the shoes before the outfit, pair the pumps with one of the boutique’s boho-chic dresses or ruffled blouses.
513 Second St., Hudson, Wisconsin, 715-386-1969
It’s no surprise that a shoemaker co-founded this handsome retailer, whose footwear department has kept entire families well-hoofed for more than a century. Minnesotans and tourists alike flock to the Mall of America store, which carries a staggering 350 brands for men, women, and children. From Converse to Jimmy Choo, there’s a pair (or 10) for everyone—including those with hard-to-fit feet, thanks to Nordstrom’s unparalleled range of sizes and widths. The helpful sales staff belongs to a dying breed among retailers.
Mall of America, Bloomington, 952-883-2121
Although you don’t have to be a professional athlete or a hip-hop star to shop at Status, the store’s well-known regulars definitely add to its cool quotient. Dedicated to street wear–style men and women’s sneakers, Status sells Nike, Reebok, and Puma—but not the sporting-goods store variety. These are often limited-edition, produced in small batches using deluxe materials such as faux pony hair or metallic leather, and special detailing such as graffiti. Every pair gets its own well-lit space on the gallery shelf—like a work of art.
1203 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis, 612-824-3100