Guest Post: Grey Fox ‘The Lost Art of Selling Shoes’

David Evans is a menswear writer and the author behind Grey Fox, a fashion and style blog offering sartorial guidance to men over 40. Like most men, until recently David’s shoe buying habits have been fairly hit-and-miss. However, a recent chat with Tony Ryan, manager of our shop in Piccadilly, has shown him a different path.

Buying shoes is easy: you just buy online or nip into the department store and try on a few until you find some that look good and even may fit. That just about describes my shoe buying habits until I was recently invited to the Loake store in Princes Arcade off Piccadilly in London. Soon after meeting the manager, Tony Ryan, I realised that there is much more to buying a good pair of shoes.

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The knowledge of the store staff of shoe construction is unequalled and this is an important factor in selecting the shoes you want, matching them to purpose and to your foot size and shape. The many models of Loake shoe are constructed around different lasts, each of which best fits certain customers. Tony and his staff will find out what you require from your shoes and measure and fit them with care. It’s best to wear your new shoes at home on carpets for a while to ensure comfort. Loake will take back shoes that don’t fit well, as long as they are in as new condition.

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And the Loake service extends to more than simply selecting shoes on the basis of fit and comfort. I was impressed that Tony was prepared to discuss the colours and outfits you might want to wear them with. He will even direct customers wanting to buy a complete outfit to tailors and retailers whose products will fit with the type, colour and construction of the new shoes and will suggest suitable styling. This deep knowledge and understanding of menswear takes the service way beyond a mere shoe fitting.

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With Tony’s patient help, I selected a pair of made in England burgundy Loake Perth plain derbies in soft and comfortable leather with Goodyear welted double leather soles. Unsurprisingly, Tony and his staff see many loyal customers returning to their shop. To see a Google tour of the shop, click here. For more on Loake, their shoes and suppliers, see their website here.

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