DoNorth

Find Shoes for Your Visit North

Editor’s note: Plattsburgh’s Urban Soles is now closed. It closed in June 2014. The other two stores remain open. “Where’d you get those?” is an eternal question for shoe-crazy shoppers. The Adirondack Coast region has answers. Stop in Plattsburgh’s Urban Soles for a small-town feel. For visiting hikers, try Vermont’s Outdoor Gear Exchange. Dancers, float to Montreal’s Pretty Ballerinas for some ethically sourced ballerina shoes. With so many options, you will find the right deal for your heel. Looking for something stylish yet comfortable? Make your first stop Urban Soles, Plattsburgh’s first locally owned and operated shoe store. Located downtown…

Editor’s note: Plattsburgh’s Urban Soles is now closed. It closed in June 2014. The other two stores remain open.

“Where’d you get those?” is an eternal question for shoe-crazy shoppers. The Adirondack Coast region has answers. Stop in Plattsburgh’s Urban Soles for a small-town feel. For visiting hikers, try Vermont’s Outdoor Gear Exchange. Dancers, float to Montreal’s Pretty Ballerinas for some ethically sourced ballerina shoes. With so many options, you will find the right deal for your heel.

Looking for something stylish yet comfortable? Make your first stop Urban Soles, Plattsburgh’s first locally owned and operated shoe store. Located downtown on 33 Durkee St., Urban Soles carries brands ranging from Camper and Jamba to Franco Sarto and Patagonia. Owners Deb Cleary and Dan Albert opened the shoe store in August 2012 with the philosophy: “Quality over quantity.”

The pairs of $50-to-$300 shoes arranged on shelves and tables can intimidate even the most avid shoe lover. “Being helpful is a must,” says shoe specialist Meghan Senecal. The store has a walk-in closet atmosphere. Walls glow an autumn orange, adorned with framed black-and-white photos. Store items include Sperry’s, wedges, infinity scarves, leather protectors and men’s belts. Senecal says, “The products they carry, you won’t find anywhere else in the area.”

Outdoor Gear Exchange, located in groovy Burlington, Vt., caters to tourists who seek the thrill of New York’s Adirondack Mountains and Vermont’s Green Mountains. Church Street’s 16-year-old store has developed a wide selection of boots and apparel for all types of outdoor activities: camping, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, and skiing.

Outdoor adventurers can find an extensive collection of socks suitable for any weather condition. Jared Hoffman, an avid skier says, “Whenever I plan on hitting the slopes and need a few things, I make the trip to Gear.”

Outdoor Gear Exchange also holds a consignment department where customers recycle unwanted items, says Joe Mula, the store’s assistant manager for online sales. Donors receive 75 percent in-store credit or 65 percent in cash or check. Thrifters add to their collections.

Traveling with a canine friend? Don’t worry about leaving him or her behind. Outdoor Gear Exchange welcomes dogs in the shop – so long as they are leashed. Customers’ pawed pals can mingle with the shop’s yellow labs Cannon and Pika, Australian shepherds Abbey and Maggie, and the mixed breeds Ember and Chesney.

Though the website receives orders from all over the world, only in-store customers experience the cluster of dogs and one-of-a-kind used items.

Pretty Ballerinas, sitting only 70 miles north of the Plattsburgh International Airport, in Montreal, specializes in ballet shoes. The European boutique began its journey in 2007 and added North American boutiques in 2009. Most of the shoe collections vary from $215 to $275. Pretty Ballerinas does, however, carry a few basic pairs at $190, as well as a special edition collection at $325-plus that features Swarovski crystals.

A whiff of fresh floral arrangements and calm music welcomes customers in the Montreal boutique. Friendly employees like Willamina Martire help customers find the perfect, pretty shoe. “This gives us a chance to get to know our customers and build friendships in a relaxed environment where you can feel at home when you walk in,” says public relations assistant Lorraine Aupry.

Pretty Ballerinas holds the only Pretty Loafers collection. This shoe assortment offers camouflage printed loafers, suede tasseled loafers, and the simple black loafer. The other floor-to-ceiling shoe racks include lace-up ballerina flats, standard flats and Wellington boots by Barbour. The shoes are shaped for comfort and durability, so outdoorsy tourists can enjoy their nature walks in style. “The bootie collection is currently the biggest trend in Europe,” Aupry says.

Pretty Ballerina customers can follow in the steps of Kate Moss and Angelina Jolie and enjoy their northern voyage in celebrity fashion.

Issue 2: Winter/Spring 2014

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