From 1992 throughout the 2000s, this Irish chain had a store on Dublin’s Grafton Street, before the astronomical rents for retail space forced them out. (In 2013, Grafton Street was the 23rd most expensive main shopping street in the world, down from number five in 2008.) Faithful shoppers didn’t have to fret, though – their other Dublin stores remained, as did their shop in Cork city. Korky’s pride themselves on their originality, approaching the business of retail with what they perceive to be a little more creative flair than the bigger shoe chains. Their stock is accordingly stylish, counting brands like Rocket Dog, Puma and Vans.
Korky’s Shoes, 4 Henry St, Dublin 1, Ireland, +353 1 873 1359
Recognised for their comfort and quality, Clarks is one of the UK’s biggest and best-loved shoe brands. It was founded in 1825 by two Quaker brothers, Cyrus and James Clark, in Somerset, England. Cyrus owned a tannery, and one day while working there, James thought of crafting a slipper out of the waste from the sheepskin rugs he had been making. This first Clarks shoe was a model for things to come: practical, comfortable and skilfully constructed. Their store on Grafton Street provides an array of sensible and fashionable options.
Clarks, 85-86 Grafton Street, Dublin 2, Ireland, + 353 1 671 1257
The hardworking family behind Camper have dedicated themselves to making shoes for four generations. In 1877, cobbler Antonio Flux travelled to England from Mallorca to learn about industrial manufacturing methods. Returning to the town of Inca, Mallorca – also known as the ‘city of leather’ – he, in turn, taught these methods to its skilled craftsmen. His son Lorenzo, born in a shoe factory, studied under his father and later passed that knowledge on to his own son – another Lorenzo – who established Camper in 1975. Today, their Dublin outlet offers an impressive edit of their well-made, high-quality footwear.
Camper, 10 Wicklow Street, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 707 1501
If you’re a fan of Adidas Originals, revamped classic Reeboks, limited-edition Converse All Stars or pretty much any other trendy kind of trainer, this is the store for you. The crowd-pleasing UK chain offers a wide selection of designer trainers, sportswear and accessories from their Wicklow Street store. Known for their helpful, achingly trendy staff and bumper post-Christmas sales, a trip here is inevitable for any self-respecting sneakerhead.
Size?, 26 Wicklow St, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 677 1637
Irish-owned Genius Clothing & Footwear has been trading in Dublin’s Creative Quarter since 1985. As their original city centre store in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre grew increasingly popular, the Kavanagh family decided to expand the business by adding a separate shoe shop on the nearby Exchequer Street. The team of two brothers and one sister who run Genius personally visit international fashion houses every year, selecting only the best items to bring home to their stores. Stocking brands like Sendra, G-Star and J Shoes, they cater to both men and women.
Genius Footwear, 14 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 611 1194
The Schuh chain stocks a broad variety of shoes for men, women and children. Their O’Connell Street branch is their main Dublin store and provides the most choice, from tiny Timberlands for kids up to gargantuan men’s Dr. Martens, and everything in between. They excel at customer service, readily offering to order in out-of-stock styles or sizes, and with the option to pay by card from the comfort of your try-on bench without going anywhere near a cash desk, buying shoes here is all too easy.
Schuh, 47-48 O’Connell Street, Dublin 1, Ireland, +353 1 531 4858
World-leading Danish footwear manufacturers ECCO opened a flagship store on Grafton Street in 2015 as part of a wider expansion throughout Ireland. The family-owned company is one of the few modern shoemakers that has not outsourced any stages of their process. Their team of designers still come up with the concepts, and these are executed in ECCO-owned factories using leather produced in their own tanneries. Trusted for their superior quality, the same ECCO tanneries supply leather to brands like Louis Vuitton, Alexander Wang and UGG.
ECCO, 47 Grafton Street, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 679 8714
First established by Tom Graham in 1969, Grahams Shoes is still independently owned and now has five stores across Ireland, in Dublin, Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary. As well as stocking a comprehensive range of ladies’ and men’s shoes, they are often cited as one of the best places in Dublin to get children’s footwear and are justifiably proud of the fact that some of the young customers they’ve had in the past have gone on to bring their own children here to be fit for their first pair of shoes.
Grahams Shoes, 22 Exchequer St, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 677 4645