Young and Tae: Luxury Shoes Without The Luxury Price?

You get to a point in life where uncomfortable shoes are not an option. I’m not alone in this. The quest for cute-yet-comfortable shoes is a common topic now in my friend circle. Apparently, this is the first of many blatantly obvious examples of getting older:) But I digress.

I’m all for the sale rack at Nine West and the 2 for 1 deals at Town Shoes. But I invariably know that the shoe I try on in the store may not be my forever shoes.  Nine West and I have come to this agreement-I love their heels but my feet hate them. So where do you go to find cute shoes, that fit well and don’t cost a bundle?

Young & Tae. That’s where.

A few weeks ago I was walking along Queen West in desperate (and I repeat desperate) need of red flats. I went into the usual suspects, Heel Boy and Scarpino but I didn’t find anything. I had passed Young & Tae many times (it’s been on Queen for 2 years now) but I had never gone in. Mainly because the store window says custom made shoes-and I assumed those were not going to be cheap!

But I was desperate. So I walked into Young & Tae (630A Queen Street West) and rudely asked the sales girl if I could buy what was in the store. Or, did I need to order everything? I was totally a jerk because at this point, my hunt for the red flat had turned up empty and I was flustered. In a calm manner, she explained to me that not only were the shoes in the store for sale, but I could custom order any shoe in there, in any material, and adjust the heel height or shoe width as needed.

That didn’t sound too bad but I still didn’t know how much these were. Bracing for the worst I flipped over a pair of sandals on sale and they were…$30! WHAT (insert dramatic pause here)

I scanned the store only to find a pair of cute red flats. I flipped them over and not on sale they were $80. Let me clear that these shoes are fully made of leather, with a leather sole and a leather tiny block heel. They looked like really expensive shoes.

Red flats
See-they look like expensive shoes!

As it turns out in 1979, Young & Tae were starting out in Canada. They manufactured shoes out of Korea for some of the top brand names we buy now. Fast forward 40 years and their daughter and her new husband decided to open their own store, with their parents name on it. After all-they knew the trade, they had the connections, and even better -with such a long family lineage of business, they could offer what other couldn’t. Custom made shoes at a ready to wear price.

I bought 2 pairs that day because I wanted to see how they wore. The $30 pair of sandals I wore all over Cincinnati for a weekend they were awesome. The flats, I wore around for a day of meetings. They were great. I’ve told everyone I know about this place. I’m totally hooked. Affordable, stylish, custom made shoes-who knew?

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