With the rows and rows of sale rales outside, Edwards of Manchester gives the first impression of being a cheap, uninteresting shoe shop.
Actually, they're quite the opposite. Inside you'll find an incredible range of sensible brogues for both ladies and men. It's all about quality here and the prices reflect that. You'll struggle to get a pair of shoes in Edwards under £80 that aren't in the sale.
I came in here to try on some sensible boots and the sales assistant downstairs in the men's section was really friendly and really quite helpful and chatty, without being very pushy.
Edwards is serious about selling great quality shoes and providing great quality service. An excellent shop.
Well hello there all you dapper dandies and fine fillies. Yah, I'm talking to you, dahlings. When one is searching for that fine piece of leather in which to cushion one's foot, where, pray tell, does one totter off to? Well, dock your hat and curtsey, my dears, because you have found the very place.
I don't mean to posh up Edwards. It's just so easy to do so because the shop sells Barkers and Churches. If this means nothing to you, it meant nothing to me too before I worked in a designer shoe shop and realised that these were shoes men got excited about. And I started to get excited about it, because these shoes were ridiculously expensive, which meant my commission would be higher. I once sold a pair of Churches and two pairs of Barkers to some insanely rich German guy and ended up making about £6 commission in one transaction. Hey, it may not sound a lot but if you're in the horrifically underpaid world of retail, it makes all the difference.
We often directed our male customers to Edwards if we didn't have Barkers or Churches in their size. Which pained us, because, y'know, the commission. I'd have practically forced the guys' feet into the shoes and fluttered my eyelashes all the while to prevent them from going elsewhere. But Edwards is the perfect shop for that stretch of Deansgate I'm always on about, with Barton Arcade and all the cute little boho and designer type shops. It fits very well. And it's attractive too, they've made excellent use of the architecture and kept the decor very traditional, so that when the customer's in there, it takes them back to a simpler time when one received personal, bespoke service when visiting a shoe shop. The staff know their clientele are usually pretty affluent, and as such treat them with respect and kindness.
In terms of the other shoes, there are Bass loafers on offer, traditional-looking Borgioli spats, Brasher and Rockport walking boots, Cheaney (fairly similar to Churches), Loakes, Trickers and many more. For the ladies Edwards has handbags to die for as well as Bournes (I have a pair of those in leopard print - they're my favourite going-out shoes) and trusted, hardwearing soft leather brands like Gabor, Van Dal and Hogl. Sales often mean shoes going down to half price or less, so if you're after something special that you won't have to get rid of because of chipped heels or scuffed toes next Christmas, head into Edwards and feel like a prince or princess. Your feet will thank you for it.
Edwards clearly caters to those shoe lovers who only want the finest materials and craftmanship. And who are willing to pay the price. You are looking at upwards of £60 for a pair here and more likely a couple of hundred pounds.
Get some stylish Church's brogues (mens but women can wear them too) as featured in almost every fashion magazine over the past few months and much more practical for autum/ winter.
Edwards' charming little shop in the Barton Arcade and facing out to Deansgate also stocks plenty of other premium (primarily leather) brands like Crockett & Jones, Rockport and Calvin Klein.
A great little stop for work shoes or investment pieces.
It's not all about fashion you know. Sometimes it's all about quality and comfort and not getting bunions or corns.
If you're a 'gentleman', buying a pair of shoes from Edwards is like buying yourself a timeless rain mac. They've got classic dress shoes, brogues, boots and patents from some of the most esteemed shoe-makers there are including Borgioli, Harris and Edwards themselves. Whether it's crocodile skin, stingray or ostrich leather, what your feet desire Edwards can deliver.
As far as the ladies' shoes go, a lot of the styles just aren't my thing (for me they cater to a slightly more mature age bracket) and I know I can find good quality shoes on the high street, but the quality however, is still top notch.
One, if not the, oldest retailers in Manchester, this shop has been operating for nearly two hundred years. Remarkable really considering some of the shops which come and go with such pace you forget their existence a month or two after the close. This store is the higher end of footwear. Price start steep (£70-£80) and continue into the thousands, which I presumed only occurred in the female shoe world. The higher end shoes are bespoken and as such you could be waiting some time for them to be crafted to your specifications. Clarks this ain't. Top range shoe designers are all represented here and if you were to pay vast amounts on your shoes, it's heartening to know they run a repair and refurbish service (at nearly two thousands pounds for a pair of shoes I'd want to know they would last me a lifetime at the very least!).
Even if you don't particularly want a pair of shoes from here (given the prices it's hardly surprising) it's worth just popping in and having a chat with the proprietor about this church to quality shoe wear. You never know, a fine pair of shoes for that upcoming wedding/special occasion might just catch your eye.
I visited Edwards shoes today and found the store to be unwelcoming. I saw 3 sales people. One guy downstairs and 2 upstairs and not a hello or offer of help or anything! I was not dressed in my Sunday best, but I can afford to buy good shoes. Their loss. Their prices are not even competitive anyway. I'm peeved as I don't know Manchester so I went out of my way to find the shop and was treated worse than a ham sandwich at a Jewish wedding.
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