“Give a girl a great pair of shoes and she can conquer the world,” said the late Marilyn Monroe.
While I agree that fabulous footwear can elevate one’s sense of self worth in addition to their stature, they can also be a hindrance – especially when you’re chasing two young children around a playground or Costco.
My closet is filled with sky-high stiletto’s I barely wear and faux-leather boots that, albeit cute and ‘cheap,’ began to deteriorate after just one West Coast rainy season.
I love my trusty old Converse kicks, but have to admit that I’ve missed parading around in ‘real shoes.’
However, I’ve been hesitant to go shoe shopping lately. I guess you can say I’ve been feeling ‘de-feeted’ by the footwear options out there.
And let’s face it; once you become a mom, the days of running around in uncomfortable, costly shoes are over – unless you’re one of the Real Housewives of Vancouver, which I’m clearly not.
So, what’s a mom to do?
The 100% Canadian owned and operated business is a retailer, manufacturer and designer of comfort shoes for work, walking and, yes, weekends too.
While the chain has always been synonoumous with comfort, I always wondered about the fashion-factor. Is it possible to find the perfect pair of shoes or boots that seamlessly blends style and sensibility?
When Ronson’s owner, Tony Aronson, invited me to his downtown Granville location (Ronsons with a RACK at the back) to learn about the company and pick out a couple pair of shoes, I was a little hesitant to be totally honest.
“That’s more of my mom’s kind of place – what happens if I don’t find a pair I like?” I asked the hubs just hours before heading downtown with my own mom, Molly and Zoe.
Stepping inside the store, all worries went out the window. I was in retail Heaven.
Right away, several pairs caught my attention. I felt just like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, minus the whole call girl bit.
“Ooh, do you have those in a size 8.5?” I asked one of the sales associates, pointing to a gorgeous pair of black leather boots with a slight wedge heel.
The boots, which were marked down to $99 from $200, fit like a glove and felt as light-weight and comfortable as my trusty old sneakers.
As for style, they were everything I was looking for and more. I can’t wait to rock them with some skinny jeans and sweaters this fall, I thought to myself while looking in the mirror.
I also spied a pair of brown mid-shaft boots leather boots with a chunky high heel and side buckle that were also on sale for $99, down from $199.95.
“Those don’t look very comfortable,” warned my mom.
“Ha!” I said as I paraded through the store. I managed to prove her and my preconceived notions fashion wrong – they looked and felt fabulous on my feet.
In the midst of my impromptu fashion show, Tony Aronson, the owner of the B.C-based business arrived in the store for our meet-up.
I’m not quite sure what I was expecting –perhaps a stuffy suit type. Tony was the polar opposite.
Sporting sandals, wavy shoulder-length hair and a friendly smile, he’s as West Coast as his successful family-based shoe empire.
Tony gave me the lowdown on his thriving footwear company, which he started with his father back in 1988.
“We opened our first store in Kerrisdale 28 years ago,” said the self-made entrepreneur, who was named ‘Canadian Shoe Person of the Year’ for 2012-2013.
“We build the concept from scratch. After just six months, we opened our second store and then a new store every year following that.”
To date, there are 17 Ronsons across B.C – four of which are here in the Fraser Valley.
Despite the selection of fashion-forward footwear, which I discovered myself, Tony is on a mission to debunk the chain’s reputation with younger shoppers.
“A lot of people think that comfortable is ugly – we’re very cognizant of that, but have proved a lot of people wrong over the years,” he said.
“Yes, we have the traditional comfort sandals, but you’ll also find a lot of heels, pointy-toe shoes, patterns and bling.”
And while it’s the quality, comfort factor, fair pricing and fashionable selection that brings people into his stores, the exceptional service experience is what makes each one a life-long-customer, he notes.
“We put so much emphasis on our staff – they really are the best, and many have been with us for so long.”
While my visit to Ronson’s was my first, it certainly won’t be my last.
However, considering the high quality of my new boots, I don’t think I’ll need to anytime soon. But then again, a girl can never have too many shoes. Right ladies?
ValleyMom.ca is thrilled to partner with Ronsons for one of our biggest giveaways yet. Here’s your chance to win 6 pairs of shoes or boots from Ronsons’ Downtown Granville store and two Spa Utopia: Pan Pacific Vancouver pedicures for yourself and whomever you choose to bring with you. How you split the shoes is up to you! Whether you want to keep three for yourself and give the other three to your shopping companion, or four for yourself and two for your friend – you get to decide. To enter, simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below. You must be 18+ to enter and a resident of Canada.