This shoe shop is secret gem in Sheffield’s shopping scene
Tucked away above the cobblers is one of the city's best kept secrets – a shop shop with a quaint and charming 1940s vibe.
But it's time the secret got out.
The Secret Shoebox, above Cobblers and Keys on West Street, is headed by shoe fanatic Glen Hardy.
Walking up the windy staircase of the business, which is run by Nick Clark, you do not expect what greets you at the top – rows of beautiful shoes, the smell of leather and original 1940s decor.
Playing quietly in the background is a classical soundtrack of songs which are currently in the charts, inviting you browse at your leisure. It’s a quirky and unique touch that sums up the shop.
“Most people react with surprise when they come up here,” Glen told me.
“They don't expect this to be here, especially because there aren’t any other places in the city centre who sell these quality shoes in the way that we do.”
The quality shoes that Glen refers to are from Loake and Barker, two top end brands. Customers can pay £135 to £275 for a pair of shoes, but the quality they are getting is clear. Each shoe is handmade carefully by skilled craftsman and then sent to the shop.
Glen added: “Unlike major high street chains we have access to the full collection in both brands. We only have a limited space here in the shop, but we have the catalogues so if customers see something they want I can order it for them and, as they are British brands, the order will be here in a matter of days.”
Glen also offers customers a loyalty card, which enables them to get 10 per cent off their purchases, and also get a seventh pair of shoes for free. Star readers can get an exclusive 15 per cent discount if they mention that they have read this article when making a purchase.
He said: “It’s important to look after the customer. I’m honest and genuine and I want people to get the right shoes for them. This is a lot of money, but if they buy the right pair they can last for years.
“If a shoe isn’t right for a customer, because it doesn’t fit or it’s not the right style to suit them, I’d rather tell them than make a sale. I have a great passion for shoes and I want people to really enjoy the shoes they buy from me.”
Glen is something of a shoe expert, I came to realise as I sat and chatted with him. He can identify all of the shoes on display by their name.
He laughed as told me: “My wife will tell me which pair of shoes she is going to be wearing for the evening by the name of them and I will know which ones she means!”
The Secret Shoebox can be found at 145 West Street, in the city centre. The store stocks mainly men's shoes, but also now has a range of women’s shoes. In stock are classic styles, such as Oxfords and Brogues, but there are also seasonal shoes, including suede shoes and moccasins for Spring.