American footwear brand Steve Madden has shut the only store location for its multi brand concept store SHOO by Steve Madden that it launched in October of 2015 at CF Toronto Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto. Plans had been in place for the concept to expand with multiple locations and that never materialized.
The SHOO-branded store in the mall featured a range of footwear brands owned by Steve Madden including the Steve Madden brand, Dolce Vita, Betsey Johnson, Blondo, GREATS, BB Dakota, and Mad Love. When it opened, brands Freebird and Brian Atwood were also present in the store.
When we first reported on SHOO over seven years ago, the retailer said that it was set to expand further into the Canadian market starting in 2016 with storefronts spanning 2,200 to 2,600 square feet — larger than the CF Toronto Eaton Centre location which was 1,667 square feet according to a mall lease plan. Steve Madden had retained a brokerage in Canada for the expansion though future locations for SHOO were never secured.
Analysts at the time that the store opened praised the new concept store which aimed to build brand awareness for Madden’s sub-brands. Things were different at the time — Toronto-based Town Shoes was in operation (it shut down in 2018), and DSW Shoes was getting established in Canada and it is now said to be struggling. Other footwear retailers such as Shoes.com had entered the market at the time and have since shuttered, and even iconic shoe brand Aldo obtained bankruptcy protection during the pandemic to the surprise of many.
Footwear preferences have changed since the pandemic, and even before the pandemic more causal styles were seen on runways by big designers. Steve Madden’s brands appeared to include dressier styles of footwear at a time when sneakers have become increasingly popular. Thus brands such as Nike continue to open stores in Canada to expand distribution.