The Sole of a City

The Sole of a City

414 State St., 255-2522

If a shop can embody the very footprint of Madison, Madison Sole fits downtown like an old shoe—in the best possible way. You won’t find spiky stilettos or platform booties here. Instead you’ll discover popular and trendy kicks from Uggs, Vibram, Birkenstock, Minnetonka, Sperry Top-Sider and Hunter. Think fringed moccasins, leopard boat shoes and metallic sandals. They’re shoes you can live life in—not wobble precariously in.

“Anyone who visits Madison visits State Street,” says Brenda Baril, general manager and buyer at Madison Sole. “We have a casual kind of vibe and Madison Sole fits that. We carry iconic brands—and I think that fits [our] customer.”

Baril has extensive experience buying for the Madison shopper—she’s been with Cornblooms, Madison Sole’s sister store in Hilldale since 1999, and has managed and bought for Madison Sole since 2002. Her keen eye homes in on a varied selection of classic silhouettes, like leather riding boots and comfy, simple sandals, but adds in just the right mix of sass with pops of color and embellishments.

“Madison Sole is a casual place—it’s the customer who likes walking and being downtown. We’re very focused on that comfortable, yet up-to-date lifestyle,” adds Baril.

For your perfect pair, check out this warm and welcoming, earthy yet stylish store—it’s a peek into Madison’s very “sole.”

Clockwise from top left:

Baril can name all of the exciting shoe trends for every season—and she interprets them in her buying to fit Madison Sole’s customer.

“Sperry Top-Sider is such a fantastic brand that appeals to so many people,” says Baril. This spring look for the classic boat shoe is updated in exciting combos like pewter with silver glitter. $80–$85

Madison Sole’s not just about shoes: The entire back wall of the store is occupied by a riot of Vera Bradley handbags, weekenders, totes, pouches and cosmetic cases in the line’s signature colorful prints. $5–$200

Golite’s trail shoes come in a delightful array of colors, from salmon to lilac. Wear ’em for walking and hiking. $100

These Eric Christian “Cody” sandals are made for casual Friday or weekend wear. With a slight wedge and in springy colors, they’ll step up any warm-weather look. $98

For comfort (and style!) seekers, Madison Sole carries a selection of Dansko and Troentorp clogs, as well as Off the Beaten Track’s ballerina flats. $99–$135

For everyone from the fashion set to the royals, Hunter boots are a must. In Madison, the only places you can find this Scottish brand are Madison Sole and Cornblooms. $115–$175

Contact Shayna Mace at