When it comes to the Chicago shoe market, the name Lori’s definitely precedes itself. Last Friday I asked my boss if she’d ever heard of the Lincoln Park boutique and her only response was, “Honey, I’ve lived here all my life.” With a cutesy tag line like “The Sole of Chicago,” and an amazing shoe collection, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve found your actual soul every time you visit Lori’s.
The 25-year-old shoe haven—or rather, heaven—is the brainchild of Lori Andre, whose two passions in life are cooking and shoes. Shortly after graduating from college, Andre decided to make one of her passions her life’s work. And personally, I’m glad she picked the latter.
Andre, who travels to Italy twice a year to snag European exclusives, is always looking out for the Lori’s customer. In an industry that’s commonly associated with pretension, the staff at Lori’s is refreshingly humble and helpful. “If we’re happy, then hopefully the customers will be happy,” says Corree Hamilton, merchandise manager.
Watching the staff prepare for a day’s work is like watching a kid in a candy store, or your girlfriends at a sample shoe sale—it’s pure joy. Their enthusiasm for fabulous footwear is apparent each time they arrange a display or occasionally slip on that “perfect” shoe for a test run.
Aside from wonderful workers, Lori’s got the goods. And let me tell you—it’s good. From Jeffrey Campbell and Matisse to Sam Edelman and Janet & Janet, it’s easy to see why Lori’s is a staple in the Chicago shoe market. I was particularly in awe of a pair of Pour la Victoire‘s I saw while strolling through the store. As I held them in my hand, I briefly contemplated quitting my job as journalist just so I could be on staff at Lori’s, and ultimately near those Pour la Victoire‘s.
If you live in the Chicagoland area, Lori’s has four other locations: Northfield, Highland Park, Hinsdale and Naperville. But if you don’t, please don’t cry. Tears are unbecoming. Plus, Lori’s took the brand online with a store and blog, shipping all over the world from South Africa to Japan. The shop recently saw an uptick in German orders after being featured in the German shopping magazine Petra. Sounds like everyone wants to be in Lori’s shoes.