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Over the past few years, Naturalizer—a name that once conjured up images of orthopedic granny shoes—has arrived on the modern fashion scene. A subsidiary of the Brown Shoe Company (which also operates Stride Rite, Dr. Scholl’s, Etienne Aigner, and Via Spiga), Naturalizer has been around since the early 1930s, but only recently broke out of the strictly sensible shoe market to hone a more youthful guise. Today’s Naturalizer still shoots for comfort in its women’s shoes, but the powers-that-be have since prioritized the aesthetic side of design, adding stylish details like stitching, buckles, and, above all else, height. In their recently remodeled Lexington Avenue branch, the store flaunts a contemporary, even organic look—high ceilings, wood floors, a live tree in the center—that creates a calming spot in the bustling jungle of midtown. The clientele, whose average age has dropped from geriatric to young professional, can now choose among styles such as faux leopard spiked heels and lace-up oxfords. The chain also sells a wide selection of leather boots, in styles suitable for a night of strutting around town or simply navigating the slushy winter streets.Sales
Discounted end-of-season styles can usually be found in the back of the store.