Walk This Way
I frequently use the saying, “It’s all about the shoes.” Ken Morgan, founder of Morgan’s Shoes, would politely disagree with that, and for good reason. It’s about the shoes and the customer service at Morgan’s—and for both of those reasons Madison Magazine readers voted them gold in this year’s Best of Madison awards.
Fresh out of college in the sixties Morgan had been working at a Youthful Shoes location on State Street and after a few unsuccessful stints in accounting and door-to-door sales he decided to go back to what he loved: selling shoes.
Morgan has owned the current Hilldale Mall location since 1983 and he is, shall we say, a spry older man with an infectious smile and enthusiasm to spare. With a firm handshake he explains his business tenets: making the customer feel important and empowering his employees. He’s always ready with small-business-owner wisdom, which, not coincidentally, still rings true in our modern world.
“Our staff loves what they do and they like helping people. They’re a little like teachers. And nothing happens until you make a friend with the customer!” says Morgan.
Morgan’s has six board-certified pedorthists—something less than two percent of shoe stores have nationwide. Not only can they help solve ongoing issues like lower-back and foot pain, but CEO Jeff Langner also collaborates with shoe companies to make the kicks more comfortable, functional and healthy. But rest assured, just because the shoes are comfy doesn’t mean they’re not chic: I spotted wedges, prints like snakeskin and plaid, and materials like patent leather.
Speaking with Morgan and Langner is like talking with old friends—wise old friends. “The crux of our business is the bond we have with our customers,” says Morgan. “And to see the result of any great idea you have to have a trained staff. To have a customer come back in and thank you—it’s like a job well done.”
Price range: $20–$400+
Owner’s Picks: Naut “Flirt” wedge (Langner works with Naut on their product lines), $149; Finn Comfort “Jamaica” women’s sandal, $215; MBT fitness footwear, $250; Pedag “holiday” insoles, $40.
Editor’s Picks: Sanita zebra clog, $145; Munro “Brenna Multi Snake” sandals, $183; Pierre Dumas rain boot, $60; Ugg “Elsey” wedge boot, $310.
Verdict: Much like the shops of the past where a family name lent a homey feeling to the place and stellar customer service was habitual, walking into Morgan’s imparts much of that same specialness to your shopping trip.
• Morgan’s Shoes, 702 N. Midvale Blvd. 238-3509. morgansshoes.com
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Shayna Miller is associate and style editor of Madison Magazine.