Image Credit: Dona Cherian/Gulf News

Today we tackle shoes. Branded shoes are of course a good investment, especially sports shoes or workout shoes.  For everything else, I feel that a good-looking and comfortable shoe can do the job just as well as any branded pair.

And having flat feet myself make it impossible for my shoes to hold any shape after 2 months – branded or not. I would much rather spend Dh35 on a pair that’s going to look good for a month or two, than Dh300 on a pair that I wouldn’t want to wear after three months.

Here are my top five, tried and tested, outlets to get really cool shoes without any regrets whatsoever.

1. Greenhouse 

Situated right next to City centre, Greenhouse is almost as crowded. The upper floor is a minefield of clothes, shoes and bags for both men and women. Entire baskets of shoes await you girls with price tags of Dh15, Dh20 and Dh30 while men can find trendy sneakers for as less as Dh13 (I am not joking, my dad got one in November last year and still wears it)

Location Near City Centre Deira

2. Shoes4Us

I have seen only one store of this brand but there may be more in other malls. I found the coolest ankle boots (heeled) and guess how much they were for – Dh30! With a sticky strap and a chocolate brown colour, it looked great and felt comfortable. There are flats, heeled sandals and shoes available in a similar range as well. The staff are also very helpful and friendly – giving you suggestions and ensuring that you try everything out.

Location City Centre Shindagha

3. Ansar Gallery

A few minutes away from the metro station, this one is also not hard to get to and is bigger than Greenhouse with more products on display. 

The store has at least seven to eight aisles with just footwear, for men, women and children. From slender peep toes and pretty ballerina flats to printed sneakers and sports shoes, you won’t lack for choice here. I love a pair of polished-gold coloured flats I got from here for Dh30, which I paired with a clutch box of the exact same colour for Dh39.

Location Al Fahidi (Exit 3 of the metro station)

4. Mercato

Nope, not the mall on JBR but the countless yellow themed “1 to 10” stores found mostly in Bur Dubai and Deira. While you can’t get shoes from Dh1 to Dh10 here, you can find flats and sandals for Dh20 onwards. Boys can find loafers, sneakers and shoes for less than Dh35 as well. I go crazy in a Mercato store every single time, and trust me I am not a shopping fanatic – it’s just that you can find the cutest stuff here without the need to step out at all.

Location Multiple (Our favourite is the one near Burjuman Mall)

5. Max

Max is definitely not the first place to run to for bargain shoes but does count as a great alternative if you are tired of looking through all of the stores mentioned above. There is always some kind of sale happening and again, take your time looking through the entire footwear section.

Find loafers for Dh30-35 or comfortable walking sandals for Dh35. Looking for the cutest, tiniest baby shower gifts or birthday gifts? There is an entire baby stand devoted to all kinds of shoes, except that they are all miniature (a pair will fit in your palm) and cost Dh15 onwards.

Location Multiple

Other suggestions

Al Manama Hypermarket in Bur Dubai where you can find comfortable and trendy printed flats for Dh35 or less. Another one is Forever 21 – while most of the time you may not find shoes that are great looking at this budget here, winter sale is a great time to bag some good deals. For example, the boots below, I got for Dh30 in October last year - and still going strong.

I have heard countless shoppers say, you find the best stuff when you aren’t looking for them. The most important thing when you step into these kind of stores is (a) take a LOT of time and (b) be prepared to find a great shoe even if it’s not the kind you wanted when you started shopping.