One of the most popular brands amongst Heelistas like yourself is Steve Madden. Here is the Home Of Heels ULTIMATE Buying guide to the brand everyone loves. Heels, Boots, Shoes and bags… Here is everything you need to know in one page!
Steve Madden, the EveryGirl of the fashion industry.
It was born in Long Island City, Queens to its namesake, Steve Madden, who was inspired by the younger and trendier crowd. Designers like Betsey Johnson and Jill Stuart were inspired by their unique girly designs and often used them in their fashion shows. The company went public in 1993, and by 2008 it expanded into socks, belts, and accessories. Ultimately, the CEO of Steve Madden Inc, Steve Madden, was convicted of fraud in 2002 and resigned. He does carry on as the creative and design chief of the brand. Despite this blight on the company it continued to flourish and even won several awards for their designs, business strategy, and branding.
I remember my very first pair of Steve Madden shoes, which coincidentally were also the first pair of heels I’ve ever walked in. They were gorgeous, shiny patent leather, spike heel pumps that I stole from my sister’s closet. I was a young teen, and wasn’t allowed to wear heels but my outfit absolutely needed them. it. My friends and I were going to the mall, and of course I had to look super cute. I carefully packed them away in my bag, wore flats in the car, and quickly slipped on my borrowed Maddens when my mom drove off. It was the perfect night, and I got so many compliments in them that I swore they were destined to be mine forever. Of course my sister found out I borrowed her shoes, and made me pay her back for them since they obviously were meant for me. I kept them for a long time, and got them resoled twice. When they finally gave out for real, I made sure that I at least had one pair of black patent leather Steve Madden shoes in my closet at all times. Since then my heel collection has expanded, as have my tastes in a great pair of shoes. However, Steve Madden has always, and will always, have a place in my home.
Steve Madden boasts a wide array of styles so that it can encompass any type of girl: from classic to edgy, from boho to preppy. Steve Madden isn’t too trendy either, so you’ll end up keeping the shoes for the entirety of their lifespan.
Sizing and Tips
The Steve Madden site is an honest treasure, because it’s easy to navigate. It’s got a couple of pages that tell s you how their shoes fit, which size to choose that’s best suited for you, and how to care for them. If you don’t quite know how to size your foot, then what you need to do is to take a piece of construction paper, and mark the place where your big toe and heel are. To get the most accurate reading you’ll need to do this in the middle of the day, since your feet tend to swell as the day goes on. If you usually wear stockings or socks with your shoes, then you need to wear them when you take your measurements. Make sure you measure both feet, take the larger of the two, and compare them to this chart. Don’t worry, it comes in both centimeters and inches so you don’t need to convert anything. If you find yourself between sizes, always size up. The chart comes with a disclaimer at the bottom saying that while they try to keep consistency within the brand there are discrepancies where some shoes run small and others run large. Personally, I tend to size up half a size if they’re heels, and the rest of the shoes stay true to size.
How to Walk in Steve Madden Heels
Walking in Steve Madden heels is typically pretty easy compared to walking in other heels.
Most of their shoes are made with leather soles, so that with time they’ll mold to the shape of your feet. It’s the best fit you will ever get, and it’s only surpassed by getting custom made shoes. If you find yourself slipping and sliding on the ground, then scuff the bottoms of your shoes with sandpaper, or you can shell out some money and go to a shoemaker to get grips professionally put on them. They’re no Louboutin so they shouldn’t be super slippery. As with some heels, most heels if I’m being completely honest with myself, they can be a challenge to walk in all day. Fortunately, the company offers so many solutions to these problems.
They have whole foot inserts, ones designed to cushion the ball of your foot, heel grips, and they even have a cheetah print shoe insert. The brand also has “Safe Steps” which stick on the bottom of your shoe for extra grip, which is another alternative to going to the shoemaker . If you buy that item, make sure you follow the directions so that they can stick on your shoe. If you’re still having trouble with wearing your heels pop over to my other article, where I explain my favorite tips on how to wear heels comfortably all day.
Cleaning and Caring
Another great aspect of their site is their page on how to care for their shoes so that they can last as long as possible. For fabric shoes, they say that you should wash them by hand at least monthly. Afterwards, stuff them with newspaper to help keep the shape, and speed up the drying process. I like to blow dry them on the cool setting (NEVER hot) for around 20 minutes, but you can always let them air dry.
One tip that I learned was that you can clean your patent leather shoes with Windex, although a damp cloth will do in a pinch. If you want the full list you can click here, where they have a guide on how to care for satin, leather, reptile, and suede shoes. Give it a look through, and I bet you’ll learn something new.
There are several collections within the brand: Steven by Steve Madden, Madden Girl, Made in the USA, Freebird, and Blondo Waterproof. Each one is perfectly curated and has a unique point of view.
Steven by Steve Madden is chic, modern, and with a little bit of an edge. She’s the ultimate Cool Girl who can get away with anything and make it look effortless. The collection is made of mostly leathe, and suede materials with a pop of cheetah print dyed pony hair. As far as the color scheme goes, it sticks to a pretty neutral palette, with the exception of the cheetah print and a couple of shoes that come in fire engine red. This collection is best suited for the fashionable professional who wants to look great while getting the job done.
While you are here, check out our TOP 5 STEVE MADDEN KNEE HIGH BOOTS. I think you love number 5 😉
Madden Girl is the trendier, more youthful, sister brand and is geared to a younger crowd. It’s filled with bright colors, platform soles, sneakers, flats, and has an overall more relaxed feel. These shoes are absolutely perfect for casual weekend brunch or a trip to the beach. Right now, clear and chunky heels are hot, so the collection is filled with them. Just the other day I picked up some amazing velvet purple booties at Burlington Coat Factory. The shoes in this collection aren’t really long-term staples, but they are fun and very in the now.
The Made in the USA is my personal favorite. If you were clued in on its name it is indeed made in the United States. It’s handmade and manufactured in their New York City factory, and made with real wood, genuine leather, and features custom artwork. The collection is a love letter to the 70s disco era with a modern twist, and features the classic staple of the platform bootie in a wide array of colors. There’s 5 shoe styles in this collection: the aforementioned platform bootie, a platform mule, a cowboy ankle bootie, zippered bootie, and luxury slides. These are all statement shoes and are perfect for a night on the town.
If Made in the USA was a love letter to the disco era, then Freebird is an homage to the hippie movement. The entire line is filled with earthy red and brown tones, and has an added pop of deep blue. This collection has a shabby-chic feel to it, and has an undeniable rustic charm. Each shoe style is intentionally distressed looking so it really gives it that vintage feel to the overall collection. This collection is absolute perfection for the boho girl. The type of girl who identifies with Serena from Gossip Girl.
Blondo Waterproof is designed for the modern woman commuter. They feature thicker heels that make it easier to walk in, and, of course, are waterproof in both cold and wet weather. This collection isn’t as fashionable as the other collections. I would even go as far as to say they look a little boring, as the style and color are neutral. However, they’re designed for functionality rather than as fashion statements as the other collections. I can’t help wish, though, that they would introduce a pop of red among the otherwise neutral palette of the collection. The Blondo also features calf high snow boots that are perfect to drudging the NYC winter slush or for hiking around in Iceland.
As if Steve Madden couldn’t be perfect enough, they also offer a wide array of accessories including some really cute handbags. They have so many bags it is unreal: clutches, small handbags, totes, and belt bags (formerly known as fanny packs). There’s no set collection for their bags, but if you scroll through their selection it’s easy to pair up which bag would fit which girl. They have styles that are super trendy, and ones that are minimalistic staples that every woman should have. They also carry sunglasses, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. All of them are on the more glam side, so if you’re a minimalistic person, then you should probably look elsewhere. One thing that I really enjoy that they added is the addition of patches and pins. Both are super hot right now and really trendy. They help personalize your look and look great on anything. I really like to doll up my denim jacket with my own unique collage of patches and pins.
Where to Buy
It’s super easy to find Steve Madden shoes.
You can buy them online, at a brick and mortar store, or at a department store. I’ve even found older designs at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. They’re so easy to find, you’ll honestly have no trouble finding them. If you want your shoes at a discount, and aren’t particular about the style then I recommend shopping at Zappos, 6pm, and even Amazon carries a couple of styles. If you want to hit up a department store and try your shoes on in person then they are usually carried at Macy’s, DSW, Nordstrom, Burlington, Dillard’s, and a bunch of other department stores. Just ask your local department store to see if they carry the line. Now, if you want to try your luck then you should definitely browse TJ Maxx, Burlington’s, or Marshalls to try and find a pair. I only go there if I’m not really looking for a particular type of shoe, but I’m still jonesing for that buy.
Finally, the creme de la creme: buying directly from the source. Buying straight from SteveMadden.com is great because you can pre-order, and be among the first to wear the latest greatest shoe. They also have an incredible selection of shoes that are a mouse click away, and that includes the four exclusive collections. If that’s not enough to sway you to shop online, then their rewards program should lock you in. SM Pass is their rewards program that is to die for. When you sign up it is an instant 500 points, and then you get another 5 points for every dollar spent. You can also get points for referring friends, and by connecting with them on social media.
In addition you also get access to exclusive sales, products, and you get insider access to exclusive events. You can earn points through the Steve Madden site (obviously), in store, or on their app. Returns are really my only gripe about buying online. They aren’t free and shipping fees are not refundable, which means that not only I have to pay an extra $6.95 for postage I also lose money that could be buying more shoes. Returns are accepted only within 30 days of receipt of your order, and for unworn shoes only. Handbags and accessories can be returned as long at the tag is still on them. Earring and clearance items are also not available for returns.
Let’s Weigh In
Steve Madden Pros:
-Lots of variety in each collection. There’s something for everyone
-Amazing rewards program
-Recognizable brand name
-Lasts a really long time (when cared for properly)
-Has a small selection of statement shoes
Steve Madden Cons:
-Too Affordable (more people have the chance of getting “your” shoe)
-Do not have shoe variations for wider feet.
-Their return policy
-Can be a challenge to find a certain shoe from store to store, and online
Steve Madden is the gem of all gems. What isn’t there to like? There’s variety, it’s colorful, they have amazing standout pieces, and they’re pretty affordable on the spectrum of designer shoes. There’s a shoe for every single style type, and they’re still trendy enough to not be completely boring. Of course, there are drawbacks: they’re affordable and they’re everywhere which means there’s a possibility that you could show up wearing the same shoes as someone else. There’s also the issue with the return policy.
However, even with those detriments you cannot deny the powerhouse brand Steve Madden has built. It’s pretty much a household name, and if it continues to stay on top of the latest trends I think that they really have staying power in the industry. Whatever happens to the brand from here on out, I will forever remember this shoe brand as my very first heel: my Cinderella shoe. The patent leather pump that made me feel like a princess.