Own

Shoes grow up, rent sweet flat

At a certain point, your kids need their own place, giving them the freedom to mature, and you & your wife the freedom to have people you solicited via classified knock on your bedroom door late at night and crawl under the covers pretending to be scared. Naughty! Now a designer's giving his kicks their own place, at Oliver Spencer's Shoe Store.

Nestled just down the street from his Bloomsbury flagship, this pedi-focused showroom plays a broad range of Spencer's footwork off simple white walls and reclaimed wooden floors (why get new floors when you're just going to invite people to tread all over them?). Suede-bodied house brands include the brogue-style red-soled Bedfords and a trio of chukka boots in colors from navy to a fetching mossy green; there's also a new line of store-exclusive "Spencers", simpler, cheaper models designed "for the man who wants to move past trainers", like the four-colour, lightweight derby "Cricket", appropriate for the sport that looks past the need to actually wear trainers. The shop also carries select other brands, like New England's handstitched Quoddy moccasins, classic Converses (Chucks, Purcells), and a Brit line of light espadrille-soled lace-ups named Vera, presumably because we will meet some sunny day again, or would, if it ever stopped raining.

Finally, there's a small selection of accessories, including house brand ties & belts, sunnies from Han Kjobenhavn (best to just ask for "the shades"), and snappy leather wallets from Italy's Il Bussetto -- just be careful yours doesn't disappear when your Gumtree guest proves to be less scared than he is sneaky.