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122 S. State St., 312-346-3034; 1849 W. North Ave., 773-342-8684
SAVE Loosely regarded as the clothing store where the city’s 20-somethings spend their Friday paychecks on an outfit for the evening, Akira also has two stand-alone shoe stores that are the city’s best destinations for trendy heels on a budget. Both the Loop and Bucktown locations have rows and rows of styles that are sometimes not-so-subtle knockoffs of much pricier brands. These include ones from Kenzie ($64), BCBG ($78), and red patent-leather platforms by Oh Deer ($86) that were dead ringers for the Chloé classic.
1405 N. Wells St.; 312-274-0359
SPLURGE If Carrie Bradshaw lived in Chicago, the Barneys shoe department would be her Oak Street hangout and Josephine her neighborhood haunt. The intimate Old Town shoe boutique is known for picking the sexiest styles of coveted designer brands, shoes for stalking around in when you want to be noticed. And, really, why blend in when you’ve paid $675 for a pair of platinum Givenchy stilettos (pictured)? Josephine’s stock is reliably high quality, and stuff does go on sale: the Givenchys in question were recently marked down to $340.