Walk along the Arno to the elegant Ponte Santa Trinita, and take a right turn at the Ferragamo Palazzo on via Tornabuoni. Venture down the tiny side street of Borgo Santi Apostoli, between the Ferragamo Museo and Sergio Rossi, and you'll find yourself outside a window filled with flats. No high heels.

Meet VIAJIYU (pronounced vee-uh-zhoo), a concept shoe store. Florence is its only boutique in the world. If you love to kick off your heels, then this is your shoe lover’s dream. VIAJIYU specializes in flats, made in Italy, made to order from only local materials. It’s the epitome of slow fashion and fewer, better things. VIAJIYU believes every woman needs one fabulous pair of flats. VIAJIYU’s founder, Nicole Still, is a seasoned traveller. She has lived and worked on four continents, and once called New York and Sydney home before relocating to Florence in 2014.

VIAJIYU offer two options. The ready-to-wear, instant gratification, option means you leave with shoes on the same day.  Or, you design your perfect flats. Your made-to-order shoes will take about 4-6 weeks and shipping is free worldwide. VIAJIYU uses the same factories and materials as the world’s most sought after luxury brands. There are 25+ forma (shapes) to choose from including, flats, wedges, sandals and booties. Plus, leather and vegan options in every colour and finish imaginable. They use leather and textiles from the best tanneries and mills in Italy.  Each style is customized to your personal style and individual foot shape (I’m a Como, girl). Walking the streets of Florence in a pair of VIAJIYU is akin to wearing a perfect glove for your piedi (feet).

VIAJIYU’s trailblazing clientele makes this a shoe brand to watch and a fixture on the fashion traveller’s Florence calendar.

Watch this how-to video on the VIAJIYU experience.

VIAJIYU’s founder, Nicole, believes: "Shoes create stories. Shoes make people happy. You can walk a thousand miles in an amazing pair of shoes."

At VIAJIYU, there are rows of happy tales waiting to happen. Go see for yourself.

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* VIAJIYU now takes DESIGN reservations, recommended but not required. Make an appointment with Nicole at the Florence boutique, at your villa or hotel room, or a virtual appointment via a video call like FaceTime. Go to viajiyu.setmore.com to choose a date and time. The boutique is closed late November to mid-March.


Picture credit: Prisca Tozzi