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While visiting a friend in Seattle five years ago, Margaret Jung bought her first pair of Cydwoqs (pronounced “sidewalks”), leather shoes handmade in California. They were $170 on sale–“the most money I’d spent on shoes in my entire life,” she says. But after wearing them at her catering job–where she was often on her feet for 12 hours at a stretch–she found they were worth the money. “They were more comfortable than anything else I had,” she says. “I didn’t have any leg or back fatigue.” She wanted another pair, but couldn’t find anywhere in Chicago that carried them. So she decided to open her own shoe store–Traipse, at 4724 N. Lincoln, in Lincoln Square. Besides Cydwoqs Jung carries styles for men and women by Lisa Nading, Camper, and Giraudon, all lines that fall in with her philosophy that shoes should be both comfy and cool. There are no stilettos at Traipse, but there are chartreuse kitten heels by Lisa Nading and strappy cork wedgies by Farylrobin. The store, which opened in 2003, stocks 75-100 styles at a time and is popular with fashion-conscious Lincoln Square folks, but Jung says it’s been a tough road. “At first I had only 30 different shoes to choose from. People would come in and say, ‘Is this all you have?’ And I’d say, ‘Yeah, this is all I have–but what I have is really great!'” She dreamed about shoes every night during the store’s first year. “I would dream that I couldn’t get shoes that were supposed to be coming in, or they’d be shoes that I needed to try to find for my store because a customer had asked for them,” she says. “I was like, ‘If this goes on I’ll just have to close my store.’ Now I only have shoe dreams every once in a while.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Joeff Davis.