By JESSE GAULT
Nature’s Footwear, located on Queen Street East near Waverley Road in the Beach, is in the process of permanently closing.
“The only thing that I would want to say is how much we appreciate the wonderful people in the neighbourhood and they’ve supported us over the years. I don’t know what else to say about that. I really, really hate to go. I love the neighborhood, love the people,” said owner, operator Kyle Burden.
To explain the situation, Burden said, “The supply chain has stopped and we can’t afford to stay here any longer.”
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic and supply systems, Burden can no longer access the shoes he would usually sell in his shop.
“I’m a shoe store and I haven’t been able to get any of my major brands.”
Nature’s Footwear sells comfort footwear. That has included orthotic shoes such as Birkenstocks as well as other shoes, such as authentic moccasins.
The store was initially opened in 1978 by Kyle Burden’s mother-in-law, Lois Coston, and her friend Wilhelmina.
The business has been a family affair ever since. “My wife has worked in here. Both my kids have worked in here, friends, family, over the years,” said Burden.
In 2004 Lois Coston died. Her daughter Janice Burden and son-in-law Kyle Burden carried on the family tradition by keeping the store open.
Then in 2018, it was the 40th anniversary of Nature’s Footwear. It was a time when people would talk of cake and a party.
In 2018, members of the family emphasized that they did have a loyal customer base in the area and were motivated to continue providing excellent service to those who needed it.
Two years later, the pandemic arrived.
Now, in 2022, after 44 years in operation, Nature’s Footwear can look back on its legacy of providing quality footwear to the Beach community and curious tourists.
On what comes next in life, Burden explained that he is not ready for retirement and will have to find something.
Nature’s Footwear combines inventory with a strong knowledge of footwear. Burden once explained that he sees many problems that people experience in their feet and usually he can help those customers heal.
He can provide shoes that help people with back problems, hip problems, and of course foot issues. Local doctors, chiropractors, and sport therapists send clients to Nature’s Footwear.
The shop not only works to cure people’s pains. It also prevents those problems from starting in the first place.
Burden explained that three is an appropriate age for a young one to begin wearing comfort shoes.
Some families bring their children to Nature’s Footwear to purchase shoes that will protect the kids’ feet over time.
Not only does Burden sell orthotic shoes, he has experienced for himself how they can heal one’s strain.
He had pain in his hip as well as his back and tried wearing a pair of runners on a trip to Las Vegas, which left him aching. Then he put on a pair of Birkenstocks and there was an immediate improvement.
Over the years, a lot of stores have come and gone in the area. But Nature’s Footwear remained for more than 40 years. Burden said this happened because of the effective and respectful service at the shop.
“I would love nothing more than to stay here,” said Burden.