Four Questions: Steve Madden Gets Serious About Shoes for Men

Photo

Steve Madden at his flagship store in New York.

Credit
Nathan Bajar for The New York Times

The name Steve Madden is practically synonymous with high-heel shoes and thigh-high boots. He has more than 250 namesake stores all over the world, and his shoes for women are carried in major department stores.

Now he is moving in on the men’s market.

Mr. Madden, perhaps the most famous fashion entrepreneur to be convicted and jailed, served two and a half years in a Florida prison for securities fraud and stock manipulation in the early 2000s after having illegally traded shares from the initial public offering of Stratton Oakmont, the investment firm run by Jordan Belfort. The case was fodder for the 2013 Martin Scorsese film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” with Leonardo DiCaprio playing Mr. Belfort and Jake Hoffman playing Mr. Madden. Since his release from prison, Mr. Madden has devoted himself to the business he loves.

He opened a big new store in Times Square on Aug. 1, with nearly a third of its 2,000-square-foot floor space dedicated to his new focus: men’s shoes. “I felt that men were getting shortchanged,” he said. “We were putting all the excitement into women’s.”

While salesclerks in “I’m With Steve” T-shirts helped tourists navigate the rows of pumps, loafers and boots, Mr. Madden tried us on for size.

Why Times Square now? Retail is not doing great.

Retail is not doing great. This amazing space became available, and we took advantage.

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