The Moulded Shoe shop has been on 39th Street since 1942 and it looks like they haven't changed their fantastic signage since--they still spell "moulded" with a U. Run by Maurice Mousserie, who was a New Yorker of the month a few years back, Moulded not only sells shoes (including Aldens, from one of the oldest and last remaining American shoe manufacturers in the country), they also make custom shoes and orthotic inserts.
And they will balance your feet. I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds great.
Tucked away on this lightly trafficked block, the shop's walls are stacked with yellowed shoeboxes straight up to the ceiling. It's like walking into an archival library of shoes. In the back, they've got a 120-year-old, very rare bunion-pressing machine. I couldn't help but think of Ben Katchor when I stood amid the crowd of odd, specialized, and little-known shoes, stamped with words that felt both old and invented: conformal, cantilever.
Let's hope the speculators don't ever find this place. Mr. Mousserie expects to stay in business for another 30 years. He told Ask a New Yorker, "New York needs to keep this kind of small business. We can't just give everything to malls and big shopping centers and all that nonsense. People need a personal touch, which we really give them. We give them real personal attention, to their feet. It's their feet that are important!"