Are Christian Louboutin’s Uncomfortable Shoes A Luxury Problem Most Have Yet To Earn?
I remember getting my first pair of Christian Louboutin heels. I thought I was playing it safe when I got the Simple Leather Pumps 3.25″ (85mm) since the ever-popular So Kate 4.75″ (120mm) Patent Leather Pumps felt like stilettos to me. But even with the 85mm heels, those red bottom shoes were unbearable to wear.
While I had heard how Christian Louboutin shoes were notorious for being incredibly uncomfortable, I remember wanting these heels because they were a status symbol — a status symbol that I am starting to realize I have yet to truly earn. Here is why.
Christian Louboutin shoes have become synonymous with luxury mainly due to their signature red bottom soles. And while the red soled-shoes may have gained their iconic status for their design and popularity among celebrities, they have continued to be uncomfortable. For the brand’s namesake designer, however, creating comfortable shoes has never been a priority.
In a 2012 interview with Vogue, Louboutin said:
“People say I am the king of painful shoes. I don’t want to create painful shoes, but it is not my job to create something comfortable. I try to make high heels as comfortable as they can be, but my priority is design, beauty and sexiness. I’m not against them, but comfort is not my focus.”
But how does this work? How can uncomfortable shoes at an ungodly retail price do so well?
It’s More Than A Status Symbol. It’s A Problem That Only The Elite Know How To Solve For.
Even though I was technically financially able to afford these shoes — I was able to pay for them without going into debt or rack up unnecessary interest or even opting to pay for them utilizing buy now, pay later (BNPL) options, I couldn’t afford them in another sense. I found that when I wore them, I was always trying to find ways to either prevent the bottoms from getting damaged or I was trying to find ways to make them more comfortable to wear.
And while many have found ways to prevent their red soles from discoloring, repair them and/or make their shoes more comfortable, the people who can truly afford these shoes do not really look to solve any of those issues at all.
I remember my ex-boss, who will be left unnamed, did extremely well for herself. She wore Louboutin heels all the time to the office. Her collection was any designer junkie’s dream. And, of course, her red soles were always intact and looked impeccably flawless. In fact, any shoe she ever wore was always in pristine condition.
And it was not because she got her soles repaired; she could not be bothered with such a task; it was because she had other means to protect them.
For one, like many, she always had her commuter flats (designer flats), which got her from her city brownstone or suburb estate to the backseat of her driver’s car and then from the car to her office.
But then, as mentioned above, she had a means of transportation that most do not have: a personal driver. She wasn’t walking the city streets and/or taking public transit in commuter-friendly sneakers and toting around her workbag with her laptop like most. This woman was a CEO of a well-established firm who had earned her place in the world and the ability to afford such luxury.
And yes, there are loads of people who treat themselves to a fancy pair of overpriced shoes who are not C-level execs with personal drivers, but it’s the level of prestige, wealth and excessiveness that surrounds the brand that makes me wonder if Christian Louboutin will ever be a “treat yourself” brand.
After all, for someone looking to splurge on a luxury item, does it make sense to buy a pair of shoes that are nearly too uncomfortable to walk in? Are they worth the splurge if the shoes come with so many additional to-dos after purchase?
For some, the answer is no. For others, those to-dos do not exist.
“I don’t want people to look at my shoes and say: ‘They look really comfortable!” Christian Louboutin told the Global Times. “The important thing is that people say: “Wow, they’re beautiful!”
Christian Louboutin Sees His Shoes As Fashion Iconography — AKA Art.
One could argue that buying art does not have to be for the rich, which is true; anyone can buy art. Anyone can buy print editions by young artists, but not everyone can buy art in which they are more likely to see a return.
That said, art can essentially be classified as a bad investment. And who is better suited to afford bad investments? The rich, of course!
In this case, while there are people who could afford to buy a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes today, only a select few could buy them guilt-free and without the need to repair or find ways to make them more comfortable.
Are Christian Louboutin’s Uncomfortable Shoes A Luxury Problem Most People Have Not Earned The Right To Have?
I think we all know my answer here. Buying Christian Louboutin shoes is a luxury — a nice to have, non-essential item, but there will always be those who will look to achieve that status symbol and find ways to make those So Kate pumps less unbearable. I, for one, have learned my lesson. I am going to wait until I have a personal driver or when I am at a place where I could care less about finding comfort hacks before I invest in my next pair of Louboutin heels.