Ballpark estimate: $675 to $2,500+
If you pride yourself on your fashion sense and keeping up on all of the latest styles, you probably appreciate the beauty of a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes.
Fashion devotees can identify Louboutins by the glossy red sole featured in every pair. Many women consider wearing these red-soled shoes to be a highly coveted status symbol.
The Creation of the Brand
As is the case with many high fashion brands, Christian Louboutin shoes originate in France. In fact, the creator, Christian Louboutin himself, was born there and studied drawing and decorative arts in his younger days. Over time, he became interested in women’s footwear and created a portfolio of sketches of women’s very ornate high heels that he used to get a job with Charles Jourdan. Later, he went on to apprentice with Roger Vivier, before working for Chanel, Yves Saint Lauren, and Maud Frizon. In 1991, he opened his own salon in Paris to sell his designs and attracted celebrities and other notables, gaining popularity quickly.
The red sole on the shoes actually came about by accident. At the first fashion show for the brand, the legend has it that Louboutin grabbed a bottle of red Chanel nail polish and painted the soles of his shoes red to add some drama to the presentation. This detail was such a hit that he decided to stick with the red soles as the signature for his brand. Today, this trademark element also adds to the allure of the shoe and in fact, may help explain many women’s willingness to splurge on the high prices of most of the Louboutin styles.
An Array of Styles
When shopping for Louboutins, there are so many types from which to choose. Many of the Louboutin silhouettes feature sexy, skinny stiletto heels that are designed to make the wearer’s legs look like they stretch on for miles. The most classic styles include the black and nude patent leather half d’Orsay pumps with stiletto heels, as well as a pump with a
slight platform. But you can find dozens or variations on these traditional cuts, and dozens of colors and textures, as well. For instance, the shoes come in suede, leather, lace, sequins, glitter, and reptile skins, among other materials. You can also find Louboutins in strappy delicate sandals, elegant sling backs, classic Mary Janes, and edgy boots, most with very high, spikey heels, although Louboutins also come in flats, too, so there is something for everyone. There are also elaborate designs with feathers, flower petals, fringe, jewels, studs, and other ornate detailing. Some also tie up the leg or have other design elements that make them a work of art (and also helps to explain the high price tag that goes along with the brand).
What all of these shoes have in common is the shiny red Louboutin sole. In fact, the brand—and that coveted red sole—is so popular that other designers have tried to copy the red sole over the years, which has led to many lawsuits. Currently, Louboutin holds a trademark on that famous color sole in the United States—but only when the sole contrasts with the color of the shoe body (Yves Saint Laurent has a red shoe with a red sole that is not considered a violation of the trademark).
Reaching New Heights
While the shoe heels are excessively narrow and high (generally four to six inches, and the brand even has an eight-inch boot, as well), they are known for being constructed in such a way to make it possible to walk on the skinny heel and to minimize strain on the back. Still, not everyone can master the art of standing in such high stilettos for any length of time. The very elegant tapered shape of Louboutins also makes them best suited for narrower feet. Women with wider feet may need to go up a size or may be limited in the types of styles that they can realistically wear.
Where to Find
You can find Christian Louboutin shoes at high end department stores like Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodmans, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue, or you can order on their websites. You can also shop at one of the dozen or so Christian Louboutin boutiques located in high-end shopping destinations throughout the
United States, as well as many other locations abroad. Or, you can order shoes right from the ChristianLouboutin.com website.
What it Costs
What you will spend on a pair of Louboutin shoes depends on how extravagant a pair you desire. To give you an idea of the many price points, consider that for a classic pair in smooth leather, suede, patent leather, or tortoise shell with a heel or a wedge, you can expect the prices to start at $675. Patent leather flats with a textured heel are also in this entry level price point. For slightly more of an investment, you can get some added details, such as a peep toe platform shoe with gradient color that costs $845. For more edge, you can also get strappy sandals with a chunky ankle strap for $845. A glittery platform that laces up the leg costs $1,045, while a glittery mesh shoe with jewels is $1,195. A high-heeled suede boot will set you back $1,495. If you have more money to invest in your footwear, a sandal with laser-cut flowers encrusted with pearl and crystals is $1,995, while an exquisite gold leather d’orsey that’s decked with tiny jewels is $2,195. A black suede over-the-knee boot with lace-up detailing is $2,595.
An Extravagant Option
If your feet are difficult to fit, or if money is no object, you might want to consider splurging on a custom pair of Louboutins, which are only available through the Paris boutique. The price starts at $3,000 Euros (currently the equivalent of $3,376.05 US dollars) and goes on up, depending on the materials and level of detailing you desire. Of course you’ll also need to plan for your plane ticket and accommodations to travel to the shop to have your measurements taken and to have fittings throughout the process, which can take up to a year to complete.
A Less Expensive Alternative
If your taste is rich but you’re on a budget, you might consider looking on Ebay, Tradesy, TheRealReal, or in-person consignment shops that feature designer wear to find a used pair of Louboutins for about half the retail cost or even less.