“‘I hate the whole concept of the clog!’ Louboutin said. ‘It’s fake, it’s ugly, and it’s not even comfortable!’ He continued, ‘And I hate the whole concept of comfort! It’s like when people say, ‘Well, we’re not really in love, but we’re in a comfortable relationship.’ You’re abandoning a lot of ideas when you are too into comfort. Comfy—that’s one of the worst words! I just picture a woman feeling bad, with a big bottle of alcohol, really puffy. It’s really depressing, but she likes her life because she has comfortable clogs.”
—Christian Louboutin in The New Yorker
Yes, this is a real quote, a real doozy of a quote by the venerated shoe designer Christian Louboutin, opining on the mutually exclusive nature of comfort and style in women’s footwear. Louboutin is perhaps the most famous shoe designer in the world. He also seems to have a pretty poor opinion of women who don’t wear his footwear.
I must admit that I was once taken in by the lure of Louboutins. I love shoes. They are (or were) the one accessory that didn’t seem totally age dependent; no matter how old you get, your feet can be shod in serious style. No woman is too old for gorgeous footwear.
So, in a more moneyed time, I did purchase two pair of Louboutins. Not your typical ones, it’s true. One pair is a two toned green, wedge heeled, beribboned pair of espadrilles. They are dainty and fabulous and make feet look like a gift. They also refused to stay on my feet; I’m not sure if there’s something awry in the construction or if my feet simply rejected them. I have worn them twice.
The other pair are gold flats. Yes, Louboutin does make flats. They’re very lovely, but somehow manage to be uncomfortable. I can only stand them for short periods of time, preferably if I’m sitting down. He is the only shoe designer I can think of who makes flats that are more uncomfortable than some heels. How he achieves this is a mystery.
There was once other pair of Louboutins I purchased, for my father’s wedding. They were the very basic, simple black heels. Not even the highest ones he makes, which I think make women look a bit like Clydesdale horses. They never made it out of my closet.
After trying them on again at home, I realized they were completely unwearable. I returned them for a pair of higher, yet comfy, Prada platform heels I could stand in all evening long. Just proof that heels don’t have to be torturous.
So what is it about Louboutin shoes that makes them so damn awful to wear? The New Yorker revealed his secret: the lasts are shorter, higher, and tighter across. Literally, every pair of his shoes is sized smaller and tighter than its listed size. That might help explain why, on the rare occasions I’ve worn his shoes for any length of time, they seem to get tighter by the minute, sort of like those Chinese finger-squeezer devices (probably based on some sort of torture).
If you really want a pair of Louboutins and don’t want the pain, you might be S.O.L., unless you’re willing to fork out at least four grand (they actually start at four grand) for a pair of custom-made shoes. That’s pretty dear. Not to mention a lot of money to hand over to a guy who seems to have contempt for women who value comfort.
Indeed, I don’t just value comfort. I value the option to run when necessary. Most of Louboutin’s shoes are so vertiginous (what a perfect word) that running in them without injury is an impossibility. Louboutin, however, does not see this hobbling as a negative. As he was quoted in The New Yorker, “He told a story about a client who, having bought her first pair of his heels, was forced to slacken the pace of her morning walk. ‘She began to notice the little details of her neighborhood for the first time,’ he said, proudly.” Give me a break. Perhaps this woman could also break a leg and perform her walk on crutches; it would definitely show her down just as effectively.
So here’s my final response to Mr. Louboutin: While I don’t own a pair of clogs, I do value comfort. Comfort keeps my feet healthy and able to hold my body up. Comfort allows me to run toward my goals or dash away from danger. When I’m comfortable, I’m happy, which has proven to be a real aphrodisiac in my relationship (much more powerful than vertiginous heels). And one more thing: I’m not puffy, and I don’t drink. Nor will I ever purchase any of your evil shoes, ever again.