Extreme Shoes: What Women Will Dare to Wear -- and Pay For

Extreme high heelsNever mind the Great Recession. Women are still willing to pay more than $1,000 for a pair of designer shoes. The crazier, the scarier, the stranger, the better.

"Women's luxury footwear sales have been phenomenal," says Bluefly.com home and accessories buyer Andrea Oguz, who notes that luxury footwear is currently the strongest category within women's accessories. "Not only is the customer there, they're incredibly active. It's as if women have lost all their shoes and they need to replace them."

Market research firm, Euromonitor International, says sales of designer shoes fell 8.7% to $9.77 billion in 2009. But that number is expected to rebound 3.2% this year -- and climb by as much as 20% by 2013.

Standing Out in the Crowd

Designers have been happy to oblige shoppers. Luxury shoes this season are more sculptural and artistic, and women aren't blinking an eye at the hefty price tags of $1,000 or more. "If it's really bold and trend-driven, it will sell," says Oguz.

This fall, female shoppers have a smorgasbord of choices: sky-scraping platforms; metallic belt-buckle over-the-knee boots; shoes that resemble the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao; shoes that look like bloated armadillos; cowboy boots that threaten to topple you over backwards; torturous spikes; stilettos festooned with feathers; and garter belt-like lace-ups.

"We've been selling fall for a couple months now already," says Hu's Shoes owner Marlene Hu Aldaba, pointing out that even in relatively conservative regions like Washington, D.C., the statement-making shoe is having a moment. "Women are going for something that's really special as opposed to a staple black pump." Hu's sells shoes priced up to $1,200.

According to the Luxury Institute, which polled high-end female shoppers this year, Christian Louboutin is the brand that women consider to be most worthy of a price premium, from $400 to $4,000. Manolo Blahnik and Zac Posen (who is better known for his clothing), ranked second and third, respectively.

A Psychologically Thrifty Splurge

The rise of luxury footwear has coincided with the decline of handbag sales, says Hana Ben-Shabat, a retail consultant and a partner at A.T. Kearney, a management consulting firm. "Between 2004 and 2008, handbags were growing double digits," she says. "There was a new 'It' bag every day. When the recession hit, we saw both a decline in the average price point as well as in the introductions of new handbags." These designer shoes, at an average of $1,000 a pair, cost less than handbags that are priced anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000.

Mike Berry, director of industry research at MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, agrees. "We've seen big ups and downs in the apparel sector this year, but if apparel was down, footwear wouldn't be as down," he says. (SpendingPulse estimates total U.S. retail sales, including cash and checks. It's not a measure of MasterCard's financial performance.)

Says Ben-Shabat: "Psychologically, [buying shoes] feels like the more reasonable thing to do."

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Professional Vs Do it Yourself Investing

Should you get advice or DYI?

View Course »

What are Penny Stocks

The lucrative and dangerous world of penny stocks.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

http://www.wowougg.com Air jordan(1-24)shoes $33 BOOT $50 Nike shox(R4,NZ,OZ,TL1,TL2,TL3) $35 Handbags(Coach lv fendi d&g) $35 Tshirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $16 Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $30 Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini) $16 New era cap $15 Bikini (Ed hardy,polo) $25 FREE sHIPPING http://www.wowougg.com ...... , . - . - , _ , ......... ......... ) ` - . .> ' `( ....... ........ / . . . .`\ . . \ ........ ........ |. . . . . |. . .| ........ ......... \ . . . ./ . ./ .......... ........... `=)\ /.=` .......... ............. `-;`.-' ............. ............... `)| ... , ......... ................ || _.-'| ......... ............. ,_|| \_,/ .......... ....... , ..... \|| .' ............. ....... |\ |\ ,. ||/ .............. .... ,..\` | /|.,|Y\, ............ ..... '-...'-._..\||/ ............. ......... >_.-`Y| ............... 2@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@2@

September 28 2010 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marina Lister

Most women's feet are approximately 4 to 4 1/2 inches at their widest point... some of these shoes are about 2 1/2 inches at their widest point. The damage that is being created in the long term to your feet is horrific. I've seen the feet of women who wear these torture devices, and it ain't pretty. Their toes are knarled with bones protruding. Now imagine them 20-30 years from now! And that's not taking into consideration the 5-inch heels they wear which do great damage to your knees! Foolish women will wear most anything to get noticed. It's comical to see women in NY trying to walk gracefully in those things... they wobble and can barely walk straight! lol Wake up women, before it's too late. You're at the mercy of misogynist designers!

September 27 2010 at 12:18 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

After 4 foot surgeries, I would not wear these shoes. I hope the designer is not a man, if it is let him wear them. lol

September 27 2010 at 10:23 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Heck, I wrecked my feet wearing flip flops in FL for 5+ yrs. I cannot even think of getting into a conventional 2 inch heal pump now. My sneakers even hurt. Anyone, who takes their feet for granted, won't-after it is painful to walk. I see pain and accidents when I look at these ridiculous costume shoes.

September 27 2010 at 9:06 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Don't buy into fake fur! It is actually dog hair from China. They skin poor german shepards while they are still alive!

September 27 2010 at 9:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

These shoes remind me of a I Love Lucy episode when they were in Paris. Lucy and Ethle wanted designer clothes. Ricky and Fred didn't want to pay so they hooked up with a seamstress to make clothes for Lucy and Ethle and then convinced them that they were designer clothes. Lucy and Ethle were proudly walking around in their burlap outfits with matching hats because they thought they were wearing the in designer clothing. All the shoes I saw would go great with those burlap outfits but other than that, I don't see a use for them.

September 27 2010 at 2:38 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to piknplundr's comment

The twist ending of that is they actually inspired a fasion line within the realm of the series.

September 27 2010 at 10:58 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

What stupid looking shoes.

September 27 2010 at 2:35 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

If there are any medical students viewing these shoes....jump into podiatry! You will surely be needed in the future!

September 27 2010 at 12:25 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

doesn't anyone of these women realize what they are doing to their feet. It won't be long before they will hardly be able to walk and if they can walk they will be in such pain. I did not see one shoe here that even looked like a something that I would wear. They are all just Plain Stupid and hideous! I women were smare enough not to buy these idiodic shoes, they would not make them anymore. I would never allow my daughter to wear anything even close to these shoes. And how many models have fallen on the runway this year from wearing these "Dumb" shoes? Break a few ankles and you won't wear any heels at all!

September 26 2010 at 11:19 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

As a Woman, all I can say is that I am sorry that so many women have such a herd mentality and such low self esteem that they will squander money in this manner thinking it makes them something special. The cash could have gone to support so many good causes. They are acting completely self absorbed that they will pay thousands of dollars for "designer" clothing that makes them look idiotic. Honey I have lived my whole life in New York, and I can tell you that an idiot is real easy to spot. They think this garbage is exclusive and makes them look good??? LOL! These women are idiots.

September 26 2010 at 11:04 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply