The other day, while looking at the Daily Mail website online (while pretending that I am above such things, natch), I raised an eyebrow at a piece about Jimmy Choo shoes. The headline: These Choos are NOT made for walking: The £425 designer shoes that look old and tatty after one day’s wear.
In the article, a model is given a £450 pair of strappy, patent beige Jimmy Choos for “testing purposes”. She spends a day wearing them on the Tube, shopping at her local Tesco, doing housework and finally, wearing them down the pub. The verdict:
You couldn’t say it was a gruelling day for my feet but when I took off my shoes that night, I was surprised. The soles were badly worn down, especially at the front. There was a little crack as well as two little tears on the heel. If I’d had these on for a full week, they would have been wrecked.
Now, disclosure here: I don’t go near Jimmy Choos. I don’t like them, for a number of reasons. Generally speaking, the heels are too high for me, a lot of the designs are too garish and strappy for my (admittedly conservative) preferences. It’s personal taste, I guess. Also, they are also far too expensive. When I buy new / nearly new designer shoes, it tends to be off eBay (or Oxfam!) rather than from shoe shops. But there is such a cult following and general shoe hysteria around Jimmy Choos that on eBay, even the stretched, worn and grotty ones go for astronomical sums.
This said, when you spend a lot of money on shoes they need to be carefully looked after. It doesn’t take an idiot to work out that if you spend £450 on a pair of delicate, strappy high heels and then spend the day bundling around the Underground (watch the leather heels on those escalators!) stomping around Tesco, hoovering and hanging out down your local, they aren’t going to last as long as they might. Then again, if you spend £450 on shoes and you treat them like everyday trainers, you can probably afford not to worry about their shortened lifespan…
There are two things that I do when I buy designer shoes, without fail:
1. Get them resoled. Designer shoes are often delicate, and some people make the mistake of thinking that because soft, buttery leather and thin leather soles come with a hefty price tag, the shoes are supposed to last as long as a nice sturdy pair from Clarks. They aren’t. You’re paying for tip-top workmanship and/or because you’ve been suckered. Durability? No. Unlike their cheaper cousins, designer shoes are often sold with leather soles, which look gorgeous when new, but which will never last long once taken outdoors or off the red carpet. Find yourself a good cobbler, if you haven’t got one already, and go and get the shoes resoled ASAP, before the toe section starts wearing away completely…
Some people get hang-ups about this, because they think that ugly rubber soles “ruin” the look of the shoes. What rot: even pretty leather soles look scuzzy by the time you’ve walked to the end of the road in them.
2. Shoe inserts and shoe boxes! My designer shoes are kept in separate shoe boxes, stuffed with those foam shoe tree things, when not in use. I used to think that everyone did this, but a look at the mangled-shoe end of the eBay market shows that this is not the case.
It isn’t brain science, but I write as someone who managed to make a much-loved pair of Manolo Blahniks last the best part of a decade, so I must be doing something right! If you have any good designer shoecare tips or stories, please share them in the comments as I’d love to hear about them.
Talking of the mangled-shoe end of eBay, I snapped up a pair of Manolos for £10 the other week. They must have been gorgeous shoes once, and I’m amazed that the previous owner didn’t bother to take better care of them, but I bought them because I think that with a bit of care and attention, they could be gorgeous again. I will let you know how I get on…
Image credit: geishaboy.