THE ONLY THING that keeps most of us from teetering around in those sexy Manolos and Louboutins are the sky-high heels, right? Okay, their sky-high price tags too.
But what wouldn’t I give to have just one pair of shoes with that semi-subtle, statusy red-lacquered Louboutin sole? Well, I already know I wouldn’t give up more money than the monthly rent on my first three Manhattan apartments. And I know I don’t want to commit suicide by stiletto, not being as well balanced as I used to be.
As I poked around the online precincts of the high-priced footwear world, though, I noticed that the Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks et al. of that world were not as completely committed to skyscraper heel heights as I had thought. I sometimes found the same style in high heels and also in flats, or a high heel and a little kitten heel, low enough for most grown-up girls to navigate. They’ve even embraced the sneaker trend as comfort and physical reality start to rear their heads.
Take a look at what I found in the shoemakers’ fall 2018 collections. And there’s more out there. Parisian master Roger Vivier, for example, produces his classic styles in a wide range of heel heights, from ballerina on up.
Now we just have to get over the price tags. My very first apartment was a fifth-floor walkup in a Greenwich Village tenement, toilet down the hall. The rent was $59.03, and even back in the early 1970s that was pocket change. You obviously can’t buy a high-style shoe for that kind of money today . . . but you can’t buy much of anything else either.
Christian Louboutin’s “Anjalina,” mixing punk and posh, is available as a pump with an 85mm heel, in several colors, for $845. There’s a 100mm heel in blue and fuchsia, also $845. The flat “Anjalina” comes in black suede and is $745.
Manolo Blahnik says that “Karenov,” made with black suede and gold leather scrolling, was inspired by the Baroque architecture of Sicily. It’s $895. Its flat companion, “Cantonof,” same materials, is $845.
Valentino Garavani continues his wildly successful “Rockstud” collection with a high-heeled suede bootie (left, $1,245), a suede block heel version (right, $1,2450) and the style tic du jour, the “Rockstud Combat Boot” in black leather (center, $1,545).
From Jimmy Choo, “Romy” is available in a 60mm heel and a 100mm. It mixes leopard print with hits of blue, printed on ponyskin. Both versions are $850. “Romy” is also available in solid colors of suede with an 85mm heel, $650.
Roger Vivier invented the stiletto heel in 1954, but everyone knows him for his classic Pilgrim buckle on all sorts of heel heights. The “Belle Vivier Metal Buckle Pumps” with their “slanted geometric” heel hark back to 1965. They’re available in 17 colors, in patent, leather and suede for $725 (silk satin is $1,750). The almost-flat “Belle Vivier” is $650 and comes in five patent-leather colors. (There’s also the sporty “Ballerina VIv’ Gommette,” with an enameled buckle and a white rubber lug sole, $675.)
Manolo Blahnik’s “Pitita” hits the tippy-top with a 115mm heel. Black satin with a front strap, mesh insets and silver-embossed snakeskin swirls, $1,255. “Pititaflat” comes in dark red satin with a front strap, mesh side panel and gold-embossed snakeskin, $1,225.
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