Designer Discounted

Expensive Shoes You Can Afford

How much are you willing to spend on a ‘good’ pair of shoes? The world’s priciest heels may be out of reach for most of us, but there are many realistic pairs in the $200 to $600 range (£120 to £300) that look - and feel - like a million dollars.

“Spending $500 on a pair of shoes isn’t really going overboard, if you think about it,” says Ilse Tudor, fashion editor of “The cost-per-wear comes down to a few dollars over a year if you use them all the time.”

We can certainly see the point. Worn 3 times a week for an entire year, a $500 pair costs only $3.50 per wear. Use them for two years and you spend less than $2 every time you take them out for a spin.  

Armed with this new reasoning, we put together a list of top quality (albeit relatively expensive) flats, heels, wedges, and sandals that we think will eventually pay for themselves because you are sure to use them often.

The ‘recognizable’ all-around heel

Let’s face it – part of the price you are paying for is the brand. If you spent half a month’s rent for a pair of soles, you want other women to know you have taste. This explains the Christian Louboutin phenomenon. The designer’s red heel is an instant status symbol, and is enough to make any cheap black dress you pair it look like couture.

However, there’s a very fine line between an expensive cliché and a timeless classic. For instance, too many women already own black Louboutin pumps, and they’ve become too predictable. So if you must go the red-sole way, why not choose a Louboutin Pigalle 85? These beauties are made using nude leather, with a decent heel measuring 3.5 inches, a sexy pointed toe, and the signature red leather sole, of course. These lovely Louboutins go with virtually any colour dress and pants, and they’re not as tired as the black Décolleté pump.   

Not a Louboutin fan? You can get the same nude chic from other top designers. One of our favourites is the Prada Leather Pump with dainty eyelet details, which we spotted at over 40% off last season. Feminine yet sturdy, it is one of the most comfortable 3-inch pair of heels we have ever tested.

The evening shoe that outlasts trends

If you’re looking for classic evening shoes so delicate they’re essentially jewellery for your feet, buy the Stuart Weitzman Jewelled T-Strap Sandal. Made in Spain like all other shoes by this designer, this dazzling pair features 4-inch stacked heels and retails at a little less than $500 USD. (We’ll let you know right away if it goes on sale).What we love about this shoe is that it has enough glamour to render a diamond necklace redundant. Even basic, affordable cocktail dresses from Club Monaco or Zara will look a bit more pedigreed paired with them.

The ultimate weekend flats

Vogue hailed Dieppa Restrepo’s androgynous weekend flats as the ultimate chic for women who want the comfort of ballet shoes sans the ‘sweetness.’  The price? Anywhere from $250 to $400, available online via Totokaelo.  Of course, nothing looks more refined than ballet flats that are so classic they’ve been manufactured for over 50 years – and have remained best sellers year after year. We’re talking about the Chanel two-toned (bicolour) ballerina flats, which were first introduced by Coco in 1957 to make the legs look longer, as the beige blends in with the colour of the legs and feet. These iconic shoes look fantastic with knee-length dresses as much as they do with tailored shorts, and are second only to Ferragamo Varina Flats in the list of the most refined flats. They now come in all colours and materials - from pure lambskin to quilted canvass and leather combinations - but the beige-and-black version is still the best investment.

"Worn 3 times a week for an entire year, a $500 pair costs only $3.50 per wear. Use them for two years and you spend less than $2 every time you take it out for a spin."

Chanel Beige Nude And Black Ballerina Flats
Chanel's classic two-toned ballerina has been a best-seller for over 50 years. Price: Starts at $600 / £ 380 / € 450 
Christian Louboutin Pigalle 85 Nude Pumps
A pair of nude Louboutin Pigalle 85 pumps is less common and more versatile than the black Décolleté pump, but shares the same status red soles. Price: $595 / £ 380 / € 440 
Dieppa Restrepo Classic Flats
Dieppa Restrepo’s androgynous flats, the perfect weekend shoes for women who want more edgy than dainty. Price: Starts at $250 / £ 160 / € 185 
Manolo Blahnik Alligator Boots
Manolo Blahnik’s Alligator Boots is far too expensive for most women. Price: $14,000 / £ 8900 / € 10,400 
Jimmy Choo Crocodile Pumps
Jimmy Choo’s Crocodile Pumps are a little more affordable, but hardly worth it. Price: $1,750 / £ 1,100 / € 1,300 
Published December 29, 2011 by Ingrid Cudia
Designer Discounted