• Tue, Sep 20 2011

Why Are Christian Louboutins So Poorly Made?

Welcome to the whitest whine ever!

About once or twice a year, I try to save up for some big ticket fashion item. Usually it’s a dress, but sometimes, approximately, say, four years after the trend happens, I decide I need ankle booties so I will not spend the entire winter slouching around in Oxfords and pumps as though I am continually in some 1960′s comedy set at a girls school. So I decided that really cool ankle boots were going to be my splurge this year. But they should be really cool. The coolest. So, these booties:

They’re beautiful, right? And they must be quality, because they cost $900. So I went to Bergdorf’s (I mention this because I realize there are a fair number of fake Louboutin sites on the Internet) and sat down with the shoe man. He was very sweet and we found the shoes in my size and I got to have this fantasy about being terribly, terribly important for a few minutes.

And then I wore them. Which I think is generally what one does with shoes, though maybe they were intended as art pieces? (But Stanley Tucci told me “fashion is art you live your life in!” Movies teach life lessons! Like “put shoes on your feet and walk places in them!”)

I would say I walked in them for a total of about half an hour evening – which is the standard amount of walking you do in New York when you realize you’re never going to get a taxi. I also walked up and down a flight of stairs in them. I suppose I did wear them on a day when it had rained earlier in the day. So I wore them when rain had existed, but since they were an item for Fall that seemed… reasonable?

You can check out the top picture but after one wearing…

The zipper is split (this is kind of my main beef, because I’ve never had a zipper split after one day with any pair of shoes)

The leather around the heel and the plastic tip have completely worn away (not totally surprising, that could just be from walking and something I’d expect, albeit after a few weeks of use, not one night out on the town). 

The leather has worn away in patches around the side (on both shoes, and I’m not even sure how that happened, because I swear I did not spend the evening clicking my heels like Dorothy)

Look, there’s nothing I can do now except take them to my shoe repair guy and say “hey, buddy, do you best with these tattered, tattered shoes” but this does seem kind of ridiculous. If I’d bought them for $100 I would just write it off as being one of those things, but these are $900 shoes. They were supposed to last the winter. They were certainly supposed to last longer than one wearing. Between the shoe repair guy repairing the tips and the zipper, it’s going to end up being $30 worth of repairs just for the first day’s wear.

Perhaps I’ve been spoiled because when I’ve bought similar shoes in the past (Manolo Blahniks) the thing that’s really stood out to me is that I’m still wearing them 5 years after I got them. And I do a lot of walking in my shoes. I always assume that the difference in price makes sense because higher cost shoes are so well built that you’re saving yourself the cost of a new pair a few years down the road.

I guess the only thing to do in this situation is to mention that, in my limited experience, Christian Louboutins are surprisingly poorly made, and this is disappointing considering the fact that they cost all the money. Also, this post was sponsored by Manolo Blahnik. (No. Just kidding. But Blahniks do hold up like nobody’s business).

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  • Lesa

    As a shoe lover also, who has never purchased Christian Louboutins but would love to have a pair one day….that made me very sad! Should have lasted a lot longer than that for that kinda $$$$$$. BOO!

    • memphis88

      $900? You’re a fool. I’m making a new brand of shoes with a blue sole. For $1800, they’re all yours.

  • Lisa Jean

    Take them back to the store! Make them exchange them for a new pair, that’s unreasonable to happen in one day for any shoe costing over $5. Probably even for shoes under $5 too! You expect to get more than 1/2 hour of walking in them!

    I once saw my sister do this after wearing a (hideous) pair of Cole Haan patchwork ankle boots a few years ago. The patchwork stitching was splitting and she brought them back after about two weeks and was like “POOR CRAFTSMANSHIP, GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK OR A NEW PAIR GUARANTEED TO NOT BREAK!”
    And they did, with no argument.

    For something as expensive as Louboutins, I’m SURE you’d be able to do this at the store.

    Definitely try that before heading to the cobbler and spending more money on top of the original cost of the shoe.

  • klee

    Louboutins suck. I have Manolos that are actually comfortable, and pradas that are over a decade old and after resoling 1x, are still great.

  • andrea dunlop

    Manolos are super comfy and usually cost a couple hundo less than Louboutins and they last for years and years. I’ve never bought a pair of the later because they hurt my feet while wearing them in the STORE. Rip. Off.

  • Deb

    As someone who works in a high end shoe store I will absolutely say TAKE THEM BACK, I don;t know if this is standard with Louboutins butif not they are obviously faulty.

  • hhh

    i have target shoes that are more comfortable than louboutins. so overrated. don’t take them to your shoe guy, take them back to the store. that’s just ridiculous.

  • ellie

    Um, return them! That standard’s just cheek!

  • Rebekah Mae

    Take them back to your shoe store ASAP! Especially if you’ve had them less then 30 days or a week they should take them back with your recite (or even a credit card statement). The way that shoe looks is unacceptable, especially for only one days wear. And I should know since I’ve been working at a shoe store for five horrible years.

  • August S.

    Like the previous 50 posters said: GIRL, RETURN THOSE SHOES.

    Most high-end department stores are extremely lenient when it comes to returns/exchanges/merchandise credit– Nordstroms will let you return ANYTHING short of a half-eaten sandwich (actually, if the sandwich was from their cafe, they might let that fly too) regardless of the amount of wear/scuffing or when you bought it. I know because I have abused this privilege.

    Let us know how the saga ends!

  • Steph

    I wouldn’t expect even a $50 pair of shoes to wear that quickly, much less $900 ones. Take them back while you still can and get something back for them.

  • Jodi

    Bergdorg’s is great about returns, so definitely take them back. I would exchange them, though, in the hopes that the new ones would last longer. I refuse to give up on Louboutins!

  • Ella Mode

    Wow! I love your writing and I so feel for you! Just as a testimonial, however, I want to say that this is far from my experience with my own (few) Louboutins.

    I only got the heel tip damaged from stepping in a crack, normal and I don’t even think I NEED to use my replacement yet. Also, I bought already-damaged ones from eBay and hid it with adornments – for my wedding; I need to save money on that.

    Now, since this happened so quickly, I agree that you should be able to return/exchange these, so DO! Good luck!

    And no, a $100 pair of shoes IS high quality (usually), just without the name THAT shiny. I have a pair of Calvin Kleins that I kept kicking against the wall because they were too big (trying to push my foot backward; crazy, I know) and the SUEDE was hardly damaged – and I won’t do that again! (I’ve stuffed them with cotton. Hey, I needed to wear them quick and they didn’t have my usual size, plus they run big. Oh well. I still love them. Comfy!)

    When one pays $700+ for shoes, it’s not higher quality than $100, it’s mostly name (and maybe some fab fanciness). IMHO.

    Maybe replace them with some new Coach. Logo-y but I do like one pair this year. Reasonable price, partly raised by name, but their shoes really do rock. I own many (all flat though, so far).

    Again, good luck!

  • Daisy

    I agree with pretty much everyone else: take those suckers back. I must say, I’ve had similar problems with Louboutin as well. I love their designs, the shoes are gorgeous, but I’ve noticed before that they are often poorly made. Once I ordered a pair through The Outnet, and I sent them back without wearing them because I could instantly see at least three flaws! And while visiting the Louboutin department at London’s Selfridges and “felt up” a couple of pairs there, and still refrained, because they weren’t perfection. And for those prices, Louboutins should be perfection!

    http://pennyforyourshoes.blogspot.com

  • Kathleen N.

    Since this was a post about Christian Louboutins and they are some damn fancy shoes (jealous) I was trying to come up with an eloquent way of saying that sucks. But I couldn’t. So yeah, that sucks! Take them back!

  • Zakiyyah

    As a Loubie lover, I feel for you. As far as I know, this is not the standard. I have never had such an issue, However, this is unacceptable. Oddly enough, I have had this happen with Jimmy Choo. ( Go figure) I you are spending some people’s rent on a pair of shoes, this should never happen.

    http://www.yourbeautyadvisor.com
    http://www.ybatheblog.com

  • L

    wow. bummer. i’m feeling pretty smug about a pair of boots i got from ami clubwear 3+ years ago that are stiiill hangin’ in there with regular wear.

  • Shannon

    Did you contact the company? I would at least give them an opportunity to make the situation right before I slammed them in a less then flattering article.
    That way if they were unwilling to replace/repair them, there is no doubt about the integrity of the company.

  • Cherie

    I was thinking of buying some basic Loubs very soon, but this post has made me rethink it since I would be scared to even leave my house in them! But hopefully for your sake, a luxury store like that will let you return with no issues or questions asked!

    Cher

    http://eyeblinkfashion.wordpress.com

  • Rebecca

    Maybe it’s your karma for spending so much money on a pair of shoes.

    • Norah

      Agreed. I love the design, but if they’re shitty shoes, they’re shitty shoes.

  • Ella Jane

    I feel you. I splurged on some Vera Wang heels a few weeks ago. Wore them out to the bar, they fit great, felt great. Second time I wore them was to the office. I was leaving for the day, about to step on the first step down a flight of stairs, when the buckle on the ankle randomly sheared in half. I skidded down the stairs on my knees, and ended up with this – http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/314525_2103121655052_1155789322_32027876_2000502405_n.jpg.

    Nordstrom’s was very gracious about the return, but what I really wanted to do was show up on Vera’s doorstep to personally hand them back to her and bitch for a while about my hideously deformed leg. This happened two weeks ago and I’m STILL bruised.

  • Tee

    You should definitely return/exchange them! There’s no need to speed more to get them repaired!

  • zero

    I wholeheartedly sympathize with and can relate to your situation. However, I am absolutely perplexed. You did not mention anything about trying to return the shoes or contacting the manufacturer (in case this was a final sale and a store return was out of the question), so, naturally, many of us assumed that you did not. If not, WHY???? It is the most obvious and most immediate course of action to take in a situation like this. I appreciate that you shared your experience with the readers (and potential Laboutin customers). However, it seems as if you’re trying to shame the manufacturer into compensating you for the faulty product via public article, before you exhausted other means of communications with Laboutin. That is not only unprofessional, but also much less effective, slower and childish approach. Again, based on your article, I am assuming that you did not try to contact the manufacturer, or return the shoes to the store. If you did, we would have loved to read about your experience with that, too. Again, I am so sorry you had such a rotten experience with your boots.

  • Loubi Lover

    Hi there, looks like you used and abused your booties. I have these Lisses among many other pairs. I treat mine with care and like any luxury item I am carful while wearing them. The leather on the side of your boot didn’t just fall off you obviously scratched it on something. Maybe you are not responsible enough to be purchasing items such as these beautiful boots

  • LB

    1. Your booties did not come with the leather scraped fully off the side. That was you. You were careless.
    2. The heel is most likely the result of you catching in between grates or bricks or cracks in the sidewalk. Yet again, they obviously did not come out of the box looking like that.
    3. The zipper is the only reason you have to complain, though seeing the other damage so carelessly done to the rest of the shoes I cannot judge whether or not it was a product issue or you just beating the sh*t out of your shoes.

    In closing… when you spend on Louboutins, take care of them! Watch where you’re walking, it looks like you took your booties on a long fall down a steep flight of metal steps. Now whose fault is that?

    • Niki

      LB,

      I could buy the user error excuse if the boots had actually been worn oh.. more than once and longer than a whopping 30 minutes in the oh so treacherous terrain of a downtown sidewalk.

      When the hell did she say they came out of the box looking like this? They didnt come out of the box that way – they managed to end up looking like that after ONE NIGHT of wear. Hell, not even one night – 30 minutes!

      And really, ‘watch where you’re walking’? She spent 30 minutes walking down the sidewalk in them, not hiking mount everest.

      Are you really telling me that we should expect to spend 900 dollars on shoes and then not actually be able to wear them anywhere that isn’t accompanied by plush, pillowed floorboards?

      Gimme a break. Well made shoes don’t get massive scuffs in the leather, a busted zipper, and a bent heel from 30 minutes of wear in such tame surroundings.

      There are plenty of “beautiful” shoes with the price tag of louboutins that you can actually WEAR – a 900 dollar designer shoe comes with a certain expectation of quality, and its pretty clear from the damage these shoes suffered in 30 minutes that louboutin has decided to chuck the quality aspect in favor of coasting by on a name, and for people who make excuses for 900 dollar shoes that you can’t even wear outside.

  • Loki

    No one should pay $900 for shoes. No one should intentionally wear shoes that actually do orthopedic damage to their body. If you are crazy enough to do these two things, then discover that the shoes are badly made…well, sorry crazy, but you should have invested in therapy and medication instead.

    • mm

      This is literally the most irritating comment I have ever seen on any site ever. Who are you to judge whether or not anyone besides yourself should spend $900 on shoes? Who are you to call other people crazy and tell them they need therapy and medication? You’re rude, smug, and someone I hope I never have the unfortunate experience of meeting.

      P.S. I love my $1,100 Loubs…I’m not crazy I love shoes. Enjoy your Crocs….ha

  • Shoe Gal

    Heres a tip. Only buy big ticket items at places with liberal return policies, like Nordstrom. Then, if they don’t hold up the way you expect, you return them for your full money back. I had a pair of burberrys fall apart after one wear and brought them back- got my full money back. Also a purse that looked like crap after a couple of wears.

  • elanor

    The heel on the shoe to start with looks a little thin anyway, I would have considered this before purchasing. I think items like these at this price are probably made for women who can afford to replace them without caring about the state they are in after one/a few wears anyway. I’m also not sure how the leather has been eroded away so badly within one wear – you must have scraped them/slipped. No leather can take that type of force.

  • Autumn

    I just purchased a pair on the ‘super secret’ The Outnet sale. You get emailed entry into the sale for CLs! Well after two weeks in customs, the shoes arrived today and I’m upset! It looks like they were previously worn. There is a sort of rubbing of the coloring on both sides on both shoes around the toe box. The good news is that I got them 60% off AND I can return them. No where within the advertisement was it communicated that these shoes were possible returns or previously worn. I’m typing this as a heads up to anyone searching about purchasing ‘sale items’ from The Outnet! The CLs I ordered were the 150mm Nomo Slingbacks. They were gorgeous in pictures and one of the few pairs left in my size. Also, the extra heel taps sent with the shoe AREN’T EVEN THE RIGHT KIND! They are the heel taps for thicker heels/boots.

  • Kennedy Brookes

    I completely agree with you. I love the shoes and the history plus art that comes with it but I had higher expectations for them. I have longed for my very own pair of red bottom shoes for as long as I can remember and when I got my first pair, I was a little let down. I expected every little detail to be exquisite, but I found myself noticing tiny imperfections that had no business being there! I mean hello, for the price tag on these suckers and considering how small they are, they can at least improve the work of art. I got the nude pigalle 120mm as my first pair. I have read that the quality has decline in the past decade or so. I still kept the shoes of course, but I am just a very detailed person. I was most impressed by Valentino shoes, I spent a shameless amount of time in Nordstrom studying a pair of Valentinos and they were crafted to perfection. And to all the comments saying that she shouldn’t have bought such an expensive pair just to be careless about them…. UM hello people these shoes are nearly a grand, I think for the price we paid we should get some nearly invincible if not sturdy shoes?!

  • Siobhan Sullivan

    I am so glad to hear I am not the only one with this problem! To all of you who say this woman is beating the crap out of her shoes or not being careful is just crazy! I own three pairs of Louboutins. I have a pair of slingbacks that the heel broke on the second day I wore them. I work in an office, park my car in the underground garage at work, hell I hardly step on pavement and I really am aware of where I am stepping when I wear these. MY LOUBOUTIN HEEL STILL BROKE. I do not walk hard on my shoes. As much as I hate to admit this, I have a very cush job and home life that does not require me to get out a lot. The other two pairs of CL’s I have never, NEVER had any issues with but for some reason, this particular pair did. I also have Manolo’s, Choo’s and Prada’s that were less expensive and older and are in so much better shape that my Louboutins. Honestly, I will not buy anymore CL’s. I would rather take that money and get shoes that I know will last and won’t break. Christian Louboutin has certainly compromised on quality somewhere or this wouldn’t be happening. She is not the only one that has issues with the quality.

    • Posh

      Totally agree with Jennifer and Siobhan, I bought a new pair of Black Decollette and the leather on my right heel scratched and fell off just like hers after a night out! For a $1,000 bucks not cool at all. My choo on the other hand is flawless after a night out like the rest of my shoes. Wonder if this CL leather injury could be repaired at all.. boohoo :(

  • Noway

    Hey!
    I just read your article and i feel so confused..Last Friday my new Pigalle Louboutins in nude arrived on my doorstep after finally finding them on http://www.christianlouboutin.com(i wear 40.5 and was always sold out).With shaking hands and without anyone knowing i spent 500euros i opened the box and with horror faced two stains of beige color on front of the right shoe!That was a shock!I instantly took photos and searched for an email to contact the site.I sent them photos of the stains and asked what i should do..The weekend passed..no answer.I sent a second message on a different email i found on the papers included in the box.No answer.I sent a third email..no answer.Finally on Wednesday they replied asking me to send 3 photos 1 global 2 outersoles 3 the problem and that they will deliver the issue to service department.The thing is that i have an important event to attent on Saturday,that is in two days and i don’t know what to do!!!Should i forget the stains and wear them?Should they propose an exchange and how long will it take until the new shoes arrive?Should i say f* ck it and get my money back and buy the clic h hermes bracelet i want?I have tried Louboutin heels many times before but when they appeared in my bedroom i felt that something was wrong,but thought are all those women who love CL wrong?I m still waiting for their feedback..
    What do you guys suggest???