My Designer Shoe Experience and How You Can Get The Same Look For Less


Back when I was a single mom I didn’t dream of a closet full of designer shoes; living vicariously through Carrie Bradshaw’s collection of Manolos suited me just fine.

I received my first designer handbag as a gift at 19 and ever since I’d been more of a bag girl. But when things were tight I developed a core wardrobe. Which is basically several staple items that could be interchanged. To be honest, although my disposable shopping budget has changed I still shop this way.

And while I’ve always subscribed to the notion that a few signature accessories will update your look, I’ve also maintained that when shopping less and scaling back on the number of items you should have more money to spend on what you do consciously choose to purchase.  My advice is to purchase the highest quality you can afford to spend at that time so that the items will last and you’re not constantly having to replace them.  

Recently I decided to upgrade some of my signature staple items.  I already have a classic high-quality bag that I love. So, I upgraded my second favorite thing which happens to be a black patent letter shoe. I forgot to mention that I’m eternally 8 years old (on the inside anyway) and love the nostalgia that a pretty patent leather shoe evokes. I think patent leather is the perfect black dress shoe as it is slightly dressier than regular leather and elevates a look instantly.

And in this case, I followed the in-crowd. Every time I turn around someone is referencing the Christian Louboutin shoe. My virtual friend and fashionista Carelia from My Small Wardrobe does an amazing job of investing in a limited amount of high-quality clothing so I read a few of her Louboutin posts and decided to go with the Pigalle. I’d just gotten a large bonus for a campaign and decided to treat myself. After deciding to go with my true size of 38.5 (European sizing). I pulled the trigger and hit submit. I had mixed feelings after hitting that button the way I always do when I’m not sure something’s worth it. Another reason why I tend to be brand loyal. I hoped I’d really be getting what I paid for.

When the shoes arrived, I posted the unboxing in my IG story and the most asked question was “but are they comfortable.”  I think the answer to that depends on you and the shape of your foot. I read several reviews about how they are supposed to fit snug in the toe area and that they’d eventually form to your foot. The Luxe Mommy in one of her YouTube reviews shared that they should feel like a tight hug.


The original pair I ordered felt more like a death grip so I sized up half a size and reordered. The second pair I ordered still felt more like an unfriendly bear hug in the toe area but didn’t pinch or rub at all in the heel.  After reading every forum I could find about sizing I decided to keep them. Afraid that a size up might equal heel slippage.

I knew that I’d be sending my shoes to Santa Leather Care for sole protectors after a few wears because the red comes off a little on the soles pretty much after your first wear. Santana is recommended on the Louboutin website for this service and Carelia uses him too. Since I was already sending them to him for the sole protection, I decided to have him stretch the toe as well. 


Here are some other things I discovered and if you’re interested in investing in a pair they may be things you also want to keep in mind:

  • My foot is medium width not wide or narrow but I do believe Pigalles probably fit true to size on those with narrow feet. Unless your feet are narrow Id say you should order up. I should have probably gone a full size larger. If you can visit a store to try them on I’d highly recommend it-although it’s probably going to take more than a walk around a store to know if you truly have the right fit. 
  • Their return policy is quite a pain; they have to go through a quality assurance return check that lasts about 14 business days. Though I knew I hadn’t damaged them I still held my breath because I didn’t want to somehow have to keep a shoe that didn’t fit (although their resale value is very high) because they didn’t pass some return test. I knew enough to not remove the plastic covering and only wear them on the carpet until I was sure I was keeping them. But the test sounded arbitrary and I’ve never purchased a high-end item online before. So this return policy made me nervous but in the end, it worked out fine. 
  • Speaking of ordering online-I get packages all the time with no issue but if you order directly from the Louboutin site you’ll have to be home to sign for these-just a minor inconvenience. 
  • If you care about protecting the red sole-many people do not (as you only see the instep of the heel when wearing the shoe) it will cost you about $50 to send it to a quality cobbler. 
  • They are as beautiful as you would imagine they would be and the quality is exquisite. There’s also no rubbing or digging into your heal the way less expensive brands sometimes do.
  • I tend to have pretty strong feelings about most things. I usually love something or I really don’t. I’m not a lukewarm kind of girl, but if you asked me if it was all worth it-I’d have to say I’m not sure yet.  Insert shrugging emoji hereIt was certainly more trouble than I feel it was worth at this point. I’m all about making my fashion life as effortless as possible and I exerted quite a bit more effort than usual here, but I do believe they’ll last forever and quality is something I believe in!

So, now you know everything that I know so far about purchasing Christian Louboutins. However, if you don’t want to pay a small ransom for a quality classic shoe here are two alternatives at a much better price point.

Sam Edelman

Michael Kors

I’d love to hear what you think about designer shoes and would love to hear about your favorite shoe brands too!


Until Next Post,


xo Tonya Parker

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Tonya Parker is a counselor, author and certified life coach who believes in helping women look and feel their best! Ambassador for O, The Oprah Magazine and author of Single Mom Chic

5 thoughts on “My Designer Shoe Experience and How You Can Get The Same Look For Less

  1. I have heard so much about the discomfort of Louboutins that I have shied away from that purchase, but I absolutely, highly recommend Michael Kors and Sam Edelman. I have not found one of these shoes uncomfortable and since I practically live in heels; I need at least the idea of comfort


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