Christian Louboutin is one of the most well-known luxury shoe brands in the world. Known for their iconic red-lacquered soles, Louboutin shoes are considered a status symbol and regularly worn by A-list celebrities. However, despite the brand’s popularity, Louboutin also has its fair share of haters. Here’s an in-depth look at why some people dislike the French shoe designer and his famous footwear creations.
The Exorbitant Prices
One of the main reasons people dislike Louboutin is the exceptionally high prices of the shoes. A standard pair runs $600-900, while more elaborate designs can cost well over $1000. In a struggling economy where the average American doesn’t have an extra thousand dollars lying around, dropping a month’s rent on a pair of heels seems absurd to many.
The justification given for the prices is that Louboutin uses high-quality materials and each pair takes days to craft by hand. However, many argue that no shoe is worth that much money, regardless of the level of craftsmanship. The extreme pricing puts Louboutin shoes firmly out of reach for the majority of people.
Perceived Lack of Comfort
Another common complaint about Louboutins is that they lack comfort and wearability. With their extremely high heels (most styles are 4 inches or higher) and notoriously narrow toe box, Louboutins prioritize looks over functionality.
Many who have worn Louboutins complain of pain, blisters, toe cramps and other discomforts that are practically guaranteed with extended wear. Most say the shoes are so uncomfortable they can’t make it through a full day standing or walking in them. For the astronomical prices, critics argue the shoes should feel as good as they look.
Association With Kim Kardashian
Louboutin shoes have become closely linked to reality TV star Kim Kardashian in recent years. Kardashian frequently wears head-to-toe Louboutin looks and has become a sort of unofficial brand spokesperson.
However, those who dislike Kardashian and her lavish lifestyle also direct their distaste towards Louboutin by association. They see the shoes as another emblem of her excessive consumerism and flaunting of wealth. The Kardashian association turns some people off from wanting to wear Louboutins themselves.
The Omnipresent Red Soles
The shiny lacquered red soles have undeniably become Louboutin’s trademark, but some consider them overexposed and too widely copied now. From counterfeit knockoffs to similar designs with blue or yellow soles, the once-unique red soles feel less special today.
Some think Louboutin relies too heavily on this signature and would like to see more variation or creativity in the soles and overall designs. The repetition of the red underside starts to feel gimmicky or played out to those tired of seeing it everywhere.
Perception of Poor Quality
There is also a perception among some consumers that the quality of Louboutin shoes is not worth the price tag. Complaints of poor construction, inconsistent sizing, easily scratched materials and flimsy heels are not uncommon among dissatisfied customers.
With luxury items, people expect top-notch quality from start to finish. But some say Louboutin’s shoes don’t live up to those standards, leading them to doubt they are getting their money’s worth.
A Breakdown of Louboutin Shoe Prices
|Accessories & Jewelry||$345-$1,295|
The Association With Sex
From their provocative, pin-up girl inspired advertising to their popularity among sex workers, Louboutins have strong associations with female sexuality.
Some believe the shoes’ extreme height, restrictive fit and flashy aesthetic intentionally play into female stereotypes and gender tropes. The overt sex appeal of the shoes makes some women hesitant to wear them, lest they get misperceived or objectified.
Men who disapprove of women dressing provocatively may also dislike Louboutins as a symbol of attire they feel is inappropriate or vulgar. The sexualization of the brand turns off some who think it propagates unhealthy standards for women.
Limited Diversity and Representation
As a historically white-dominated luxury brand, Louboutin has also faced criticism over lack of diversity in its campaigns and offerings. The shoes typically only come in smaller sizes that cater to thin, cisgender, white women.
There have been some expansions into larger sizes, wider calf options, and collaborations with Black designers like Maya Posey and Allen Onyia in recent years. But many still feel Louboutin fails to offer equal representation or acknowledge its privileged roots.
Until more meaningful strides towards inclusivity are made, some will continue taking issue with the narrow casting and clientele the brand mostly caters to.
Louboutin Controversies That Sparked Hatred
Some specific controversies have fueled negativity towards the brand and designer over the years:
- Suing Yves Saint Laurent over red soles in 2011: Louboutin trademarked its red soles in 2008. So when YSL released monochrome shoes with red soles in 2011, Louboutin filed a $1 million trademark infringement lawsuit. Though Louboutin ultimately lost the case, the decision to sue provoked backlash from YSL supporters.
- Comments about high heels and pain in 2012: In a 2012 interview, Louboutin was quoted saying “High heels are pleasure with pain. If you can’t walk in them, don’t wear them.” This remark sparked accusations of sexism and incited boycott threats.
- Criticism for lack of extended sizing in 2017: Despite requests from customers for years, Louboutin failed to offer extended shoe sizes for fuller-footed women until 2017. Plus size women expressed frustration that the brand did not value accessibility and marginalized women above standard sizing norms.
- New policies during COVID-19 in 2020: During the pandemic, Louboutin refused returns and exchanges to discourage in-person shopping. The company also discontinued secondhand sales and repairs, eliciting criticism for an anti-consumer stance.
Common Misconceptions About Louboutin Shoes
Despite their notoriety, there are some common misconceptions about what Louboutin shoes really represent:
- Myth: Louboutins are the most expensive designer shoes.Fact: Shoes by luxury brands like Chanel or Jimmy Choo can be equally or more expensive than Louboutin designs.
- Myth: The red soles are painted on and wear off easily.Fact: The red color on the soles is lacquered, heat-set plastic that is extremely durable. It does not rub off with typical wear.
- Myth: Louboutins are only for going out, formal events or dressing up.Fact: Many Louboutin styles are versatile enough for both day and night wear in casual or dressed up settings.
- Myth: The shoes don’t fit true to size.Fact: Louboutins in newer seasons do typically fit according to standard US sizing. But there can be variation with different styles.
- Myth: They are impossible to walk in.Fact: The very high heel heights do take practice but their signature arch support and sturdy construction makes mobility easier in most pairs.
In conclusion, Louboutin shoes clearly provoke polarized opinions – some see them as the pinnacle of luxury footwear, others find them ridiculously overpriced and impractical. While they will likely remain coveted by fashionistas and celebrities alike, many factors contribute to why Christian Louboutin has earned a reputation with haters as well as lovers.
However, the iconic red-soled heels show no signs of losing their luster any time soon. The public fascination and debate over Louboutins will surely continue for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are Christian Louboutin shoes so expensive?
Louboutin shoes range from $600 to over $6000. There are a few reasons for the hefty price tags:
- Premium materials like leather, suede, exotic skins
- Made by hand from start to finish in Italy and Paris ateliers
- Complex, labor-intensive construction
- Proprietary signature red sole that’s applied in multiple layers
- Exclusive, small batch production
- High brand markup – you pay for the luxury name and prestige
What celebrity put Louboutins on the map?
While Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and other 1990s It Girls wore the brand early on, Louboutins exploded into mainstream pop culture after Angelina Jolie wore them to the Oscars in 2000. She flashed the red soles on the red carpet, catapulting the shoes into celebrity wardrobe staple status.
Why do strippers like to wear Louboutins?
Louboutins have long been a shoe of choice among strippers and sex workers. Reasons for their popularity in strip clubs include:
- The extreme height elongates the legs and enhances the butt
- The red soles are eye-catching, especially against a pole
- The exotic materials and luxury brand give a sense of glamour
- They have come to represent beauty, sensuality and sexuality
Are Louboutins worth it?
Whether Louboutins are “worth it” depends on your personal budget and values. Given the high costs, many cannot reasonably afford to buy them. For some customers who can afford them, the style and quality do justify the price. Others may prefer less expensive shoes. Ultimately it’s an individual choice.
Do Louboutins go on sale?
Louboutin rarely has sales on its website or stores. But you can sometimes find discounted styles at high end department stores or flash sale sites. Resale platforms like The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective are good sources for like-new Louboutins at steep markdowns as well.