Why Not . . . Invest in Good Shoes?

Jan 15, 2014

You have 4 free post views remaining this month.

Become a subscriber and view posts without restrictions.


 “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” -Marilyn Monroe

As Mireille Guiliano reminds readers in French Women Don’t Get Facelifts, there are particular “tells” when it comes to a woman’s appearance that signify to others what her identity is – in other words how she feels about herself and how she wants to be perceived by the outside world. The first “tell” is a woman’s haircut and the other is . . . her shoes.

Guiliano and actress Candace Bergen agree that a woman can wear expensive or inexpensive clothes and so long as she pairs quality shoes with her outfit, she will shine. However, on the flip side, an amazingly well-styled ensemble can be decimated when shabby shoes are pulled from the closet.

Now, while Mariah Carey or Carrie Bradshaw’s shoe closet may be a dream to look at, such collections are merely a fantasy especially if you adhere to this rule of thumb. However, so long as you include the necessary styles you need to complete your capsule wardrobe (click here to view the 10 shoes every woman should have) and keep in mind your lifestyle, when you choose to invest in well-made shoes, you can sleep easy knowing with certainty you will exude  a confident and signature look, will have comfortable (blister-free) feet and years free of endless shoe shopping which in the long run saves you money and time.

Complete Any Look

A quality leather ballet flat from Lanvin paired with jeans, a classic nude pump from L.K. Bennett for work or black over the knee boots from Stuart Weitzman worn over skinny jeans for evening. Each of these items can break the bank if you purchased them monthly or even seasonally, but when you know what you need to complete your wardrobe and you are confident that once you buy the item it will last for years, you can breathe easy saving up and celebrate rather than feel guilty when you finally make the purchase. A classic pair of shoes should complete the outfit you have chosen, not be the look. However, perhaps your style is to wear bright, bold, unique shoes. And in that case, even more reason to invest in quality shoes as they are the star of the show.


I can remember in college being ecstatic to buy shoes on my own from Payless Shoe Source. Never mind that they didn’t last more than one season, but they were all I could afford on my budget at the time. Had I taken the time to save up upon realizing the lesson I share with you today, perhaps my shoe tales would be different, but either way, I learned the lesson eventually. Quality shoes not only feel good on your feet (my nude Stuart Weitzman 4″ pumps look like murder, but actually mold to my feet like a glove and feel like 2″ heels), but they reveal to the world someone who knows who she is, cares about her appearance but always wants to get whatever she came there to do done effectively.

Last for Years

Mireille Guiliano shares in her book that she has two three and a half inch heels in her closet which she reserves for special occasions – one from Yves Saint Laurent (before they dropped the Yves) and one from Bottega Veneta. Now, no doubt, both of these heels were worth more than I’ve ever paid for a pair of shoes, but because they are reserved for certain outfits and occasions and they are created by master artisans with quality materials, you would be able to continue to wear them for decades. Shoes that hold their form, don’t fall apart and can easily be buffed up or polished, or resoled (find a good cobbler and you can wear your heels for the rest of your stylish days if you have them in a good rotation), are a sound investment. Remember to always consider the cost per wear equation to demonstrate and illustrate how those shoes you covet indeed are an investment and worth every penny.

State Clearly Your Signature Style


The shoes you choose, similar to the hair style or color you choose, reveal your personality, your attitude about life and a peek into how you spend your days. Love cowboy boots? Shop accordingly – look for bright, unique designs, sensational leather or anything that speaks to your preference. If you’re like me – nude and black are my go-to colors for everything. I prefer simple, yet certain options and love to have fun with scarves and jewelery as well as blouses and jackets. No matter what you style, don’t forget to bring your shoes into the presentation.

Now, it’s time to check your list of 10 – what’s missing? What shoes do you need for your lifestyle? How much will you have to save up? Now’s as good of a time as any. Just think, by this time next season, you could have your own pair of [fill in the blank] sitting in your closet ready to be worn on a moment’s notice and boost your confidence just before you walk out the door for that [interview/date/project pitch/etc].


~10 Wardrobe Essentials

~10 Essential Shoes Every Woman Should Have

~Why Not . . . Have Effortless Style?

~Shop TSLL~

Images: (1) (2) (3)

21 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Invest in Good Shoes?

  1. This post is a great twist on why you should invest in good shoes, thank you Shannon. I have come to the realization that I should invest in certain types of shoes. I am much harder on flats (suppose it’s the way I walk) and they wear out fast, so it does not make sense for me to pay more than $50 per pair. I find with heels that I can spend more but down the road will have to have them resoled or new tips put on – again, I am hard on my shoes. However boots are one thing I can get a lot of wear out of – and I do wear them as much as possible – so I do not feel bad spending more on a quality pair of boots. Just my 2 cents 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences Carrie. You’re exactly right in that we need to invest in the shoes that work with the lifestyle we love to live. Therefore, each of our shoe closets will be uniquely their own. 😉

  2. As a busy woman a tad over 60, I travel a lot in my work. I just cannot manage tall heels in airports while lugging my carryon and schlepping my computer case! Flats are not the answer either because they cause my tendons to ache. I try to find 1 to 2 inch heels on dress shoes that will look good with pants—this is more difficult that you would think!

  3. This is something I struggle with! I am naturally cheap but I also recognize that quality does last longer and is therefore cheaper in the long run. But how do you determine an appropriate cost per wear? I tend to think (again, because of my cheapness!) that is should be pennies…when maybe that’s not realistic. I have found that sometimes a cheaper version of something is a good idea if you’re not sure about the style. I was curious about nude heels so I bought a cheap (though surprisingly comfortable) pair from Payless last summer. I wore those shoes nearly every day that season, so perhaps I should splurge and buy a better pair that will last for several summers.

    I did bite the bullet and buy gorgeous black leather boots last year with Christmas money. They are the most expensive shoes I’ve ever bought at $250, but I could get them sized for my wide calves! Plus, being leather and good quality, I should be able to get them repaired when/if needed. I’m hoping they’ll last me several years with some love and care.


  5. Great post! Do you ever buy shoes off Ebay? I found a pair of Louboutin pumps for under $200 so I jumped on the auction. I will have to take them to a shoe repair store to make them look new, but I figured it was better than buying another pair of black heels that will need replacing in a couple of years.

  6. Would you consider doing a post on how to properly take care of nice shoes? I have far fewer than ten pairs so I wear them more often than other people do perhaps.

    I currently have a pair of shoes I spent a good deal of money on but after a year are already looking a bit shabby and have already had the heel tap replaced twice.

  7. Totally agree…but I likely differ on the price of “good” shoes. While I can find many pairs of gorgeous, expensive shoes I’d love to have in the closet, the reality is that I work from home and when I am out for my business, I’m working art festivals – so either in parks, on grass, or on asphalt for 2-3 days at a time for 14 hour stretches. There’s nothing in either the work at home scenario or the “out for business” scenario that really drives a need for expensive shoes.

    That said, I will usually spend up to $200 (more for boots) on fun shoes – I love a good pointy toe pump, and I love colorful, unusual heels – that I can wear from time to time. They just don’t get the chance to be worn all that often. Ebay can be supremely helpful in this regard – a lot of my better shoes cost more than $200 normally but I don’t pay full retail for them. It takes time, persistence, and a bit of luck to snag some great eBay deals but they can be had. And the thrill of the hunt is half the fun. 🙂

  8. I’m sorry, but you absolutely can’t convince me that it is worthwhile to spend $500-$600 on a pair of Lanvin ballet flats in the name of “quality”. There is a difference between paying for quality, and paying for the name of the world’s most expensive brands. I have paid just under $200 for my leather ballet flats from Repetto (a French brand) and Bloch and both have held up perfectly for the last 2 years. Let’s just be totally honest – beyond a certain level of quality, you really are paying for a brand’s name. I am all for investing in high quality items (which yes, do tend to be expensive relatively speaking), but I don’t see the point in over-paying for the most expensive brands in the world. I do however, love Stuart Weitzman (I’ve owned 3 pairs of their shoes) and L.K. Bennett.

  9. I think the work environment of the wearer has a lot to do with the reality of the choice of shoe. I worked as a corporate construction supervisor so I dressed professionally, but my office was in a construction trailer. Cole Haan flats were the upper end of what I was willing to pay because of the parking lots and other environments I walked in every day. If I drove to an office, walked inside and spent the rest of my day on indoor floors, my threshold might be higher.

    Personally, I agree with Stephanie, truly designer level shoes are only an “on-sale” purchase for me. I have a pair of black Prada pumps from a Saks sale and a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti black ankle boots from a Nordstrom sale. Both are classic designs that I’ll wear for years, but both were at least $500 off.

  10. Very well said Stephanie!
    Also, I do think that a really nice pair of flats is a lot more chic than a pair of stiletto heels. They look more effortless, young and comfortable and they can be so sexy (think Audrey Hepburn in her signature flats); in comparison, high heels often look uncomfortable and too “auntie” for me.

  11. My initial reaction upon seeing this post and accompanying photo was “what exactly constitues a ‘good’ shoe’?” And then I got to Stephanie’s quote. Well said. For me, even $200 for a pair of ballet flats is eye-brow raising, but I accede to cost-per-wear. I personally would not consider Rock Studs to be a “good shoe” – and think they are a strange shoe to use to illustrate your point – reviews that say they aren’t comfortable plus extreme trendiness make them not so good for “investing” in (for me). So, what makes a “good shoe?” is it brand? Price? Comfort?

  12. I love shoes but wear a narrow size. Why do shoe designers deprive us women who have A widths? Ferragamo and S. Weitzman are the few who carry narrow sizes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *