Last week I noticed that a lot of people have been arriving at the site having Googled the phrase “how to walk comfortably in Pigalles” … even although I don’t think I’ve ever written anything on that particular subject. I aim to please, though, so if you’re one of those people, there’s something very important you need to know:
Pigalles aren’t designed for comfort.
They’re just not. Especially not the Pigalle 120, which is the highest version of the style. Even Christian Louboutin himself has admitted that comfort isn’t his top priority when designing footwear, which says it all, really:
“People say I am the king of painful shoes. I don’t want to create painful shoes, but it is not my job to create something comfortable. I try to make high heels as comfortable as they can be, but my priority is design, beauty and sexiness. I’m not against them, but comfort is not my focus.”
– Christian Louboutin
Now, regardless of how you feel about this, the fact remains that people don’t buy Louboutins because they’re comfortable. NO five inch stiletto is going to be truly “comfortable”, but that doesn’t mean you have to be in pain when you’re wearing them. If you want to be able to walk (relatively) comfortably in Pigalles, here’s my advice:
1. Size down
Pigalles run a half size to a full size large. What’s more, the steep angle created by the heel will make the foot slide forward, which means your toes get squashed into that narrow toebox: ouch. To avoid this, you need to make sure the shoe is as close a fit as possible, so the foot is held securely in place. Pigalles will generally “mold” to the foot with use, and while they shouldn’t stretch too much, sizing down also ensures that they won’t feel too large after a few wears. These are shoes that it’s best to try on in person before buying, if at all possible, but whatever you do, don’t size up or it’ll be really difficult to keep the shoes on your feet!
2. Don’t wear them with tights
In generally, tights/stockings can make high heels harder to walk in, purely because they make it very easy for the foot to slip out of the shoe. As I mentioned above, the Pigalle 120 has such a steep angle that your foot will want to slide forward anyway, and slippy hosiery will make that even worse. Wearing them with bare feet will help prevent this, but if you’re still having problems, you might want to consider adding gel insoles in the toe box: Foot Petals make these ones which go under the ball of the foot, but as the Pigalle has such a narrow toe, you may need to trim them to fit properly.
3. Practice, practice, practice
This tip really applies to all heels, not just the Pigalles, but even if you’re used to wearing very high heels, you’re probably going to walk to take these shoes for a few test runs before wearing them out of the house. They’re by no means the most difficult shoes to walk in, but they can take a bit of getting used to, so spend a bit of time walking around the house in them first.
Not all shoes will work for all people. If you’re really struggling to walk in this style, it could be time to start investigating other options: luckily there are plenty of them to choose from!