Vivienne Westwood/Melissa Lady Dragon shoes: some frequently asked questions

Vivienne Westwood Melissa shoes: Lady Dragon Cherries

Almost every time I write about Vivienne Westwood/Melissa Lady Dragon shoes (which I do rather a lot, as you may have noticed), the same set of questions seem to come up in the comments section, so I figured I’d put together a quick FAQ for those of you either considering buying a pair of these shoes, or just thinking “The hell? Plastic shoes?”

Before I get started, I should probably stress that I’m answering these questions from my own point of view only: I don’t claim to be an expert on Vivienne Westwood or Melissa, and I can really only speak about the Vivienne Westwood/Melissa Lady Dragon shoes, as those are the ones I own. I currently have quite a few pairs of these shoes, from various seasons, and decorated with hearts, bows and cherries, and I also have a couple of pair of flats, one pair being from the Vivienne Westwood for Melissa range, the other from the Mel line. Here are some of the questions I’m asked about them:

Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragon Cherries Shoes

Q. How on earth do you balance on a rubber heel? Doesn’t it wobble around all the time?

A: Nope! The heel isn’t actually made of rubber: it’s a regular heel, made in the same way as any other stiletto, but with a plastic coating. So it won’t buckle under you, I promise!

Q: Eew, plastic shoes! Don’t they make your feet sweat?

A: I certainly haven’t found that to be the case with the heeled peep toes. The Lady Dragon shoes I have are a peep-toed, slingback style, which means that most of the foot is exposed, anyway, so they don’t sweat any more than they would in a regular peep toe slingback. The flats, on the other hand, are a little different: I have one pair of Vivienne Westwood x Melissa flats, which has a small peep toe, and my feet are absolutely fine in those; my Mel flats, however, are entirely closed, and I’ve noticed that they’re less comfortable: they also have a habit of rubbing off my toenail polish when I wear them, which isn’t something that happens with regular flats, so that’s something else to be aware of!

Vivienne Westwood Melissa shoes: Lady Dragon hearts

Q: Doesn’t the plastic chafe against your skin?

A: The only place where I’ve found rubbing to be an issue is on the peep toe. It’s a slightly smaller peep toe than on most of my other shoes, and because it’s plastic, it doesn’t soften up, as leather does, so if I’ve been wearing the shoes for a while, or doing a lot of walking in them, it can start to rub a little. I haven’t had any issue with the slingback or vamp rubbing, though, and much of this will depend on the shape of your feet and how well the shoes fit.

Vivienne Westwood Melissa shoes: Lady Dragon hearts

Q: Are Vivienne Westwood/Melissa Lady Dragons true to size?

A: Up until the Winter 2011 collection was released, I always had to size down with these shoes, because I found my usual size too large. The size down was a perfect fit… up until Winter 2011, when I think the brand must have changed the sizing, because when I ordered a pair of shoes from that collection, the size down (i.e. my usual Lady Dragon size) was too small, and I had to return them and re-order in my regular size. I find the current sizing a little bit large, although not a full size large: I can wear them, but the strap has to be on the smallest hole.  All of that said, I would always urge caution when taking sizing advice from someone on the Internet – or someone who doesn’t have exactly the same shape of feet as you, basically – because I know a couple of people who also own these shoes, and find them true to size. Size is a very personal thing, and, as I mentioned above, it depends not just on the number on the sole of your shoe, but on the shape of your feet, and on what you’re used to. So it’s always a good idea to try them on rather than just taking my word for it!

Vivienne Westwood Melissa shoes: Lady Dragon hearts

 Q: Are Vivienne Westwood/Melissa Lady Dragons comfortable?

A. I always hesitate before answering this one, because “comfort” is such a subjective thing, and depends on lots of different factors: what one person finds totally comfortable, another person might find absolutely excruciating! It also very much depends on what you’re used to: for instance, I wear high heels frequently, so they’re fairly “comfortable” to me; however, someone who isn’t used to them might find them almost impossible to walk in. So I can’t tell you whether you’ll find these shoes comfortable: all I can do is tell you what they feel like to me, and for me I’d say yes, they’re reasonably comfortable: they have a low heel which is easy to walk on, but as I mentioned above, I do find the small peep toe will start to chafe and pinch after a while, so they’re not shoes I would wear if I was going out walking all day, say.


  • Good advice! I also found that buying a size down from my usual size worked well for these – in the slingback style at least.

    I’d add that the first time I wore these the vamp really DID rub, and it cut my feet to ribbons. I invested in some anti-friction rub which totally solved the problem and I’ve found these shoes to be really comfortable.

    I had to have one pair reheeled due to the amount of wear, in fact! I contacted Melissa directly to see if they supplied heel tips (as some shoes come with a spare pair) and was told that these shoes are not designed to be reheeled and if I did so it would be at my own risk. My local cobbler reheeled them with no problems at all, however. So, that’s just my experience there for anyone wondering if these are repairable!

    • I must say I have the same problem as Roisin: they don’t hurt my toes, but they really rub on the sides (the vamp, apparently). People are always very interested to learn they smell like bubblegum though. 🙂

    • Hi could I ask where you contacted and details please. As my red heel tip has come off and am unable to get them fixed. I need the proper heel tips for the shoes. Really need some help and would be very grateful!

  • As an owner of three models by Melissa that encloses the hole foot, I must say it DOES make your foot sweat, but it doesn’t botter me at all. Is just like the majority of the shoes we buy, they came with a synthetic lining, wich is nothing but plastic. The positive side is that they are REALLY very comfortable – especially the campana flat model – and in the end of the day, you can get home and wash it with soap and a toothbrush. Nothing changes, even with the flocked models. Besides, it enhances their “melissa smell”.

  • This is a really useful post Amber. There aren’t any stockists in New Zealand but they occasionally end up on our version of eBay, so I always keep an eye out! I’m a half size in NZ sizes (roughly Eu 37) so am thinking if I find a 36 I might just risk it as I too have heard from a number of people that sizing down is the way to go.


  • I’ve never owned a pair of Melissas, but I used to work at a boutique that stocks them so I’ve heard many, many reviews of them. From what I’ve heard, the closed shoes (like the ultragirls) do tend to make people’s feet sweat. But some people said they didn’t at all, so to an extent it depends on the person. But almost everyone I talked to commented that they never lose their bubblegum smell, and that they were the most comfortable shoes they’d ever owned. My best advice in terms of sizing is that if you have very tiny feet, even the smallest size (35/36) may still be too large for you as they do run big, and I had this problem with several clients.

  • Totally agree on sizing. I’m a 6.5 and usually squeeze into a 6 in shoes if they brand doesn’t do half sizes. In these, the 6 is big on me and the slingback falls down constantly. Really wish I’d gone for a 5 but I think they would have cut into my toes.

    No sweating, and the bubblegum smell is a pretty nice addition, too!

  • Yes, they run large, whole size large. I had to say goodbye to a pair that I scored for $90 for that reason. *tears* Thanks for answering all these questions, Amber, it will help me next time I see one on sale 😉

  • Hi all,

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!??

    On Saturday, I lost one of the red hearts from my Lady Dragon shoes, devastated!! I have contacted VW and Melissa and both have responded with a no to stocking or helping.

    The things you can buy on EBay and for this, all searches are coming up fruitless. :((((

    Any thoughts? Thank you.
    Laura x (sad VW shoe owner)

  • I ve a pair of melissa shoes. But 1 side of each was broken, so can u show me the way to repair? I love it so much. My friend recommend me use SUGUS to repair. Is that right?
    Waitting for your reply as soon as. Tks so much

  • Girls!!!
    I own a vivienne westwood hearts in nude the heels inside has a crack …. help what should I do ?

  • Interesting that the slingbacks run a size large whereas the closed toe flats a size too small. Wish this company would be consistent with sizing.

  • Lot of sweaty feet on those heels!.
    When me and my mom we attended a wedding party. One of my mom’s friends wore them at the party and then she couldn’t wear them anymore because they were so uncomfortable for her.
    Then my mom’s friend was barefooted and then she begged me for my sneakers and then I answered no.
    Then she asked to my mom and then my mom called me and then she blamed me because I didn’t allow her to take my sneakers.
    Then my mom and her friend took me to the table and then they took me off my sneakers and my socks. My mom’s friend put her on my brand new sneakers and then she put me on her melissa peep toe heels!, they were so ugly and one of them has a big heart on top!.
    I spent the rest of the party sitting down in the table, my mom gave to her friend my sneakers and she pulled out the heart of the melissa peep toe pumps!.
    I don’t know why women love to wear those things?.

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