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!
I have wanted suede Pigalles for EVER, yet I could never even walk from the chair to the mirror in the shoe salon in Bergdorf’s – and that was in Pigalle 100! Very sad for me.
I’d decided to treat myself to a pair last time I went to the USA (gotta love that exchange rate!) but when I tried them on they were so uncomfortable I just couldn’t bring myself to part with the cash! I was sooooo disappointed, but you’re right – I just don’t think all shoes are for all people 🙂
I don’t own any Pigalles, but I do own a couple of pairs that are similar in style, and I’ve found all pointed stilettos to be significantly less comfortable than round toe pairs… Some feet (including mine) just aren’t made for shoes like that, I guess. That said, I find my Louboutin Neofilo pumps to be quite comfy (for high heel shoes, of course), and a couple of other styles like the New Simple or Ron Ron as well. I’d guess Pigalles just aren’t the best “first” Louboutin shoe…
I always find tights to make shoes more comfortable because I have the biggest problem with shoes rubbing my ankles and then getting blisters. But I get blisters from everything so maybe that’s just me. (Also I guess I’m a half size so generally tights can help me fit into the smaller sized shoe better where otherwise it’d be too small but the up size is almost always too big).
To be totally honest, I’ve never liked the Pigalle model that much; I find it beautiful and stylish on other people, but when it comes to me I think it would just not suit my style at all, and moreover I don’t feel like spending tons of money on a shoe that I would wear 2/3 times a year, if lucky…
But of course there are other Louboutin models that I’d really like to have! Maybe some nude pumps that could go with everything in my wardrobe!
It’s funny, perhaps I just have ‘the right’ feet (lucky me ay!) but I got my first pair of Pigalle 120s this year and I genuinely don’t find them any less comfortable than any of my other super high heels. None of my family believe me, but I think they look more severe than they actually are. My only real problem was being petrified of scuffing them or getting the heel stuck between a paving stone, so I bizarrely have to force myself to wear them as I’m scared of spoiling them! They do appear to be quite narrow though, which might be where the problem for most lies – my sister, who is half a size smaller than me, couldn’t even get them on her feet!
I don’t find them particularly uncomfortable either: definitely not what you’d describe as “comfort” shoes, but not any worse than other shoes of a comparable height. They’re definitely easier than the “inspired by” versions I have, anyway – they seem to distribute the weight more easily, so you don’t feel like you’re pitching forward all the time!
This is exactly why I always hate it when people ask me to advise them about how comfortable a particular shoe is: it really is SUCH a personal thing, and can vary so much from person to person that I always worry I’ll tell someone a shoe is comfortable (because it is TO ME) and they’ll buy it and not be able to walk or something!
Some days my Pigalles work perfectly, other days I can’t wear them at all. No easy shoes to use but they’re still my favourite!
Thanks for this article! By the influence of it, I will reblog (in Turkish) your post soon by citing you!
Have a nice day!
My article is copyrighted, so I would prefer for you not to republish it, as it’s quite damaging to my business to have my work reproduced elsewhere, but thanks for your interest!
I have been walking in heels for the majority of my life and have also modeled in runway shows. So I consider myself to be a semi-professional shoe wearer. Personnally, I find the Pigalle 120 to be the most difficult shoe to walk gracefully in. And from the number of So Kate’s (which are almost only in a 120 mm heel) for resale online, I can tell many women find them too difficult to enjoy. My heel touches the floor too early to roll the foot, which forces me to have to pick my knees up and ‘stomp walk’ which is not graceful, even though it is a high fashion walk. Also my achilles heel always felt too flexed. I found an excellent shoe cobbler who recommended cutting the heel down a tad. Now the shoe is about 110 instead of 120 mm, and it feels so much better and theven shoe held its shape. I know I’m going to get my money’s worth now in my shoe investment. I recommend trying this IF you know a cobbler who is very experienced and you trust them.