Designer Shoes Are Pricier Than Ever. What's the Most You've Ever Spent?

Designer shoes, like these Manolo Blahniks, are skyrocketing in price. Photo courtesy of Neiman MarcusDesigner shoes, like these Manolo Blahniks, are skyrocketing in price. Photo courtesy of Neiman MarcusIf you thought designer stilettos were getting treacherously high, you should see their current prices. Women's Wear Daily dug into this unsettling retail phenomenon by examining the shoe closet of Carrie Bradshaw, the ultimate high heel junkie. In an episode of "Sex and the City" called "A Right to Shoes," the protagonist mourns the loss of her $485 silver Manolo Blahniks (pictured at left) after they're stolen at a house party. We remember watching the episode back in 2003 thinking, good God, that is a LOT of money to spend on one pair of heels. And we weren't alone, because this was the focal point of the TV episode.

Fast forward nearly a decade later and the same pair of Manolo Blahnik Sedaraby Silver Bejeweled Pumps is selling for $755--almost $300 more than Bradshaw's pair. And this is not just regular inflation. We couldn't find a single pair of Manolos under $495 and these beaded snakeskin sandals selling for $1,995.

As the consumer, it's depressing and hard to understand why this is happening. The C.E.O. of Christian Louboutin told WWD their shoe prices are up because the cost of their raw materials is up 30 to 40% in the last 18 months. George Malkemus, the C.E.O. of Manolo Blahnik, told WWD the sudden fixation on designer shoes (and some could argue "Sex and the City itself) is responsible.

"When a young lady says to me, 'I went shopping for shoes and the average price point was $900'-$900 used to be a coat," Malkemus told WWD. "I think that people may have taken advantage of the notion that 'It's all about accessories right now.' When [designer] ready-to-wear priced itself out of the realm of most consumers, shoes and bags were still affordable. Now, what's happened is the shoe people and the bag people sort of lost control of that, and they are scaring off a certain consumer."

While we think those prices are a bit off (who pays $900 for a coat?!) we agree with the sentiment. If you couldn't afford a fancy name brand dress, you used to be able to attain the same effect by getting a designer handbag or shoe. But those days have dwindled. Salespeople are also recognizing this trend, and think the average person saving up for designer heels may be a thing of the past.

"The observation is correct, the prices have shot up dramatically," Daniella Vitale, chief merchant and executive vice president of Barneys told WWD. "We still open up at $395 in designer ballet flats...and Rochas has a loafer at $395, but I would say that those are really becoming the anomaly." In fact, the average price of a designer shoe at Barneys is $770, something the store says is "concerning."

We're concerned too, because many women are shoe obsessed, the majority of us don't have $770 to drop on a pair of heels, and credit card debt is no laughing matter!

While we're discussing price tags, what is the most you've ever spent on a pair of shoes and was your purchase worth the money?

Related links:
Three Surprising Reasons For Your Shoe Obsession
Drug dealers busted smuggling Manolo Blahniks made out of cocaine
Suri Cruise has $150,000 worth of shoes
Woman pays $175,000 to replicate Carrie Bradshaw's closet