For some women it makes more sense to splurge on “investment” shoes for work that (hopefully) you can wear for years, rather than choose cheaper ones that you’ll keep having to replace. Reader M wonders:
I am struggling with my shoe game! I would like to invest in shoes that are stylish, comfortable, and long lasting. I notice that guys purchase one expensive pair of work shoes but they last their entire careers. I work in the finance area in a young company. Have you seen any gems lately you would like to share?
I’m curious to hear what readers think here, because I have mixed opinions about this. First, the “classic” black pump does change — right now toes are pointy; in recent years they were almond-shaped instead. Second, beware of pregnancy, aging, and feet — many women find that their shoe size will change throughout their lives. Personally I gained about a half size with each pregnancy, which — after having to donate the vast majority of my shoe collection — makes me happy I never committed and spent the money on that pair of Manolos or Choos. Even just with aging, your arches may fall and your feet may widen. So: I kind of don’t believe in “lifetime” shoes for women.
That said, I do think that a well made shoe is worth your money and will last a lot longer than most inexpensive shoes, particularly with proper shoe care — and I generally think they’re more likely to be comfortable heels. If you apply our fashion math to neutral shoes you wear 1-2x a week, the cost per wear really does come down significantly. We recently rounded up black pumps for work, as well as beige pumps; the following brands and particular styles are ones that I see readers note over and over again as being worth the splurge:
- Stuart Weitzman — many favorites have been sold for years, such as the Platswoon, Poco (older colors are also at spots like Amazon for a discount), Power, and Nouveau
- Kate Spade Karolina
- Salvatore Ferragamo Carla and Vara
- Jimmy Choo Anouk (check out our old Newbie’s Guide to Designer Shoes, as well)
If you’re a fan of flats, definitely check out AGL flats and the Ferragamo Varina. In a slightly lower price point, I’ve continually heard readers praise Brooks Brothers shoes (right now these leather pumps are marked to $59-$124), and while the newer Cole Haan shoes are getting mixed reviews, you can still check out eBay for older Cole Haan Air shoes at a steal.
Readers, what are your thoughts on “investment shoes”? Which brands and styles are your favorites? Where did you start; where did you draw the line? How long do you expect a pair of investment shoes to last?
(Pictured at top: Salvatore Ferragamo ‘Carla’ Pump, available at Nordstrom for $550.)
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