Thursday, 13 March 2014

These Choos are NOT made for walking: The £425 designer shoes that look old and tatty after one day’s wear

They are more than just beautiful shoes. It’s the fantasy they evoke that has intelligent women joyously handing over small fortunes for a pair.

Ever since Carrie Bradshaw and her glamorous friends strode through Manhattan balanced perfectly on their Jimmy Choos, the designer heels have been the height of aspiration for millions.

Last month I, too, happily succumbed. Of course I didn’t really believe that if I bought a pair of Jimmy Choos all my dreams would suddenly come true, but I did think they would add a bucketload of fairy dust to my wedding day. And, given the £425 price tag, I confidently expected I’d be able to enjoy them at lots of future occasions.

When I saw them in Selfridges, it was love at first sight. A pair of kitten-heel Oslo sandals in antique cream with shimmery flecks of gold and thin leather straps, they were exactly what I wanted – elegant and understated. I didn’t even bother trying on any others.

As my big day approached, I excitedly confided in a couple of close friends that I had ‘Jimmy Chooed’ for the occasion – emailing pictures of my new beauties – and was rewarded with gratifying oohs and aahs.

My wedding day left me with lots of wonderful memories but, shockingly, what I don’t have left is a pair of gorgeous shoes.

The next morning I was bitterly disappointed at how they looked. I had spent most of the day indoors, apart from a short time standing on a lawn talking to guests. But my Jimmy Choos looked old and tatty, as though I’d been wearing them for weeks, not one day. And the soles needed replacing.

When I took them to my local cobbler and handed over £20 for new soles, he astonished me by telling me that I should have brought them to be re-soled before wearing them.

‘I see lots of expensive shoes like this and I always tell people they should have them re-soled as soon as they take them out of the box,’ he said. ‘Otherwise, it’s like going out in the rain without a coat.’

Hell for leather: Joanne's sandals needed to be re-soled following their road test

To make matters worse, the cobbler put plain ugly soles on that don’t go with the elegant design of the shoe.

So the sandals that I have now simply aren’t the same ones I fell for in the store, where the shop assistant didn’t say anything about them needing re-soling before wearing or being unsuitable for outdoors.

Nor is there any such warning in the care booklet, although it does tell you to avoid ‘rain and direct contact with heat, oil, grease, alcohol and other abrasive products’.

I complained about my Jimmy Choo experience to friends and, to my surprise, two said they had suffered exactly the same problem.

Trend-setters: Jimmy Choo shoes really took off after being worn by the cast of Cast Sex And The City

Dyane, a TV presenter, was bought a £450 pair of Jimmy Choo as a first Christmas present by her boyfriend. ‘He took me to a boutique and told me I could pick any pair I wanted,’ she said. ‘I spent three hours trying shoes on before I chose Jimmy Choo’s black Clue design with a diamante buckle.

‘After I bought them, the shop assistant did quietly warn me that I would have to get them re-soled before wearing them. I couldn’t believe it. I loved the cream leather sole – they were what had attracted me to the shoe.

‘I decided to ignore her. They were £450 shoes – how could they need to be re-soled? But I wore them the following weekend and after only an hour the sole was damaged. The next week I took them to be re-soled. The new soles were black. What’s the point of putting on a nice cream leather sole if it’s so fragile it has to be covered up straight away?’

Highly sought-after: When the designer brand goes on sale, shoppers are willing to queue all night to get their hands on a pair

Another friend, Emer, an advertising executive, splurged on Jimmy Choos for her wedding in March and she, too, said hers were battered and worn-looking after one day.

‘I hadn’t planned to splash out on shoes but I went shopping with a friend and saw these amazing silver strappy sandals,’ she told me.

My beautiful Jimmy Choos looked as if they’d been worn mountain-climbing.

‘They were the right height, looked sturdy enough for walking around in all day and they were Jimmy Choo. Perfect! My friend loyally recited the mantra needed to justify the £350 I didn’t have: “You’ll get loads of wear out of them.”

‘I wish I could tell you they delivered on that promise but I can’t. I took them off in the early hours of the morning to discover the peep toe was stretched and the soles destroyed. My beautiful Jimmy Choos looked as if they’d been worn mountain-climbing.’

Could it just be the three of us? I posted my grievance on Mumsnet, the community website for mothers, to find out. Within 78 seconds, Tillyscoutsmum replied: ‘I also treated myself to some Jimmy Choos for my wedding. By the end of the day, the front of the sole had come lose and was flapping around.’

Top designer: Jimmy Choo has become a household name thanks to the popularity of his footwear

Another reader posted: ‘Apparently you are supposed to get them re-soled if you are expecting to wear them outside. Bonkers as conkers.’

And Worldgonecrazy wrote: ‘If shoes have leather soles, they should really have something more sturdy applied before wearing them outside. If you weren’t told this when you bought them, take them back and complain.’

Dexter  73 summed up the whole situation: ‘What is the point of them, if you can’t wear them outside?’

‘I won’t lie to you, they are delicate shoes and after a couple of wears they will look worn.’

Last week I returned to Selfridges to buy another pair of Jimmy Choos to conduct our test (see below) and spoke to the same shop assistant. This time, I was more sceptical and asked her whether they would wear well. At first she said: ‘We sell these to lots of women and they don’t complain.’

I asked whether I could wear them outside. She replied: ‘Yes – they are perfect for garden parties,’ before conceding: ‘I won’t lie to you, they are delicate shoes and after a couple of wears they will look worn.’

Last night, a Jimmy Choo spokeswoman said: ‘Every Jimmy Choo product is made with the finest quality materials and created with expert craftsmanship. With luxurious and delicate materials our products must be treated with care, as such they are subject to wear and tear.

‘We pride ourselves on customer service and aftercare at Jimmy Choo and are always more than happy to offer support and advice concerning any of our products.’

Life and sole of a pair of sandals

We gave model Gail Shuttleworth, 36, three pairs of shoes to wear for a day, from 10am until 10pm – a £450 pair of Jimmy Choo ‘Demure’ sandals, a pair of Miss Dior pointy-toe pumps (£370) and a pair of open-toe black leather sandals (£58) from High Street shop Office.

Gail says:‘The first shoes I wore were the Jimmy Choo beige patent sandals. When I slipped them on, I felt incredibly elegant.

'I did notice that the leather sole felt rather thin but it would never have occurred to me to have them re-soled.

Worn out: These Jimmy Choo sandals needed re-soling after our test

‘After picking them up at The Mail on Sunday offices, I walked 200 yards to High Street Kensington Underground station in West London and caught a Tube to Hampstead where I live.

I walked down the hill to my local Tesco, spent 35 minutes browsing the aisles then walked 400 yards home.

‘I spent the next four hours at home, doing odd jobs and preparing my dinner. Then I walked to my local pub 300 yards away to meet a friend and walked home again.

'You couldn’t say it was a gruelling day for my feet but when I took off my shoes that night, I was surprised. The soles were badly worn down, especially at the front. There was a little crack as well as two little tears on the heel. If I’d had these on for a full week, they would have been wrecked.

Damaged goods: The heels of Gail's expensive shoes also suffered

‘The second pair that I tried were the Miss Dior pumps. I wore them driving from my boyfriend’s home near Sheffield to the town centre and walked around the shops for two hours. I later walked in them for 20 minutes down a pathway.

‘I spent the rest of the evening cooking and watching TV.

'If anything this was a tougher day for my footwear but, though the leather soles had some wear-and-tear marks on them, they were not as worn down as the Jimmy Choos and the heel was still in good condition.

‘Finally, I tried the Office sandals. I spent three hours running errands in Sheffield then drove to my boyfriend’s home.

'I spent the afternoon doing chores at home and watching TV. At 7pm, I went to a restaurant, a ten-minute walk.

‘That night the rubber soles had some scratch marks and the heel was a little worn down. But because they started life with a thicker sole, I won’t need to take them to the cobblers any time soon.’

culled from Daily Mail UK.

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