Shoes are one of those fashion items that people will tell you is an “investment” — that is, you’ll wear them a lot, so it’s okay to spend ghastly amounts of money on them. Maybe that’s the reason why they’ve gotten so much more expensive in the past decade, more so than any other fashion category; customers are willing to pay up. But according to Christian Louboutin, rising shoe prices are also due to something much less glamorous: rising production and material costs, snooze. “It is more expensive to make shoes now,” he tells the Times, “and it’s for a very boring reason.”
He goes on to cite the Euro’s strength against the dollar and growing competition for materials from Asian factories, all of which make it more expensive to produce shoes in Europe. Some luxury companies are even buying their own tanneries to cut out the middleman, but there’s really no way to get around it: shoes are just crazy expensive. Louboutin say his own production costs have actually doubled over the past five years — which may be why a pair of his black boots cost $2,645.
Some brands, of course, would rather eat the rising material and production costs to keep their prices level (Manolo Blahnik has done this for the past three seasons, for example). But when customers seem willing to spend whatever it takes, it’s hard to imagine why any shoemaker would refrain from jacking up their prices.