If You Stop Buying $800 Shoes, Their Price Will Lower

A Christian Louboutin shoe Photo: Courtesy of Christian Louboutin

Ever wonder why Christian Louboutin's sequined ballet flats retail for $880? It's simple: because you keep buying them.

Shoes weren't always this pricey, though. Their tags quietly rose a few years ago around the time we were all reeling from sticker shock over the new high prices of designer denim. But now retailers from large department stores to tiny boutiques mark up kicks 2.4 to three times the wholesale price (clothes and bags are usually marked up only twice the wholesale price). The L.A. Times reports:

A pair of shoes that wholesale for $200 to $250 retail for $600. Exotic skins such as python, eel and stingray ratchet up costs even more. The same goes for ornate accents such as the mirrored heels on those ballyhooed Balenciaga sandals or the sculpted flower stem heel on Prada's latest pumps.

But like the real estate market, the shoe market could be in for a correction. NPD Group reports that in 2005, footwear sales were up 11%. That figure dipped to 5% in 2006 and wilted to 2.5 % last year. Now, with a recession looming, the industry can expect some scuffs.

In the meantime, don't fault Lanvin or the retailers for your financial blisters. "This is a free market," says Milton Pedraza, chief executive of the Luxury Institute, a retail research firm in New York. "The consumers are to blame for paying these prices."

We keep saying it, but we'll say it again: Fashion and economics are like peas and carrots. So if you'd like to spend a couple hundred less on those red soles in the semi-near future, please at least pretend we're heading into a recession right now and stop buying them. Oh, who are we kidding, we're shoe junkies too. At least wait for them to go on sale, mmkay?

Manolo lovers feel financial pain at the pump [LAT]