When Net-a-porter's sale site TheOutnet.com hosts a Christian Louboutin flash sale, a pair of shoes is sold every nine seconds. All the shoes usually sell out within a couple of hours. This kind of ravenous purchasing behavior is unique to footwear, the site's director Stephanie Phair says: "It’s the fastest shopping we see. Women really do sit on their computers and have insane trigger fingers when it comes to shoes." The new film God Save My Shoes, which the Outnet screened this week, explores why women are so obsessed with shoes. Women's shoes account for 60 percent of the $40 billion worth of shoes sold in the U.S. each year — men's and kid's purchases aren't even half of that — and many of the shoes women buy are totally impractical and uncomfortable. So, why do we do it? What is it about shoes? The film's director Julie Benasra interviewed dozens of shoe obsessives and collectors, like Fergie, Kelly Rowland, and poker player Beth Shak (who has 1,200 pairs) for the film to find out why. Here, she explains:
Why a movie about shoes?
Initially it wasn’t my idea, it was the producer's idea. When he was shooting his previous documentary on the history of sneakers, he was looking at these guys with their crazy sneaker collection, and he was thinking: Men and their sneakers is one thing, but women and their shoes — it’s the next level. Men and their sneakers, it’s a smaller niche, but women and shoes, it’s 90 percent of women.
Were you worried about making women look overly materialistic?
I was. I was afraid that it could sound a little shallow at first, but there are so many layers that are really interesting in the shoe itself — the psychological aspect, the sociological aspect, the pop culture aspect. When the stiletto was invented in the fifties, that’s when Playboy was invented too. But for women, it doesn’t matter what their social level is, whether they can afford $800 Christian Louoboutin shoes or Payless shoes — the emotion, the obsession, is exactly the same.
But how much is there to say about shoes?
I realized there are so many layers, psychologically speaking, socially speaking, culturally speaking — there is this symbolism in shoes. It's a one-hour film, but it could have been three hours long, there is so much to say and so much I didn’t say.
Why do you think most shoe designers are men?
Even in clothing design most designers are men — the big names like Karl Lagerfeld, McQueen, and Jean Paul Gaultier, and all that, they’re men. I think historically speaking in terms of shoemaking, it was a man’s line of work, it was passed on from father to son. And it’s working the leather — it’s difficult work with the hammer, the nails, and all that, so there’s a historical tradition. I’m not sure if that has to do with designers being male or female.
Most Viewed Stories
Taylor Swift Is Not Going to Be Happy About This New Friendship
Karl Lagerfeld Calls Out Meryl Streep for Canceling an Order for a Chanel Dress
Rereading The Handmaid’s Tale, One Month Into the Trump Era
Why Did Everyone Act Like I Was Crazy When I Decided to Have a Baby in My 20s?
Witches Are Planning to Hex Trump This Friday
Woman Framed by Ex-Boyfriend’s Wife in Craigslist ‘Rape Fantasy’ Plot Speaks Out
Ask Polly: I Overshared My Way Out of a Boyfriend!
Excuse Me While I Lose My Mind Over These Vetements Shoes
13 Under-Eye Creams That Actually Work
What, Exactly, Are Melania and Ivanka Trump Trying to Sell?
Latest News from The CutWhen Dating Younger Men Becomes a Sexual Crusade
On this week’s podcast: Cindy Gallop reinvented her career so everyone could have better sex.A Rainbow Elephant Makes a Fun Purse
The chicest look from day two of Milan Fashion Week.Wear Paisley Like This for Spring
The Golden Peacock Award winner from day two of Milan Fashion Week.Gigi and Bella Hadid Get Rainbow Hair at Versace
A style that looks a little familiar to anyone who spent too much time listening to Avril Lavigne.Princess Diana Is Having a Resurgence As a Fashion Muse
She’s the subject of a new London exhibit, and her influence is all over the runways.It Sure Looks Like Diane Kruger Is Dating Norman Reedus Now
The pair was spotted returning from a “romantic road trip.”Versace Went for Sloganmania Over Logomania at Milan Fashion Week
The clothes were splashed with messages like “equality” and “unity.”Bella Hadid and Tom Ford Partied This Week
Plus: Lottie Moss, Sienna Miller, Winnie Harlow.A Chinese Company Wants to Sell Ivanka Trump–Branded Sanitary Pads
The company’s founder called her a “role model.”Here Is Something Nice: A Duck Wedding
This documentary about the street cats of Istanbul and the men who care for them will warm even the most cynical of hearts.Someone Paid $2,000 to Provide Us With This Terrible Billboard
It’s still unclear who’s behind it, but a protest will take place underneath on Sunday.A Georgia Beauty Queen Who Disappeared Years Ago Was Allegedly Murdered
A man was just charged in Tara Grinstead’s mysterious disappearance.Ed Sheeran Correctly Gives His Girlfriend the Shoes Off His Feet
He really “upped the chivalry ante,” per People.Naomi Campbell Appears Peaceful While Tangled in Roots at Milan Fashion Week
The presentation was part of artist Thomas De Falco’s live performance piece titled Wrapping.Watch the Versace Livestream
Enjoy!Laverne Cox Explains Why Anti-Trans Bathroom Legislation Isn’t Actually About Bathrooms
“It’s about us existing in public space.”Sports Illustrated’s New Curvy Model on Fitness, Staying Healthy, and Embracing Her Body
Hunter McGrady wants to inspire other women to love their bodies.Woman Framed by Ex-Boyfriend’s Wife in Craigslist ‘Rape Fantasy’ Plot Speaks Out
Michelle Hadley, who was framed for a crime by her ex-boyfriend’s wife, calls it “your worst nightmare coming true.”Demi Lovato on Boxing, Eating Well, and Speaking Up About Mental Health
And why she felt a responsibility to open up about her struggles.