Fashion Forward: Put on your red shoes

A brief history of the red shoe

Under Louis XIV, only aristocratic men had the right to wear red heels. At the time, red ink came from grinding a red insect imported from Mexico, which made it extremely expensive. Naturally, red heels went out of fashion with the arrival of the French Revolution.

Two hundred years later, Hans Christian Andersen wrote “The Red Shoes,” a tale I’d rather not brief you on as it’s a bit gory to be considered a fairy tale. 

Then, in a film a lot of us have grown to know and love, a certain young lady wore some red, sparkly slippers and believed “there was no place like home.” 

And who can forget the red soles of the Louboutin heels? For Christian Louboutin, it started with a trip to Paris’ Museum of African and Oceanic Art. Louboutin was intrigued by a sign barring women from wearing stilettos as to not scratch the flooring. This sign of the “forbidden shoe” stuck with him throughout the years, inspiring his first collection. 

“I wanted to defy that,” Louboutin said. “I wanted to create something that broke rules and made women feel confident and empowered.” 

Okay, so my briefing on the historical timeline is both factual and fantasy. How interesting though that a red shoe is that powerful and unforgettable! 

Now, I do not own a pair of the beloved Louboutins, and I certainly don’t wear glittery magic slippers, but owning a pair of sleek, classic red heels is something you won’t regret. Even if they’re flats! A red shoe can easily make a statement and the pop of color is just what your feet need. Yes, even in the winter. Here are some ideas on finding the perfect red shoe.

  • Do consider the “loudness” of the color. Is the red too bright or too dull? You can tell the difference — your eyes will not lie to you. If you’re not about a fire engine red, don’t do it. You’ll be looking at those fiery feet all day. Opt for a darker, deeper or less intense red. 
  • Do ask yourself, do these red boots look stylish or costume-ish? Red can be a power color so make sure you’re feeling it in the right way! Am I a superhero in patent leather, or am I a super trendy fashionista in sleek leather? 
  • Do try a red ballet flat. There is a muted texture and color to a red flat that is subtle when worn with many colors of denim, or with another casual outfit, like fitted khakis a white fitted tee. Red pointed flats, with or without hardware, look both professional and polished. Try them with trousers, a pencil skirt or a midi-skirt. 
  • Do try red sneakers for that common athleisure outfit! There are also red Converse, red Toms that slip on, and red Keds. 
  • Do you know what smoking flats are? They’re adorable and have that shape that isn’t like a typical loafer. The color paired with the curvature formation of the style is timeless but also very different than a regular flat. 
  • Do consider red sandals! Yes, to that and summer! Whether it’s a clean flip-flop with cutoffs, or red vinyl Tory Burch sandals, red belongs in warm weather. 

So, as David Bowie would sing, “Put on your red shoes and dance to the blues.” Or walk with grace. Because what better month to celebrate and bring attention to women’s health, love and the fact that we are truly awesome?