I have been a big fan of Louboutin pumps for a long time. No other brand rivals the shamelessly attention-demanding, sexy and envy inducing nature of these instantly recognisable, red-soled little pieces of art. They are truly electrifying and their appeal reaches across all genders, as demonstrated in the few occasions when total strangers (men!) stopped me on the street to compliment my Loubs. This has never happened with any other brand.

What has always fascinated me about Louboutins is their ability to enhance and energise any outfit to make it just a bit more fabulous and edgy. And their ability to transform transcends far beyond that. Whenever I have on a pair of Louboutin pumps, I feel an instant boost of confidence, sassiness and positive energy, like being on a fashion IV drip. Well… at least for as long as I can endure wearing them.

My collection of Louboutins is fairly extensive albeit it revolves mainly around the Icons i.e. the most classics designs characteristic of the brand. While from time to time I treat myself to one of the seasonal beauties, I tend to gravitate back towards the classics. Why? Because of their effortless compatibility with both daytime and evening looks and minimal detailing which makes them very versatile.

As I often find myself advising others (colleagues, friends) on merits of Louboutin pumps I thought it might be helpful to write this review comparing two popular designs, the Simple Pump 100 and the Pigalle 100, and share my experiences relating to them. I have selected these two models because in my view either should serve as a perfect introduction to the brand for anyone who is considering purchasing their first pair of Loubs but is also conscious of making a sound shoe investment.

Louboutin pumps Simple Pump

Fit and Sizing

As a self-confessed Louboutinista, I have in my possession several pairs of Louboutin pumps and I always find them running true to size. I wear size 37.5 in most high-end shoe brands and to me both the Simple Pump 100 and the Pigalle 100 heels fit like true 37.5. In the Simple Pump 100 the inner sole measures 25cm and in Pigalle 100 the sole length measured from the pointy toe end (as far as I could push the measuring tape, anyway) to the end of the inner sole is 24.5cm.

For anyone thinking of buying their first pair of Louboutin pumps, it is worth mentioning that the design of these shoes is quite narrow in the toe box area. While this allows these gorgeous shoes to mould and adjust overtime to the shape of feet of their lucky owner, there is no denying that the feet and toes in particular may feel constricted at first. And they will ache, A LOT. This is particularly noticeable in pointed toe designs including Pigalle although the round toe models such as the Simple Pump are also affected by this unfortunate pattern, to an extent.

The good news is that as these fabulous shoes are worn, the tight fit eventually relaxes, and they become increasingly more wearable. From my personal experience, the fit of the Simple Pump by virtue of having a round toe box loosens quicker than Pigalle but even the latter will improve with time. So overall, for anyone considering chucking their Louboutin pumps in a strop after the first very painful outing my advice is to be patient because they will stretch. I repeat, they will stretch! 😊 [Back to Menu]

SP 100 Stiletto front view

Are Louboutin Pumps Comfortable?

There is high heel comfort and there is Louboutin pumps high heel comfort. Christian Louboutin once famously said that “High heels are pleasure with pain” and as a devoted Louboutinista I know exactly what he meant by those words. Loubs are made to be beautiful and seductive but not necessarily comfortable. I explicitly remember a night out in my very first pair of Louboutins which culminated in such extreme aches that I had to walk home barefoot literally howling in pain.

Still, this not-so-glamorous incident did not stop me from buying many more pairs of these red sole beauties because, let’s face it, sore feet are a small price to pay for the little magic that comes with them. The important thing is to learn to manage expectations and that entails always breaking them in prior to any big event as well as accepting that it will take a little while (sometimes a long while) before these shoes become comfortable.

When comparing the level of comfort of Simple Pump 100 versus Pigalle 100 model, I have found the former is by far the better option for longer wears. After a few stretching sessions, I could easily wear Simple Pump 100 the whole day in the office or on a long night out without any dramatic or torturous aftermath. They are, by far, my favourite style among all Louboutin pumps because they are reasonably practical and highly wearable despite the 10 cm heel. As if that was not enough to rejoice over, the Simple Pump also comes in different heel heights i.e. 10cm, 8.5 cm and 7cm.

For days when I need to be more mobile, the 7cm variant (Simple Pump 70) is absolutely prefect because it allows enjoying the Louboutin sparkle without adding that extra pressure on feet.

Louboutin pumps 7cm and 10cm heel comparison
Simple Pump 70 and Simple Pump 100 heel height comparison
10cm and 7cm stiletto comparison
Simple Pump 100 and Simple Pump 70 side view

Relaxed (i.e. not straight-out-of-the-box) Pigalle 100 are also perfectly wearable on a longer-day basis. However, the pointy front always leaves my toes slightly tender after a few hours so by the end of the day I tend to opt for a change of shoes to go home in. Still, for 10cm elevation, a very slender pointed toe and the overall slimline construction they are not outrageously uncomfortable. Although not quite in the same league as the Sergio or Gianvito Rossis of this world which to me are the pinnacle of stiletto comfort, Pigalle can hold their own. Akin to the Simple Pump, Pigalle is also available in 8.5 cm heel which provides a more usable, toned down version of the shoes for longer “heel” days.

CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN, PIGALLE PATENT PUMPS 100
Buy From: LUISAVIAROMA.COM
Price: $705 / £540

For those who dare, there is also the 12cm heel option (Pigalle 120) but for my own purposes these seem rather impractical. While absolutely stunning, these Louboutin pumps strike me as the sort of footwear that is meant to be worn only for a short while and admired but not necessarily walked in. Hence, I have never been tempted by them, I am a boring, practical person. [Back to Menu]

Pigalle 100 close up

Aesthetics

While both the Simple Pump 100 and Pigalle 100 have a very elegant and slender silhouette the main distinguishing features between these two designs are the toe shape and the vamp (that’s the part covering the front of the foot). In Pigalle, the toe box is narrow and pointy, and the vamp is curved and cut quite low revealing a considerable part of toes.

However, this toe “cleavage” is not as low cut as it was the case in Decollette 554 which made the pump quite difficult to walk in. Also, it is not as painfully narrow as it used to be the case in Piou Pious (thank goodness they are gone!). Pigalle is far superior in that respect and despite the low-ish vamp and the slim, pointed toe box, the shoe stays firmly in place and is easy to wear without causing the foot to slip or inflicting hours of to(e)rment. On top of that, they can magically make legs appear longer and leaner. Thanks, Christian!

Louboutin pumps Pigalle 10cm toe box
View of the toe box in Pigalle 100

By contrast, the Simple Pump has a round but slim toe cap which is slightly more forgiving in terms of toe coverage. That is not to say that the curve of the vamp is cut particularly high in Simple Pumps but it is higher than in Fifilles so only a small section of the toe is visible. It still exposes the upper part of the area but it certainly saves the sight of squashed toes, not the most alluring in my view, unless of course you boast the most amazing set of toes.

SP 10cm focus on the toe box
View of the toe box in Simple Pump 100

The marginally higher cut of the vamp also provides extra stability and additional room for the foot, a rare commodity in the world of Louboutin pumps, adding to the reasons why Simple Pumps are one of my favourite stilettos.

The heel shape in both Simple Pump and Pigalle is fairy similar, running almost straight from the heel cup without much arching and minimal tapering towards the end, which is the case e.g. in the Follies. Its design is slender but not overly skinny which provides a good support for the foot and overall stability.

Louboutin pumps Pigalle and Simple Pump
Simple Pump 100 on the right and Pigalle 100 on the left

The sensible but visually appealing heel is one of the reasons why I have always preferred Simple Pumps and Pigalles over other models such as So Kate, Follies or Fifis (when they were made). Not only do they offer more comfort but also there is a lesser risk of getting stuck in an escalator or between pavement slabs, and scuffing the heel. As Louboutin pumps are a considerable investment, there is no shame in appreciating practical aspects of these gorgeous shoes!

A quick word of about the shade of Louboutin nudes. For anyone considering investing in a pair of Louboutin pumps in nude patent leather, either Simple Pump or in Pigalle, it is worth noting that the colour is a sort of pinky beige/ light brown. The tone is closer to the dusty pink of a  Gucci Marmont bag (although lighter) than the creamy, Chanel beige with its yellow notes.

I like this shade because it works well with my skin tone and is very flexible when it comes to matching it with other colours but it may not be to everyone’s taste, especially if you have an aversion to pinky hues. [Back to Menu]

Louboutin pumps Pigalle 10cm side view

How Durable are Louboutin Pumps?

If you buy Louboutin pumps you are in for a long haul. The red lacquered sole may scuff a bit and the leather may somewhat lose its shine but a pair of Loubs will become a permanent fixture of your wardrobe for many happy years. I own a couple of pairs which have been close to 10 years “in service” and they still look perfectly presentable.

The part of the shoe, both in Simple Pumps and Pigalle, most likely to show the sign of wear and tear are the red soles (i.e. the part touching the ground). Of course, this is not ideal because the red lacquer is precisely the reason why we invested in these iconic shoes, right? Unfortunately, scuffing of the sole is virtually inevitable so there is no point in fussing over every scratch. To prolong the life of these lovely pumps, it is important to minimise exposure to rain, mud, gravel and sticky surfaces causing the most damage to the red lacquer.

Luckily, even a ragged sole will be mostly invisible when walking so a bit of scuffing really does not matter. But for those who prefer to keep it as pristine as possible, the good news is that it can be revived thanks to a professional restoration service available in London and Paris via Minuit Moins 7, as recommended by Christian Louboutin.  I am going to write a piece on my experience with the repair service for one of my old pairs so stay tuned!

Loubs stilettos 10cm side view

There is another aspect to watch out for with the soles. While the pointy toe in Pigalle and the round toe box in Simple Pump remain absolutely intact (yay!), the part wearing down a lot in my experience is the actual tip of the outer sole visible underneath.  This may be something to do with the delicate nature of the leather used but it seems that the tip is thinning much faster than the rest of the sole. I would not say that this is particularly aesthetically disturbing, just something I have become aware of with years of Louboutin wear. This phenomenon is most noticeable in platform Loubs but also, to an extent, in the Simple Pump and Pigalle.

In terms of leather uppers, I have always been a big fan of patent leather used both in Simple Pump and Pigalle models. It is very strong, resilient and shows very little signs of aging allowing Louboutin pumps to retain their shape and structure for a long time. Its sturdy nature also helps to hold the foot firmly in place so the pump will not slip after a longer wear. 

Louboutin pumps old and new comparison
Simple Pump 100 comparison - the one on the right is 10+ years old vs. the one on the left is 1 year old

The beige colour loses a bit of shine after years of heavy rotation (more so than the black patent leather, for some reason) but not to the point of looking tatty and can be buffed to appear glossier. Besides, unless you compare the old and the new version of the patent side by side, like in the above picture, you would not see much difference. [Back to Menu]

Louboutin pumps Simple Pump 100 side view

Good Investment?

By investing in Louboutin pumps you are investing in one of the fashion’s most iconic pieces, especially when opting for classics such as the Simple Pump or Pigalle. While not cheap (in 2019 both styles retail for £495), by combining a large dose of luxury, sparkle, timeless glamour and versatility, Louboutin pumps are worth every penny.

These little pieces of art will not look out of place with either evening gowns or jeans making any outfit appear just a bit more fabulous and flirtatious, even after years of wear. In addition, the longer you own them the more enjoyable they become as the comfort of these stilettos improves with time. Overall verdict: Absolute necessity. [Back to Menu]

Photos by Badiu Photography and Unwrapped

© Copyright Unwrapped (2019) All Rights Reserved