High heel shoes cost comparison

Is there any excuse for some shoes costing 12 times as much as others?
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  • Updated:1 Jul 2008

01.Shoe prices


If you’ve ever lusted after a pair of designer shoes like Sex in the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, you’ve no doubt come up with a long list of reasons why spending $500 on some to-die-for heels is a good idea. After all, you get what you pay for, right?

CHOICE put this theory to the test by shopping for three almost identical pairs of shoes at widely differing prices, then pulling them apart (gasp!) to check the quality.

Please note: this information was current as of July 2008 but is still a useful guide today.

Pulled apart at the seams

We asked three experts to examine some classic women’s heels: a $425 pair from Anne Klein, a $140 pair from Nine West and some $34.95 cheapies from Payless. They all have a mid-level 5–6cm heel and are the style of shoe many women wear on a daily basis.

The Sandler factory in Sydney puts all its footwear through rigorous testing, and invited CHOICE to use its specialised equipment. In short, our experts pulled the shoes apart to see what they were made of, looking at:

  • The strength of heels, with a heel pull-off test.
  • The strength and quality of the leather/synthetic material on the inside and outside of the shoe.
  • The padding in the heel and toe area.
  • The quality of the metal shank, which determines the shape and provides support.
  • The strength of the adhesive used to bond the upper and sole together.

Shoes examined

Nine West

Nine westMaterials: Leather upper, synthetic lining, resin sole
Price: $140



Anne Klein

Anne kleinMaterials: Leather upper, lining and sole
Price: $425



PaylessMaterials: Synthetic upper and lining, PVC sole
Price: $34.95



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