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Are expensive high heels worth the price tag?

April 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
When it comes to high heels, one survey reveals 60 percent of women say they're willing to tolerate painful shoes just for the sake of fashion.

And some high heels have price tags that are sky-high too. But are they worth it?

The shoes on display at a Manolo Blahnik boutique are quite stunning. You can easily spend anywhere from several hundred to thousands of dollars.

To find out if high-end, expensive shoes are worth the high price, Consumer Reports ShopSmart rounded up more than a dozen eager employees to try out three different pairs.

"We covered up all the labels so the women couldn't tell which were the less expensive pairs of shoes and which were the expensive ones," said Mandy Walker from ShopSmart.

The shoes included a $30 pair of Mossimo's from Target, $69 heels from Nine West, and a $575 pair from Manolo Blahnik. The women walked a defined course twice a day for a week in each pair of shoes. They filled out a ballot each time.

Most of the women thought two pairs looked and felt pretty good, but not the $30 pair from Target.

"I was holding onto the wall when I was walking around the building testing them," said Cathy Cotters.

"These shoes were the most uncomfortable of the ones that we tested," said Lisa Gill.

To size up how well each shoe was made, ShopSmart did the unthinkable by cutting the shoes in half.

"Overall the Manolos were a better-made shoe," said Walker. "The materials they were made of were superior, and many of the women liked the styling, too."

However, in the blind tests more women thought the $69 Nine West shoes were more comfortable. ShopSmart says the smart money move with high heels is to make the shoe fit the deciding factor.

"Determine the style you want, what your budget is," said Walker. "And if they feel good when you walk around in them, buy them."