Thursday, July 24, 2014
The World's Most Torturous Shoes
If you thought your 5 inch heels from River Island or Topshop were killer, then check these out; these are just some of the shoes that made it into The Cut's 'Most Torturous Shoes In The World' list. Lady Gaga has been known to sport some crazy shoes in her day, and while the first pair was designed for the singer, there's a few others on this list that we're sure even she wouldn't be able to handle...
Noritaka Tatehana's Custom Lady Pointe
The long collaboration between the Japanese designer and Lady Gaga yielded these behemoths, custom-made for her “Marry the Night” video. Reaching an absurd eighteen inches above the ground, the Lady Pointes still fall short of the 'Tallest Gaga Heels' title — but, because of their drastic en-pointeangle, are her most masochistic to date.
Photo: NORITAKA TATEHANA
Alexander McQueen’s Spring 2010 Armadillo Heels
Burned into our collective pop consciousness, again by Lady Gaga, these bizarre foot helmets made a splash in the designer’s spring 2010 “Plato’s Atlantis” collection. The crystal-encrusted claws inspired by Darwin’s 'On the Origin of Species' lift the walker a whole foot above the ground. Daphne Guinness swears they aren’t too difficult, but British Vogue editors later said they couldn’t even walk across their office in the ergonomically challenging shoes.
Photo: FRANCOIS GUILLOT/2009 AFP
Jan Taminiau’s Spring/Summer 2011 Geta
The couture designer known for his opulent chaussures reimagined the Japanese geta for his Irradiance collection in 2011. Leaving behind practicality and almost any resemblance to the traditional platform sandal, Taminiau played with curves to create a thin, undulating column that elevates the dangerously wobbly crystal-encrusted shoes that Beyoncé wore (with some balancing help) on the back cover of 4.
Photo: RENÉ VAN DEN BERG/COURTESY OF VIRTUALSHOEMUSEUM.COM
Christian Louboutin's Fetish Ballerine
In 2007, Louboutin teamed up with David Lynch for a fetish collection, taking the carnal underbelly of footwear design to inspired levels of excess. This pair, designed by Louboutin for an auction to benefit the English National Ballet, may be the purest illustration of what he meant when he said 'a shoe has so much more to offer than just to walk'.
Following in the footsteps of the now-ubiquitous stiletto, this contemporary fetish craze is creeping towards high fashion. Queen Bey endured a pair of the lace-up bondage boots in her video for 'Green Light'. Don’t worry, with heels around seven-plus inches forcing the foot into en-pointe position, it’s not moving toward department store shelves any time soon.
Photo: PETER LINDBERGH/HANDOUT
Maison Martin Margiela’s Glass Slippers
Margiela ripped a fairy tale icon off the Disney screen, repurposing the classic stiletto pump into a dangerously dainty work of art in 2009. This pair of shoes is actually made of glass! To further amplify the Cinderella fantasy, each slipper is sold individually, making it all the easier to drop as you disappear into the night.
Kei Kagami’s Candle
The London-based designer brings his architectural background to the fore of his design concepts. Though quoted as saying 'functional beauty' plays an important role in his shoes, this structurally experimental pair begs to differ. Forcing the walker vigilantly onto her toes with a fire lit under her, the Candle inflicts corporal punishment at the first sign of toe fatigue. Up on those toes ladies!
Peter Popps’s Circle
Though at first glance, this seems like an alien lobster claw, it actually is a shoe. Really! The futuristic piece marks the out-there designer’s escape from traditional footwear design. He went pretty far off the beaten track with this painfully unstable shoe, drawing inspiration from bondage, sixties visions of the Space Age, and magnetic transportation systems of sci-fi.
Photo: TOM TEN SELDAM/VISUALSHOEMUSEUM.COM
Scary Beautiful Backwards Heels By Leanie Van Der Vyver And René Van Den Berg
These bestial creations went viral last year, in the video of a dainty model folded into a stork-like posture as she inched across a room. Speaking about the shoes, Van Den Vyer said 'I wanted to see where sexy ends and grotesque begins'; unsettled by the depraved lengths humans go to alter their bodies in search of perfection. These back-to-front 'heels' act as a warning as to where our constant strive for ultimate beauty might lead. A few hours in these and just think of how toned your ass and legs would be from all that squatting you'd have to do to stand up straight!
Ultra Sexy 9-Inch Wrap-Around Heel
Viewed as high art, this could be an abstract meditation on the claw-foot of furniture design. But this isn’t high art. This is pure fetish. The doubled ankle straps, prohibitive height, and extreme angle virtually paralyze the foot on the tortuous edge of en-pointe. No thanks!
Walter Steiger’s Fall 2010 Molto Pumps
These look entirely normal compared to some of the more than out-there shoes we've already seen, but compare these to your favourite pair of skyscrapers and you'll see just how sore they look. The French footwear atelier took a break from their signature convex heel for this super-straight style. This shoe’s sharp angles fold the top of the foot over the toes as its height pulls the heel back and away from the ball of the foot. The name, which means very much in Italian, sums up the pain factor quite nicely.
Photo: WALTER STEIGER
Enikő Tóth-Kern’s 2025 Collection
The razor-sharp metal cones affixed to the soles of this Hungarian designer's creation make walking simply out of the question, and just handling these shoes is a perilous task. One solely for the shoe museum shelves we think! Pun totally intended.
Photo: DOMOLKY DANIEL/VIRTUALSHOEMUSEUM.COM
To see even more torturous shoes, check out the article on NY Magazine's The Cult here.