Do You Know Why Christian Louboutins Have Red Bottoms?

If you've ever paid attention to red carpets when celebrities are strutting down them, you have likely noticed that the carpet wasn't the only thing colored bright red; the bottoms of some of the stars' shoes are likely to be the same bold hue. That is, if they're wearing Christian Louboutins

Celebrities who have lately been spotted in the iconic footwear include Lily Collins, Gwen Stefani, Alessandra Ambrosio, Princess Eugenie, Sofia Vergara, Blake Lively, and Khloe Kardashian (via Star Style). And it isn't only movie stars and royalty buying Christian Louboutins; over half a million pairs are sold every single year (via Italist). So what possesses someone to spend anywhere from $500 to $6,000 for a pair of shoes? Well, it might help to know that each pair is made by hand in Italy, and every single shoe design begins with a sketch done by Christian Louboutin himself. 

Plus, there's that iconic red bottom that adds just the right amount of eye-catching glamor to the high-end heels. But where did those red soles come from in the first place?  

Where the famous red-bottom Louboutins started

Like so many wonderful things in this world, the creation of the red-soled Louboutin stilettos that took the world by storm in the 1990's and haven't slowed down since was something of an accident (via Style).

Christian Louboutin was born in Paris in 1963 and became interested in fashion very early in life, something for which he partially credits his three sisters. Growing up surrounded by women allowed him to glimpse firsthand at what women appreciated and hoped to find in fashion. He started sketching footwear in his teens, and in his professional life went on to design shoes for major companies like Chanel. In the early 90's, he decided to begin his own shoe business, and the Parisian shop that would grow to become the Louboutin shoe empire was born.

After creating his second shoe collection and getting them into stores, the designer felt there was something missing from one of his designs (via Italist). Suddenly inspired by a bottle of bright red nail polish his assistant was using to paint her nails, he grabbed the bottle and lacquered the bottom of the shoe red. He liked the look. And his signature red-bottomed stiletto was created.

Beyond fashion

While the high quality and fashion-forwardness of the Louboutin brand have everything to do with its success, another reason people love these shoes is the philosophy the designer maintains about what fashion is for, and how it can improve the lives of people in meaningful ways. "Fashion is a tool of communication and designers communicate happiness – putting a smile on people's faces when they wear your designs," Christian Louboutin told Style. That communication and self expression can go a long way toward people of very different backgrounds understanding each other, the designer feels. 

He went on to explain to Style, "Fashion used to be very elitist in the 60s to 70s. Today it has become democratic, a huge tool of communication between so many different communities, an expression of singularity, representing interests from so many countries. The fashion community has expanded, and that is a good thing." 

Supporting causes and making positive change

Christian Louboutin has also used his highly visible position to put social issues of great importance to him in the spotlight. In the wake of the highly-publicized and tragic unjustified death of George Floyd, Louboutin wanted to get involved (via Style). To do so, he teamed up with Idris and Sabrina Elba on a capsule collection they called Walk a Mile in my Shoes, which was meant to help raise awareness about lasting issues of injustice and inequality in the United States and abroad. The designer's goal was to benefit communities and individuals whose voices and stories do not often reach the spotlight and who deserve to be seen, heard, and treated with care and respect.

The collection was released exactly a year after George Floyd's death, and every penny of proceeds from the sales of the collection, which included shoes and handbags, went directly to charities selected by the Elbas and Louboutin himself.