Trend Trial: PVC Shoes

selection of PVC shoes

For many people, PVC shoes are an automatic crime of fashion, no questions asked. Do not pass ‘Go’, do not collect $200, just proceed directly to The Fashion Police jail, and take your stripper heels with you, thanks all the same. In fact, not to put too fine a point on it, but for many people, the words “PVC” and “shoes” in the same sentence will instantly conjure up images of something like this:

tip-jar stripper shoes

ABS by Allen Schwartz wedge sandals, £89 / Christian Louboutin high heel sandals, £960 / Valentino leather shoes, £575 / Alexander Wang clear shoes, £630 / Christian Louboutin high-heel shoes, £510 / Christian Louboutin leather shoes, £400

Which we think most of you will agree, is most definitely a crime of fashion.

This season, however, PVS shoes have had a makeover, and all of a sudden, they’re trendy. Christian Louboutin, Valentino, Sophia Webster… they’re all rejecting soft, supple leather in favour of hard, clear, plastic, and creating shoes that are worlds away from the so-called “stripper shoes” of yore, and more like Cinderella’s glass slipper… if Cinderella’s glass slipper had been plastic, obvious. (“Cinderellas’s Plastic Slipper” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, somehow, does it?)

These shoes, like the ones shown in the collage above, are missing the giant platforms and lucite heels we generally associate with this style. Instead, they use PVS to create the illusion of invisibility: the plastic sections “disappear” as soon as you slip the shoe on, leaving you with a barely-there style, which looks like nothing more than a few strips of leather or rhinestone, held together by… well, nothing, really. It’s an interesting effect, which makes some of these shoes look like they’re right out of a fairytale, while others just look… cheap, basically.

As with any other PVC shoes, the perceived “cheapness” is generally the main objection to this kind of style, although many people also dislike them on the grounds that plastic shoes = sweaty feet. As most of these designs are sandals, which don’t totally enclose the foot, that technically shouldn’t be an issue, but we haven’t actually tried any of these personally, so we can’t say for sure.

Which brings us to our main question:

What do you think of PVC shoes?

Can you look beyond the plastic and see the beauty beyond? Or do you simply see sweaty feet, and shoes which have no business costing hundreds of dollars, given that they’re made out of cheap-looking plastic? Do tell…


  • June 14, 2013


    I have a pair of “Cinderella shoes”, they’re a gold heel with PVC toe strap (wide) and a gold and clear bow on the toe. Very cute, I wear them quite a bit, in summer. It is a style, however, that can drift into not just the “cheap” category, but the “childish”.

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  • June 14, 2013


    The gold Loubies seem nice in that stock pic and do actually evoke a bit of Cinderella, but I still dislike this style, mostly. A somewhat tolerable version is by Valentino with studs {and variations, like one above} but checking them out in person they tend to be turn-offs.

    Yes, hard {ish, at least} plastic = painful and one can’t very well put “Rub Relief Strips” in there without pause. And when they’re under the feet, instead of some cushioning? Ack.

    Cute story: our straight men learn some fashion things from us after a while. You know the {other} clear, literal-heel trend right now? Just the lucite heel portion … my boyfriend pointed out all the wrongness. Tehee, cute.

    That “tips” shoe is funny though. I kind of want it; meaning one. To sit “out” for giggles.

    Kit, now childish I often like. 🙂

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