5 On Your Side

Does paying more for shoes buy you comfort?

Posted May 12, 2011 6:08 p.m. EDT

From fancy pumps to strappy sandals to cute flats, shoes come in all different styles and prices.

A Consumer Reports survey found women love them even if they're uncomfortable! A recent survey the group did found 60 percent of women are willing to tolerate painful shoes for fashion's sake!

Can paying more for shoes get you fashion and comfort? Designer shoes can cost several hundred to thousands of dollars a pair! Consumer Reports rounded up more than a dozen eager employees to try out three pairs of pumps that look alike but come with very different price tags!

"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 Consumer Reports Mandy Walker.

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 Mossimos!

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

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

Then Consumer Reports went all out to size up how well each shoe was made. They actually cut 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!

Testers say comfort starts with a good fit! "Determine the style you want, what your budget is, and if they feel good when you walk around in them, buy them," said Walker.

If you're thinking it's time to get a new pair of shoes, consider this: According to the Consumer Reports survey, the average woman owns 17 pairs but only regularly wears three pairs! And the average amount she pays per pair: $49!