ShoeDazzle.com is essentially a Shoe of the Month Club. For a monthly fee, receive a new pair of shoes in the mail to keep, especially chosen for you. This is the brainchild of Kim Kardashian (Founder and Chief Stylist) and partners Robert Shapiro (of OJ case fame) and Brian Lee, the founders of LegalZoom.com.
The concept is a little reminiscent of Avelle (formerly Bag Borrow or Steal) the designer handbag rental club; there, you can rent designer handbags for a monthly fee of anywhere between $40 (for a Juicy Couture tote) through $400 (for a couture vintage Hermes Birkin.) Fortunately, ShoeDazzle.com is much more affordable. The monthly fee is only $39 a month. And, you get to keep the shoes.
How It All Works: ShoeDazzle.com chooses shoes for you with the help of celebrity stylists such as Kim, professional celebrity stylists, a fashion editor and HSN’s Designer Challenge expert Michael Bassolino. How do they do this? First, you fill out a survey to indicate your shoe taste. Then, after assimilating the answers on your survey, the stylists choose five pairs of shoes for you. If at any point you are not pleased with any of the five pairs of shoes chosen for you, you can request a new list. And third, you choose a pair of shoes from the list. The shoes are shipped free of charge. If you don’t like the pair once it arrives at your door, you can send it back – but you are charged a $5.95 restocking fee.
The Shoe Selection: $39 a month seems incredibly affordable for a pair of trendy new shoes every month. Since the price is so low, the quality of shoes is a first and foremost concern to us: how can we even conceive of committing before we see the shoes in person, and before we get to try them on? The majority of ShoeDazzle.com shoes come from the Michael Antonio brand “and other stylish, high quality shoe designers. Michael Antonio shoes are generally very trendy, as they frequently imitate the latest best seller and runway styles. Some of the most obvious imitations we spotted: the Michael Antonio CHAI Strappy Gladiator Heels, $47.95 versus the frequently copied Dolce Vita’s Chastity, $162, the Michael Antonio Ember Dress Sandal, $27.77 versus the Dior Extreme Gladiator, ~$1000, made popular by Sex and the City movie last summer. Many of these shoes have “leather-like” and “man-made” uppers – in other words, they’re constructed out of pleather. Cheap pleather simply doesn’t last long, often scruffs easily, and doesn’t conform to your feet with regular wear as leather does.
The Value: That brings us to the value aspect. $39 is very affordable. The true Budget Fashionista, however, can find much better deals and much better quality. Firstly, Michael Antonio shoes frequently cost much less than $39 each – we even found a pair of slinky pewter snake platform heels for only $3.99, and many non-sale in-season styles for under $30. Secondly, $39 can easily be spent at the sales racks of affordable shoe stores such as Aldo and Nine West, where the majority of shoes are constructed of real leather.
The Style: That leaves the the handpicked, individualized styling of these shoes as the main draw of ShoeDazzle.com. Kim makes a great case for the individualized styling which is conducted by her team of stylists. She enthuses: “It’s like walking into a high-end boutique where you actually get personalized recommendations, while getting a great value for beautiful shoes!” While we disagree with the value claim, we do see some appeal in the notion of trying out shoes that someone else picks for you. Often, we don’t know what looks good on us until someone else inspires us.
The Verdict: Even though the monthly fee is only $39, a closer look at the main brand behind those shoes, however, leaves us wondering about the quality (down with pleather!) and overall value.
However, Kim’s enthusiasm for her stylist team’s desire to style you is appealing. Kim implores, “We can’t wait to pick out shoes for you! It’s so much fun and what better way to feel fantastic about yourself than letting us pamper you?” That does sound fun… but is it worth potentially being stuck with low quality look-a-like shoes?