Footwear designer Rupert Sanderson on comfort, shoe care, and breaking in a pair of heels

Footwear designer Rupert Sanderson on comfort, shoe care, and breaking in a pair of heels

If the shoe fits

Text: Andrea Sim

Rupert Sanderson, shoe designer to stars on the silver screen, gives us the low-down on what women want — in a pair of high heels

Heels are like tricky, little vixens. Their sensous arches entice with the promise of elegance and stature, but give them the span of a day, and these very same curves are capable of unleashing a world of hurt. Enter Rupert Sanderson: Born in Malaysia and based in London, the footwear designer has proven that donning a pair of sky-high heels doesn't always have to end badly — it simply boils down to how the shoe fits.

Starting out with a "disastrous" career in advertising before pursuing his passion for footwear design, it's no surprise that 'fit is king' for Sanderson; he's even purchased controlling interest in the Italian factory where his shoes are crafted. 
Now, a decade and a half after the launch of his eponymous label — and with a legion of celebrities the likes of Sandra Bullock, Selena Gomez and Blake Lively that opt for his stamp of subtle elegance — Sanderson shares his key tips on caring for your shoes, and how fit and comfort can make or break your love for a pair of gorgeous pumps. 

Rupert Sanderson, shoe designer

How did you start designing footwear, and come to launch your namesake label?
I had a fascination with the making of shoes, and quit a disastrous career in advertising to pursue my curiosity. The moment I realised that people designed shoes, I thought that would be a wonderful career. Ultimately, it was footwear and the craft of making shoes that interested me, rather than just accessories.

What do you think makes Rupert Sanderson footwear stand out?
I like to avoid augmentation or overdressing the foot. Instead, I concentrate on perfecting the silhouette and using the best quality materials to design shoes that last, are comfortable, and make the women who wear them feel confident and elegant. I design with a 'less is more' approach.

Rupert Sanderson SS16 campaign

What is the typical lifespan of a pair of Rupert Sanderson heels?
Take good care of them and they can last forever!

How can women best take care of them?
Always spray suede shoes before you wear them, and re-heel stilettos sooner rather than later.

What are the ways you'll recommend breaking in a pair of heels?
Walk around in them for short periods of time. That way, your feet will get used to the fit.

How can comfort be heightened for women who have to walk around in heels from morning to night?
I am very focused on fit when it comes to designing shoes, and I am constantly perfecting that as I feel it's the most important thing. A shoe that fits well should allow you to walk around in them comfortably all day. People have been known for standing up all day in my 110mm heels!

As the saying goes, 'beauty is pain'. What are your thoughts on the adage in relation to footwear?
Don't always believe what you hear, as sometimes the most beautiful shoes are actually rather comfortable. Obviously, there are some beautiful shoes which are less comfortable than others, but the force of the beauty can detract from the pain!

The allure of the peep toe heel is... that it's suggestive.

The power of the classic stiletto is...
its timeless appeal.

The perfect occasion to don the strappy heeled sandals are...
to a fantastic party.

A good pair of heels should have the ability to transform...
a woman's mood.

Rupert Sanderson is available in Singapore at The Shoe Salon located within Takashimaya Department Store, Robinsons The Heeren, and Julie Nicole at Capitol Piazza.