Shoe Showdown

FRESNO, Calif.

The shoes on display at this Manolo Blahnik Boutique are quite stunning. You can easily spend a small fortune here. Anywhere from several hundred to thousands of dollars.

To find out if high-end, expensive shoes are worth the high price, consumer reports rounded up more than a dozen eager employees to try out three different pairs.

"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," Mandy Walker said.

The shoes included a $30 pair of Mossimo's from Target, $69 heels from Nine West, and this $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 pair from Target.

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

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

To size up how well each shoe was made, consumer reports did the unthinkable, cutting the shoes in half.

"Overall the Manolos were a better-made shoe. The materials they were made of were superior, and many of the women liked the styling, too."

Consumer reports says good leather heels need special care. It's best not to wear them two days in a row. That gives the shoes time to dry out.

However, in the blind tests more women thought the $69 Nine West shoes were more comfortable.

Consumer reports says the smart money move with high heels - make fit the deciding factor.

"Determine the style you want, what your budget is, and if they feel good when you walk around in them, buy them," Walker said.

And forget wearing them out in bad weather. One step in a puddle with oil, gas, or road salt and you can ruin them.

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