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Video: Do all women have a love affair with footwear?

  1. Transcript of: Do all women have a love affair with footwear?

    MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: Back now at 8:10 with more of our special series WHY ARE WE SO OBSESSED . This morning it is all about the shoes . If you get pumped for pumps or smile at sneakers, you may be one of the millions of American women who say they are addicted to shoes . For many women it all started with Cinderella and that darn glass slipper . Then glass turned to ruby red ...

    VIEIRA: ...which eventually turned into, well, a shoe obsession. Even during the economic storm when other goods were getting the boot, shoe sales were trending as high as a stiletto.

    Unidentified Woman #1: A shoe always fits so it's always going to look good.

    Unidentified Woman #2: The colors, the varieties, the styles, different shoes for every season.

    Unidentified Woman #3: I love everything about shoes , I love the way they make me feel and how I look in them, and shoes make me happy.

    VIEIRA: But it should be no surprise we're wired for shoe lust.

    Ms. LEORA TANENBAUM (Author, "Bad Shoes the Women Who Love Them"): You put on a pair of high-heeled shoes and instantly you feel sexy and glamorous. You know, when you're wearing high-heeled shoes you're standing and walking on your tip-toes, your posture changes, your chest goes out, your behind goes out, you look very womanly and curvaceous and your legs seem longer.

    VIEIRA: Saks Fifth Avenue 's shoe department is so big it has its own ZIP code .

    Unidentified Man: What size are you?

    Unidentified Woman #4: I'm a nine.

    Unidentified Woman #5: Do you have this in an eight and a half ?

    Unidentified Woman #6: Seven and a half.

    Ms. TANENBAUM: Some women really seem to go overboard in collecting shoes . Part of the reason is this never-ending search for the perfect pair of shoes that will make them look the way they want to look, sexy and beautiful and alluring.

    VIEIRA: Dominique Groveners ' shoe search took her places she didn't expect.

    Ms. DOMINIQUE GROVENERS: My husband and I had to find a two-bedroom apartment to accommodate my shoes .

    VIEIRA: And now she blogs about shoes for a living.

    Ms. GROVENERS: These are a pair that I absolutely love. I got these pretty little ones -- and these yellow ones right here perfect for vacation. And these right here. I think everybody who loves shoes has voyeuristic tendencies, and I think shoes give you the ability to transform yourself from a school teacher to a naughty vixen. Shoes just do that for women .

    VIEIRA: And here to talk more about our obsession with shoes , Stacy London , TODAY's style expert and the co-host of TLC 's "What Not to Wear ," Nene Leakes from Bravo 's " Real Housewives of Atlanta ," and Cindi Leive , the editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine and TODAY's women and lifestyle contributor. And all of them shoe addicts. Ladies, good -- welcome to you.

    Ms. NENE LEAKES (Bravo's "Real Housewives of Atlanta"): Yeah.

    Ms. CINDI LEIVE (Editor-in-Chief, Glamour Magazine): Yes.

    VIEIRA: All right, Nene , what is your motto when it comes to shoes ?

    Ms. LEAKES: Sick, nasty and crazy.

    VIEIRA: Sick, nasty and crazy?

    Ms. LEAKES: Nasty and crazy.

    Ms. STACY LONDON (TLC's "What Not to Wear"): Oh, in a good way.

    Ms. LEAKES: Actually -- all in a good way -- let me say it to you, Meredith ...

    VIEIRA: Yes.

    Ms. LEAKES: ...those are some sick shoes you're wearing.

    VIEIRA: Well, I'm very glad I'm sick then.

    Ms. LEAKES: Those are Louboutins. I love them. You are working it.

    VIEIRA: Thank you, baby. Well, Cindi , you find through all your readers when you put a story about shoes in your magazine, people gobble it up.

    Ms. LEIVE: Love it.

    VIEIRA: What is it...

    Ms. LEIVE: We call it shoe porn, I mean women just like looking at it.

    VIEIRA: Why are we so bananas about shoes ?

    Ms. LEIVE: Well, I think it's a bunch of things. First of all, in a tough economy, you know, you could wear the same thing and just change the shoes and it's instantly new. It's that ruby slippers effect that we were just watching, and the way you can either be the school teacher or the vixen depending on what you're putting on.

    Ms. LEAKES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. LEIVE: And also, there's no such thing as a fat day with your shoes , you know.

    Ms. LEAKES: Yes.

    Ms. LEIVE: There's no fitting room drama, you've never heard a woman say, 'Do my feet look fat in these shoes ?' You know, no matter what else is going on...

    Ms. LEAKES: Yeah.

    VIEIRA: Exactly.

    Ms. LEIVE: ...a great shoe will make you feel fantastic.

    VIEIRA: You mentioned the ruby red slipper, that -- when you were a little girl that's what got you hooked, right?

    Ms. LONDON: Yes. All right, so I confess, I was Dorothy for I think it was seven Halloweens in a row because I wanted to wear shiny shoes . So that's where it started for me. And now I sort of believe the higher the heel...

    Ms. LEAKES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. LONDON: ...the closer to God.

    VIEIRA: Do you think -- do you think we're genetically wired in some way to love shoes ?

    Ms. LONDON: Well, I think that we are genetically wired actually. I think that it's sociobiological. Women want to be attractive.

    Ms. LEIVE: Yeah.

    Ms. LONDON: That is ingrained in us, and if heels makes our legs look longer...

    Ms. LEAKES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. LONDON: ...if our girls come out and our, you know, hips sway and our shoulders go back, well, that is sending a genetic signal, you know, we are looking to mate.

    VIEIRA: But what's interesting is that the extremes we'll go to -- when you polled your readers, 20 percent said they would suffer bleeding feet to have shoes that look good.

    Ms. LEAKES: Oh my God.

    Ms. LEIVE: Yeah. I have to admit, that surprised and dismayed even me. I mean, a little bit of discomfort we're all willing to put up with for...

    Ms. LONDON: Right.

    Ms. LEIVE: ...for that great effect but, you know, bleeding, I would draw the line there.

    Ms. LEAKES: Me, too, I would draw the line. I think wearing a pair of high-heeled shoes just makes you strut. When I put on heels I strut, I feel strong, I feel independent, I love it. I love it.

    VIEIRA: So it changes what's going on in here.

    Ms. LEAKES: It really does. I feel like the boss.

    VIEIRA: Yeah. And...

    Ms. LONDON: I agree with that.

    Ms. LEIVE: You look like the boss.

    Ms. LONDON: I think -- I think it's very empowering to wear heels.

    Ms. LEAKES: It is.

    Ms. LONDON: I completely agree with that.

    VIEIRA: And you're coming out with your own line of shoes that cater to women ...

    Ms. LEAKES: Yeah.

    VIEIRA: ...whose feet are between the sizes...

    Ms. LEAKES: Larger.

    VIEIRA: Yeah, nine and whatever.

    Ms. LEAKES: I would say nine to about 13.

    VIEIRA: Why did you want to do that, that kind of a specialty shoe?

    Ms. LEAKES: I have so many women coming up to me and saying, 'What size shoe are you, Nene ? You're a tall woman.' I actually don't have large feet for a tall woman because I meet women who are 12s and 13 and my foot is nine or 10.

    VIEIRA: Right.

    Ms. LEAKES: And I do some 11s, like in the Christian Louboutins that you have on, they run a little bit smaller. But I just want all women to feel empowered. Because you're tall it doesn't mean that you can't wear a heel.

    Ms. LONDON: Amen.

    Ms. LEAKES: I'm tall...

    Ms. LEIVE: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. LEAKES: ...I'm 5'10 1/2"...

    VIEIRA: And you still feel comfortable.

    Ms. LEAKES: ...I put on six- and seven-inch heels and I rule.

    VIEIRA: And you don't care if you're towering over the guys.

    Ms. LEAKES: No, I don't care if I'm towering over the guys, I don't.

    Ms. LONDON: Amen to that. If you're tall, be proud.

    Ms. LEAKES: I don't.

    VIEIRA: How do you think the economy has affected our obsession with shoes ?

    Ms. LEIVE: Well, I think it's much easier to update your wardrobe with shoes than to buy a whole new look every season.

    Ms. LEAKES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. LEIVE: You know, most women -- even the wealthiest women are not doing that anymore.

    Ms. LEAKES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. LEIVE: On the height question, though...

    Ms. LEAKES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. LEIVE: ...I just want to say if I were your height I'd be walking around in flats all day.

    Ms. LEAKES: Really?

    Ms. LONDON: No!

    Ms. LEIVE: I mean, I'm 5'2", I need these. Ms. LEAKES; Girl -- you have to -- you know -- you know what...

    VIEIRA: Yeah, but she's saying it's about what's up here, though.

    Ms. LEIVE: It's true.

    Ms. LEAKES: It is.

    VIEIRA: It's the way your body is.

    Ms. LEAKES: It's about being confident. I -- if I was 6'5" I would still wear a six-inch heel.

    Ms. LEIVE: Yeah.

    Ms. LEAKES: Like I really wear heels. And I 've met men that was this short that said, 'Oh, wow!'

    Ms. LONDON: ...gaze up at you.

    Ms. LEAKES: Yeah.

    Ms. LEIVE: Well, you look fantastic in...

    VIEIRA: All right, biggest mistake women make when they go to buy a pair of shoes ?

    Ms. LONDON: Oh, if it's not comfortable in the store, it will never be comfortable.

    Ms. LEAKES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. LONDON: Leather and suede can be stretched as long as a shoemaker stretches it. Patent does not stretch.

    Ms. LEAKES: Well, I have to say i don't like seeing women in kitten heels, like the little kitten heel . I'm like, girl, are you serious, you have on a kitten heel ?

    Offscreen Voice: I like that.

    Ms. LEAKES: Stop.

    Ms. LEIVE: Well, they fly off your foot sometimes.

    Ms. LEAKES: They're just not cute.

    Ms. LEIVE: And mules, too, anything without a back can be very tricky.

    Ms. LEAKES: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. LEIVE: So try to walk fast in it, just walk, walk fast.

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