Whether the Duchess of Cambridge herself can fairly be thanked (or blamed) for the trend, the Kate Middleton effect is real: The “nude” pump has become, in recent years, a go-to shoe for many women. It’s simple, and elegant, and a nice option for those who want a matches-basically-everything alternative to black. As the stylist service Urban Darling puts it: “When it comes to wardrobe staples, the nude pump in particular, is at the top of my list.”
Except: Nude, as a concept and a color, is fraught for obvious reasons, full of outdated assumptions about skin tones and defaults. And pump, for that matter, is a little fraught, too: While Kate Middleton favors stilettos, what of the many, many women out there who want the slip-them-on-without-a-thought ease of nude shoes, without the teetering heights?
Enter Christian Louboutin, the consummate designer of luxury footwear. In 2013, Louboutin, taking into account the fact that the traditional approach to “nude” has excluded many of his customers, created a collection of nude styles—five shades in all. In 2015, he expanded the collection to seven shades. Yet the collection premised on inclusivity—whose “Nudes” range from “porcelain” to “deep chocolate” in hue—were missing a crucial component. While they included stiletto pumps and t-straps … they did not include practical, comfortable flats.