Christian Louboutin’s So Kate 5 inch stiletto heels created quite a stir when they launched in 2013.
Back then the designer’s website even asserted that So Kate was “sure to gather a following just as devoted” as Louboutin’s iconic Pigalle shoes.
That’s quite a claim given that Louboutin has himself described the classic, low-cut Pigalle as “the design that encapsulates my career.”
Fast-forward nearly a decade and Pigalle and So Kate are certainly absolute icons of the Louboutin empire, indeed his two most popular styles.
So what’s the difference between the Pigalle and So Kate?
You can see the Pigalle and So Kate compared in the animation above, where the Pigalle is the completely black shoe and the So Kate is a lighter, red / black shade (“rouge noir” in Louboutin language).
The biggest difference between the two shoes is the heel. Both heels are 5 inches high (120 mm), however the So Kate has a significantly thinner heel than the Pigalle.
The “pitch” of the shoe (basically a measure of the steepness) is greater with the So Kate as well.
The other differences are much more subtle. The toe is slightly more pointy on the So Kate than on the Pigalle (the So Kate looks a little more like Jimmy Choo’s Anouk in this respect). And the toe vamp is slightly longer on the So Kate as well.
The net effect, though, is that both the So Kate and Pigalle show pretty much the same amount of Louboutin’s famous toe cleavage (the longer vamp is offset by the pointier toe on the So Kate meaning the foot doesn’t go quite as deep into the toe box).
Of course, there are many similarities between the Pigalle and So Kate as well.
I have already mentioned that both have a 5 inch (120mm) heel. The Pigalle was first launched in this height but fairly quickly was also made available in shorter, more practical heel heights.
So Kate itself is still only available in 5 inch heels. However in November 2020 Louboutin has introduced the “Kate” heel which is really just So Kate but in more modest heel heights (pictured in 4 inch (100mm) above).
Both So Kate and Pigalle do have the same price tag. Back in 2013 this was $625 for US customers online. In 2021 the price of both shoes has really only risen slightly – expect to pay $695.
Another similarity is that both can be difficult to get your hands on because of their popularity!
Finally, most reports are that the So Kates fit about the same as Pigalles.
Early reports suggested that both shoes were much the same to wear. Indeed some wearers even suggested that So Kate was perhaps even slightly easier to wear than Pigalle because the higher pitch is reduced heel slippage.
However it seems that the majority of wearers say that Pigalle is easier to wear than So Kate. This stands to reason as the needle-thin heel on So Kate is obviously more difficult to balance on.
Have fun playing spot the difference but, whichever you choose, they are both very beautiful shoes.
Pigalle turned 10 years old in 2014 and So Kate seems destined to go the same way. Both iconic heels will be around for a very long time.