These are the times that try men’s soles. The recent U.S. federal court ruling that shot down shoe designer Christian Louboutin’s contention that red soles are his soul domain has Brazilian brandCarmen Steffens kicking up its heels.

Louboutin’s fight was with Yves Saint Laurent (a division of luxury giant PPR). The designer argued that his “trademark” red sole are, in fact, a trademark (which, apparently, they are and have been since 2008). At issue was whether YSL’s red soles were too close a red to Louboutin’s.  The judge disagreed and it’s looking like this foot fight will be kicking around for a while.

We just heard from Mark Willingham, president of U.S. operations for Carmen Steffens USA—located in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Apparently, Louboutin also contacted the Carmen Steffens’ Paris office to get the company to stop selling red-soled shoes. According to the company, Carmen Steffens has been putting color on its soles since it was founded by Mario Spaniol in Sao Paulo.

“This is a tremendous victory for consumers worldwide as well as for the overall fashion industry,” Spaniol said, in a statement released by the company. “Since 1993 Carmen Steffens has incorporated almost every range of color into our shoe and handbag designs. We are a Brazilian company and colors and patterns which capture the vibrancy of life are integral to the core of who we are and what we stand for as a fashion brand. Over the years we have included shades of red, blue, green, pink, yellow, brown, black and many other colors into the soles of our shoes. We now have over 200 stores across 16 countries and our customers worldwide expect exotic, fun designs from us that are crafted in exclusive quantities. And, the use of color is a major element of the Carmen Steffens design equation.”


And with that, dear reader, we kick it back to you.

Published Aug. 17, 2011 at…soled_shoes.html