Stiletto Rock

Stiletto Rock

“A high heel shoe is good for [shedding] at least 5 pounds,” says Kim Bondy. Well, if that isn’t reason enough to fall in love with a high-end stiletto, Bondy, a shoe aficionado and vice president of special programming for CNN, could probably offer several more. She owns more than 150 pairs. “It’s good costuming. It’s great for attitude,” she says. “I love a shoe that makes a statement, and the more outrageous, the better.”

Some of her favorite steppers include her Brian Atwood patent leather knee-high 5-inch-heel boots; her denim boots with red patent leather toe and heel by Dolce and Gabbana; and designs from Jimmy Choo, Giuseppe Zanotti, and Manolo Blahnik. Bondy’s number is also on speed dial for a first look at new arrivals at several shoe boutiques in New York, Atlanta, New Orleans, and San Diego. But she’s hardly driven by trends. A shoe has to meet several requirements before Bondy will consider wearing it.

Soft Soles. Bondy prefers a handmade sole. “Especially with a high heel. I can wear a 4-inch stiletto all day if the sole is handmade.”

Weight and Construction. Bondy looks for a shoe’s stitching, as opposed to glue in its construction, and for footwear that’s light in weight. “You can usually tell the differences in ounces,” she says.

Bargain Finds. Although Bondy often pays full price for designer shoes, finding a great bargain is a thrill. She says January and late June or early July are the best times for netting discounts of 50% or 60%. Bondy’s most celebrated sales ritual takes place at Bergdorf Goodman’s shoe department in New York City. “It’s such an event and the prices are so great; it leaves us breathless.”