The Goods

Who Would Buy JW Anderson’s $630 Cylinder Heel Ballet Shoe?

Shoe by Totokaelo.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Totokaelo LLC.

Anyone who’s ever slipped in a pair of heels understands the immediate wobbly precarity that comes along with a few inches of extra height and enviably defined calves. The possibility of a rolled ankle or an ill-fated encounter with a muddy patch of grass or a city grate is never far from the wearer’s mind. But for some, that uncertainty apparently isn’t enough. The ante must be upped! How to make wearing heels even more of a constant negotiation with gravity and various other forces that I can’t name because I’m a writer who almost failed high school physics? How about … replace the heel with a metal cylinder!

That’s right, for the heavily discounted price of $630, heel daredevils can purchase the JW Anderson cylinder heel ballet shoe, which looks like the sole of a half-finished oxford glued to a toilet paper holder. It’s really a steal, if you think about it: The original price was an eye-popping $1,050. These daredevil slippers feature a “v-neck ballet shoe in smooth black leather” with a 2-inch “metallic silver-tone hollow cylindrical heel and long tonal suede wraparound ankle ties.” While the cylinder seems to have a tiny rubber grip on the bottom, I have zero faith that the grip won’t wear down within a few months, leaving them liable to slide across the floor like the demented marked-up spawn of Heelys. Speaking of, this shoe would be vastly improved if the cylindrical heel was actually a wheel: Now, that’s something I’d consider paying upward of $600 for.

The cylindrical heel seems to be something of A Thing for JW Anderson, who has a similar pair in “croc-embossed black leather.” But be warned, these slippers are going fast. I could only find one website where they weren’t completely sold out. At the time of writing, there were only five sizes left. And because there’s such a steep discount, the heels are of course final sale. Though I can only assume that in the event of cylinder-caused … misfortune, some sort of return policy could be negotiated.

Price: $630

Who would buy this thing? Cinderella if she was somehow transported to the Mad Max cinematic universe.