Don’t Buy, DIY: Christian Louboutin for Rodarte Super-Spiked Heels

This was a lo-o–ooooong time in coming. Hope you guys didn’t get bored waiting!:-)

The highly, highly coveted Christian Louboutin for Rodarte spike heels – only sold for a short time at Christian Louboutin boutiques in Fall of ’08, never showing up at Net-a-Porter, not ever appearing on eBay. Victoria Beckham even stepped out in the gorgeous gold ones below. But how to get a pair for oneself?


The RedSole version.

Of course, you could always fork over $188 for the black knockoffs over at RedSole (or here for the gold ones, pictured above). They’ve changed that texturized (Swarovski-encrusted?) area on the toe to snakeskin, and the heel isn’t as high or as skinny, but it’s a fairly good knockoff…if you want to pay $188.

(source: Fashion Mongers)
You could always DIY your own following the instructions at Fashion Mongers here for a similar style also in the Rodarte line.
But I wanted the exact same style as the shoes above on the right, butin black- and I haven’t found any DIY tutes out there on the Internet yet (correct me if I’m wrong!:-) So here ya go – step by step!

I have to break the process into multiple steps, since this is quite long though not excessively complicated. So, in 4 Parts:

To DIY Your Own Pair of Rodarte Spiked Heels You Will Need: (after the jump)

*a pair of black patent maryjane platform stiletto heels with 3 straps over arch

(Bordello stripper shoes (about $60)! I looked everywhere for the shoes to be the base…and continuously came up empty-handed. I even searched in shoe stores in Tokyo and on Japanese websites! But, nothing affordable or even remotely similar. Bordello pumps are the closest match – and they already have the 3 straps in the center of the shoe – not something you can easily add unless you have a sewing machine specifically designed to sew shoes [i.e., with a 360-degree rotatable arm and a ball-shaped feed dog area]. You could glue the straps onto the arch area…but then you run the risk of them snapping off every time you take a step. So shoes that already have the straps on them are the way to go!)


You Will Need:

*56″ length of 1/2″ wide pleather shoe strapping**
*44″ length of 3/8″ wide pleather shoe strapping**
*awl, leather multi-hole punch, or something else to poke holes with
*FOUR 1/2″-wide silver rectangle buckles (center-prong)
*FOUR 3/8″-wide silver rectangle buckles (center-prong)
*Loctite Vinyl, Fabric, and Plastic Glue (or Barge cement)
*small binder clips (not pictured)
*shears able to cut leather (or a box cutter, not pictured)

**where to get the strapping? This is the toughest part. Rarely will you find a craft store that sells finished thin pleather strap by the foot (i.e., straps that have the raw edges folded over and topstitched). I can’t find anywhere on the internet that sells it. I can’t find it on Ebay. Tandy Leather Factory does not sell it since their leather strapping is made for bags/belts, not thin and pliable enough for shoes. Jo-Anns or Michael’s will of course not sell it. If you are lucky enough to live in NYC, you can stop by Kaufman Shoe Repair Supplies (before 2 PM!) and the strapping is on gigantic rolls in front of the cash register counter in the center of the store. (Would that I lived there!!) I was literally laughed out of 2 cobbler/shoe repair stores here in Portland when I asked them to sell shoe strapping by the foot. (What do all the shoe design students at the Art Institutes do then, I wonder???) I ended up having to buy my shoe strapping in Tokyo when I was there this August, along with the buckles. Perhaps there are other shoe repair supply stores that sell to the general public in your city…but definitely these are difficult to locate. The tiny buckles are also hard to locate too – but you may be able to find them at a Tandy Leather Factory store or other store that sells to leatherworkers.

1. Poke a hole with your awl about 1/2″ from end of 1/2″-wide strap.

2. Push 1/2″-wide buckle prong through hole; spread a layer of glue on the underside of the strap end; fold over and secure with a binder clip to hold the end in place.

3. Wrap the strap around your ankle (right at the place where the lowest strap would sit – just eyeball it). You don’t want the strap to be super-tight, or even snug. You definitely want it to be slightly loose since we’ll be padding the inside later. Cut end of strap at an angle, about 1.5″ longer than where the end of the strap meets itself.

4. Thread the buckle onto the strap, and poke a hole where you want the prong to thread into.

5. Repeat the process for the two thinner 3/8″-wide straps (measuring their circumference above the strap you just made – each is spaced about 1/4″ above the previous one) and the final 1/2″-wide strap. You will make 4 straps total per shoe. Repeat all the steps to make the straps for the other shoe.


You Will Need:

*your shoes
*sewing machine with leather needle
*black all-purpose thread (or upholestery thread, if you have it)
*leather glue (as mentioned above)
*small binder clips
*leather punch
*TWO 1/2″-long silver cone spikes ($5.59 for bag of 20, (not pictured)
*Phillips screwdriver (not pictured)
*roll of moleskin
*shears/box cutter to cut moleskin

1. Wrap the end of the 1/2″-wide strapping over the top 1/2″-wide strap you made in the previous step. (Allow about 3/8″ overlap.) Spread glue on the 3/8″ overlap, and secure with a binder clip. (You want the strap you made to be able to move freely.)

2. Once glue has dried, machine-stitch a line below the strap you just enclosed – perpendicular to the strapping to secure the loop we just made. (Use a leather needle and black thread.)

3. Position each strap you made below the top strap along this strapping backbone we’re working on. The buckles all need to line up about 1.5″ from the edge of the backbone strapping.* Glue each strap to the backbone, securing with binder clips. After glue has dried, sew straight down both edges of the strapping backbone, matching the line of topstitching, going through all layers and straps you glued on in the previous step. Stop and backstitch twice about 3/8″ below the last strap.

4. Put on one shoe and fasten all the buckles and straps. Measure how far the backbone extends to the top of the shoe – and add about 1″. Cut. Spread glue onto the bottom 1″ of the strapping backbone. Take off the shoe, and place the strapping backbone onto the inside of the shoe, at the center back. (There is a center back seam in the counter – and that’s what you want to center the strap on.) Secure with a binder clip until glue dries.

5. Once glue has dried, punch a hole through the strapping we just glued, about 1/2″ down from top edge of shoe at the back. (You’ll be punching through the shoe and counter too, so a heavy-duty leather punch is recommended – it took me about 20 minutes just using the awl!)

6. Thread a 1/2″ spike through the hole, and secure with its screw on the inside with a Phillips screwdriver.

7. Cut a piece of moleskin and use it to cover the end of the strapping backbone and the cone spike screw on the inside of your shoe.

9. Repeat for other shoe strapping backbone and straps.

*Careful with which side you line everything up on! The strapping backbone for the right shoe anchors the shoe buckles to the right of the backbone – and opposite for the left shoe.

All the straps are attached. (As you can see, I made my ankle straps the slightest bit too short.)

Now we’re ready to stud!


You Will Need:

*1 bag of 1/4″ square pyramid studs ($5.33 for bag of 100,
*1 bag of 1/4″ round dome silver studs ($2.88 for bag of 100, – but if you can find 3/16″ conical studs it would be better!)
*1 bag of 1″ silver cone spikes ($6.52 for bag of 20,
*Phillips screwdriver
*pair of pliers
*roll of moleskin
*shears (not pictured)

1. This will take awhile – so have some movies/DVR’d TV on hand to keep you entertained! Start by setting the 1″ spikes on the center arch strap for each shoe. Punch holes with the leather punch about 5/8″ apart along the strap. Set each cone spike in each hole, securing with a Phillips screwdriver.

2. Stud the rest of the straps. The other two arch straps get studded with small round studs set about 1/2″ apart. The two thin ankle straps do as well. The two wider ankle straps are studded with pyramid studs, at the same spacing as the round spots. Poke the holes for all the studs with your awl, force the prongs through, and fold over using pliers.

3. Cut a length of moleskin slightly thinner than each strap, long enough to cover the studded area. Affix to the underside of each strap to protect your skin from the scratchy stud prongs. (You won’t need any moleskin on the underside of the cone spikes, since the screws will be “sunk” into the leather and shouldn’t bother you.)

All studded. Tired yet?;-)


You Will Need:

*1/4″ round silver studs (better if you can find cone studs that small!)
*TWO Scribbles Dimensional Fabric Paint in Shiny Black bottles (the small squeeze bottle size)

1. “Draw” platform on each shoe about 5/8″ from sole, using awl and pressing hard enough to leave an impression on the vinyl…but not hard enough to rip through the vinyl of the shoe.

2. I used round studs that are technically for fabric (salvaged from my Bedazzler set). (The fabric studs have four prongs instead of 2 like the leather ones do.) In any case, you need to place each stud in the “platform” part of the shoe, about 1/2″ apart, and hammer the stud straight into the shoe. (Two or three taps should do it.) Don’t hammer too hard or you’ll dent your stud – or miss and dent your shoe!

3. Use awl to mark off the area for the texturizing by indenting a thin line into the vinyl of the shoe across the vamp.

4. Spread thin line of fabric paint over the line you drew.

5. Using the squeeze bottle, dot on tiny dots of fabric paint in a random pattern in the vamp area you cordoned off.

A close-up of the paint-dot texture on the toe box.

I made some of my dots touching, barely lifting the squeeze bottle up between dots; for some dots I lifted the bottle off completely before beginning the next dot. I made the dot size random – some large, some small – and amazingly, when everything dried, it created a gorgeous glittery texture. Almost Swarovski-like but not quite, that area totally elevates the entire shoe. You have to do each side of the shoe separately, since it has to dry completely (24 hours) before you touch it again to turn it over and do the other side. My hands were totally cramping throughout the whole ordeal, but doing this is utterly, utterly worth it – and it’s a cool technique to try on other vinyl accessories (using same color or contrasting color paint) to create an awesome effect.

You’re done!

Congratulations – you now have a pair of semi-sturdy, crazy-ass studded Rodarte look-alikes – for under $100! Believe me, you will get turned heads and compliments a-plenty when you wear them!

(Yet Adam Lippes, designer of ADAM and last guest judge for America’s Most Stylish Blogger Competition didn’t recognize them when I wore them in the last challenge [photo above].)

Go figure!
Now I know they’re not exact copies – I know the platform on these heels is a little high and the front is a little too curved…but they’re pretty darn close otherwise! (And they’re stripper heels, so cut them some slack!;-)

Happy DIY’ing!

56 Comments on Don’t Buy, DIY: Christian Louboutin for Rodarte Super-Spiked Heels

  1. amanda
    11.28.2009 at 2:36 pm (6 years ago)

    i think it is gorgeous & my full respect is given to you for the work (& endless,complicated) steps on this tut! :)

    • alex
      2.13.2011 at 6:33 am (5 years ago)

      These particular shoes aren’t to my taste, personally. But I love the effort you have gone to, and these are a really good replica, you almost couldn’t tell the difference between them and the genuine shoes.

      So great job! This seems like a much better alternative than spending whatever silly money the real ones cost, and I always enjoy making stuff anyway.
      alex recently posted..small size shoes

  2. Cambry Rene
    11.28.2009 at 6:03 pm (6 years ago)

    Best. DIY. Ever.

    I think I died when I saw this.
    No joke.

    Thankssss so muchh!!!!

  3. Stacie
    11.28.2009 at 7:45 pm (6 years ago)

    Such hard work! :) Congrats!

  4. alex*at*aufdemaur
    11.29.2009 at 2:47 am (6 years ago)

    wooow never would have guessed you used paint on those for the texture! very clever! And thanks for the heads up on the $60 shoes. they're perfect for what you've done! And like you, yeah, the other tutorials are okay, but not good enough if you want the louboutin/rodarte look. Your's are AMAAAAZING!! And again, thanks for the reference. The shoes were hot even before the DIYing (what does that say about me though haha loves me some strippa shoes lol)

  5. ag
    11.29.2009 at 8:49 am (6 years ago)

    It is AMAZING! Makes me wonder what shoes could i DIY too 😀 You inspire me..

  6. Mila
    11.29.2009 at 9:09 am (6 years ago)

    omg they`re sooooooo amazing!

  7. Laura
    11.29.2009 at 11:31 am (6 years ago)

    wow amazing!! thanks for your the explanation!!

  8. Six Six Sick
    11.29.2009 at 4:24 pm (6 years ago)

    Holy Jesus, very very impressive, and it looks like you put in a ton of work. I've never been brave enough to try a shoe DIY without the help of an actual cobbler! I love the way you figured out how to replicate the look of the shoes, it's brilliant!


  9. Hesionka
    11.29.2009 at 4:32 pm (6 years ago)

    this is brilliant! i'm speechless!
    excellent diy!

  10. Alyssa Mae
    11.29.2009 at 6:21 pm (6 years ago)

    girllll!! you have the BEST DIY tutes on the PLANET!

    i get SOOO many ideas from your blog! thanks so much!!

  11. Angie Rox
    11.29.2009 at 11:02 am (6 years ago)



  12. kathy c
    11.29.2009 at 11:25 am (6 years ago)

    Okay, amazing. Those are awesome!!!! Great DIY project! You inspire me so much!

  13. Kathryn
    11.29.2009 at 9:36 pm (6 years ago)

    These are fabulous!

  14. Chanelle
    11.29.2009 at 11:53 pm (6 years ago)

    The DIY looks so difficult but worth trying! Now to find a pair of triple-strapped Mary Janes…

  15. InnyVinny
    11.30.2009 at 12:04 am (6 years ago)

    *rousing applause*

    This looks like it took a lot of work and they came out fantastically! Great job.

  16. harderunderscorefaster
    11.30.2009 at 1:35 am (6 years ago)

    Oh my- these are one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen!
    Thank you for this DIY- I shall definitely be attempting it :)

  17. Michelle
    11.30.2009 at 1:56 am (6 years ago)

    They look GREAT! I'm putting this in my weekly Marvelous Monday link round up. Are those shoes super uncomfy? When I originally saw 'em, I thought I might try it with a more toned down pair of shoes…but the more I look at them, the more I like them. Wouldn't do a lot of good if I can't walk in them though, haha.

  18. carlyjcais
    11.30.2009 at 3:04 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks you Amanda, Stacie, & Kiz! It was alot of time (maybe the tute took longer??) and I'm glad you like!

    Cambry Rene: Best.Comment.Ever. LOL Totally made my year!;-)

    alex*at*aufdemaur: Thank you so much for all your comments!:-) You're such a sweetie – and yup, I had second thoughts about ruining those lovely stripper shoes, but hey, they were $60 on Ebay so I can always pick up another pair! (I'm totally in LOVE with all of Bordello's styles right now;-)

    Thanks for your comments!

  19. carlyjcais
    11.30.2009 at 3:08 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks C'est Laura, Kathy C., Milla, and Ashley!

    Good luck making your own Angie Star! (I didn't do mine all at once, just a little bit every day, and before I knew it, I had them done!)

    ag: Totally! DIY shoes are the BEST because so few people attempt them…don't be scared, just dive right in! (I lost my fears after pulling apart a pair of thrift store shoes to see how they were made…just a bunch of leather, vinyl, stiffened fabric/buckram, plastic, and nails.) Def. start playing around with your footwear!;-)

    Thanks for your comments!

  20. carlyjcais
    11.30.2009 at 3:21 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks for visiting my blog Tiffany! (i saw your Gareth Pugh boots that you had a cobbler help replicate – just pure awesomeness.) Plus, in this case we're just adding straps the down and dirty way (with glue & an anchoring spike!) so I think anybody can do it!

    Thanks Hesionka! You're so sweet – and I loved your DIY eyeglass brooches – such a unique way to reuse old glasses lenses!

    in the violet light: thank you! To be told my blog is an inspiration is truly heartwarming:-)

    Thanks InnyVinny! (Who doesn't love applause?;-)

    Coco: Bordello shoes!! Lowest prices are on Ebay but you can also order them from theatomicboutique (…and you can get a peep-toe already-studded cheapy knockoff at here ( Hope that helps!

    Thanks for your comments!

  21. carlyjcais
    11.30.2009 at 3:25 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks Kathryn!

    Michelle: Well, the Bordello shoes have MAJOR padding in the footbed area so the front of the shoe isn't uncomfortable per se. (I guess they're meant for the ladies wearing them to be on their feet dancing around a pole for hours on end, haha!) It's the height of the heel that I have a little trouble navigating – practice makes perfect, I guess! I find the heel area to be a little wobbly cuz the counter's a little bit large for my skinny-as heels, so my foot moves in them, and I end up falling. They only come in whole sizes, and since I'm a 7.5 I think that's where the trouble lies!

    harderunderscorefaster: No problem! Best of luck!:-)

    Thanks for your comments!

  22. Children of the 90s
    11.30.2009 at 3:54 pm (6 years ago)

    This DIY is FABULOUS! It's amazing. They look just like the real ones! I'm completely impressed.

  23. Laura
    11.30.2009 at 8:13 pm (6 years ago)

    AWESOME!!!!!! Never seen such an amazing tutorial :)

    12.01.2009 at 3:19 am (6 years ago)

    You did a pretty fricken amazing job!

    I'll be following!

  25. Angel
    12.02.2009 at 12:57 am (6 years ago)

    AHHHHH! finally! a tutorial!! thanks muchoooo!!!

    12.02.2009 at 2:30 am (6 years ago)

    omg can't describe the bad ass job u did!! its insanely good i love it!! im following you by now

  27. JJ
    12.06.2009 at 4:30 pm (6 years ago)

    I'm screaming over this DIY!!! Bordello shoes are the shit.
    Bordello > Louboutin

  28. carlyjcais
    12.19.2009 at 5:23 am (6 years ago)

    Children of the 90s: Thanks! I was trying to knock them off completely…looks like I succeeded!;-)

    Laura: Oh, you're sweet! There are also lots of detailed tutes on,, or on weekend designer ( if you're looking for more tutes!

    Thank you ALWAYS CHASING! Glad to have you here!:-)

    Thanks for all your comments!

  29. carlyjcais
    12.19.2009 at 5:29 am (6 years ago)

    FLASHY STYLISTA: Welcome! Glad to have you!:-)

    Angel: You are welcome! Have fun making your own!

    xwinglessgirlx: Thank you! You are so sweet to post that on your blog & try making them for yourself! It's actually pretty fun (though a labor of love, as I can definitely attest!;-)

    JJ: I knoooow I am in love with Bordello shoes. They are so sexy it's crazy!

    Thank you all!

  30. Venus
    1.14.2010 at 11:01 pm (6 years ago)

    Coolest DIY I've seen : )
    I linked this on my blog (, can I? ^^

  31. isabella whitney
    3.18.2010 at 3:26 am (5 years ago)



    idk where to find those shoes tho!

  32. Anonymous
    4.23.2010 at 2:05 am (5 years ago)

    wowwwwwwwww……impressive. and i am RUNNING to get the supplies for this

  33. five finger shoes
    5.04.2010 at 7:30 am (5 years ago)

    wow,so cool shoes
    heel shoes
    very creazy

  34. Ivy
    5.14.2010 at 1:50 am (5 years ago)

    Holy crap. Found this DIY post over at Christeric. Amazing. You have so much dedication and patience! Full respect.

  35. Neo Magpie
    5.30.2010 at 9:26 pm (5 years ago)

    I'm impressed with your DIY! looks great.

    Just so people know – the bordello shoes are a direct copy of Natacha Marro's shoes. If you want the design but handmade to your measurements and hard wearing, splash out a little extra dollar. As her assistant, I promise its worth it.

    I look forward to more diy from you x

  36. Ms. Aynn Throwpe
    7.13.2010 at 11:39 pm (5 years ago)

    Beautifully done. Congratulations.

  37. scarves
    12.31.2010 at 9:10 am (5 years ago)

    Sigh. Scarves Scarves
    It's funny, You always post great photos. And I'm glad you're feeling happy!

  38. Louie Jennison
    2.12.2011 at 6:53 am (5 years ago)

    This design is spectacular! You certainly know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  39. Rock Fashionista
    1.28.2012 at 3:11 pm (4 years ago)

    I love these. What a great DIY. Thank you for putting this up.

  40. Sprinter Man
    7.14.2012 at 2:08 pm (3 years ago)

    i like your blog fancy selling ?


6Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Don’t Buy, DIY: Christian Louboutin for Rodarte Super-Spiked Heels

  1. […] available for $150 from Net-a-Porter. She even comes with those strappy super-spiked heels I did a DIY of last […]

  2. […] If you’re one of those crafty, gifted do-it-yourself-ers (and I admire you for your patience, your gift and the incredible amounts of time you invest in your DIY activities), you were already thinking about this for quite a while now. Nevertheless, there it goes, step by step: from a regular black shoe (quite similar to the basic shape of the Rodarte Louboutin) to the spiked, studded (and beyond) perfectly lookalike the Fall 08 Rodarte platforms by Christian Louboutin! (click through to see the image gallery with every step of the DIY process! if you want the detailed DIY process, click here) […]

  3. […] DIY Christian Louboutin for Rodarte Spiked Heels […]

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  5. […] of your DIY projects is your favorite? Probably my Christian Louboutin for Rodarte Super-Spiked Heels…they took me a very long time to make and it was the first time I’ve actually sewn a […]

  6. […] sales involved.  I get so many requests (even now!) for me to make a custom knockoff pair of those Christian Louboutin for Rodarte Super-Spiked Heels I DIY’d nearly 3 years ago, that sometimes I feel my intentions in sharing these how-tos and […]

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