What is it about Taryn Rose's shoes that gets her whisked to the White House and persuades sex-bomb Angelina Jolie to entrust the surgeon-fashionista with her tootsies? Rose wouldn't tell all. But, grinning, she did divulge some of what goes into making a heel that, memorably, made Oprah squeal. In the designer's words:
"I use Poron, for example, in the 'Clementine' [a suede sandal that's part of the Haute Footure line at Neiman Marcus]. Poron is a memory foam, so it doesn't flatten out over time. It rebounds, so you always get support. It acts as a shock absorber… Most shoes that use cheaper padding will eventually flatten out so there is no more support.
"A comfortable shoe has many elements. Let's say I have great cushioning, but if I had scratchy straps, that's not going to feel comfortable. Or if the shoe is so narrow and hurts the balls of your feet, forget it. I start out with the right last, which is the form around which the shoe is made. So the last is nice and wide, and there's always room in the toe area, so you're not being scrunched. I will never do a severe sharp-point. In my Haute Footure collection, I'm doing an elongated shape, but your toe hits at a point with space.
"The next thing I consider is the cushioning. In my heels, I like to use a platform if it's going to be over a 2-inch heel. My platforms have a 'rocker' so [the platform] points up a bit, and when you walk it rolls. I make sure to do a good arch and wouldn't go too slim with my heel. At a certain point, you'll get out of balance. As a matter of fact, women, when they get to their fifties, for some reason, start to lose their sense of balance. So they feel more secure with the kitten heel or the lower heel — and it's my job to make that look feminine."