The read deal: Christian Louboutin "Paquita120" gladiator heel. Photo courtesy of theOutnet.com

Christian Louboutin pumps -- with their signature blazing red soles -- are definitely one of the hottest footwear trends of the last few years, with everyone from J.Lo to the Olsen twins singing their praises.

Unfortunately for shoe fiends on realistic budgets, a coveted pair of Louboutins starts at $595 and can easily soar up into the 4-digits depending on fabrication and detailing.

Because of this dilemma, several online shopping sites are popping up, selling what they claim are authentic Louboutins at deep discounts.

But in a 20/20 special, which aired July 23, the show's producers look into these sales and discover, perhaps unsurprisingly, that sites selling Louboutins way under market value are actually selling complete fakes, 80% of which come from China.

To combat the problem, Christian Louboutin has launched its own site stopfakechristianlouboutin.com to raise awareness, expose Web sites selling the fake goods (they include a long list) and investigate offenses.




In the 20/20 report (watch it below) ABC anchor Deborah Roberts shows how the issue endures, buying nine pairs of "Louboutins" -- some of them $400, some of them $176 -- from eight different online sources only to discover that all of them are bogus. (Most of the stores offered a refund, while one told her she should have known better).

"It's Tupperware on your foot," Cameron Silver, co-owner of LA designer vintage store DecadesTwo, says of the quality of the counterfeit heels, after he and his co-owner Christos Garkinos were enlisted to inspect the pieces.

The two shop owners explained that some of the ways to tell if your shoes are fake include fit issues (a pair of YSL pumps Roberts ordered in her size had gaping spaces behind her heels), shoddy stitching, heels that show very little sculpted support and just go straight down and a strong chemically odor resulting from the cheap glue.

Besides talking to online shoppers who have been fooled into buying the fakes, ABC producers also travel straight to the major source of counterfeit production, China, to show just how easy it is to get knock-off Louboutins replicas from a collection that hasn't even hit the market yet -- for, wait for it -- $40! And it'll take them just a month to produce.

The moral of the story: If a deal on designer shoes seems too good to be true, most likely it is. For more on the Louboutin controvery, watch the below clip.


In other knock-off news, find out how much money luxury brands are losing due to counterfeiting.