Join 3,439 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


How can I shoe-shop with Pantone color specificity?
May 10, 2010 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Can I find shoes in a specific Pantone color (without waving around a swatch book in a department store)?

I would like to find a pair of nice heels in Pantone 186, which is a bright red color, the color of flags and Target and sports teams, and my organization's new logo. Because I am a geek with a sense of humor, and a reputation for wearing red shoes, I would like to find a pair that matches it exactly.

I do not want dyeable shoes. I want shoes that are dressy and reasonably stylish. I don't want to walk through a shoe store with a color swatch if I can help it, but I will, especially if there's a particular shoe store in San Francisco or New York that might be willing to help. Most of all, I want them in Pantone 186.

Is there a way to harness the power of the internet to color-match shoes? A shopping service that uses Pantone? A shoe website with detailed color information?

Help out a femme geek!
posted by gingerbeer to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Even if you found a shoe online that looked to be a perfect match, that's no guarantee that in-person the color would be right . . . there's so much variability in color matching that it's hard enough just to get a specific shade right on paper, much less on leather/canvas/satin or whatever the shoes are made of. Because of this, I suspect that your ONLY guarantee of a match is to wave around your color swatch.
posted by Fifi Firefox at 4:50 PM on May 10, 2010


You might have some luck contacting someone at shoe companies? I don't know what that job title would be, but customer service might be a place to start. Calling someone at Nordstrom might help. I hear they live for superior customer service, despite the shoe guy telling me 'nobody makes a 9 narrow anymore.'

'hi. I'd like to buy some red shoes. Pantone 186 red. Can you help me do that?'
posted by bilabial at 5:01 PM on May 10, 2010


Hit up your firm's design department. Ask them nicely if they have a Pantone Color Cue. Order a ton of shoes near Pantone 186 from Zappos. Aim the Color Cue at the shoes and get readings. Return all near misses. Give the Color Cue back.

(You could get a Color Cue:

http://www.pantone.com/PAGES/products/product.aspx?pid=754&ca=1&s=3

but they're pricey. Better to borrow from a designer pal.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:03 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd try calling zappo's. They're known for having some of the best customer service in the world, and I"m sure they'd get a kick out of a request like this. If not, then you're back where you are.
posted by CharlesV42 at 5:03 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm going to third Zappos (you can probably send an e-mail if you don't want to call). Zappos once looked up the model numbers of a certain type of shoe I was interested in -- and they didn't even carry those specific ones. I bet if you sent them the Pantone swatch, they'd definitely try to help.
posted by darksong at 5:09 PM on May 10, 2010


Even if you found a shoe online that looked to be a perfect match, that's no guarantee that in-person the color would be right . . . there's so much variability in color matching that it's hard enough just to get a specific shade right on paper, much less on leather/canvas/satin or whatever the shoes are made of. Because of this, I suspect that your ONLY guarantee of a match is to wave around your color swatch.

I agree with this. I mean, how would you feel if some website recommended some shoe that turned out to be Pantone 187 EC or whatever when you got it? I know it would bug the crap out of me, if I was dead set on a particular shade. The only way to really be sure is to match a swatch to the object in good light, using your own eyes. Having worked in a print shop where designers would send us designs with a Pantone color number that totally did not match the sample image, I can tell you that colors can be very subjective, even among people who supposedly have a professional eye for that sort of thing.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:20 PM on May 10, 2010


I say just go out there, Pantone book in hand. American Apparel provides Pantone approximations of their shirt colors so designers can mock up backgrounds for various colors of shirts, and even though they try, they're just not right. Ink on paper is never going to match fabric, or leather, or pleather, or whatever your shoe may be made out of. That said, 186c is pretty much dead-on red red red, so it seems like any bright red shoe would be reasonably close.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:44 PM on May 10, 2010


It's probably best to go to your local department store before ordering "a ton" of shoes online and inconveniencing everyone involved.
posted by halogen at 6:19 PM on May 10, 2010


I'm sure you could have some custom made. I thinkEtsy Alchemy is a site that lets you do it.

But this might be a good opportunity DIY. Could be fun.
posted by delmoi at 7:12 PM on May 10, 2010


Since your color is the same color as the Target logo, maybe you could just grab a piece of Target marketing material (or a gift card or something Target red), make sure it matches the Pantone and then carry that around with you when shoe shopping? It seems like it would be less of a hassle than carrying around a heavy swatch book or trying to get your hands on a Pantone chip. It would also be more discreet. I wouldn't think twice if I saw someone trying to match shoes to a bit of something red, but I would look twice if I saw someone with their Pantone book out, holding it up to shoes.
posted by bristolcat at 6:55 AM on May 11, 2010


The problem for you, I think, is how much lighting in stores is completely different. I've not been in an AA store before but they look like they're lit by fluroescent bulbs, which will show colours differently than in daylight. I also find that online colours are not the same in real life - I ordered a red cord jacket thinking it was plain bright red, it turned out to be a sort of deep pink, and I had to overdye it (which has led to the floral cotton lining resembling an intriguing patch of vomit) to get the shade of red I was after. (Though admittedly others have said that this website's clothes look very different colours in reality. Some may be more true to life.)

I think you're going to have to take a swatch in with you and (this may sound insane) one of those wee daylight lamps that needleworkers use.
posted by mippy at 8:23 AM on May 11, 2010


I love the image of me, surrounded by piles of red shoes, swinging a color cue gun around wildly, so I had to mark that as a best answer, even if it seems a bit impractical.

I'm emailing zappos, and will let you know what they say.

Failing that, I'm headed down to Union Square with my color sample to do some shoe shopping on my lunch hour soon.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:56 AM on May 11, 2010


« Older I have almost no dating experi...   |  Where to live north of Boston?... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.