Shoe Designer Bettye Muller

Q & A with designer Bettye Muller.

Shoe Designer Bettye Muller
Photograph by Becca Sabot

Preppy, chic, and wearable, Bettye Muller was one of the first shoe collections Marlys Badzin ordered when she opened Pumpz & Co. at the Galleria. At the time, Muller’s New York apartment doubled as her showroom, and the designer was her own shoe model. “She was wearing these amazing leather sandals that I would still carry today,” Badzin recalls. Twelve years later, Muller has a showroom and staff, and her line is a top seller at Pumpz. From 11 am to 2 pm on Oct. 12, Muller makes her first appearance at the boutique that helped put her on the map. Stop by—she’s as darling as her tartan flats.

First love: Pappagallo. They were a really soft, beautiful kidskin leather. I just remember wanting lots of them.

Huge heels: I don’t like them at all. Victoria Beckham wears the ones with the big front—it looks like a clubfoot.

Comfort: It’s very, very important. Suffering for the look is a young person’s game. Making beautiful shoes that are wearable is part of who I am. I was an ice skater!

Right height: Three inches is nice. I’m starting to do lower heels, too. Pumps are starting to come back.

Designer prices: Even if you made a shoe in gold in the most beautiful factory in Italy, there’s no justification for charging $1,500. I’ll see some of these $800 or $900 shoes and they have a crooked heel—it’s like, shame on you!

Menswear influences: I love men’s tailoring. This year, it’s right in the mix with the smoking shoe and the tuxedo shoe. A lot of women don’t feel feminine, but it’s a very sophisticated look. There’s a cool factor to it. I love it with nice slacks and a blazer.

For travel: I wear Silvia Fiorentina moccasins or Converse sneakers. Always closed-toe. I don’t like when people travel in open-toe shoes. Unless it’s one of mine. I guess I’d make an exception for that.