Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s Roberta pumps

A ballet flat but with a cool block heel

Image: Courtesy of Maryam Nassir Zadeh

Last year I excitedly discovered the perfect heeled pump. Bored with my kitten heels and pointy-toe shoes, I kept returning to the website of a cool, downtown New York store, ogling the round-toed, block-heel Roberta shoe by Iranian-born designer Maryam Nassir Zadeh. The Roberta heel is just right: not too high, at about 40mm, and perfectly proportioned. But my fears about sizing and fit (due to my irregular-shaped feet), added to the inconvenience of US taxes and shipping, stopped me buying a pair online.

Image: Courtesy of Maryam Nassir Zadeh
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So imagine my delight when last month I came across a pair in violet suede in Browns on South Molton Street in London. In a matter of minutes I had slipped on a size 39 (not my usual 38); thanks to a distinct lack of stitches and seams these beauties fitted like a proverbial glove. “Zadeh’s shoes have a modern vintage feel to them and a clean aesthetic,” says Laura Larbalestier, buying director of womenswear at Browns, who has bought the Roberta (£350, first and second pictures) in white, navy, brown and lilac as well as my bright violet.

Image: Courtesy of Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Image: Courtesy of Maryam Nassir Zadeh

Zadeh launched her eponymous store on the Lower East Side in 2008, followed by her own in-house label three years later. The Roberta heel first appeared in autumn/winter 2014, in chalk, tangerine and turquoise suede. “The response from women was immediately positive,” she says. “They sold out very quickly. Even now, two years later, we can barely keep them in stock. People like the combination of a round-toe ballet flat with a chunky heel – and they are also very comfortable.”

Image: Courtesy of Maryam Nassir Zadeh
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The complete spectrum of colours, including lemon suede and aqua suede, available through her store and at Browns. Other standout styles include the Penelope Mule ($391) in nude patent leather or blue-sky suede; and Tine Platform ($475, third picture), a black or whisky-coloured calskin “flatform” sandal. And for those that like the Roberta shape but would like a bit more height, the Maryam Heel ($398, fourth and fifth pictures) is a classic pump that stands about 70mm tall. Now that I know the fit…

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