Christian Louboutin believes women wear high heels because they are empowering.

The shoe designer - renowned for his use of a bright red under-sole on all of his footwear - says men and women have different attitudes to shoes, with the female sex wearing heels for "seduction" purposes.

He explained to the Sunday Times newspaper: "There is an element of seduction in shoes that doesn't exist for men. Think about Marlene Dietrich crossing her legs - the whole attitude. The language starts with the shoe and radiates over the whole body. A woman can be sexy, charming, witty or shy with her shoes. Shoes for men are about elegance or wealth; they are not playing with the inner character.

"That's why women are happy to wear painful shoes. For some a little discomfort is balanced by something else, which has to do with desire. You feel yourself, empower yourself, know yourself. You are aware of your body. This little act of discomfort pays off in lots of other ways."

Christian has previously revealed he measures how good his shoes are by what they look like on a naked woman.

He said: "The ultimate must still look good when a woman is naked. The design that encapsulates my career is the Pigalle, a low-cut, high-heeled pump. It's so subtle in that it adds something sexy to the body, but you don't immediately know that it's the shoe that is making the difference."