A pair of boots by French designer Christian Louboutin.

London - The distinctive scarlet soles have become an instantly recognisable marker of the brand, a stamp of taste and quality.

But Christian Louboutin’s red-bottomed shoes could soon face competition from high street lookalikes after a court ruled fashion chain Zara could sell heels using the same colour.

Louboutin initially sued the Spanish brand in 2008, claiming that an open-toed red-soled shoe it was selling for £40 (about R500) was similar to its Yo Yo style.

However a French court ruled that Zara’s cut-price shoe could not be confused with that of the high-end designer.

And last week the Cour de Cassation – the final court of appeal – upheld the decision.

It also ruled that Louboutin, whose shoes are favoured by celebrities including Victoria Beckham and Sarah Jessica Parker, and cost hundreds of pounds a pair, pay the chain £2,000 in compensation.

Alexis Mourot, group chief operating officer and general manager of Christian Louboutin, said the company intended to continue defending its soles.

In 2008, Louboutin registered a trademark, claiming the exclusive right to make shoes with red soles for ‘women’s high fashion designer footwear’.

And last year the shoemaker accused designer Yves Saint Laurent of copying his celebrated red-soled footwear, when he used a similar theme in his 2011 resort collection.

That lawsuit resulted in a high-court appeal case in the US, the verdict of which is yet to be decided.

A spokesman for Zara declined to comment. - Daily Mail