BCBGMAXAZRIA Ilia Sandal Review

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Show off your urban-chic style in the sleek BCBG Max Azria Women’s Ilia Sandal. This slip-on heeled mule is crafted from supple, breathable leather and features an open toe, open heel, a cross band design, and a dazzling 4 inch polycarbonate block heel for a jaw dropping finish. The lining is kidskin leather that provides an exceptionally soft feel against the top of your foot. There is a padded leather insole for added comfort and the outsole of the shoe is leather as well. The Ilia Sandal is true to size and is offered in both whole and half sizes from 5.5-9.5. The best thing about chunky block style heels is that they are quickly coming back into fashion because they are so versatile. You can wear the formally or casually. To work meetings or family dinners. These are a great staple to have in your closet or car.

Editor's Pros & Cons







No heel or toe protection

Expensive due to high-quality leather


BCBG stands for “bon chic, gon genre”, meaning “good style, good attitude” in Parisian slang. But BCBG Max Azria Group planted its roots in America. Max Azria, a French designer, started the company in Los Angeles in 1989. He made his name with the baby-doll dress, and has come to create clothing accessories and collections for men and women in more than 20 brands. BCBG has more the 570 boutiques in the United States, and more in 45 other countries worldwide, including Canada, Russia, Chile, China, Japan, Venezuela, and others in Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and South America. Some specialty stores and major department stores carry the brand. BCBG sells its products through retail stores and online. They ship through a third party global service provider called BorderFree and reach 100 countries.
In 2009, BCBG teamed up with Miley Cyrus from Hannah Montana to create the Miley Cyrus & Max Azria collection (Miley & Max) in an effort to extend its reach to different price points in hopes of capturing a broader market. The line featured tops, bottoms, rompers, and dresses - all for under $20.


The Ilia Sandal features a 4 inch chunky block style heel made from 100% polycarbonate. Polycarbonates are a group of thermoplastic polymers that contain carbonate groups in their chemical structures. They are strong, tough materials, and some grades are visually transparent. Polycarbonates are easily worked, molded, and thermoformed, and are about 200x stronger and lighter than untempered glass. The chunky block style of the heel will provide you with extra support and stability, which will be important when wearing 4 inch heels without any ankle support and an open heel. The thickness of the heel will help distribute your weight more evenly across the sole, taking pressure off your legs and the heel of the shoe, adding comfort and stability. 4 inches is not consider “high” for a heel. It just barely falls in the range that is suitable for the workplace (1.5-4 inches). 4 inches is high enough to make a statement, but low enough to keep you comfortable for longer periods of time. Wearing heels can promote good posture and give you a boost in confidence. Just because they’re considered suitable for the workplace doesn’t mean you’re limited to only wearing them for work. Stilettos are hard to wear everywhere, but a block style heel gives you so much more freedom. No need to worry about getting stuck in sidewalk cracks and snapping your heel off. You won’t sink straight into damp earth. Whether you’re dressing up or staying casual, the 4 inch transparent heel will be a great accent to your outfit.


The Max Azria Ilia Sandal has an upper made from 100% leather. Not only does this provide a sleek, classic, sophisticated look, but it also allows for more flexibility to be able to move comfortably with your foot. The flexibility of leather not only helps the shoe move better with you, but it will also conform to the shape of your foot after some use, meaning it will be even more comfortable. Leather is breathable so you won’t have to worry about the top of your foot getting sweaty and irritated. What makes leather so special in terms of breathability is that it can absorb moisture and then expel it as vapor. Being made of real leather, these sandals will hold up longer than ones made with synthetic leather, as real leather is a lot more durable. To get the best out of your gorgeous leather shoes, you need to treat them with tender, loving care. The best way to do this for your shoes is to clean them often. You can use a damp rag to do spot cleans when you come in from outside. When your shoes are significantly dirty, you can use a cleaner made especially for leather products. Rubbing alcohol makes a good leather cleaner, but be sure to test it in a discreet area first. It does not work well for every shoe.


The inner lining (what will be against the top of your foot) is made from kidskin, or kid leather. This kind of leather started out by being used for gloves. It is now incorporated in other fashion such as footwear and clothing. Typically, kidskin leather is made from the skin of a goat - specifically, the skin of young goats, hence the name “kid”. Equivalent leathers are lambskin and calfskin, each give the same effect as kidskin. Kidskin is often chosen for products due to its desirable features, such as its adaptability, durability, suppleness, and the fact that it is ultra lightweight. Kidskin is considered a higher quality of leather and this is usually reflected in the cost of the product. Kidskin leather is very commonly found in women’s shoes. Having kidskin lining is another layer of comfort for the top of your foot, and it will also help keep your foot dry and cool since it, like all leather, is very breathable. It will absorb the moisture off of your foot and expel it as vapor. This will help save your feet from being uncomfortable due to sweat, irritation, or odor.


Keeping with the classic, sleek, tough design, the sole of the Women’s Ilia Sandal is, you guessed it, 100% leather. Having a leather sole does have some advantages. Leather soles are used for higher fashion footwear because they have a classier, dressier appeal. People who plan to be on their feet for a period of time need shoes that are comfortable. Shoes made from plastic, rubber, and synthetic materials do not allow air flow, but leather is breathable and keeps feet dry and cool. This benefit will help you avoid athlete’s foot and other foot infections. Leather, while more expensive, is more cost effective. Leather soles are able to be replaced, unlike shoes with permanent soles, like rubber or other synthetic materials. Shoes that can be repaired will obviously last longer. They are more cost efficient than shoes that have to be entirely replaced. Additionally, rubber and synthetic sneakers last for years in a landfill. By being able to repair and replace leather-soled shoes, they will stay out of the landfills longer. When it does come time to dispose of them, leather is a natural, biodegradable product, so it would not last so long in the landfill. Leather soles can not provide the protection or durability that rubber soles do, but rubber soles are intended for different terrain and uses typically.


As a whole, you should be able to expect your sandals to live a long life. Real leather is known to last for 10-20 years or longer. And, since it’s leather, it can be repaired or replaced, making it possible for the lifespan to be even longer. Real leather is characterized by its smooth surface and it has very few, if any, flaws. It has not been sanded or buffed, so the natural marks and imperfections are still there. Because of this, its fibers are still stable and durable. The block style heel will also be able to help prolong the life of these sandals. Because it is thicker, it will more evenly distribute your weight, taking some pressure off of your legs, and keeping your foot more stable. The chunky block style heel is a lot less likely to break than a stiletto. It won’t get stuck in sidewalk cracks or in a little bit of mud or wet grass.


The design of this shoe obviously did not make protection a priority. You can see this in the open toe and open heel design. Your Achilles tendon is very vulnerable and sensitive, and you typically want to keep it protected, especially in heels. The same can be said for the ankles, which these sandals also do not protect. You’re not safe from bad weather or debris. You are however, protected from poor posture, pain and discomfort from use, sweaty, stinky feet, and having to buy new shoes often. Wearing a heel naturally causes you to stand straighter. This will be good for your entire body. The chunky block style of the heel will protect you from pain and discomfort by evenly distributing your weight. The leather of the upper, lining, footbed, and sole will allow air to flow in and out, while it absorbs any moisture from your feet and turns it into vapor. This will keep your feet dry and cool and safe from developing foot diseases. So, these sandals are not supremely impressive as far as protection goes, but, if you’re not planning on taking them hiking or square dancing, you should be just fine. Just make sure you don’t push them past their limits.


These slip-on, 4 inch chunky heeled sandals are offered up in four stunning color choices. The first color is black, and who doesn’t love a simple, stunning black shoe? Being made from 100% leather, it has a gorgeous sheen to it. It also contrasts beautifully with the transparency of the polycarbonate heel. If you’re conscious of matching colors, be sure not to wear brown with them, but feel free to mix and match with any other color hiding in your closet. The second option is new nude, which is a shade of tan/beige/brown. Again, if you’re worried about colors, you won’t want to pair these with black. Although, some would say it’s the right shade of brown to be paired with black, so that’s up to you. The third color is ocean, and it is simply breathtaking. The shade looks so elegant on the soft, shiny leather, and contrasts well with the heel. Wear this shade with colors like yellow, peach, and tan. Stay away from black and certain shades of blue. Finally, the last color available, is off white. Keep it simple and classy, and wear any color you want with any type of outfit you want. The white will look good with anything!

Bottom Line

There are so many reasons to consider buying the Women’s Ilia Sandal from BCBG Max Azria. From the gorgeous transparent block style 4 inch heel, to the criss cross design of the luxurious leather upper. Slide into these sandals with ease because they are open heeled. With the exception of the polycarbonate heel, this sandal is made out of leather. The upper, the lining, the footbed, and the outsole are all 100% leather, some cowskin and some kidskin. These shoes will keep you comfortable all day. The breathability of the leather will keep your feel dry and cool by absorbing the moisture on your feet and expelling it as vapor. The thickness of the heel will provide extra support and stability, and will help you evenly distribute your weight across your foot, allowing for a more comfortable ride. Walk into any room with confidence when you’re wearing a pair of these sandals. They’ll give you better posture which will automatically boost your confidence, and when people start noticing your shoes, you’ll be glad you chose them. The price is steep, but the shoe quality is too. If you’re looking for something that will last, leather is always the right choice. It can be repaired and replaced, instead of having to throw away the entire shoe and buy a new pair.