The only thing I know for certain, is that it's not the recipe that's the problem.....it's something you're doing, or not doing that is the problem. There's also the question of the environment you're baking in.
If you follow Herme's technique TO THE LETTER, you shouldn't be experiencing problems. You say you've followed the recipe, but have you followed the technique? His "Macarons" book spells it out pretty succintly. It's been completely fail-proof for me.
What part of the world are you in? Do you have to deal with high humidity in any way? Are you at altitude?
We could post helpful hints and tips all day long but IMO you have to just keep trying until you hit that tadah! moment.
Then hopefully you can reproduce it lol.
sometimes this never happens and you either throw in the towel or learn to love the funny and misshapen but still tasty confections you DO produce
kinda like learning to love your awkward nose or big hips
life is way too short to stress over a cookie, right?
This was my tada.
I had just finished dropping the pans on the counter several times and had to go pick up a sick Grand (took over an hour).
Came home and reheated the oven and baked.
My first full sheet of "perfect" shells.
What is kinda funny is after that I hardly ever made them any more.
Guess I just had to prove something to myself?
That is exactly what happened to me. Tried and tried till I could get them just right, then when it finally happened I did a little dance in my kitchen and have not made many more since.