“Keep your heels, head, and standards high.”
Who said this empowering quote? None other than the queen of fashion herself, Coco Chanel. And any aspiring fashionista knows that Coco’s advice is always spot-on!
But to decide which heels to add to your wardrobe, we have to look through the many countless types of heels. This article will show you 20 unique and fashionable pairs so you can pick the ones that match your style perfectly!
History of Women’s Heels
Heels have a long history, with many cultures and countries coming up with different styles, which have been worn for centuries.
Do you know what the strangest thing is, though?
Heels, a staple of femininity, were actually invented for men! The earliest high heels were worn by Persian horse riders in the tenth century which allowed them to stay secure in their saddles.
Persians brought heels to Europe in the 17th century, and here it began to signify high status. Royalty like King Louis XVI wore heels to show aristocracy. There were even rules dictating the height of the heel based on social class!
In the 18th century, heels were worn predominantly by women to illustrate their extravagance and grace.
On posters during World War I and II, heels worn by pin-up girls solidified their link to sensuality.
Today, heels are a staple in a woman’s shoe rack. They are considered essential for formal and professional outfits, and also a crucial component of style.
Why do women wear heels?
Unfortunately, heels are notorious for their discomfort and the pain they cause.
So why wear them at all?
There are actually several reasons:
- Style: Heels are often the perfect addition to an outfit, whether it is formal or informal. With multiple types and designs, it isn’t hard to find an ideal heel to complete your look.
- Posture: Heels make people walk in a more graceful gait, with a straight posture and toned calves. This makes anyone look more put-together and attractive.
- Comfort: Shocked? Well, some heels are actually more comfortable and convenient than flats! They can offer stability and a strong base for your foot.
- Height: Obviously, heels add a few inches to your height which is great not only for short people but also for those who are already tall!
- Confidence: This is the most important reason. Heels make you feel like you can take the world by storm. Who doesn’t want shoes that offer some courage just by being on your feet?
Now that we know the history of heels and why they are so essential to fashion, let’s look at 20 types of heels!
20 Different Types of Heels
01# Round Toe Pumps
Pumps are heels that cover the toes, have a low cut front, and don’t have a fastening or other strap. Round Toe Pumps have a circular shape around the front for a comfortable fit. They are available in multiple heights, allowing even beginners to get used to them with a lower heel.
Round Toe Pumps are one of the most classic pairs of heels, making them a closet essential. Check out this simple black suede pair by Nine West.
02# Almond Toe Pumps
These pumps are great for formal looks, and the narrower toe will make your feet look tinier and more defined.
03# Peep Toe Heels
Pumps need to be close-toed, but Peep Toes give a little sneak view of your tiny digits! These are definitely a bit dressier than pumps but come in a variety of styles to allow you to express yourself.
Peep Toe Heels also allow more air to reach your feet, which is helpful for those with sweating problems or feel suffocated in close-toed shoes.
04# Pointed Toe Heels
Pointed Toe Heels, like the name suggests, have a sharply angled toe that ends in an almost triangular shape. They are sleek and very fashionable.
However, the shape definitely makes them a bit more uncomfortable to wear than other heels. This means it might be less suitable as a first pair, or for beginners, but they’re great to venture forth into once you get used to walking in heels.
Hey, heel types aren’t just about the toe shape! The heel itself is a huge point of difference in style.
Stilettos are one of the most iconic types of heels, with an immediately recognizable thin, long heel. The word “stiletto” means a knife or dagger with an extremely thin blade, almost like a needle. Stiletto heels have a similarly thin heel and tend to be high, ranging from 1.5 to 10 inches.
The special feature of platform shoes is their thick sole, usually of 1 to 4 inches. They will make you appear taller as a result while giving your gait a more graceful form. Platform heels are modern and have a youthful sense to them.
While you may think platform heels must be harder to walk in, the opposite is actually true!
The reason is simple:
The higher sole actually makes the heel feel much shorter. If you’re wearing a 6-inch heel with a platform of 2 inches, the heel will feel like it’s 4 inches instead.
07# Cone Heels
It isn’t hard to guess why these heels are called cone heels. The wide heel tapers off into a narrow end as it goes down, sometimes to a point, giving it the shape of a cone. They are common for boots and pumps, but can also be found on strappy heels or other variations.
The wide base of the heel makes them more stable than stilettos, although both have narrow ends.
Cone heels are unique and sure to catch the eyes of anyone walking by you because of their distinct shape. They are the perfect heel to wear to add a bit of an x-factor to your costume.
08# Mary Jane Heels
No, these aren’t heels inspired by Spiderman’s girlfriend.
Mary Jane heels are the perfect way to wear a heel and still look cute and sweet. Just like normal Mary Janes, these are close-toed shoes with a strap at the instep. They are traditionally made of leather and black in color, but many variations of the classic are available.
Mary Janes heels look great with jeans for a casual look, and can also be pulled off with a skirt or dress. The strap offers comfort, and the heel tends to be wide and sturdy. Go back to your school days while maintaining style with these comfortable and cushioned heels.
D’Orsay heels have an instantly recognizable design. One or both sides of the shoe are cut away to highlight the arch of the foot. The shoe is very low-cut, at the very edge of the toebox. They are stylish, feminine, and classy.
The design of the heel accentuates the shape of the foot and the back provides support.
10# Kitten Heels
Kitten heels are easily recognisable and unique. They were made famous by classy women like Audrey Hepburn and are now worn by powerful politicians to show style and elegance while maintaining professionalism.
Kitten heels are basically short stiletto heels, with a slight curve. The shorter heel is in fact the reason for the name – they are meant as training heels for young girls, or ‘kittens’. This makes them perfect for office settings as well as for beginners.
11# Sandal Heels
Sandal heels are often open, and have straps to hold the foot to the sole of the shoe. The heel can be of varying heights – low, medium, or high like the picture shown.
The open nature of sandal heels makes them a more informal and casual heel. This makes them a great pair for summer outfits, or even jeans. Strappy heels are also more breathable.
12# Cutout Heels
Cutout heels have unique designs cut out of the shoe fabric, creating interesting shapes and patterns. The designer can experiment to develop unique shoes, which makes cutout heels a statement addition to the wardrobe.
They are more appropriate for non-professional settings, but are great as both casual and party shoes. Cutout heels tend to have a higher heel to match the edgy designs.
Mules are easy to slip on and off as there is no back fastening or adjustment needed. This shoe was popular in the 90’s and is making a comeback.
Mules are suitable for both professional and casual settings, which makes them ideal for the working woman as she can wear them to office as well as to a get-together with friends right after work!
Various types of mules, such as sequined, leather, and suede, are increasing variation and the versatility of the shoe.
14# Slingback Heels
Slingback heels are often closed-toed and have a short heel. Their distinctive feature, however, is a thin strap above the heel. This secures the show, while making sure the front of the foot is uncovered. This makes the leg appear longer.
These heels are considered sassy and fun, and while they’re an older and classy design, they are also young and hip. The support offered by the strap makes them comfortable to wear as well, as they cradle the heel.
15# Ankle Strap Heels
Ankle strap heels, like the name suggests, are secured with a fastening across the ankle. This can be a simple strap, or a buckle, or even a decorative feature, like a bow or rhinestone design.
The difference between an ankle strap heel and a slingback heel is that the former strap encircles the ankle, and slingbacks just cross the back.
16# Lace Up Heels
These heels are very similar to ankle strap heels, with one key difference.
Lace up heels have to be tied up to be secured. The straps or laces can be tied up in various formations as a result. For example, a bow can be created like the image shown.
This allows some flexibility of design as they can be styled in different ways. Some lace-up heels can have laces that reach the knees, allowing unique methods of tying them up.
17# Tall Boots
Tall boots were originally made for horse riding. The heel allowed a good grip on the foothold, and the height of the boot protected the leg.
Tall boots, like ankle boots, have a heel. The main difference is the height, as tall boots tend to go up to the knees.
You may have seen these on famous celebrities like Ariana Grande. They are known to be stylish and go very well with winter clothes.
18# Spool Heels
Love vintage looks? This is the heel for you!
A spool heel is identified by its unique heel shape. It is designed wider at the top, narrow in the middle, and wider again at the base. Thus it resembles a cotton spool, giving the name.
This wide base gives the heel more stability, which means you can buy higher heels but still wear them with comfort, especially compared to stilettos.
19# Block Heels
Block heels are a much chunkier heel, which are often straight,like a rectangle.
Naturally, the wide heel makes block heels much more comfortable. They are also great for informal wear, as they appear young and casual. Low block heels also appear professional, making them suitable for office.
20# Pin Heels
Pin heels are very similar to stilettos, as they have a thin and high heel. The major difference is in the tip of the heel, as pin heels tend to have a small base. This is often circular and gives the illusion of a pinhead, giving the heels their name.
They are perfect for party wear, and can make any dress and even ethnic wear look classy.
Pin heels allow some support as the tip is often of rubber and removable. This allows adjustment of the height as well as some customization in the design. However, the height means that it is more suitable for experienced heel-wearers.