When it comes to footwear for women, heels are a wardrobe staple that can instantly take your outfit to the next level. The right heels are made with high-quality materials, balance comfort and style and can boost your confidence by making you feel cute and fashionable.
Whether you want small, medium or high heel shoes, there are several types of heels to consider. Some women will want to wear elegant thick heels with a business professional outfit for a comfortable and trendy look, while others may prefer pretty heels to dress up for date night. With so many different shapes and sizes, it can be a challenge choosing the perfect footwear.
To inspire you with outfit ideas, we’ve compiled a list of the different types of heels. From stilettos to pumps, explore these heel styles to find the right shoes to wear.
- 1 Types of Heels
- 1.1 Block Heels
- 1.2 High Heels
- 1.3 Medium Heels
- 1.4 Short Heels
- 1.5 Thick Heels
- 1.6 Very High Heels
- 1.7 Heels with No Heel
- 1.8 Chunky Heels
- 1.9 Cuban Heels
- 1.10 Comma Heels
- 1.11 Cone Heels
- 1.12 Decorative Heels
- 1.13 Flared Heels
- 1.14 French Heels
- 1.15 Kitten Heels
- 1.16 Slim Heels
- 1.17 Spool Heels
- 1.18 Square Heels
- 1.19 Thick Cuban Heels
- 1.20 Cork Heels
- 2 Different Types of Heeled Shoes
- 2.1 Ankle Booties
- 2.2 Pumps
- 2.3 Wedge Sandals
- 2.4 Stilettos
- 2.5 Ankle Strap Heels
- 2.6 Heel Boots
- 2.7 Wedge Heels
- 2.8 High, Mid, Low Heel Sandals
- 2.9 Slingback Heels
- 2.10 Peep Toe Heels
- 2.11 Mules
- 2.12 Lace-Up Heels
- 2.13 Cut-Out Heels
- 2.14 Oxfords
- 2.15 Espadrille Heels
- 2.16 Leather Heels
- 2.17 Patent Leather Heels
- 2.18 Square Toe Heels
- 2.19 Fantasy Heels
- 2.20 Fashion Heels
- 2.21 Corset Heels
- 2.22 Platform Heels
- 2.23 T-Strap Heels
- 3 Stilettos vs Pumps
- 4 Pumps vs Heels
- 5 Wedges vs Heels
Types of Heels
Block heels are a wardrobe must-have for women who need footwear that can be dressed up or down with different outfits. A block heel features a thick-shaped heel with a large surface area. This fashionable footwear style offers a balance between cute and functional and can be paired with a skirt for a business professional outfit or a cocktail dress for a smart casual look. More stable and hard-wearing than thinner alternatives, this shoe is a comfortable and stylish option worth exploring.
High heels are one of the most popular shoe styles with a signature lift and elegant look, making this footwear a classy addition to any outfit. As a wardrobe staple, high heel shoes must be over four inches tall but come in many different shapes, designs and heights. The most common types of high heels are pumps, stilettos and heeled sandals, offering women several styles to choose from. Gorgeous high heels will add a stylish and timeless look to any ensemble.
Medium heels are designed for everyday fashionable outfits, offering a shoe that balances height, comfort and style. A heel of this height is between three and four inches, making it a suitable choice for the modern woman who needs versatile footwear that pairs equally well with an elegant pantsuit for daytime and a stunning cocktail dress for evening events. By providing lift with a comfortable design, medium heels are a beautiful option for business professional ladies, trendy moms and young fashionistas alike.
Short heels are a fashion essential for those who need functional and comfortable shoes that elongate the leg. Designed to be less than two inches in height, short heel shoes offer a classy and practical footwear option that won’t add too much to your frame or silhouette. This style has been a popular choice for business professional women and young moms. For casual to smart casual outfits, consider rocking a short heeled pump with a classic t-shirt and a pair of jeans for the ultimate chic look.
Thick heels are a shoe style with a broad base that maximizes comfort, balance and function. From thick heel pumps to stilettos, there are many different types to shop for a cute look. In the summer, open-toe thick high heels can style perfectly with jeans, sundresses or skirts and a t-shirt or stylish crop top. For spring and fall outfits, experiment with closed or peep-toe pumps with a sweater dress or skinny jeans and a dressy shirt.
Very High Heels
Very high heels will take your look to new heights and turn heads in the process. Some very high heel footwear can reach up to 8 inches long and often feature a platform for comfort, resulting in a gorgeous and ostentatious runway style. As one of the most popular types of high heels, this shoe style is best reserved for formal events that don’t require much walking. Chic and sensual, very high heeled shoes look incredible with a tight bodycon dress. For added glamour, round off your look with cute jewelry. If the occasion calls for it, make your ensemble more conservative with designer skinny jeans and a statement collared dress shirt.
Heels with No Heel
Heels with no heel are fashion footwear that have become bold statement pieces. Whether you’re wearing a stunning dress for a night out or just want a stylish smart casual look for brunch, no heel shoes can elevate your outfit. While this heel style can be difficult to walk in, some practice will have you rocking this trendy design like a professional model. If you want to keep up with the latest trends, pair this modern shoe with jeans or a little black dress.
Chunky heels will never go out of style and most women will gravitate towards this low-maintenance shoe on busy days. With a large surface area and a solid platform block at the ball of the foot, these shoes are incredibly easy to walk in. Sleek leather straps add a modern twist to these classic heels, whereas embellished or patterned variations help express your unique style.
The Cuban heel is a straight-sided short to medium heel that can feature a slightly tapered back. Cubans are gender-neutral and have been rocked by both male and female celebrities. For a casual daytime look, you’ll want to pair brown or black footwear with dark denim jeans and a simple loose-fit shirt. You can also style Cuban heels with fashionable pantsuits for an edgy finish. This shoe can be dressed up or down, making it an excellent option for smart casual and casual outfits.
The comma heel is a fashionable style with a distinctive curve that adds a bold look to any outfit. Designed by Roger Vivier in the 1950s, this footwear is typically worn with elegant dresses but looks equally effective toned down with distressed jeans. Whether you need a trendy modern or a classically elegant outfit, this signature shoe is guaranteed to make a statement.
Cone heels have a triangular shape, sturdy base, and feminine silhouette, creating a style that will perfectly accentuate long legs. Available in heights that range from short to sky-high, this shoe is a versatile choice that works well with most outfits. If you want to dress to impress on a night out, go for high-heeled pumps. For work events or a more casual affair, low, cone-heeled boots make a subtle statement without being inappropriate.
Decorative heels can make your footwear the focal point of your outfit with beautiful styling and decorative elements. These shoes should be reserved for special events and occasions since they are made with delicate and ornate designs. To keep your heels chic and sophisticated, wear them with a plunging evening dress. Busy patterns and sequins should be avoided as these items may draw focus away from your flawless footwear.
Flared heels have become one of the most eccentric footwear styles on the market since bursting onto the fashion scene during the flower power era. With a wide base and chunky heel, these shoes hold up equally well in office settings and on the dance floor.
French heels can give any outfit a regal look and provide unique styling for an elegant finish. With a wide top, thinner middle section, and pronounced curve at the bottom, the French heel is a statement shoe that will instantly your style. Traditionally, these shoes are short, making them an excellent choice for taller women who may shy away from higher heels.
Kitten heels are medium-height shoes that are stylish and comfortable to wear. Generally shorter than two inches, this footwear provides a posture boost without the discomfort that comes with high heels. For a modern look, pair a slingback variation with denim jeans and statement jewelry. If you’re heading on a hot date, red or black lace-up kitten heels will give you a dazzling silhouette. Offering the practicality of a flat shoe but the sophistication of something with more height, the kitten heel trend is one to watch.
Slim heels offer an understated and sexy look that can add a feminine finish to your outfit. The thin and tall heel lengthens the leg without adding bulk and you can easily select a height that makes you feel most comfortable. For a look that exudes elegance and sophistication, pair your heels with a ball gown, flowing maxi dress or a slinky, form-fitting number to have all eyes on you.
Spool heels are a classy and unique style of shoe first seen in Europe around the 17th century. Designed to look like a cotton spool or hourglass with a distinctive flared heel, these functional evening pumps often feature decorative elements along the length of the heel and on top. With its distinctive European flair, cinched appearance and excellent grip, this footwear pairs wonderfully with smart attire.
Square heels are casual, versatile and trendy shoes that deserve a place in any woman’s closet. This heel style comes with a rectangular base and the design tends to be thicker. Like block styles, square heels are generally bulkier and more comfortable to stand in, allowing you to wear them for longer periods without hurting your feet. Due to its blunt and angular shape, this footwear contrasts beautifully with flowing dresses and skirts for extra flair.
Thick Cuban Heels
Thick Cuban heels are designed with sturdy bases to offer all-day comfort and stability. Featuring a larger surface area, these shoes spread walking pressure more evenly for a pain-free strut. These heels vary in height from medium to high and can be stylish with casual outfits.
Cork heels are must-have footwear for the spring and summer, offering a versatile shoe that looks great with a range of outfits. Available in sandal, peep-toe, slip-on and dressy closed-toe variations, these natural soled shoes can take your look to the next level. Pairing well with everything from summer dresses to professional wear, these eco-chic staples can be combined with casual and smart casual styles to create the perfect ensemble.
Different Types of Heeled Shoes
Classic ankle booties are an excellent choice for women who want to prioritize comfort but keep their look playful and stylish. These functional shoes are perfect for everyday wear and can be paired with everything from a summer tea dress to an edgy denim ensemble. To make a bold statement, consider animal prints and bright block colors. If you prefer to keep things simple, stick with neutral brown, black, tan and white boots.
Pumps are one of the most classic heel styles and usually feature a heel shape that is slightly wider than a stiletto. Pairing perfectly with everything from jeans to maxi dresses, every woman should have a variety of pumps in their closet. To keep things interesting, look for buckles, bows, bold patterns and glistening accents as designers release seasonal variations of their classic pumps. Any of these additions will make your shoes the talk of the town.
Unlike wedge heels which leave the front of the foot exposed, wedge sandals have a characteristic strap across the ankle that keeps them firmly in place. Wedge sandals are typically shorter than wedge heels and rely less on a platform at the front of the shoe to lift the wearer off the ground. Add something special to your next girl’s beach trip by sporting a pair of bright, block-colored wedges. Consider pairing your wedge sandals with a classic wide-brimmed hat for an effortless, casual appearance.
Stilettos feature a thin heel that is limitless in height, creating a daring and undeniably sexy footwear design. The sharp, pointed heel is often featured on closed-toe pumps, but several luxury designers such as Louboutin have also used the stiletto style to elevate sandals and open-toe slingbacks. Despite the edgy shape and medium to high height, stilettos are stylish shoes that you can wear with business professional, smart casual and formal outfits.
Ankle Strap Heels
Ankle strap heels are a chic footwear style that continue to be a cute fashion must-have. Strappy high and ankle-strapped heels come with a single or multiple straps that buckle or tie around the foot, creating a sexy look that will bring attention to your toned legs and perfect pedicure. More ornate designs may stretch up to the mid-calf for a seductive finish. Classic ankle strap heels look incredibly chic when paired with calf-length pants and sleek summer dresses, as these silhouettes allow your footwear to take center stage.
More casual than pumps, heel boots instantly draw an outfit together without looking showy. During the colder months, go basic with a subtle leather boot or choose a gorgeous suede for a clean-cut, tasteful style. There are many types of heel boots available, but classic mid-length options work beautifully with everything from high-low dresses to a casual flannel shirt and jeans. Dress them up with metallic colors or studded accents for greater impact.
Known for providing comfort and beach-chic vibes, wedge heels are among the most popular shoe styles in the world. Espadrille and cork variations are the most casual, but the humble wedge can be elevated to a formal must-have with engravings, embossing, exotic leather, and metallic accents. Holding up well in tropical, humid climates, wedges will keep you cool as the weather heats up.
High, Mid, Low Heel Sandals
Sandals are a popular footwear option for women on the go who value comfort and function. With several height options, you can choose from high, mid and low heel sandals depending on your outfit and the occasion. If you’re looking to achieve a classic bohemian look, pair mid-height sandals with a patterned tunic dress and some statement accessories. For a more refined approach, an elegant pair of cigarette trousers worn with high-heel sandals will make you appear effortlessly put together. Comfortable enough for running errands but easy to dress up for the evening, every woman should own a pair of heeled sandals.
Slingback heels are a shoe style that will never go out of fashion and can be defined by the thin strap in the back that secures the foot. While balancing comfort and elegance, this heel variation comes in open-toe, pump and sandal forms, and can be dressed up or down to suit the occasion. For the perfect brunch outfit, throw on a pair of slingbacks with structured leather pants and an oversized blazer. To dial things up for the evening, high, exotic leather heels will transform your look.
Peep Toe Heels
Peep-toe heels are a versatile designs that can showcase your gorgeous pedicure. With so many different styles, peep-toe heels look great with spring and summer outfits. While not suitable for colder weather unless paired with opaque tights, this wardrobe essential can see you through everything from a stroll around town to a girl’s night out. For an alluring and attractive look, consider adding a pop of color to a monochromatic look with a pair of patent neon peep-toes. You can also make your outfit the focal point with classic black leather heels.
With a distinctive open back and lighter feel than most traditional heels, mules are ideal for warmer days. The height of these shoes varies, but their slightly unstable structure makes them more suited for women searching for lower heels. There are several styles to choose from, but neutral tones tend to be the most universally flattering. With both closed-toe and square-toe designs available, you’re bound to find your dream silhouette.
Lace-up heels will turn heads everywhere you go, offering a gorgeous shoe style that can elevate your look. Depending on the occasion, lace-up heeled footwear can help you pull off a variety of outfits. To look effortlessly chic at a casual get-together, style ankle-height lace-ups with ripped boyfriend jeans and an oversized blazer. For an elegant feminine approach, you’ll want to choose a taller heel in pastel hues while tying the lace in a bow at the back for a more subtle finish.
Cut-out heels are versatile shoes that give women the opportunity to showcase their personality while making a striking fashion statement. Add something special to your next night on the town with a pair of solid, black skinny jeans and a bold shirt. By creating a beautiful, tattoo-like pattern on the foot, this footwear can channel your inner rock chick and boost your confidence.
Smart, stylish and eccentric in equal measures, Oxfords are attractive shoes that add a degree of British charm to your outfit. This shoe should always be the main event, so keep clothing patterns minimal and play it safe with a little black dress and accent jewelry. For a look that’s fit for the famous Oxford University itself, grab a gold-buttoned blazer, a pussy-bow blouse and a neutral skirt. Typically crafted with care, this footwear style should stand the test of time.
Espadrille Heels are a comfortable and stylish footwear option that can make every day feel like summer. For the ultimate warm-weather ensemble, don a classic short to mid-length summer frock with your footwear. If you’re feeling bold, consider a racy mini hemline for a sultry take on the casual espadrille heel.
Leather heels are the most classic heeled shoes to wear and look great with many different outfits and styles. Whether you’re attending a family get-together, going to a club or just having brunch with your girlfriends, leather footwear is a must-have wardrobe item that can add an elegant and cute finish to any look. From classic heels to boots, you’ll want to invest in mid to high heel leather footwear made with high-quality materials that come in solid neutral color such as black, nude, grey and brown.
Patent Leather Heels
Patent leather heels are sleek and versatile shoes that can be eye-catching with the right styling. Known for their near-reflective exterior coating, these heels are commonly found in black, nude and white colors. While more difficult to style than traditional leather, patent leather footwear can look stylish when styled properly, instantly adding dimension to monochromatic ensembles. Best-suited with classic styles, this kind of heel can lift heavy fabrics like wools and knits, providing flair to dull combinations.
Square Toe Heels
Square toe heels are a nostalgic summer closet staple that offer a refreshing change from traditional pumps by being sleek and symmetrical. Since making a comeback in the 1990s, these heels have been modeled on high-fashion runways for Bottega Veneta, BEVZA and The Row. Minimalist and smart, square toe styles look cute with straight jeans and a bold top for casual outings or a fierce pantsuit for work.
Fantasy heels are a great choice for days when you want to show off your quirky and creative side. To pull off these decorative shoes, keep your overall look simple. While washed denim and sundresses work well for casual to smart casual outfits, this footwear can also be paired with a sleek, tight-fitting dress for elegant nights out. To avoid hurting your feet, make sure to break in your new shoes.
Fashion heels are a cute and stylish shoe style made by designer brands that address current trends in the industry. From chic pumps to fashionable stilettos, this footwear is often modern and edgy, offering a bold statement piece for your outfit.
Corset heels can take your natural sensuality to a whole new level with a sexy look. Also known as gladiator heels due to their signature lace-up appearance, this footwear is best styled with block colors, leather garments, and casual jeans. Daring women can opt for corset heels that reach knee height, while more conservative women should stick with heels that stop at the ankle.
Platform heels were an iconic ’70s fashion trend that continues to be popular, giving you an elevated look. While the height can take some getting used to, platforms are one of the most supportive heel styles and feature a flat and sturdy. This footwear makes a cute statement and can be a nice complement to your look. To go against the grain, style your platform heels with socks or vibrant tights for a retro feel.
Named after their signature buckle closure and perpendicular strap, T-Strap heels are a vintage design that look effortlessly refined with any outfit. These shoes were first made popular by rebellious flapper girls of the 1920s and look flattering worn with looser garments such as shift and maxi-dresses which draw attention to this footwear’s elegant, feminine lines.
Stilettos vs Pumps
The different between stilettos and pumps is their heel size. While stilettos are a type of high heel shoes with a thin long design, pumps are generally closed-toe or peep-toe footwear with a low heel. Although these heel styles are fashionable and versatile, stiletto shoes work well with smart casual to formal outfits for a classy look while pumps can be worn with casual and smart casual styles for an effortlessly chic vibe.
Pumps vs Heels
When it comes to different styles, pumps and heels offer stylish shoes that look great with many outfits. The difference between pumps and heels is that pumps are characterized as women’s footwear with no to low heel, while heels refer to high heeled shoes such as stilettos. Short heels are defined as offering one to one-half inches in height and high heels provide one to four inches. Generally, pumps are more comfortable and can be styled with casual outfits, while different high heels deliver a fashionable look that complement smart casual to formal styles.
Wedges vs Heels
Wedges and heels are some of the most popular shoe styles for women to choose from, offering fashionable pieces that work with many different outfits to create an effortlessly chic look. The difference between wedges and heels is the sole of the shoe. Wedge heels have a continuous and solid outsole that starts high at heel and tapers towards the toe, while heels are elevated at the back and have a distinct gap between the heel and toe. Great with sundresses, denim shorts, jeans and cute tops, wedges are must-have footwear for the spring and summer. Heels and pumps are year-round options that can be paired with many outfits to fit your style.