35 Different Types of Heels & Style Tips
Kari Emerson, The Important Things
The world of fashion is evolving every single day. Trends go out of style, come back in and continue to progress. As a fashion blogger, I’m always on the lookout for the next hot trend, especially when it comes to my favorite accessory: shoes. Whether they are unique statement pieces or everyday basics, a great pair of heels can really complement or make an outfit.
If you are new to the world of heels, or are just looking to step up your shoe game, explore this list of 35 styles and types of heels for you to choose from. This may seem a little overwhelming, but each of these types of women’s heels have their own special traits and vibes. Additionally, keep the following style tips in mind when picking which shoes to pair with your outfit.
1. Ankle Strap Heel
The main feature of ankle strap heels is an adjustable or flexible strap that wraps around the ankle. Heel height and style for these types of heels can vary.
Style Tip: Ankle strap heels are best paired with a dress or skirt. The ankle strap is very slimming, and looks great with any outfit that shows a little leg. The separation of the leg and the foot created by the strap makes for a very flattering silhouette.
2. Block Heel
Block heels are shoes with a thick, sometimes chunky, broad heel. Heel height and style can vary.
Style Tip: One great thing about these types of heels is that they are generally easier to walk in than those with skinnier heels. If you are going to be on your feet all day or night, these are a great option.
Booties are also sometimes referred to as ankle boots. These are a shorter version of regular boots that typically come up to the ankle. Although they can vary in height and style, booties are popular in the fall and winter, so they are typically close-toed.
Style Tip: Because booties are relatively slim and come up to the ankle, they look great with a pair of complementary skinny jeans for a stylish, yet polished look.
Boots are a taller version of the booties, mentioned previously. They typically cover the entire foot and ankle. The height of these types of heels varies greatly, from flat to mid-calf to knee-high to over-the-knee. There are also various styles of boots to choose from, like cowboy boots, combat boots, riding boots, etc.
Style Tip: Boots can be paired with something as simple as jeans and a t-shirt for a casual look, or a dress or skirt for a sophisticated look.
5. Clog Heels
Traditionally, clogs were made entirely of wood as protective footwear. It is now typical for just the heel of clogs to be made of wood, typically with a modest closed toe.
Style Tip: Clogs look great paired with a nice pair of fall pants or jeans, as they have a relatively casual vibe.
6. Comma Heels
The main feature of a comma heel is a skinny, curved heel, shaped similarly to the punctuation mark. The heel of this style is typically on the shorter side.
Style Tip: These types of heels are super trendy, so no need to pair these with any other statement pieces. They look great worn with a pair of casual boyfriend jeans.
7. Cone Heels
The main feature of a cone heel is a triangular-shaped heel that begins wider at the sole and becomes skinnier towards the bottom of the heel. These types of heels vary in style from boots and booties to slingbacks and pumps.
Style Tip: Cone heels are a bit easier to walk in than a skinnier heel, but the differentiation between the thickness at the sole and at the bottom can sometimes result in balance trouble, so it’s best to practice walking in these for a bit to get used to them.
8. Cork Heels
Cork heels are shoes that feature either faux or authentic cork, typically found in wedges or sandals. These types of heels are popular in resort wear and spring/summer season collections.
Style Tip: Since cork can be somewhat porous, be careful not to let cork heels get very wet. Also be aware that the uneven texture makes this style can be particularly difficult to clean thoroughly, so these heels are best worn indoors.
9. Corset Heels
Pulling inspiration from the traditional women’s undergarment, corset heels feature either laces or hooks extending up the front of the shoe.
Style Tip: Corset heels are extremely “busy” and can usually be used as a statement piece. It’s best to pair these types of heels with a simple dress or modest pants.
10. Cuban Heels
A Cuban style features a typically short, chunky heel with a straight front and a slightly curved back. Originally designed for men’s shoes and boots, Cuban heels are now a very popular style featured of women’s boots and booties.
Style Tip: Cuban heels are a masculine-inspired style, so they look beautiful paired with a feminine dress or a great pair of straight or skinny jeans.
11. Cut-Out Heels
Cut-out heels are shoes with various sized and shaped pieces of material cut away to create a unique design. The heel height and style of these types of heels can vary.
Style Tip: Cut-out heels, depending on the cut-outs, can be serious statement heels. For this reason, these are best paired with an understated outfit.
12. D’Orsay Heels
A D’Orsay heel is characterized by a cutaway on one or both of the sides of the shoe, exposing the arch of the foot. The heel height of these can vary but are typically on the shorter side.
Style Tip: The cut away side(s) of these types of heels can make them difficult to walk in, so be warned. Because they expose a bit of skin, they are very dainty and are best paired with a sophisticated look.
13. Espadrille Heels
Espadrilles are typically made of canvas or cotton fabric and feature woven rope on the heel or the trim of the shoe. These types of heels can vary in heel height.
Style Tip: Because of the nautical nuances of rope and canvas, Espadrilles are typically worn in the summer and spring seasons.
14. Flare Heels
The main feature of a flare heel is the slightly wider heel towards the bottom of the shoe, stemming from a skinnier heel at the sole.
Style Tip: Because of the chunky nature of the flare heel, this style typically features shorter heel heights. Plus, because the bottom of the heel is wider, they’re easy to walk in.
15. French Heels
French heels feature a heel that is wider at the sole, super-skinny in the middle, and wide again at the bottom of the heel. When looked at from far away, the heel has the look of an hourglass. Because of the delicate nature of this shoe, heel heights are typically shorter.
Style Tip: If you’ve ever seen popular period shows like The Crown or Downton Abbey, French heels were most commonly worn to court by the upper class. For this reason, they hold an air of sophistication and elegance.
16. Gladiator Heels
Gladiator heels are characterized by multiple straps, and sometimes buckles, extending above the ankle. Heel height for these types of heels can range from flat to high heels.
Style Tip: Because of the strappy nature of these types of heels, gladiators are best worn in the spring or summer seasons. They look great paired with a dress, skirt, or shorts.
17. High Heels
High heels are exactly what one might picture when hearing the term. These types of heels feature a tall, skinny heel, and can vary greatly in terms of style.
Style Tip: High heels are extremely versatile. They can be worn with a casual pair of jeans or an elegant dress, depending on the style.
18. Kitten Heels
The distinguishing characteristic of a kitten heel is a very short, slightly curved, skinny heel. Anything under about 3 inches is considered a kitten heel if it curves in towards the shoe at the bottom.
Style Tip: Because of the modest nature of this heel, these types of heels are great for the office or for those who can’t wear very high heels. They add a slight feminine touch to a pantsuit or modest dress.
19. Lace-Up Heels
Lace-up heels feature either strings, straps, or ribbons that wrap around the leg above the ankle. These types of heels can vary greatly in style and heel height.
Style Tip: Because these types of heels extend above the ankle, they are best worn with an outfit that shows the legs, and they are a great statement piece to pair with a dress or skirt.
20. Loafer Heels
Inspired by the classic men’s loafer shoe, the loafer heel is a modest shoe, typically with an emphasized “tongue” in the center of the foot.
Style Tip: These types of heels are quite reserved, comfortable, and professional, typically featuring a shorter heel. For this reason, they’re great for the office, paired with a pair of straight or wide-legged pants.
21. Mary Jane Heels
The main feature of these types of heels is one or multiple straps extending across the center of the foot, sometimes secured with a buckle.
Style Tip: Mary Janes are known for their inset straps. To show off the straps, they are best paired with skinny jeans or a dress or skirt.
22. Moccasin Heels
Inspired by the familiar and comfortable slipper, moccasin heels are very similar to loafer heels in that they are typically a modest shoe with a good amount of coverage.
Style Tip: Because these types of heels are inspired by a slipper, they are typically made of leather. For this reason, they are frequently saved for the fall and winter seasons.
23. Mule Heels
Mule heels are a very distinct, unique heel style that features an exposed back of the shoe.
Style Tip: Mules vary so much when it comes to style and heel height, but they typically look great with a pair of skinny jeans or cropped jeans to show off the exposed back of the foot.
24. Oxford Heels
Inspired by the traditional men’s oxford shoe, oxford heels are characterized by some sort of lacing on the front of the shoe, typically over the tongue of the shoe.
Style Tip: Because these types of heels were inspired by men’s oxfords, they work well with a tailored pantsuit. However, they can also be worn with a feminine dress or skirt to contrast the masculinity of the shoe.
25. Peep Toe Heels
The main feature of these types of heels is an exposed toe. The size and shape of the cutaway at the toe can vary.
Style Tip: Show off this style with a pair of skinny jeans or a dress! When wearing these types of heels, remember that your toes will be exposed, so a fresh pedicure will make these shoes pop even more!
26. Platform Heels
The distinguishing characteristic of platform heels is a thick sole or “platform” at the sole of the shoe and under the toes. The heels on platforms are typically very high to match the height provided by the platform.
Style Tip: These types of heels are very high and attention-grabbing. For this reason, they can be paired with a simple outfit and worn as statement pieces for a high fashion look.
27. Pump Heels
Pumps are similar to high heels, but with a shorter, slightly wider heel. The heels on pumps are not as thin as high heels and stilettos.
Style Tip: These types of heels are great to wear when you want a pair of sophisticated heels, but high heels aren’t appropriate. They look great paired with jeans or a dress.
28. Scarpin Heels
Scarpin heels are very “high fashion” and characterized by their pointy toes. These types of heels usually feature a higher heel height and an extreme slope down to the pointed toe.
Style Tip: Scarpin heels are made to elongate the leg, so these types of heels are perfect paired with a minidress or miniskirt for a high-fashion look.
29. Slingback Heels
The main feature of these types of heels is a strap around the back of the heel. The style is similar to mules, but the distinguishing characteristic is the strap that cradles the back of the foot.
Style Tip: Because slingbacks are known for their straps, it is best to wear these types of heels with a pair of skinny jeans or a dress or skirt to show off the back of the shoe.
30. Sneaker Heels
Typically featuring a wedge heel, sneaker heels are sneaker-style shoes with extra height under the heel, or the entirety of the shoe. This is a trendy new style, that’s casual and fun yet stylish.
Style Tip: Because this style is still relatively fresh on the fashion scene, they can be worn with a wide variety of outfits. Pair them with sweatpants for a spunky casual look, or with a feminine dress for a playful summery look.
31. Spool Heels
Spool heels are very similar to French heels, but the bottom of the heel is skinnier. These types of heels feature the same hourglass shaped heel.
Style Tip: The heel height for these types of heels is typically low, so they are appropriate for the office paired with pants, or for a night out paired with jeans.
32. Square Heels
These types of heels are very distinct because they feature a heel shaped like a square and are typically on the shorter side.
Style Tip: Styles for these types of heels varies, so they can be worn with a variety of outfits.
33. Stilletto Heels
Similar to high heels, stillettos are shoes with high, skinny heels that become thinner towards the bottom. These types of heels are very high fashion because of the delicate, dramatic heel.
Style Tip: Stillettos are very flattering and striking, but they are also extremely hard to walk in because of the super-skinny heel. Bring flats to change into if you’ll be wearing them for a while.
34. T-Strap Heels
The distinguishing characteristic of the T-strap heel is a strap that extends vertically up the length of the foot at the center, usually to the ankle. They are similar to Mary Janes, but with a smart T-shape.
Style Tip: T-strap shoes are meant to be shown off. You’ll want to wear them with something that will expose the front of your foot, like skinny jeans or a dress.
35. Wedge Heels
Last, but not least, wedge heels feature a solid, triangular-shaped, wedge-like sole.
Style Tip: Because the entirety of this heel touches the ground, these types of heels are very easy to walk in. They’re great for summer seasons and outdoor events, when walking on uneven surfaces like sand or grass.
Whatever style of heels you choose, be sure you find the right fit and look that works for you.
Kari Emerson is a NYC-based blogger and model. She is the writer and creator of The Important Things blog, chronicling her experiences navigating life as a 20-something in New York City. Her goal is to help her readers attack “adulting” in a stylish and resourceful way.