Shoes are a wardrobe essential, they all have both a styling and functional role in your wardrobe. There is a wide variety of types of shoes for women, each one has its purpose and style, and knowing them will help you ease the uncertainty that comes with buying a new pair of shoes.
What style of shoes is the best for day-to-day usage? What is the proper footwear for an active or sporty woman? What pair of shoes are right for formal events? The truth is some footwear styles for women focus more on the functional side and others on the looks. Deciding which type of shoes are the right for you depends on the specific usage you intend to give them.
When shopping for women’s shoes you need to keep in mind factors such as fit, comfort, practicality, materials, type of heel or sole, as well as design and style.
To help you navigate the world of women’s shoes you have this A-to-Z guide of the different types of footwear you might find available, their characteristics, and other details that will help you make an informed shopping decision for these wardrobe staples.
How To “Try Before You Buy” Women’s Shoes Online
There is no doubt that women’s shoes are probably one of the most difficult items to buy online. You can never be sure if the shoes fit until you try them on.
Even the most beautiful pair of shoes will be completely useless if they are not the right fit for you. Of course, most online stores have tackled this problem by offering size charts for all their models but this doesn’t guarantee a perfect fitting, that’s is why it is so important to try all shoes before you buy them. But how can it be done in online purchases?
With Stage Try premium “Try Before You Buy” solution, you can select all pairs of shoes you like and place an order with a $0 checkout, plus free shipping and a prepaid return label. The most important part is: you will have a 7-days product trial to test all footwear at home before making a final purchase.
The great benefit of shopping online for women’s shoes with the “Try At Home” button (besides testing all products) is that you only pay for the items you want to keep. This new shopping experience gives you all the flexibility you need to find the right pair of shoes for you.
Types of Shoes for Women
Flats are the go-to shoes for women when it comes to everyday use. The different types of flat footwear for women are both comfortable and stylish. Here’s a list of the different types of flats you might find and their characteristics:
1 – Ballet Flats
Inspired by dancer’s footwear, these flats have super-thin soles that give the appearance of not having heels. Ballet flats are casual shoes that are both versatile and practical, they are fit for any occasion and come in different materials, colors and patterns. You might also find them online as ballerinas or dolly shoes.
2 – Flat Mary Janes
If you are looking for a classic look, a pair of Mary Janes is the right choice for you. This model resembles ballerina flats, but Mary Janes have a thin strap around the top of the foot. Their name comes from a fictional character in the Buster Brown comic strip, who originally wore a similar design.
3 – Slide Sandals
Slide sandals or slides are the ultimate comfort footwear for women. This casual model is open-toed and usually has either several thin straps or a wide one that supports the top of the foot. They are a summer staple, and they date back to the footwear worn by Ancient Romans.
4 – Gladiator Sandals
This style also takes us back to Ancient Rome. These open-toe sandals have a T-bar structure with multiple straps that go across the foot, a design made to resemble the footwear worn by Roman Gladiators.
5 – Flip-Flops
Flip-flops are the ultimate summer footwear, fit for the pool or a visit to the beach. They usually have a foam sole with plastic toe support and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
6 – Loafers
Loafers are a smart investment when it comes to women’s shoes. These slip-on flats work for both casual and formal looks, it depends on the design you choose. They are a go-to choice because they are comfortable and have a design adaptable to all seasons.
7 – Mules
Just as Loafers, Mules are slip-on with an open back and can be found in both open and closed front designs, as well as peep-toe. They usually go with all types of casual attire and are suitable for everyday use.
8 – Oxfords
Oxfords are classic women’s shoes that have been reinvented over and over again. You will recognize them by their close-lace design on the upper part of the shoe. According to the material you choose this can be either formal or casual shoes for women.
9 – Espadrilles
Espadrilles are a summertime essential. Their name comes from the word “espardenya”, a Catalan term for esparto grass, a material that closely resembles the jute ropes used in the soles of these shoes that can be found in sandal form as well as closed toes design.
10 – Clogs
Clogs are not only traditional shoes with a wood sole, they have evolved to a variety of designs with a characteristic rigid sole and open-back, these slip-on and can be found in both closed toes and sandal styles.
Athletic Shoes For Women
Athletic shoes are the types of shoes for women meant to use on sport and other high-impact activities. They are also worn as day-to-day shoes because of the comfort and support this footwear provides to the foot.
11 – Sneakers
Sneakers are the top choice for a casual and comfy look. There is a wide variety of sneakers according to their design and functionality. There are three main types of sneakers: low-tops (this doesn’t cover the ankle), Mid-tops (which go are bit higher over the ankle), and high-tops (this fully covers the ankle).
12 – Trainers
Trainers are the athletic types of shoes for women designed for “all purposes”, they provide balance, protection, flexibility, support, and range of motion apt for all types of physical activities from fitness to aerobics, weight lifting, and other kinds of workouts.
13 – Running shoes
As the name implies, this type of athletic footwear for women is designed to provide shock-absorption, traction, and cushioning, while also being lightweight, this is everything that your feet need to be comfy and safe while running.
Heels for women
Heels are the obvious choice for evening or dress wear. They are a synonym of high fashion and trendy looks. Even if you usually prefer to wear flats, having a good pair of heels is essential in any wardrobe because they can transform even the most casual of looks.
14 – Platform Heels
If you are looking for the styled look of a heel but with a bit of comfort and support, platform heels are the way to go. This type of heels for women, comes with a high full sole raging from 3 to 10 cm in height, which gives a better balance to the foot.
15 – Stilettos
Stiletto is an umbrella term for footwear that has a long, thin, and high heel. The height variates according to the design but usually goes above 10 cm. The name derives from the Italian term “stilus“, a word used to define an object that was used for engraving materials in Ancient Rome.
16 – Pumps
Even though they might look similar to Stilettos, the main difference between these two types of heels is the width and height of the heel. Pumps usually have a wider heel that doesn’t go as high as stilettos do, they also have a low cut on the front of the show which sits lower on the floor.
17 – D’Orsay Pumps
D’Orsay, pronounced “door-say”, are a type of heels that have cut on one or both sides of the shoe that reveals the arch of the foot. They are considered a type of subcategory of pumps when it comes to design.
18 – Peep-Toe Heels
As their name implies, Peep-Toe heels have a signature cut-out or peep-hole on the front of the show that reveals a couple of toes. They come in a variety of heights and materials and are both stylish and comfortable. Whether you are using them for a night out or a casual date, they will make sure you look your best.
19 – Slingback Heels
Slingback heels leave the bridge of the feet visible and have a strap that crosses behind the Achilles heel, this strap that can be elastic or have a buckle, provides stabilization by securing the foot to the shoe.
20 – Wedges
If you are looking for the most comfortable heels that you can wear all day, wedges are the best option. These types of shoes for women have no separation from sole to heel and come in both sandal and closed-toe designs.
21 – Ankle Strap Heels
The main characteristic of these heels is the buckled strap that goes around the ankle securing the foot to the shoe and providing more stability. They come in a wide range of heights.
22 – Cone Heels
This type of shoe has a unique heel design that is wider at the base or the point where it connects to the sole and narrows down to the point where it reaches the ground. Yes, that means the heel itself is cone-shaped providing these shoes with a particular style that can enhance any look.
23 – Kitten Heels
Kitten Heels are a classic in women’s wardrobes. They are a go-to for those who don’t want to go with a high heel. These shoes do have a thin heel but it only goes up in height a little over 3 cm. They can be found in a myriad of styles from sandals to pumps and boots.
Boots For Women
When it comes to women’s boots there is a great variety of styles and designs. From low-cut ankle boots to the always trendy thigh-high boots. There is a type of boot for every season and occasion, but to choose wisely you need to be familiar which each type of boot for women and see which one is the right for you.
24 – Ankle-Length Boots
As you can easily imply from the name, ankle boots are the type of boots that go just above the ankle. They usually have a thicker heel and a zipper on the side or back of the shoe. Ankle boots are a wardrobe investment because they can be worn with different looks across all seasons.
25 – Thigh-High Boots
As their name clearly explains, these boots go over the knee and up to the thigh. They usually have a zipper or have a pull-on design. Their heels come in a great variety of heights and widths, from thin and high heels to platforms. They complement all types of outfits, and you can choose them in an array of materials that go from leather and faux leather to suede.
26 – Chelsea Boots
Chelsea Boots are classic footwear for women. Although they come in a variety of designs, they are easily recognizable for their characteristic elastic side panels and non-lace-up design. They rose to popularity in the ’60s but this style originated way before: this was Queen Victoria’s shoe of choice back in 1850.
27 – Uggs
Uggs are a synonym for comfort and coziness, they are usually worn during the winter but they are also worn as a sort of slippers during all seasons. These boots have a wool-like inside, a synthetic sole, and an outer surface in a variety of materials, colors, patterns, and designs.
28 – Cowgirl Boots
These types of boots for women are inspired by the footwear used by ranchers and cowboys (or cowgirls). Cowgirl boots give a western style to any outfit. They have no laces, their shaft goes over the ankle, and usually have a sturdy heel in different heights. The toes are either pointed, square, or rounded. Usually, they are embellished with studs, fringes, and embroidery.
29 – Wellington Boots
If you want to keep your feet dry and warm during the winter, rainy seasons, or over muddy ground, Wellington boots are the choice for you. The boots are also known as “wellie” or “welly boots”. Originally, they were made out of leather, but now they are usually made with thick rubber. These boots are named after the Duke of Wellington, who popularized them.
30 – Army boots
Also known as combat boots, these types of women’s footwear are a stylized version of utilitarian-military boots. They have a rugged sole, a tall shaft, and a lace-up design, but some designs add a side or back zipper for convenience. Studs, buckles, linings, and patterns give a fashion twist to this classic boot style.