Guide to Picking the Right Heels

High heel shoes have been part of the female sartorial choices for as long as we can remember. For the longest time, heels are an epitome of femininity. These shoes are undeniably stylish, sexy and flattering because they lift the foot and leg, adding a few centimeters to your height and shaping the curvature of the leg. They work well with all kinds of dresses, slacks, trousers, and jeans. Heels are also always a part of a glamorous get-up.

Heel styles

Though heels can certainly give your outfit a boost, different heel styles can bring about a certain vibe in your look. Make sure you’re picking the right style of heels for your outfit. Also, make sure that it’s comfortable enough for you to wear in for hours. Take a look at some of the most common styles of heels you can find:

1. Stilettos

Every legit girly girl knows stilettos and has flaunted at least one. It’s not the comfiest and most versatile shoes out there, but they are stunning and ooze sex appeal. Stilettos are the most popular heel shape, which is a thin, tapering heel. It can be as low as 2 inches to a sky-scraping 7 to 8 inches. Higher stilettos often have a platform on the front so that the feet don’t have to bend the arch too much, making it slightly more comfortable.

Stiletto heels are more often found in the form of pumps, strappy sandals or boots. They are more suited for women with slimmer figures and are worn for work, parties and special occasions. For a glamorous look, pair stilettos with short dresses or short skirts. However, it takes some skill to walk comfortably and confidently with them, at least at first. Also, higher stilettos may cause unbearable pain. If you’re wearing them to a place where you’d be walking (or dancing) a lot, it’s best to bring a trusty flat shoes or sandals or slippers.

2. Wedge heels

Wedge heels are shoes with a wedge instead of a separated heel. Since the heel is all over the sole of the shoe, it distributes the entire weight of the body throughout the entire feet, making it more comfortable and easier to walk in compared to a stiletto. Because of that wedges are extremely popular and never goes out of style. It can appear in the form of closed shoes, open-toe shoes, sandals, boots and it is available from classic and dainty to edgy styles.

Wedges can look chunky, so it’s best to choose a subtle and more neutral wedge for a more lenient choice so you can easily pair it with clothes that have bright and bold patterns. It’s also best worn with maxi skirts or flowy dresses and blouses.

3. Kitten heel

With a heel height ranging between 1.5 inches to 1.75 inches, kitten heels are comfortable. It’s the best choice for the first pair of heels for any young lady, as once she trains herself with kitten heels, she can be more comfortable wearing higher heels. When it was first introduced in the 1950s, it was designed for teenagers and young women because it was thought that higher heels were too “grown up.” But kitten heels did not remain as a young girl’s shoe. Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn popularized the kitten heel style, and countless movie stars and models wore it on catwalk events under famous signature brands Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo.

Kitten heels are feminine and elegant, making them great for pairing with skinny pants, cropped pants, pencil skirts, and dresses. And because of its comfortability, it’s the perfect partner for office outfits that can be worn all day round.

4. Platform heel

Platform heels might not have the glamorous appeal of the stilettos, but they’re equally fashionable, and a lot safer and comfier. They can even feel like you’re wearing flats! It’s usually a shoe with a platform at the front and a chunky heel at the back. They are also super stylish yet daring since it won’t go with a lot of outfits. However, when it comes to heels, nothing screams “grungy” or “street style” as well as platforms.

Platforms heels are available as sandals, shoes, and boots – but boots are its most irresistible form. A pair of black platform boots will add a touch of rock chic to your jeans, skirts, maxi dresses, cropped pants, joggers and ripped jeans. Platform heel sandals are great for well-fitted or bodycon dresses. No matter what type they are, platforms are an instant fashion statement in itself.

5. Cone heel

Like its name, cone heels are shaped like an ice cream cone – a triangular heel that is wider at the sole and slimmer at the base. Because of its chunky appearance, it gives extra support to help distribute the weight, therefore easier to walk in than slimmer heels.

Cone heels can found in sandals, shoes, and boots, with or without a connected platform. The cone form of the heels may also vary in thickness, as it can range from pencil-thin to thick and round cones. Cone heels are also great for office wear and for formal attire and are best paired with skirts or dresses with a flowy hemline.

Heel height

Besides style, another most important thing that will affect your choice of heels is the height. This will affect the level of comfort and fit of your shoe. On average, heel heights are often around 3 inches, but you might be picking a heel higher or lower than this. A heeled shoe can have:

  • 1-2 inch heels – Low heels are a more prudent option if you already have a nice height or if you want to stay comfy on your feet all day. These are great as office wear, trousers; and they look best with most dresses, like vintage-inspired styles and A-line skirts. To add interest, pick a low-heeled shoe with a slingback and/or pointed toe.
  • 3-inch heels – The standard heel height, 3-inch heels can be comfortable while looking elegant and glamorous. This is the safest heel height to wear that can look great for formal wear, casual outfits, everyday office attire, or with evening wear and gowns.
  • 4-inch heels – This heel height is typical for evening wear and formal occasions like weddings, proms, and galas. It can be uncomfortable after a few hours of wear, so make sure you break in these shoes a day or two before wearing them for an event.
  • Higher than 4-inches – These “catwalk” heights are often rocked by celebrities and models, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be worn by ordinary women who wants to look extra feminine and glamorous. These type of shoes usually have a platform at the front and are usually worn for evening events and weekend wear. It’s also important to break them in and practice walking in themprior to wearing.

Shopping tips for high-heeled shoes

Before investing in a pair of heels, here are some tips and tricks you need to be mindful of:

1. Prefer to buy in brick and mortar stores.

It’s tempting to shop for shoes online, because there’s a whole new world of choices that offer cheap and unique high heels. While these can be friendly for the budget, they might not be friendly for your feet, as cheap shoes may also mean substandard, uncomfortable materials. Another problem with online shopping is that the sizes may not be the same as your usual size. Some brands have their own shoe sizing standards, so if you’re a 7 in one store, you might be an 8.5 in another one. Use the size chart of the site before buying, and check their return and refund policies.

In brick and mortar stores, you can try on the shoes and walk around in them before buying. You can see exactly how it looks while you’re wearing it in your feet. You can also easily ask for a new size in case the one you’ve fitted doesn’t feel right. When going into offline stores to buy shoes, it’s best to go in the afternoon or during a night when your feet are swollen after a day of activity. If you feel a bit of discomfort as you try on the shoe, don’t purchase it.

2. Always test drive the shoes before buying.

It’s one thing to try on a pair of heels and another to wear them for several hours a day. To test if a pair of heels would truly fit you is to try both shoes and walk around in the store wearing them. Look in the mirror and see if you can manage to walk confidently in them. Try to sit and then stand up and see how comfortable you go. While standing and wearing the shoes, try to lift up your toes. If they can’t move, it’s an indicator that they’re too small and they would most likely give you blisters while wearing it.

If you feel any type of discomfort like tightness or pinching while trying on the shoes, it is more likely to grow worse with extended use. When it comes to heels, the old fashioned idea that you can break in and widen the shoe as you wear it doesn’t work. More often, what you buy is what you get.

3. Pick a shoe according to your existing wardrobe and on occasion.

When choosing a pair of heels, remember that they should match the style, color and length of the item of clothing you’re thinking of pairing it with. To get the most out of your purchase, think about your general wardrobe and how the high-heeled shoes you’re eyeing on can suit any occasion.

It’s always best to invest in a trusty, simple yet elegant pumps, which can be dressed up or down according to the event. A pair of black or nude strappy sandals or stilettos is enough to cover you for a party, office, special occasion or anything casual. These are versatile items that can go with any random outfit from your wardrobe. Since heels are not recommended for wearing for a long period of time (and you might also not want to wear it every day), go for safer, more versatile colors and design options rather than picking bolder heels that may go out of fashion in any minute.

If you’re shopping for an event, base your choice on what would feel most comfortable and sensible. If you’re going on a dance party, choose something with straps to keep the shoes secured on the feet. If you know you’d be walking on grass or any outdoor venue, go for wedges or platforms and forget about stilettos. If you’re going to walk most of the time or remain standing in an event you’re attending, don’t go for stilettos. Reserve those heels for classy, glamorous occasions where you will be sitting for most of the time, like a fancy dinner date or a wedding ceremony.

4. Pick a shoe depending on your body shape.

Let’s face it – unless you have the perfect height and the perfect figure, not all heels will look great on you. What you buy must match the shape and size of your legs and ankles. If you have thick legs, stilettos might look out of proportion, so go for wider base heels to make your legs look slimmer. For a color that will lengthen your legs (and look glam too), choose nude heels. Pointed toe shoes can also give an illusion of length. If you have wide feet, opt for round-toed shoes for a more comfortable fit. If you have short legs or wide ankles, avoid ankle straps – a sling back shoe is a better option.