close up image of back side of red high heels with shadows on white floor

17 Shoe Heel Styles and Options You Need to Know About

Yes, I do love a good pair of sneakers. But there’s something about heeled shoes that makes me feel powerful and confident. Although my limit is four inches (and it NEEDS to have platforms), I think the higher the heels, the better. There’s something about the sound of heels on tiles that make me feel like a boss.

For my fellow heel lovers, here are different types of heels you should know about. This could help you when buying your next pair:

Types of Heels Based on Style or Design

Stiletto Heels

close up image of red high heel sandals on floor

These trendy heels may reach up to eight inches high and are nicknamed after Italian slang for a tiny blade. Stilettos are said to thin and extend the legs, according to several stylists. To minimize breaking, many stilettos include a platform front. With a gorgeous pair of stilettos, you can channel your inner seductress whether you’re getting ready for a hot date or simply dancing with pals.

Basic Pumps

woman in pink trousers inside yellow bathtub with both feet in the air wearing pink stiletto heels

The basic pump is known as the “traditional high heel” by many people. In fact, many wardrobe consultants recommend investing in a few pairs of simple pumps as wardrobe mainstays.

Solid-color pumps, for example, are appropriate for the office or when paired with a pair of dark-wash jeans. Basic pumps are often low-cut in the front and just a few inches tall to make them easy to put on and take off.

Stacked Heels

Lucky Brand Baley Perforated Suede Stacked Heel Ankle Booties Taupe Size 13W

Stacked heels have multiple layers that give the footwear depth and texture. These heels are a fantastic method to stabilize your gait when walking on uneven terrain, as the layered construction may enhance overall balance.

Platform Heels

cropped image of woman sitting on bed wearing nude platform heels with photos scattered around her

A broad sole runs from heel to toe on platform heels. The remarkable height and comfort of this plateau make it ideal for lengthy use. While partying at the club or out on the town, platform heels are a terrific way to show off your style.

Chunky Heels

cropped image of woman holding yellow bag and wearing mini skirt and brown chunky heeled sandals

Chunky heels, with their broad, squarish form, provide a secure foundation for walking as well as dancing. The hefty heel is a wonderful complement for casual and even party dress styles, with designs ranging from a solid color to eclectic. Standing in these heels for long periods of time is also easier because of the greater surface area.

Wedge Sandals

Calvin Klein Women's Wedge Sandal, Black/White, 9

Wedge sandals feature an open-top section and do not have a distinction between the tall heel as well as the sole. This sort of plateau gives casual spring and summer footwear an extra boost of height. These wedge sandals are a great approach to embrace warmer weather, whether you’re looking for a more comfortable walking experience or need to dress up in shorts or a summer dress.

High Heel Sandals

DREAM PAIRS Women's Chunk Gold Glitter Low Heel Pump Sandals - 8.5 M US

Sandal-type toes contrast with any heel style (kitten, stiletto, etc.) towards the rear of the foot in high heel sandals. These heels give your ordinary summer sandal a bit extra oomph and attitude.

Ankle Boots

Women's Vintage Ankle Boots Embroidered Low Block Heel with Pointed Toe Lace up Ankle Bootie for Women Floral Dress Short Booties Chunky Stacked Block Heels Cowboy Boots Blue 8

These delicate heels come to a point above the ankle, making them a fantastic substitute for full-length boots. Ankle boots save room in your wardrobe, provide diversity to your footwear, and serve as a terrific transitional piece on chilly or hot days (during which a winter boot might be overdoing it).

High Heel Boots

cropped image of model wearing high heeled boots on bridge

High heels provide a touch of class to any pair of boots, whether they’re for work or for play. These kinds of shoes are a great way to stay fashionable in the rain or cold. High heel boots may provide a feminine touch to any event, whether you want a more appealing winter pair or you need to change it up with either a skirt or dress.

Block Heels

Milwaukee Leather MBL9420 Ladies Black Strappy Sandal with Block Heel - 11

A striking, solid black heel makes a powerful fashion statement with these block heels. A block heel’s thickness and rigidity also aid in the more uniform distribution of body weight (thereby removing some of the excess pressure from the front of your foot).

Block heels give the stability required for the task, whether you choose to seem like a powerful lady or you’ll have to stand for long periods of time.

Ankle Strap Heels

cropped image of woman holding ankle strap of heels on sidewalk

Ankle strap heels wrap around the ankle, as the name suggests. This unique construction is praised by stylists for helping to secure the heels, and fans agree that the sophisticated shape enhances any feminine form. Ankle strap heels, which were quite fashionable during the vintage period, may also have a slingback band for added support.

Slingback Heels

Richealnana Women's Peep Toe Platform Slingback High Heels Adjustable Elastic Strap Pumps Stilettos Sandals Faux Patent Leather Black Size 15

The back of the Achilles heel is wrapped in a strap in this style. Women can achieve a refined, elegant look thanks to the functional design. Slingback heels are fantastic accessories to maintain in your dress arsenal, whether you want to lengthen the look of your legs or show off your fashion expertise.

Peep Toe Heels

cropped shot of woman's feet wearing rolled up boyfriend jeans with black lace peep toe heels on pavement

Peep-toe heels reveal only a bit of the foot’s frontal region, whether you wish to flaunt your perfectly manicured toes or allow yourself a little wiggle space. The peephole is said to be a tease by some and a bold fashion statement by others. Peep-toe heels, on the other hand, are ideal for relaxing the phalanges. From skinny jeans to A-line skirts, these fashion-forward shoes go with everything.

Cut out Heels

FSJ Women Caged Dress Sandals Chic Peep Toe Pumps Shoes Cutout Strappy High Heels Size 13 Royal-Blue

These heels have an ornate form or pattern carved out for aesthetic reasons and have a thick top or frontal part. These shoes enable you to turn your feet into a piece of art since the cuts are available in a variety of forms, sizes, and colors.

Fantasy Heels

close up of pair of crystal fantasy shoes with blue background

Fantasy heels are a catch-all for creating a unique style that’s all your own, from fairy-tale themed to sci-fi design. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for an actual costume or the final flourish for a night out on the town, a variety of fantasy shoes may assist.

T-Strap Heels

TOP Moda Womens Hy5 Formal Evening Party Lace Ankle T-Strap Peep Toe Stiletto High Heel Pumps,White,7

T-strap heels are vital to establishing a retro silhouette since they are the famed footwear of classic cinema stars and old-school pinups. The tiny T-shape that bends around the ankle on these shoes adds a basic appeal to any ensemble.

Cone Heels

YDN Women Pointed Toe Cone High Heels Slingback Booties Ankle Strap Faux Suede Buckle Party Dress Sandals Magenta 12

Cone heels are broad towards the sole and narrow to a point located at the base, also referred to as a tapered heel. The robust top half of the cone heel gives a solid base for your foot, while the delicate tip adds elegance and aplomb to your movements.

Cuban Heels

close up shot of black mules with cuban heels on gray table

Cuban heels will give you a stunning androgynous look. This sort of shoe adds elevation to the same style of Cuban shoes that may be seen in formal male apparel. This heel looks terrific in both casual and formal settings, like a hybrid between an ankle boot as well as an oxford or loafer. The majority of designers like a heel that’s darker than the top section and tapers towards the base.

Kitten Heels

Kitten Heels Mary Jane Pumps By Zooshoo- Adorable Vintage Shoes- Unique Round Toe Design With An Adjustable Strap,Rose Pink,8.5 B(M) US

These heels are dainty enough to create a fashion statement while still allowing you to avoid excessive pain if you’ll be on your feet for an extended period of time. Kitten heels are usually under three inches tall and have a slender, fragile stem.

Kitten heels are ideal for taller ladies who may not want to abandon heels totally due to their elegance and practicality. Furthermore, the low heel height is ideal for teenagers who are still learning to walk in heels.

Slim Heels

Richealnana Women's Classic High Heels Slip On Pointed Toe Pumps Sexy Slim Heels Party Dress Working Shoes Faux Patent Leather Pink Size 9

Slim heels stretch the legs and maintain an upright stance, making them ideal for elegant situations.

Decorative Heels

Maybest Women Lady Girl Fashion Butterfly High Heel Sandals Party Shoes (Yellow 6 B (M) US)

Wearing fancy heels will draw everyone’s attention to you as you exit the room. These heels are artistically designed in every way. Intricate diamonds and nature-inspired motifs that seem like icicle leaves are examples of ornamental styles. These heels are a simple method to become the center of attention at occasions including weddings or awards presentations.

Espadrille Heels

Franco Sarto womens Clemens Espadrille Wedge Sandal, Tan, 8.5 US

Espadrille heels have fabric or canvas uppers and fiber or esparto rope plaited soles. The espadrille heel is a fantastic complement for informal activities and social situations since it is a descendent of the Spanish labor shoe.

Flare Heels

Steve Madden Women's Lafayette Pump, Cognac Patent, 7.5

This form of heels has a slender base that extends dramatically near the bottom, similar to “bell-bottoms” or flared jeans in appearance. These shoes look great with both jeans and a fun dress or skirt.

French Heels

DREAM PAIRS Women's Fiona Champagne Fashion Stilettos Open Toe Pump Heeled Sandals Size 11 B(M) US

With French heels, you may bring the glamour of couture to your daily life. In height and curve, these shoes are also called Louis heels or Madame de Pompadour heels. Because their heels are on the smaller side, they’re ideal for situations that need you to stand for long periods of time. A big buckle or bow is common on French heels, instantly invoking Old World charm.

Lace-Up Heels

LISHAN Womens Black Lace Up Strappy Stiletto High Heel Gladiator Criss Cross Sandals Open Toe Knee High Shoes Stripper Heels 9 M US

Lace-up heels are a terrific way to give your outfit a little more flair. The genesis of the lace-up heel is controversial among fashion historians. Some historians regard the gladiator sandal as the source of footwear inspiration, while others credit the traditional ballerina slipper.

Lace-up heels that mimic both types are readily available, regardless of provenance. To present an exquisite and feminine tone, choose ballerina-inspired heels, or strap into gladiator shoes for a powerful, seductive, and aggressive nighttime appearance.

Comma Heels

Comma heels are similar to the common punctuation mark, as their name indicates. To add an edgy twist to pumps or boots, the comma form may be turned either way. The crescent form of these heels is appropriate for any occasion, either strolling on carpet or cobblestones.

Mules

The Drop Women's Jordan Pointed Toe Block Heel Mule, Black, 9.5 M US

Mules are any heel with the tongue covering the top of the foot. These shoes, either closed or open toe, are ideal for people who wish to show off their footwear’s exquisite fabric or canvas. These shoes are simple to put on and off and come in a variety of silky Moroccan leather or suede textures for a comfortable fit.

Ballroom Dance Heels

image of ballroom dancers' feet wearing ballroom dancing heels and shoes

Ballroom dancing shoes may let you glide over the dance floor like a pro. The ballroom heel offers just the accurate dose of sophistication and support for a variety of rhythmic styles, thanks to its closed-back and ornate ankle straps. For hours on end, this shoe’s vertical construction can withstand repetitive lifts, dips, or sashaying.

Medium Heels

woman wearing white midi skirt and holding rattan tote bag with white medium heels

Medium heels are one of the most often suggested forms of shoe heels as classic business footwear. These heels are perfect wardrobe basics for ladies of normal height, measuring three to four inches tall. These heels are low enough to reduce unnecessary pressure on the balls of your feet, making them ideal for developing a strut or enhancing posture.

Corset Heels

Women's Brogue Ankle Boots Lace Up Ankle Bootie with Chunky Block Heel Round Toe Shoes (Black,US size 9)

With corset heels, you can completely wrap your feet in feminine elegance. Two symmetrical sides meet and lace tightly like a classic corset in these shoes. This heel may be worn as a style statement or to add a touch of class to a special event.

Oxfords

Odema Womens PU Leather Oxfords Wingtip Lace up Mid Heel Pumps Shoes

With oxford heels, you may get a high-class appearance. These heels, which are a modern take on the classic Oxford loafer, offer an intellectual touch to any outfit. Oxford heels are smart accessories to maintain in your cache, regardless of whether you want to indicate attractive librarian or affluent socialite.

Sculptural Heels

Sculptural heels are high-end versions of architectural heels. These shoes might help you stand out from the pack or acquire the newest from Alexander McQueen.

Spool Heels

TinaCus Women's Genuine Leather Handmade Sexy High Spool Heel Patent Pointed Toe Side Zipper Pump Shoes with Cute Bow (A-Blue, US8.5)

Spool heels resemble a thread bundle in a cylindrical shape. A spool-style shoe’s heel is thick near the foot, slim in the middle, and thicker at the very bottom. This style, which was popular during the Baroque and Rococo periods, is a simple way to add opulence and beauty to your look with little effort.

Wedge Heels

Jessica Simpson Women's Cash Pump, Black, 8.5 Medium US

The distance in between the tall heel and the sole is eliminated with wedge heels. These heels let you walk or stand more comfortably by uniformly distributing your weight, and they go with both casual and evening attire.

“Flatform” Heels

Steve Madden Women's Kimmie Wedge Sandal, Black, 7 M US

“Flatform” heels have a flat plateau from the toe to the rear heel, as its name suggests. The uniform weight distribution may give any casual ensemble a tough or industrial vibe, and these shoes may be more comfortable for those who have flat feet or have low arches.

Types of Heels by Material

Wooden Heels

Nature Breeze Womens Brittney Slip On Wooden Heel Sandals,Wine,8

While many people identify wooden heels with Dutch culture, wood is actually one of the most prevalent materials used to make shoe heels. Wood heels are lightweight yet robust and may offer walking stability as well as work shoe safety reinforcement. Wood heels may provide elegant and stable structural strength for most footwear, with possibilities ranging from poplar to cherry or walnut.

Cork Heels

Cape Robbin Ada Sexy Stiletto High Heels for Women, Strappy Pointed Open Toe Shoes Heels - Cork Size 8

The cork, like the substance that seals a good bottle of champagne, might be the key to making your finest sartorial statement yet. The low-density, buoyant substance utilized to create these shoes is referred to as cork.

While some people like harvested cork for its natural look, others prefer it for its cushioned sensation underfoot. You may add diversity to your clothing as well as a spring to your step by wearing cork heels.

Plastic Heels

Cape Robbin Wisdom Clear Chunky Block Low Heels for Women, Transparent Strappy Open Toe Shoes Heels for Women - Nude Size 10

Tough plastic has become one of the most common materials for making heels due to its versatility. Hard PVC, polypropylene, and polyethylene are all examples of plastics utilized in heels. You may get clear-plastic fashion heels that are great for their similarity to glass slippers, in addition to employing plastic for stability.

Leather Heels

Allegra K Women Ankle Tie Chunky Heel Pointed Toe Dress Green Pumps 7.5 M US

 

Leather is among the earliest materials used in shoemaking, valued for its sumptuous feel and exceptional quality. Patent leather, Moroccan leather, Italian leather, pigskin, or suede are just a few of the several varieties of leather used to produce shoes.

Some shoes are entirely made of leather, whereas others include rubber bottoms for added grip and stability. If you like the velvety feel of leather but don’t desire a full-leather shoe, look for heels with leather inlays or a plain leather finish.

Polyurethane (PU) Heels

DREAM PAIRS SWAN-05 New Women's Ankle Strap Back Zipper Peep Toe High Heel Platform Pump Shoes,Black Pu,7 B(M) US

Polyurethane heels, sometimes known as “fake leather,” are a vegan-friendly option to animal hide heels. You can obtain a patent-leather appearance without the exorbitant price tag with these heels. Many stylists also point out that polyurethane is simpler to maintain than real leather. Polyurethane, which is used in everything including furniture upholstery to cell phone covers, is durable enough to keep your favorite shoes looking new for a long time.

Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) Heels

These heels are constructed of a copolymer combination that is lightweight and easy to wear. Many environmentalists believe thermoplastic to be one of the most responsible types of footwear since it is durable and recyclable.

Rubber Heels

Rubber has long been a preferred heel material because of its mix of grip and buoyancy. Rubber is ideal for both sporty and wet weather since it is firm against many different kinds of footing. Rain boots and dress shoes both have high-quality rubber heels.

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