Finding the perfect pair of shoes requires an open approach and a keen eye. Before you fall head over heels, ask yourself if this pair is the real deal. Learn which styles flatter you, including boot height and round, pointed, or square toes. You score better deals when you know whether you rock ankle boots or toe cleavage. Walk around the room to see how the shoes feel, and be honest with yourself -- those gorgeous heels aren't finds if they pinch your feet. Finally, choose colors and materials that complement your existing wardrobe so that your new boots can start walking.
Marilyn Monroe famously quipped "I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot." High heels flatter a woman's calves and ankles while adding lift. A three-inch heel is the standard, balancing height with comfort. If you and heels have a rocky past, invest in shoes made from quality materials such as leather and pay close attention to fit. The back of the shoe should fit your heel without pinching or slipping, and the toe box should match your foot's shape for optimal comfort, with tapered toes for narrow feet and round toes for wider ones.
From Audrey Hepburn to Kristen Stewart, generations of celebrities have achieved effortless cool wearing their favorite flats. This classic look is minimalist and chic, offering that magic combination of comfort and elegance. Ballet flats can be tossed in your weekend bag for country strolls and dinners out, and some designs have soles made of rubber or rope to scamper around the beach. You can wear your flats with miniskirts, short-shorts, or tapered pants that sport ankle-length hem lines for a fun and classy look.
Sandals let your feet breathe while lending carefree style in materials from cool canvas to posh leather. Simple designs can complement casual outfits such as breezy summer dresses, while bi-tones and beaded numbers go well with graceful sheath dresses and slacks. From an elegant, date-night look with thin straps, a closed toe professional style for the office, or a relaxed weekend look with thick straps, sandals are your go-to versatile shoe for spring and summer.
Wedges combine the height of heels with the stability of platforms. Legendary designer Salvatore Ferragamo invented the shape in the 1930s as a comfortable alternative to heels, and designers ever since have used the unique shoe to create sculpted and stylized looks, including the wedge boot and the espadrille. The bold silhouette helps shape ankles and calves like heels while giving you more secure footing, making wedges the perfect shoe for barbecues and outdoor concerts.
Clogs & Mules
Traditionally, clogs feature a sole made of wood or cork with a contoured arch to support the foot bed, earning the approval of many health professionals and comfort seekers. Clogs sport a round toe and easy slip-on design, giving them a casual look and feel. Mules are defined by their open back but come in many styles, from flats to peep toes. Mules are the perfect shoe for a polished summer look or chic office style. You can choose a closed toe style for a more formal appearance, or go with a peep toe to add some versatile flair to any outfit.
Boots bring gravitas, whether you kick it in combats or go "boho" with slouchy boots. Choose a tall boot to create a strong visual line, which helps to lengthen legs and command attention. You can wear them pulled over skinny jeans and leggings for no-fuss femininity, or pair them with above-the-knee skirts and dresses to emphasize your legs. Mid-calf boots look sexy with knee-length hemlines, revealing just the right amount of skin. You can dress up any outfit with pointed toe styles, or keep it casual with round toes.
For the perfect balance of comfort and style, sneakers fit the bill. Since comfort is king here, look for shoes that fit your foot's shape, whether you have wide or narrow feet. Leather and suede sneakers add durability, but fabric and canvas also suit this casual shoe, so go for your favorite colors and embellishments. These shoes are perfect for weekend wear; pair with cuffed jeans or a maxi skirt for a casual yet feminine look that will keep you comfortable all day long.
Booties deliver the bold look of boots without the leg coverage, letting you sail past tricky hemlines. Wear them confidently with miniskirts, midis and everything in between. For a long-legged look, tuck skinny pants into your ankle boots, or peg your straight-leg jeans to reveal a sliver of ankle. Booties come in a dazzling variety, but the classic version features a stacked heel and hits just above the ankle. Find them in a color that works with your entire wardrobe for year-round wear.
Old-fashioned yet rebellious, oxfords add prep-school cool to any outfit. The lace-up flats lend polish to your jeans-and-T-shirt look and layer nicely with socks and leggings for fall weather attire. This shoe charms when worn with schoolgirl knee socks, or you can channel your inner Katharine Hepburn and pair them with wide-legged trousers, a favorite combo of the film legend. Opt for heeled oxfords rather than flats to add height and lengthen your stride.
This generation of loafers puts aside the penny for bold colors and a sleek silhouette. The classic style delivers comfort, slip-on convenience and preppy good looks, giving celebrities from Taylor Swift to Jessica Alba a reason to hop aboard. To master the trend, wear yours sans socks with skinny pants that hit above the ankle, or pair them with a flouncy skirt like an 80s party girl.
Athletic shoes put a spring in your step for serious activity. Running shoes are designed for heel-to-toe action, while cross trainers support side-to-side movement for kickboxing and aerobic moves. Hiking shoes feature aggressive treads to improve traction on outdoor terrain and ankle support to stabilize your stride. Plan on running up that trail? Opt for trail shoes, which combine the treads of a hiking boot with lightweight stability to run on soft soil and grass.