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Women's Shoes Buying Guide

by Staff Writer

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Three women wearing cute and trendy shoes

Whether you love buying shoes or you wish you could always wear the same old pair, you may have some shoes in your closet that make you wonder, "What was I thinking when I bought those?" If you need some advice on how to buy shoes that you'll love wearing, this women's shoes buying guide is for you. With these tips on finding shoes online that will flatter you and fit your lifestyle, including the simplest flip-flops, the women's shoes in your closet will make you think, "How did I live without those?"

Women's Shoe Styles:

  1. Boots: For the most flattering boots, make sure they don't cut off your leg at its thickest point. Most women's legs are narrowest right under the knees, and knee boots are generally very easy to wear. A boot with a bit of stretch can make heavy ankles and calves appear narrower:

  2. Heels, pumps and wedges: Stiletto, peep-toe, open-toe, slingback and more: With so many styles of heels, there are many things to consider. Short women may want to avoid T-straps and ankle straps because they can visually cut off the leg and make it look shorter. However, an ankle strap can actually make thick ankles look narrower by adding coverage and definition. Thin heels are flattering. However, the thicker the heel, the more comfortable you'll be and the more businesslike your overall look will be. Ultra high heels (more than four inches) can actually make a short woman appear shorter because the calf muscles will flex too much. A tapered toe gives a slimming look overall, but women with large feet may want to avoid very pointy shoes. Pumps with oval-shaped toes or square toes are comfortable and will make larger feet appear smaller:

  3. Flats: Flats are the perfect footwear with narrow pants or cropped pants, with short skirts or long skirts. If you want to wear them with mid-length skirts, choose flats with a slight lift in the heel:

  4. Sandals: Sandals show more skin on your feet, making your legs look longer. For sandals with heels, follow the same suggestions for pumps and high heel shoes. For casual sandals, like flip-flops, you'll most likely want to consider whether or not the style will be comfortable:

  5. Oxfords and loafers: The perfect shoes to wear with pants, oxfords and loafers both have a classic, menswear-inspired feeling. If your oxfords or loafers have heels, you can pair them with skirts as well:

  6. Athletic and athletic-inspired shoes: Choosing the right shoes for your activity is the most important thing when it comes to athletic shoes. To avoid injuries, you'll want women's shoes meant for your sport; for example, if you are a runner, make sure to buy running shoes to ensure that that the insole will give your feet the support they need. For athletic-inspired shoes, you'll want to focus on whether or not the style will be comfortable for you and if it will go with your casual clothing:

Women's Shoes You Want:

  1. Comfort: Choose heels that are two inches high or lower and opt for thick heels, like a stacked heel or a wedge heel. Natural materials breathe more than synthetics, and they are usually more flexible, too. If padding inside the shoe is important, you may want to buy a half size larger so you can add an insert, but be careful not to buy shoes that are too large -- they can be just as hard to walk in as shoes that are too small:

  2. Classic: Classic black leather shoes are a wardrobe essential, but high heels in brown leather, black velvet or snakeskin are all considered classics. For a classic casual shoe, you can't go wrong with a retro-style sneaker, a leather clog or a T-strap flat sandal:

  3. Latest and greatest: Shop for brand names and designer shoes to find the latest trends. Bright colors and bold patterns will ensure that your shoes look au courant:

Fitting Women's Shoes:

  1. Measure your feet late in the day: They are a bit larger later in the evening, so you will ensure that your shoes will fit well. You should also wear the socks you plan to wear with your shoes:

  2. Create your own measuring chart: Put a piece of paper on the floor; you can tape it in place if it slips. Have a friend trace your foot with a pen or pencil perpendicular to the floor. Measure the length of your foot in inches to the closest 16th of an inch. Then measure the width of your foot in inches. Repeat with the other foot and use whichever size is larger. Find your U.S. women's shoe size on these charts:


Foot lengthFoot width
US Women's Shoe Size Length in Inches
5
8.69
5.5
8.81
6
9
6.5
9.19
7
9.31
7.5
9.5
8
9.69
8.5
9.81
9
10
9.5
10.19
10
10.31
10.5
10.5

US Women's Size Narrow Average Wide Extra-wide
5
2.81 in:
3.19 in:
3.56 in:
3.94 in:
5.5
2.88 in:
3.25 in:
3.63 in:
4 in:
6
2.94 in:
3.31 in:
3.69 in:
4.06 in:
6.5
3 in:
3.38 in:
3.75 in:
4.13 in:
7
3.06 in:
3.44 in:
3.81 in:
4.19 in:
7.5
3.13 in:
3.5 in:
3.88 in:
4.25 in:
8
3.19 in:
3.56 in:
3.94 in:
4.31 in:
8.5
3.25 in:
3.63 in:
4 in:
4.38 in:
9
3.31 in:
3.69 in:
4.06 in:
4.44 in:
9.5
3.38 in:
3.75 in:
4.13 in:
4.5 in:
10
3.44 in:
3.81 in:
4.19 in:
4.56 in:
10.5
3.5 in:
3.88 in:
4.25 in:
4.63 in:

Tips from Overstock.com:

  1. Finishing off an outfit doesn't end with shoes. Don't forget about those other essential details: belts and handbags. Whether or not you want your belt and shoes to match, you will want to make sure they're all in style, and that's easy when you're shopping for accessories and handbags on Overstock.com:

  2. Are you looking for shoes that will stand the test of time? Be sure to shop our selection of designer shoes. For the latest fashion trends as well as the classic looks that will stay in vogue for years, designer shoes are an investment in your personal style. Overstock.com has unbeatable discounts on the designer shoes you'll wear for years:

  3. Shoes and socks go hand in hand -- or is that foot in foot? Either way, the socks and hosiery you need to wear with your shoes can be found when you're shopping on Overstock.com:

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