Fashion is all about confidence. If you don’t like what you’re wearing, it’s reflected in the way you carry yourself. However, to look great, you don’t have to compromise on comfort. Contrary to popular belief, beauty is not always a pain.
When you’re picking your shoes, this is especially true. What most women don’t realize is that shoes affect your whole body, not just your feet. For example, even if they’re stylish, you can ruin your posture and get a stiff back with the wrong-sized shoes.
Imagine doing a power walk with a frumpy posture. It hardly has the same effect.
However, choosing the right pair of women’s shoes isn’t just about size. It’s also about material, artistry, flexibility, and yes, style. If you’re looking for a good pair of shoes, think about both: style and comfort!
With this style guide, you’ll learn what type of women’s shoes are out there, how to select them, and finally, how to style them.
So, let’s dive right in.
What are the different types of women's shoes?
It’s easy to get confused because there are so many choices out there. With the way fashion has evolved, shoe designers have come up with different styles of shoes.
There are too many to even list in this style guide. However, to give you an idea, we’ve divided women’s shoes into eight categories. Under each category, come multiple sub-categories.
Let’s take a look:
Popular types include pumps, stiletto, kitten heel, platforms, and cone heels.
There are many, including regular (knee-high) boots, uggs, ankle booties, gladiator boots, thigh-highs, and combat boots.
From ballerina flats, flip flops, and open-toe sandals to canvas shoes, these are primarily casual footwear.
Closed low-cut shoes, available with or without heels
These are characterized by canvas or cotton upper fabric and flexible soles. You can find regular, wedge, or platform espadrilles.
You can choose between oxfords, flat loafers, pointed loafers, or mules (formal shoes with no backs).
These shoes are for casual wear or sportswear. There are many types, including trainers, lace/no-lace joggers, lace/no-lace sneakers, and gym shoes.
Weather specific shoes
Some types of shoes are for different climates such as snow boots, rain shoes, and desert boots.
Now that you know the different types, you can start thinking about which shoes suit you best. However, there are some things you need to know. In the next section, we’ve discussed all the factors you should consider when selecting your shoes.
What to Think About When Selecting Shoes?
To reiterate, selecting the right footwear depends on many things, including size, comfort, and quality. Don’t just think about style or fashion when you’re selecting shoes. Ideally, you want a combo of both fashion and comfort.
However, if you style them correctly (as you’ll see in the next section), any type of shoes will make you look good. But—by picking shoes only as a fashion choice, you can accidentally buy something uncomfortable for your feet.
With improper footwear, you risk:
- Ruining your posture (as mentioned)
- Back pain (which can become chronic)
- Hammer’s toes
- Ingrown toenails
- Foot ulcers (in more severe cases, but those with diabetes are more prone)
Therefore, while following shoe fashion trends is great, it shouldn’t be your only priority. Instead, you should think about the following things below.
You don’t want the shoes to affect your walkability. Therefore, it’s essential to get the right size. How can you measure size? If you’re going to do it at home, you will need paper, a pencil, and a ruler.
Trace your foot on the paper, and make sure to be as accurate as possible. Using a ruler will help in mapping your toes, sides, and heels.
Afterward, take the ruler and measure the width and length of your foot (from top to bottom and side to side).
In this way, you’ll have your measurements. However, as mentioned, comfort isn’t just about size. You want the shoes to be flexible.
Therefore, get shoes with a stiff heel having sufficient bend. To test this, make sure the shoes bend at the toes. Also, twist the shoes at both ends to know if they have enough torque.
When judging a shoe, you should ask yourself these simple questions:
- Are the construction and workmanship high-quality?
- Does it show any signs of damage?
- Is it clean?
- Is the material sturdy yet flexible?
You don’t have to be an expert at shoe quality inspections. But—you can judge a shoe’s construction and workmanship by looking at symmetry.
Do the shoe parts align correctly on both pairs? Also, do the lining and material match in color, overlay, and finish?
Some footwear brands, like Loom vegan shoes, make durable pairs of shoes that are both fashion and comfortable:
3- Foot Shape
Here’s a fundamental rule: shoes should match the contours of your feet rather than the other way around.
For those with flat feet, podiatrists recommend arched shoes, particularly heels. It helps bring more bend to your foot.
If you have wide feet, it’s better to wear closed shoes such as flats or athletic sneakers. Moreover, if you have consistent foot pain, it’s better to wear something less bulky such as sandals and flip flops.
When you’re buying shoes, you want something versatile and easily adaptable to different occasions. Luckily, with the right styling and accessories, most women’s shoes can match different outfits and events. However, some shoe types such as heels and loafers are designed for formal wear.
In recent years, heels have become more prevalent in casual occasions, but loafers are still reserved for work and job interviews.
Lastly, are the shoes weather-friendly? This part only applies to people living in or traveling to harsh climates. If you live in rainy weather, you need waterproof shoes.
Don’t worry, though.
Weather-friendly shoes aren’t as ugly and bulky as you’re probably thinking. Loom, for example, sells waterproof shoes, which are both practical and fashionable.
You see, you don’t always have to compromise on style if you are thinking of buying weather-friendly shoes.
Stylish Women’s Shoes Style Guide: How to Pair Your Footwear?
Now for the main event: how do you pair your shoes with your outfit?
Styling shoes isn’t rocket science. It’s pretty straightforward if you follow some guidelines.
What guidelines are we talking about? Also, how can you decide which one to go for out of the eight categories we listed above?
Let’s find out:
1- How to Pair Heels?
With current fashion trends, it seems heels can go with anything. From gowns to a pair of jean shorts, heels accentuate your entire look.
Here’s how to match heels with your outfit.
Match the color of the heels with your dress color. This not only makes you look more polished, but it also makes it easier to pick outfits.
This trend is frequently followed by royalty such as Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton.
However, if you don’t want to look too monochrome, you can use different shades of the same color.
For example, if you’re wearing a dark blue dress, your heels can be light blue. Or you can contrast your heels with other accessories you are wearing, such as a handbag, bracelet, or even nail paint.
Kitten heels and stilettos go well with skirts and dresses. Pencil skirts, in particular, go well with stilettos because they help emphasize your figure.
With pencil skirts, you have to wear heels, or else you may look frumpy.
Ankle heels are perfect to pair with skinny jeans and leggings. Even yoga pants go well with ankle heels.
As for platform heels, the best way to style them is with miniskirts. This is a classic look, and you can always use it as a failsafe when you don’t have time.
Short jackets and coats go well with shorter heels. Longer heels like stilettos look better with longer (knee-length) coats.
Also, when wearing dresses, you can contrast your jewelry and handbag with your heels. This adds more definition to the outfit.
2- How to Pair Boots
Anyone who wears boots likes to be bold in their fashion choices. Therefore, styling boots always pays off if you take a risk.
Again, the monochrome rule applies here as well. For example, if you’re wearing a cream jumpsuit, pairing it with cream-colored boots will look incredibly stylish.
Similarly, it’s a good idea to match patterns. Don’t be afraid to wear a leopard print dress with leopard boots. However, if you want a more casual look, contrasts work best.
As mentioned, contrasting boots with your outfit is an excellent idea. Combat boots go strikingly well with tulle skirts and dresses. The roughness of the boots and the elegance of the skirt create a perfect contrast.
If you’re wearing boots with jeans, always roll them up. Your jeans mustn’t cover the boots, or else what’s the point of wearing them? Also, don’t wear long boots with long dresses.
Instead, go for shorts and miniskirts, especially with thigh-highs and knee-high boots. This will elongate your legs, making you look taller.
Pair boots with leather jackets and dark sunglasses, especially if you’re wearing a skirt or dress. This will complete your outfit, and you will look more intimidating and confident.
3- How to Pair Flats?
Thirdly, we have flats. Being the most versatile, you can wear them for both formal and informal occasions.
Flats can be just as elegant as heels if you pick the right ones. They can add a burst of color to your outfit. For example, wearing dark red flats with a light-blue outfit adds contrast, making the outfit more sleek and professional.
Additionally, your flats can add sparkle to the outfit. Don’t be afraid to wear glittery, metallic, or studded flats. In this way, you can make your outfit feminine and eye-catching without heels.
Ballerina flats and pointed-toe flats go well with everything. You can wear them with long dresses, short dresses, and a casual top and jeans.
Flip flops, on the other hand, aren’t as versatile. They pair excellently with beach or pseudo-beach looks. You can wear flip flops with long summer dresses, maxis, and shorts.
You can wear flats with blazers and overcoats to achieve a more formal look. Also, similar to heels, you can contrast the flats with your jewelry.
4- How to Pair Athletic sneakers & Weather Specific Shoes?
Unlike other shoes, both athletic and weather shoes serve a specific function. They protect you and provide stability when you’re either playing a sport or going through uncertain weather conditions.
Styling them is a bit difficult but not impossible.
Both types of shoes come in different colors. White, grey, and black are solid colors. Loom provides stylish women’s sneakers in both black and white. They can go with almost anything.
Neon-colored athletic shoes provide contrast, so they're best paired with subtle white and blue colors.
Of course, athletic shoes are meant to be paired with athleticwear such as hoodies, t-shirts, sweat pants, yoga pants, and leggings.
Even in athletic wear, monochrome is a good idea. Most brands sell matching athletic wear for this reason. If you’re feeling bold, you can pair athletic shoes with suits and blazers.
You can wear weather shoes with jeans and shirts. To add style to your overall look, you can pair them with simple jeans and crop-top combo.
With jeans and a t-shirt, you can add in a scarf or jewelry to match your weather shoes. Also, if you’re pairing sneakers with a suit, you can wear jewelry contrasting the shoes.
However, with both types of shoes, try matching the socks with either the outfit or the shoes.
5- How to Pair Mary Janes & Espadrilles?
Both Mary Janes and espadrilles come in different forms, including flats and heels. They’re very girly and elegant, so you can choose them for sophisticated events.
Typically, Mary Janes are ideal for spring looks. You can pair matte, glossy, or shearling mary janes with floral and bright looks.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for stylish women’s shoes in the summer, espadrilles should be your go-to. Pastel-colored espadrilles look stunning in vacation photos, complementing your summer outfits.
You can wear Mary Janes with floral-print dresses, shirts, and skirts. You can even pair it with cropped jeans or Bermuda shorts. However, make sure you contrast the colors.
Espadrilles complement long, flowy summer dresses as well as short mini dresses. For example, you can wear yellow wedge espadrilles with a white summer dress. You can finish the look with a straw hat and sunglasses.
As mentioned, espadrilles should be accessorized with hats and sunglasses. Mary Janes go well with dainty jewelry and clutches.
How to Pair Loafers?
While loafers are traditionally masculine, women can definitely make them work. You can either go for a gender-neutral look or balance out the masculinity with a few tips.
Loafers usually come in browns, whites, and blacks. You can find them in either suede or leather. Either way, your outfit needs to contrast the color of the loafers.
Pair the loafers with distressed jeans and a button-down top for a casual look. You can also wear loafers with boyfriend jeans and oversized cardigans.
However, for a formal look, wear your loafers with a nice pair of slacks, blouse, and matching blazer.
Always use jewelry and makeup to bring in a feminine edge in your outfit when you’re wearing loafers.
In sum, styling women’s shoes is a simple task. You just need to know what works for you and what doesn’t. With these tips, we hope you’ve learned what shoes to select and how to style them.
Shoes are the foundation of every outfit. Therefore, they need to be comfortable yet sophisticated and fashionable.