Women's Guide to Heels

When choosing a pair of heels, it can be a little confusing trying to understand the wide variety of heel styles, shapes and heights.

If you're investing in a pair of women's shoes, you obviously want to choose the right pair for the job. The style of a heel affects fitting, comfort and how long you'll be able to wear them before they may cause some discomfort.

As you might expect, the higher the heel the more likely it is that it's going to make your feet a little sore by the end of the day, but choosing a shoe with a platform at the front may stop the heel height from affecting the feet too quickly.

It's little tips and tricks like that which you need to know before investing in a pair of shoes, which is why we've written this guide to help you decide what you need.

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Different Types of Heels: A Guide


Block Heel

A block heel is fairly self-explanatory, a heel that is far chunkier than a stiletto.

The styles that became popular on the high street this summer are a marriage between the 70's hippy platforms and the chunky shoes of the 90's, the trend looks here to stay as it offers a more practical heel for everyday wear.

Because block heels give more support and more even distribution of weight, they tend to be far comfier than your run of the mill stilettos.

They can range from a low square heel on a flat shoe to a fashionable cylindrical heel, so you're sure to find a block heel to suit your look.


Kitten Heel

A vintage looking heel, which was first introduced in the 1950's for teenagers and 'young' ladies to wear because it was thought higher heels were too 'grown-up'.

The style was popularised by Audrey Hepburn and other silver screen Queens. Even today, kitten heels are synonymous with sophistication and elegance.

The heel is easier to walk in than a stiletto because of the height difference. Kitten heels are generally around 1.5/1.75 inches high.


Stacked Heel

A stacked heel is a heel that gives the illusion of layers of material stacked up to create a heel.

Usually they come in the shape of a chunkier block heel, but the style can come in the form of a wedge or stiletto.


Stiletto Heel

The most popular heel shape, a stiletto is a thin heel that can range from a kitten heel to a sky-scraping 7 or 8 inches.

Higher stilettos will usually have a platform on the front to make them slightly comfier and to ensure they don't bend the arch of the foot too much.


Cone Heel

Exactly how it sounds, the cone heel is the shape of an ice cream cone.

It's a triangular shape which can be flat on one side - a cone can even be slightly curved to give the shoe a quirkier appearance.

Like with the block heel, this type of heel gives extra support making them more suitable to be worn all day.


Wedge Heel

A shoe with a wedge instead of a separated heel.

Wedge heels are easier to walk in, and comfier to wear. The wedge is a great alternative to a stiletto if you're planning on wearing them for any length of time.

Wedge shoes can appear a little chunky, and are best worn with flowing maxi skirts or dresses.

Stilettos might get caught in the fabric of a full length skirt or dress, but this isn't a problem you have with wedges.


Platform Heel

Not technically a heel, but a sole type. You can get a platform at the front of a shoe, with a chunky heel at the back, or a platform at the front which allows a stiletto heel to be higher.

A platform on a stiletto allows more comfort for the wearer and makes the shoe easier to walk in.

The platform shoe is associated with 70's footwear fashion but in the 2010's a platform on the front of a shoe made a resurgence with the popularity of Yves Saint Laurent's 'Tribute' shoes.

Heels Heights: A Guide

As well as the style of the heel you choose, the height will also affect the comfort and fit of your shoe.

Two Inch Kitten Heel
Three Inch Heel
Four Inch Heel
Four Inch Plus Heel

The 2 Inch/Kitten Heel A heel short enough not to leave the balls of your feet aching if you're on your feet all day. Cute kitten heels look best with a vintage inspired outfit, try wearing with an A-Line skirt! A sling back or pointed toe style will add interest to your outfit.

The most classic height of heel height. Elegant and comfortable enough to wear to the office and to wear all day. Any higher and you're risking your shoes being uncomfortable after a few hours of walking around in them.

The typical height for most shoes that are more 'party' or 'evening wear'. If you're a ' beginner', you might want to break shoes with this heel height in a day or two before you wear them. Wear them around the house to practise walking in them or risk looking like Bambi at the next party you're at!

Shoes with a 4 inch heel or more usually have a platform at the front. While this does make the shoe slightly easier to walk in, again, you might want to break them in before you wear them out.

How to Choose Heels That Suit Your Body Type

It goes without saying that you should wear whatever you want and feel fabulous in it, but if you are looking for something that will make you feel less self-conscious then we have some tips:

For the illusion of length, pointed toed shoes will make your legs look longer.
Pointed Toed Shoes
Nude Shoes
Nude shoes will also lengthen your legs.
If you have wide ankles avoid ankle straps – these will widen your ankles. A sling back is a better option.
Wide Ankles
Round Toed Shoes
Round toed shoes are more comfortable and more flattering on a wider foot.
If you have shorter legs, avoid ankle straps… these will shorten your legs as the strap will cut the eye line off.
Ankle Straps
The Benefits of Wearing Heels

The benefits of wearing heels are almost purely aesthetic, they make legs look longer and slimmer and polish off an outfit with class and sophistication. They may give you the height you need to feel extra confident, or improve your posture.

There are many reasons why we choose heels over flats, and we're sure you'll agree that some of us just collect heels because they're beautiful; - whatever the reason you have for wearing heels make sure that you choose them properly to avoid foot problems, and if the height, size or style are causing you discomfort swap them for flats instead.

The benefits of wearing heels