Women’s Guide to Heels

Women's Guide To Heels

In this guide:

Heels have been a staple of women’s wardrobes for decades. And for good reason. Wearing a good pair of heels offers lots of benefits, such as making your legs look longer and adding a touch of polish, class and sophistication to your outfit.

But when it comes to choosing the right heel to compliment your look, the variety of options can be a little overwhelming.

From the right height and width to the shape of the heel matching your dress, there’s plenty to consider when investing in a pair of women’s heels. In this guide, we’ll help you understand the different types of women’s heels available so you can find the best heel style for you.

Different Types of Heels: A Guide

Different types of women’s heels

There are so many different types of women’s heels to choose from that it can be a bit of a terrifying prospect. Before you decide which is best for you, it’s important to understand the difference between each type of women’s heel.

Stiletto Heel

Stiletto Heel

Classic and timeless, the stiletto is the most popular women’s heel style with a thin, tapering heel that gets thinner as it reaches the floor.

Stiletto heels can range from one inch to a sky-scraping seven or eight inches. Stiletto heels that are taller than three inches may be a little more difficult to walk in at first, and are usually reserved for more dressy occasions, like evenings out or a fancy dinner.

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.

Block heel

A block heel is a heel style trend that’s here to stay. Featuring a heel that’s far chunkier than a stiletto, it offers a more practical option for everyday wear.

The style is a marriage between the 70s’ hippy platforms and the chunky shoes of the 90s, offering extra support and a more even distribution of weight. Block heels are generally easier to walk in than slimmer heels.

Ranging from a low square heel on a flat shoe, perfect for a day in the office, to a fashionable cylindrical heel for a night out, you’re sure to find a block heel to suit every look.

Block Heel
Kitten Heel

Kitten Heel

Kitten heels are the lowest of the women’s heel styles and are much easier to walk in than stilettos – ideal for those not as used to heels.

The style was popularised by Audrey Hepburn and other silver screen Queens, but they started life as a look for teenagers and younger ladies who were deemed not quite ready for more grown up higher heels.

Even today, kitten heels are synonymous with sophistication and elegance.

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Stacked Heel

Stacked heels usually come in the shape of a chunkier block heel, but they can also be wedges or stilettos.

This heel style gives the illusion of layers of material stacked up to create a heel and can add a nice textured look to a simpler outfit.

Stacked Heel
Tapered/cone heel

Tapered/cone heel

Exactly as it says on the tin, the cone heel is a triangular shape which can be flat on one side, or even slightly curved, much like the shape of an ice cream cone.

Like with the block heel, but with a quirkier appearance, this style of women’s heel offers extra support, making them more suitable to be worn all day – perfect for work.

Wedge Heel Shoes

Wedge heels are a great alternative to a stiletto as they’re easier to walk in and comfier to wear. If you’re planning on wearing heels for any length of time, a wedge heel is perfect.

Wedge shoes can appear a little chunky, but when worn with flowing maxi skirts or dresses, they can create a relaxed, boho style that is ideal for summer.

While stilettos might get caught in the fabric of a full-length skirt or dress, this isn’t a problem with wedges.

Wedge Heels
Platform heel

Platform Heel

A platform might not technically be a heel, but this sole type makes all the difference if you want to be a few inches taller.

Whether you prefer a platform with a chunky heel or a stiletto heel, the extra cushioning of a platform offers more comfort and makes the shoe easier to walk in.

Are Heels Comfortable?

Are Heels Comfortable

When you buy any shoes, not just heels, it is important to make sure they are well made and fit right to ensure maximum comfort and protection for your feet.

High heels might be fashionable, but if they aren’t supportive enough, they can make walking difficult and even lead to pain in your feet and back after use.

Be sure to always try your new heels on and walk around in them before wearing them out and about for the first time. Remember, the right heels can be comfortable as long as you choose the right size and style for you.

Heel Height Guide

Heel Height Guide

As well as the style of the heel you choose, the height of heels will also affect the comfort and fit of your shoe. The average heel height is around 3 inches, but the best heel height for you will depend on what you find comfortable.

2 inch Heels

Two-inch Heels

A heel this low won’t leave the balls of your feet aching if you’re on your feet all day. Cute kitten heels can look great with a vintage inspired outfit, while a sling back or pointed toe style will add interest to your look.

2 inch Heels

Three-inch Heels

The classic heel height. Both elegant and comfortable, you can wear them to the office all day or after work for a night out. Any higher and you may run the risk of your shoes being uncomfortable after only a few hours.

4 inch Heels

Four-inch Heels

The typical height for most shoes that are ‘party’ or ‘evening wear’ appropriate. If you’re new to heels, you might want to break in shoes with this heel height a day or two before you wear them. Practice walking round the house in them or risk looking like Bambi at the next party!

4 inch plus Heels

Five-inch-plus Heels

Whilst sky-scraping heels may look amazing, novice heel wearers may find them tricky to walk in. A platform at the front might make the shoe slightly easier to wear, but heels of this height take some getting used to – it’s worth having a bit of practice before you head out.

How to Choose Heels That Suit Your Body Type

How to choose the right heels to suit your body type

It goes without saying that you should wear whatever you want and feel fabulous along the way. But if you are looking for something that will make you feel less self-conscious, choosing the right heel can have lots of benefits, including:

  • For elegant, supermodel-length legs, pointed toe shoes draw the eye downwards making your legs look longer.
  • Nude shoes will also create the illusion of longer legs.
  • If you have wider ankles or shorter legs, avoid heels with ankle straps as they can make the legs look shorter than they are. A sling back might be a better option.
  • Round toed shoes are more comfortable and flattering on a wider foot. They tend to have more room at the front than pointed heels, which may feel too tight and uncomfortable.

Can I adjust my heel height?

Heel height can be adjusted if needed, but usually only by a few millimetres. If high heels are adjusted too much, or incorrectly, it will damage the shoes and make it difficult to walk.

Reducing the height of a heel yourself can cause problems. It can cause ‘kick under’ which is when the heel folds under the shoes slightly, so it’s best to take your shoes to a professional cobbler.

How Can

How can I get better at wearing heels?

When it comes to wearing heels, practice really does make perfect. You will soon figure out what heel height and shape works best for you.

Don’t be afraid to wear your heels around the house for a few days to ensure you feel fully confident when you do head out into the world.

If you’re wondering how to choose the best style and fit in other shoes, check out the rest of our Shoe Zone guideswhich will answer all your questions on size, seasonal trends and shoe maintenance.

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