To the ladies, telling them that there are more-than-you-could-count types of shoes is like repeating an old wives’ tale. But do you gentlemen out there know that there is more to shoes than just sneakers, Crocs, and classic black shoes? Fashionhance amazes you with the endless varieties of shoes designed for men as well as women.
Shoe Shopping the Right Way
The best time of the day to shop for shoes and ensure a proper fit is in the afternoon or later in the day; that’s when your feet are swollen the most.
Let us try and map the evolution of shoes with some really cool facts.
The first shoes ever designed were more than 4,000 years ago, for the protection of feet. Later, shoemakers from the Middle East added heels to shoes so that the foot could be lifted and protected from the scorching sand.
Until the nineteenth century, identical shoes were designed for both feet. In fact, the Europeans designed identical shoes for men as well as women until the eighteenth century! It was in Philadelphia that shoemakers made pioneering efforts in designing separate shoes for the left and right foot.
Shoes have come a long, long way ever since the first time they were worn by humans. Today, as bizarre as it may sound, the primary motive of shoes is far from protection of the feet. Heels are not just worn to protect the feet from the scorching ground. Nothing would spell ‘uncomfortable’ more than the same shoe for both the feet. And, it would be the scariest nightmare if women had to wear shoes that were designed for men!
It is more than true, that if you are dressed smart, and your hair is done perfectly, and if you have the right pair of shoes on, you can get away with anything. Shoes, especially, reveal a lot about the person wearing them – their personality, style, and attitude; and the quote – “Momma always says there’s an awful lot you could tell about a person by their shoes.”, from the movie Forrest Gump – sums it up just perfectly.
Shoes might not be the most important part of an outfit, but the wrong pair of shoes could just ruin your look. It is wrong, just plain wrong, to wear sneakers to a black tie event or stiletto heels to a picnic. This Fashionhance article tells you about the different kinds of shoes you can pick off the shoe rack, and also the right occasions to wear them to. A complete shoe guide, at your service.
Shoes. A word which can make most women go weak in the knees. Be they stilettos, ballerinas, block heels, boat shoes, cone heels, prism heels, wedges, kitten heels, spool heels, or mules, they will make you feel sexier, more confident than ever, and flatter your body shape like no other accessory can. Finding the right pair of shoes of just the right color, the right height, and the right make will send a rush of ecstasy through your veins, and make you feel like the most beautiful woman ever. Wear classic black stilettos to your workplace, and show them who’s the boss. Wear golden, shimmering stilettos to your friend’s bachelorette and steal the show. Put on your cutest ballerinas to the park and shine brighter than the sun. Make a power statement at the business power lunch with your sophisticated kitten heels. Shoes possess the power to change a woman’s world around. This is one invention that women can never thank the inventor enough for.
One word-cuteness. Ballerinas are a universal favorite among girls of all ages. Also known as ballet flats or Dolly shoes, ballerinas are a softer version of the ballet slipper, with a very thin heel or no heel at all.
From plain solid-colored ballet flats to cute ballerinas adorned with bows, ribbons, buckles, and prints, there is an endless variety available in these kinds of shoes. The reason why they are categorized as casual as well as semi-formal and formal is because based on their style or make, they can be worn to any occasion – to a movie, to the park, on a date, to office, to a lunch meeting, etc. Just make sure that the style of the shoe complements the dress code of the event you are going to.
Moccasins are designed in a way that the wearer’s feet are protected, but can still feel the ground beneath their feet. They are generally made out of deerskin or other soft leather. Available in a myriad colors and styles, moccasins are great shoes to wear on a day outing or to a coffee date with your girlfriends. Team them up with a cute pullover and basic white-washed pair of jeans, and you’re good to go.
Boat shoes are essentially moccasins with laces, and spell comfort and ease. Characterized by rubber soles that offer a strong grip over wet and slippery surfaces, these were originally designed to be worn on decks and boats. However, the style has now evolved and entered the fashion scene, where it can be worn by both men and women on a casual outing or for a semi-formal event.
Typically made out of leather and characterized by one or two straps across the instep of the shoe, Mary Janes have been around since the nineteenth century. These were originally worn with skirts of varied lengths over stockings or leggings. Although they aren’t as popular today as they were back then, Mary Janes are timeless classics which can be, and are still worn to weddings, ceremonies, and formal gatherings.
Sneakers are shoes that have a flexible sole made up of rubber or any other synthetic material. Though they were originally designed and categorized as sportswear, sneakers have graduated to be worn as casual footwear these days.
Converse, Skechers, Nike, Puma, and Adidas are some of the sneaker-producing giants. Available in various types, like high-tops, low-tops, mid-cut, high top CVO, and low-top CVO, there’s a pair out there for everyone. Be bold. Be cute. Match your outfit with your boyfriend by dressing up in a varsity sweatshirt, low-rise jeans, and a pair of complementary sneakers.
Who needs a description for these, and who doesn’t love wearing them. Feet turn to ‘happy feet’ when in flip flops. The design of flip flops is very simple, with just two straps running along the length of the foot in the shape of a ‘Y’.
These shoes are available in a variety of materials like rubber, plastic, suede, foam, and in hundreds of thousands of colors as well. Modern-day flip flops are available in contemporary designs depicting cartoons, musicians, country flags, etc. Pair them with a simple t-shirt and shorts, or a semi-formal checked shirt and a pair of jeans to set out in style.
Espadrilles mainly have a cotton or canvas fabric on the upper side and a flexible rubbery sole. The defining characteristic of an espadrille is the jute rope sole. Although categorized as casual footwear, espadrilles can be worn to semi-formal gatherings, like a beach party, or an evening out with friends. Team bright-colored espadrilles with neutral-shaded bottoms and pastel-shaded tops to fit in perfectly in an eased-out atmosphere.
Ladies don’t need to be told what these shoes are and can do for them; neither do men. In the picture dictionary of shoes, stilettos must have taken up the most amount of space. Available in the widest range of colors, materials, and styles, stilettos, when paired with any outfit, take it to another level (literally and figuratively!)
Heels that are cute, stylish, and comfortable. This is what describes wedges in the best possible way. What more could a girl ask for? Wedges are shoes that have a sole in the form of a wedge, which is thicker at the back than it is in the front.
Unlike stilettos, wedges are shoes with a fairly consistent platform that not only adds grace to a woman’s outfit, but also give her the much-needed comfort. Printed wedges, sneaker wedges, wedge strap-ons, and peep-toe wedges are some of the modern-day versions of this humble shoe. Wear nude wedges to office with your pin-striped suit or pencil skirt and stand tall, or wear those floral-printed wedges to the beach with your short summery number and rock the look.
A cone heel is a round heel that is broader at the point where it meets the sole of the shoe or sandal, and tapers down to become comparatively narrower at the point where it meets the ground. The heel gets its name from its appearance of an ice-cream cone. These heels complement knee-length dresses very well. Pair them with the formal outfit you wore to office during the day and watch them transform you into a partying diva.
Meet the fatter version of stiletto heels! Block heels are chunkier heels which are almost 2 inches in diameter and height. These shoes were very popular during the 70s, and have made a comeback with more style and elegance than ever. Wear them in nude shades to the office or shimmy in glittering block heels at your best girl’s birthday party. These are sure to make the boldest style statement ever.
Ankle Length Boots
Boots are not just limited to rock and biking outfits. There are kinds available in neutral shades of brown and gray that can be worn during the winters with a cute pullover and skinny jeans. A below-the-knee dress with a short cardigan is another look which can be completed with cute ankle-length boots.
Rock concerts – Band t-shirt. Check. Denim jacket. Check. Colored Hair. Check. Chunky Bracelets. Check. Black nail paint. Check. Tall leather boots. Completes the look neatly as ever.
Biking road trip. Bike oiled and tested. Check. Union Jack bandana. Check. Stylish aviators. Check. Solid-colored tank top. Check. Leather gloves. Check. Tall biking boots. Presenting, the most stylish bike-chick ever!
Color Block Heels
Color blocking is defined as wearing a combination of two solid colors in the same outfit. Color block shoes, inspired by this trend, are shoes that are designed in two or more solid contrasting colors, or in two or more shades that complement each other. These are new to the fashion world, and have stirred up quite a rage. Their popularity among teenagers and young women has been on the rise ever since their arrival.
T-strap shoes are shoes that have two horizontal straps across the lower and upper part of the foot connected by a strap. Women can choose from a range of t-strap shoes like t-strap wedges, t-strap flats, t-strap stilettos, t-strap pumps, etc.
The coolest trend on the block, strappy shoes make a woman’s legs feel and look sexier, hotter, or cuter, depending on the kind she is wearing. They give a particular definition to the legs, and gel amazingly well with dresses, suits, jeans, shorts, skirts, and anything and everything else you can think of!
Nothing beats a fun night out where you just let go and have fun like there is no tomorrow, except a pair of gorgeous metallic shoes! Light up the dance floor and shine brighter than the disco lights with these shoes; must-haves for every fun-loving girl.
Defined by a low-cut front, pumps are usually heeled shoes for women. Mostly made out of leather, a lot of variety is available in this category. Closed-toe pumps, pointy-toed pumps, open-toed pumps, and glitter pumps are some of the types.
Sandals are shoes that essentially leave a larger part of the upper foot exposed or open. Sandals may be heels or flats. In either case, a large variety is available for the fairer sex. Pretty sandals with heels can be worn to prom dates, dance events, weddings, and other formal parties. Pair your flat sandals with a cool tee and your favorite denims, and hit the movies looking stylish and feeling comfortable as well.
Bring them out in the summer and wear them with your florals or shorts to give your outfit that edge. Gladiator shoes are characterized by higher straps or laces (up to the ankles and sometimes mid-calf). Inspired by Roman fashion, gladiators have been around since ages and continue to do so by evolving in style.
Popular and in vogue ever since the 19th century without a break, ankle boots are a favorite among men as much as they are with women. Available with or without heels, ankle boots essentially come up to the ankles, and sometimes up to the lower part of the calf. These shoes can rock the formal as well as the semi-formal look for men. Wear them with semi-formal pants to get it right.
As the name suggests, biker boots can be worn when out on a biking road trip. These boots complement the rest of the biker-boy outfit that comprises leather jackets, leather pants, bandanas, and aviator glasses, extremely well. Although available in shades of brown and gray, black is a universal favorite and the most stylish of them all. Complement the look with a variety of add-ons like silver chain embellishments, buckles, belts, and laces.
Made from exotic animal (lizard, alligator, elephant, buffalo) skins, cowboy boots are available in two basic styles – classic and roper.
Classic cowboy boots are characterized by a Cuban heel that is almost rounded to pointed, no laces, and a tall boot shaft which normally extends up to the mid-length of the calf. ‘Roper’ style cowboy boots have a comparatively shorter boot shaft which extends above the ankle up to just before the middle of the calf. These boots might be laced too with a squared heel. Traditionally, these shoes are worn while riding.
Inspired from the humble crepe-soled suede boots, desert boots are normally ankle-length shoes. Available in different kinds of make, like leather and suede (suedes are generally preferred), these shoes can be worn on an outing with casual clothes like cotton shirts and cotton pants. Traditionally, these shoes are available in shades of light brown and beige, but can be ordered in customized colors as well.
Hitting the club tonight? Invited to a formal event? Dress boots seal the deal for you for all these occasions. The make of these leather boots is exactly similar to those of dress shoes, the only difference being that the upper part of the boot covers the ankles.
Hiking boots are generally worn during hiking, trekking, mountaineering, or climbing. These are specially designed to ensure safety and comfort of the wearer during such tedious, difficult, and treacherous climbs. These shoes are available in other varieties like mountaineering boots, trail hikers, and trail shoes.
Working boots are specifically designed shoes that can be worn to work in factories, mines, or other hazardous sites. But, not just restricted to outdoor activities, these shoes are available in various designs for the modern, metrosexual man to wear to the office as well.
Also known as deck shoes or topsiders, boat shoes are moccasins with laces, and are characterized by non-marking rubber soles. Originally designed to be worn on boats, the rubber soles provide the wearer with a strong grip over the wet and slippery surface of boats or decks. Not just limited to be worn on boats anymore, boat shoes have made a fashionable mark and are now a part of casual and semi-formal attire. Men wear them without socks and pair them with cotton trousers or knee-length shorts.
Loafers were ushered into the world of fashion by none other than the legendary Michael Jackson, and gained popularity when he used them as a trademark in almost all his performances.
Based on the design of a moccasin, loafers are slip-on shoes that originally were a part of casual attire, but have evolved to enter the formal fashion scene as well. Loafers are essentially lace-less and are available in various designs and myriad colors. Tassels or metal embellishments on the front part of the shoe give it a slight edge over the usual designs.
A slight twist to the design of loafers, with a low-rise heel, and essentially a formal counterpart of the casual loafer, penny loafers have been in vogue ever since the 1950s. American prep school students wishing to make a fashion statement, inserted a coin in the slit on loafers (a tradition still followed religiously by die-hard and dedicated fashionistas), brought the name penny loafers into existence.
Sandals are generally open-toed footwear designed in a way that the sole of the shoe is held to the foot by straps. These straps typically pass over the instep and around the ankle. Crocs, clogs, slippers, flip-flops, and mules are some of the types of sandals worn by men. They broadly fall under the casual category, but can sometimes be a part of a semi-formal outfit. These shoes leave most part of the front foot uncovered and exposed.
They do not require an introduction. This style of shoes has gained popularity not only in America, but all over the world. These are designed to have flexible soles made of rubber or any other synthetic material, and leather or canvas uppers. They are known by a variety of names around the world. Some of these include trainers, kicks, and runners. Sneakers are available in different types, like high-tops, low-tops, mid-cuts, and sneaker boots to name a few.
A y-shaped strap on the shoe that goes between the thumb and rest of the toes on either side of the shoe is what defines a thong (also known as slippers, flip-flops, or slappies). Worn mostly in casual situations, like at the beach, or for a casual stroll, thongs are available in designs that explicitly portray particular motifs which are inspired by stripes, music, travel, etc.
A brogue is a shoe or boot characterized by a low heel, multiple layers of leather on the upper part of the shoe, and delicate and decorative broguing or serration along the edges of the pieces that are sewn together. The kind of brogue shoes available for men are cap-toes, wingtips, Oxford shoes, Derby shoes, and Monk shoes. These are mostly leather dress shoes and are worn on formal occasions.
Derby shoes are brogues that differ from Oxfords in a way that the shoelace eyelets are sewn above the vamp of the shoe (also known as ‘open lacing’) instead of underneath it. Derby shoes are sometimes also known as Bluchers. Originally designed to be worn during hunting trips and excursions, this style later entered the formal fashion scene as well.
Wingtips (or full brogues) are shoes that have pointed toe caps with extensions or wings that continue along either sides of the toe and end near the ball of the foot. The top view of this shoe looks like a ‘W’ and makes it look like a bird that has wings, hence the name ‘wingtips’.
Oxford shoes are characterized by ‘closed lacing’, a method in which the shoelace eyelet tabs are stitched under the vamp of the shoe. These are made mostly from leather, but are available in different kinds of materials like suede, canvas, or calf leather as well.
Also known as Monk shoes, Monk strap-ons are laceless brogue shoes and are adorned by buckles or straps of various kinds. Their style is maintained to be less formal than Oxfords, but more than Derbys. Monks are mostly available in suede, but are custom-designed in leather as well.
Classic Dress Shoes
A man without a neat pair of classic dress shoes in his wardrobe needs to be thoroughly schooled about the ways of fashion. Classic dress shoes spell elegance, class, and style like no other footwear can. A crisp formal suit, a slick moussed hairstyle, and a pair of shiny, black, well-polished classic dress shoes will make you look like the gentleman every lady looks at and drools.
Formal pumps take a slight vintage take on classic dress shoes. These shoes are characterized by low-heels and can be worn to any black-tie event. These can be available in a variety of colors like oxblood, burgundy, chestnut, white, or the classic black. The pumps may be laceless or laced shoes.
Easy to wear, stylish to look at, and comfortable to don, classic slip-ons are all this and more. A combination of classic dress shoes and pumps, these shoes fall under the semi-formal and formal categories. Team these shoes with your formal outfit to stand out in the office and make a long-lasting impression, or wear them at a dinner date, these are sure to never fail you.
Like they say, you can never have enough of two things: friends and shoes. It’s a cliché, but a new pair of shoes are totally capable of changing your life (ask Cinderella if you don’t believe me!). Now that you are well-versed with the different kinds of shoes available, go ahead and buy yourself those event-appropriate shoes that are sure to lift up your spirit, raise your confidence levels, and make you feel like you can take on the world!