We all know that heels are an essential part of a women’s wardrobe. They provide that extra feminine and hot aura to any outfit, from casual to formal, and in combination with all types of clothing. Platform shoes, heeled boots, and shoes of high heels are the universe of elevated footwear; in this guide, we will focus on the latter one, while the others will be covered separately.
Here we will cover the most popular heels and some of their vintage designs. This will help you distinguish more clearly older models from modern ones, while also opening up new possibilities for you to shop online.
In our footwear reviews, we dig deeper into that.
Finally, remember to check out our outfits section, where great combinations of skirts, tops, and much more apparel featuring these heels are provided to you.
You will be a heels expert in no time!
—Follow us on social media!—
In general, the pumps (also known as court shoes) are both men’s and women’s shoes, that are flat in the masculine case and usually heeled in the feminine.
The different types of heels are characterized by the tips, height, and the heels themselves, but these traits vary depending on the era it was designed. Pumps have been evolving for hundreds of years, however, the design we have seen in the past decades and today was introduced in the 1950s
This design is known for its wide tips and heels, low to middle height (below 1.5″), and round cut toes. Wearing pumps will accentuate your calves and the shape of your foot while making your legs appear longer.
Also, pumps (generally made of satin) are very versatile as are both casual and formal, with endless colours available.
Newer models tend to be open and with bright colours (except those from the disco fashion), while vintage models are more opaque and are occasionally strapped.
Stilettos are Italian originals, and just like pumps, were introduced before the XX century but became part of the mainstream in the 1950s, when Hollywood adopt them as a staple in feminine beauty.
The stilettos design is different from that of pumps; the name “stiletto” comes from the Italian word “stilo”, which is a short dagger with a tapering blade used for elegance, thus, the Stilettos resemble a dagger by having a thin and high heel (from 1.5″ up to and over 4″). Stilettos can be covered or strapped.
Another difference from pumps is that stilettos are usually made out of leather (hence why boots with stiletto heels are very common too) with a reinforced metal on the heel, and due to the naturally elegant design these have, they are worn primarily for formal events and occasionally with semi-formal outfits.
By wearing Stilettos you will look higher and your legs longer and thinner. Your bust and butt will be pushed up and look more firm.
Finally, vintage models in the 50s were usually tall, open, and fully black or white. By the end of the century, stilettos were given a more glamorous twist with numerous new designs and more intense tones of colours such as red or pink.
T-Straps are shoes that have a strap on the upper part extending backward and that joins with another strap that crosses it perpendicularly, that is, a shoe with a set of straps forming a T. T-Straps can be both pumps or stilettos.
During the 1920s and 30s low heeled T-Strap pumps were very popular with their characteristic wide and squared base.
Over the next decades, T-Straps would start to transition more to the stiletto, as the strap and the base got thinner and taller.
T-Straps are widely known for their delicate look, as well as for their comfort and feet security; they are ideal for a night out dancing.
The overall hasn’t changed that much over the years, however, when shopping for newer models you may come across T-straps with 3 or more straps or others filled with ornaments and exotic cuts.
Casual outfits with trousers, jeans, and skirts are the preferred choice when wearing T-Straps.
Another widely popular heeled shoe known for the way it ties (rather than the shoe shape) is the ankle strap heel or ankle straps.
Just like the T-straps, the ankle straps come with a series of straps, but unlike the former one, ankle straps tie around the ankle and in very different ways.
Nowadays in your ankle straps, you may find wide or thin straps, double or triple, and straps that go below or around your feet, while back in the day (during the 50s they reached a popularity peak) single-thin straps with low heels were the only ones commercialized.
It takes some time to get used to them but once you do they are among some of the most comfortable heels to wear.
In terms of your looks, high heeled ankle straps are especially flattering for tall girls but rather unflattering if you are short. This is because ankle straps shorten the size of your legs and make them look stumpy. Still, this not always true and some short girls look great on them… try them out to see if they are for you!
A stiletto that breaks the mold and has a shorter heel (shorter than 1.5″) is known as a kitten heel.
Kitten heels started to become mainstream at the start of the 60s, primarily among teenage girls who wanted to look more feminine and mature but didn’t (or in many cases weren’t allowed) to wear the sexy/high-heeled stilettos. Eventually, due to their comfort and attractive design, mature women started wearing them too.
Although not as glamorous as the higher stilettos, kitten heels still have a feminine vibe to them, with a slight touch of innocence. Still, as with other heels, it may take some time for you to get used to walking with them, but on a positive note, by doing so your calves will develop.
Kitten heels are ideal for casual occasions, for example with long skirts or ankle-level trousers, but also in formal environments with the pencil skirt.
In vintage designs plain colours and the toe covered are a staple, however, in a modern design, you can find straps, belts, ornaments, and exotic colours.
As a side note, their twin platform shoe is the wedge heel, which we will cover in more detail in the future.
Mules are shoes known for not having any constraints around the foot’s heel (similar to slippers).
The heeled version varies greatly as you can have mule kittens, stilettos, wedge-heeled mules, wide mules, and more. Still, heeled mules as we know them today were introduced at the beginning of the past century, although the mules themselves date as back as the 15th century.
Very old vintage mules tend to be lower-heeled, leather made, and with a basic cover. As the years passed the heel height gradually increased, synthetic materials were incorporated, and more diverse covers with ornaments were eventually added.
From the 50s and onwards the diversity in heeled mules is incredible, if you wish to experiment a little bit with heels, mules are a great alternative, just remember that these are casual or semi-formal shoes (less formal than pumps and stilettos).
As a final note, use heeled mules with discretion. Although they may seem comfier than other shoes, the heel, in combination with the lack of support on the back, makes you prone to developing hammertoes or spraining.
Flared Heels are also one of the primary heels exposed above (Pumps, Stilettos) since the main trait that distinguishes these is the shape of the heel’s base, which has a curved and thick design that increases the surface contact area, thus providing better support.
These type of heels are ideal when you are starting to learn how to walk with heels, or if you are learning how to dance with heels. But don’t worry, even if you don’t fall into these categories you can still wear flared heels fashionably as they look great with long skirts, pants, and dresses.
The 60s and 70s fashion go especially well with flared heels where the base is wider. The opposite case (thinner base) can also appeal to that era, however, these have a modern look to them that looks charming with nowadays apparel.
Don’t forget… ALL girls look beautiful with heels
The heeled shoes presented here are the most common and endless different outfits from all decades that will match with them. In our heels review, we give some cool models to buy online.
This is not the last post in which we will cover heels, so stay tuned for more information coming your way.
As a final note, we would like to remind you that your health always comes first; wearing heels affect your body in numerous ways and may potentially be dangerous if recommendations are not followed. Be sure to check out what the experts recommend about heel wearing.
Use your heels safely and remember that you will look amazing in them 🙂
Please leave your comments and suggestions down below as we love hearing from you!