Shoe Dictionary: Heels

Heels are staples in every woman’s shoe closet. They add height, make the legs look longer and leaner, and give a touch of elegance and a sense of power. You may or may not realize that there are many types of heels. Check out our guide below to see some popular types of heels.

Shoe Dictionary: Heels | Shola Designs


These are long, thin heels named after the stiletto dagger. They are also called spiked heels. They are perfect to wear for formal gatherings. Stilettos are one of the tallest shoes around, with heels reaching up to eight inches. They can give you a confidence boost but can also give you quite a foot-ache.

Platforms are thick-soled shoes where the heels are always raised higher than the sole. The thick sole does not have to cover the entire length of the shoe. They are easier to walk in than stilettos. Platforms are best worn with classy dresses and fitted suits.

These are low-cut heels, often with a rounded toe. Pumps are usually just two to three inches high. They are the ‘Little Black Dress’ kind of footwear. Pumps go with any outfit of your choice.

Mary Jane Pumps
These pumps have a single buckle strap across the instep. The name comes from the shoes worn by Mary Jane, a character from the Buster Brown comic strip that first appeared in the New York Herald in 1902. They go well with casual, dressy, and corporate clothing.

D’Orsay Pumps
These are high-heeled shoes where the inside, or both sides, is cut out, revealing the arch of the foot. Pairing D’Orsay pumps with skinny pants will give you a polished look.

Kitten Heels
These are curvy heels that are just about one to two inches in height. Some dub it as ‘young girl’s stilettos.’ They cater to women who want a seamless blend of style and comfort. Kitten heels look impeccable for professional occasions and even casual outings.

Wedge heels are shoes with triangular soles that function as both the heel and the shoe sole. They offer more arch support making them some of the most comfortable heels around. Wear them with sporty dresses. 

Peep Toes
These are a type of heels where the tip of the shoe is cut away, exposing the toes. They are more revealing than closed-toe heels and offer more versatility. (See Fashion rules for peep-toe shoes.)

Heeled Boots
These are boots with usually tall heels. They instantly add an element of danger to any outfit.

Sling Back Heels
These are high heels with a strap that crosses and hooks towards the back of the heel. These shoes allow you to walk around in style while offering stability. Sling back heels go great with midi dresses and flared skirts.

Ankle Strap Heels
These heels have a strap around the ankle. Similar to sling backs, ankle strap heels also give you stability and support. You can rock them with a dressy shirt and denims.

T-strap Heels
These have straps that form a T-shape on top of the foot when worn. T-strap heels are the perfect departure from your basic pumps.

Strappy Heels
These are heels that have many fastenings across the feet. They give you a very feminine vibe. Strappy heels are usually worn with jeans and dresses.

Blocked Heels
Inspired by the retro fashion, blocked heels are thicker and chunkier than your usual heels. The wide base is typically square. Pair them with shorts or culottes. 

These are heeled back-less shoes. Mules enjoyed popularity during the 90s and are slowly making a making. They are often closed toes and the heel height can be tall or short.

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