16 Types of Shoes for Women

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Shoes are a woman’s best friend. They’re the finishing touch to any outfit, making or breaking the look. But with so many styles to choose from, it can be difficult to know what’s right for you, and what the difference is between them.

From stilettos to sneakers, mules to mary janes, there’s a shoe for every occasion. With the right pair of kicks, a woman can take on the world, so choose wisely and embrace your personal style.

In this article, I’ll go over 16 of the most popular types of shoes for women and look at what makes them unique. I’ll also show you examples and touch on where to get them.


Contents

16 Types of Shoes for Women

Here is a (non-exhastive) list of the most popular types of shoes for women. Note that we’re talking shoes, not boots! Let’s dive in.

1. Sneakers

Photo by Athena, Pexels

When you are talking about casual comfort, nothing beats a pair of sneakers. Sneakers can come in different styles, from a flatter more court-style shoe to running shoes, often called trainers.

They can be lace-up or slip-on. And while sneakers are flat-soled, some have a thicker or more wedged sole than others.

The upper can be made of leather, canvas, or synthetic material.

Originally designed for different types of sporting activities, sneakers today are worn just as much, if not more, for fashion as they are for playing sports. They can look great with workout gear, cargo pants, jeans, long skirts and more!

Here are some of the more popular sneakers available:

Sale
ASICS Women's Gel-Contend 7 Running Shoes, 8.5, Sheet Rock/Pink Salt
ASICS Women's Gel-Contend 7 Running Shoes, 8.5, Sheet Rock/Pink Salt
GEL Technology: Cushioning provides excellent shock absorption; Engineered mesh upper improves airflow:
$47.00 Amazon Prime
Keds Kickback Canvas Slip on, Sneaker Womens, White, 9 Medium
Keds Kickback Canvas Slip on, Sneaker Womens, White, 9 Medium
Slip-on sneaker with laces; Lace-to-toe upper with internal stretch gores and pull tabs for easy on-and-offs
$59.95 Amazon Prime

2. Pumps

A pump is a closed-toe shoe with an open vamp (top of the shoe) that encloses the toe and wraps around the heel.

Pumps can have varying heel heights from 2 inches upward. Pumps can also have different types of heels from block, stiletto, and cone heels to spool, comma, and flare heels.

Think you know your heels? Check out our article: Different Types of Heels for Women’s Shoes – The Ultimate Guide


3. Kitten Pumps / Kitten Heels

Photo by cottonbro studio, Pexels

Kitten pumps are a pump with a heel height of less than 2 inches.

Kitten heels are basically any type of shoe with a slender heel with a height of less than 2 inches. They’re not as intense as stiletto heels, but can still look amazing with an evening dress.

Sale
Greatonu Women's Cross Strap Slip On Kitten Heeled Square toe heels Sandals Brown Size 5.5
Greatonu Women's Cross Strap Slip On Kitten Heeled Square toe heels Sandals Brown Size 5.5
The kitten heel sandals heel measures approximately 2.5 inches
$29.99 Amazon Prime
Greatonu Womens Slingback Dress Pump Faux Suede Pointed Toe 2 Inches Low Kitten Heel Shoes Light Blue Size 9
Greatonu Womens Slingback Dress Pump Faux Suede Pointed Toe 2 Inches Low Kitten Heel Shoes Light Blue Size 9
Measurement : Heel height: 2.5" Platform height: 0.25"; Kitten heels: classic sexy kitten heels is best for dressy
$39.99 Amazon Prime
DREAM PAIRS Women’s Clear Heels Square Toe High Stiletto Mules Slip on Wedding Dress Heel Sandals,Size 8.5,Nude Clear-low,DHS215-1
DREAM PAIRS Women’s Clear Heels Square Toe High Stiletto Mules Slip on Wedding Dress Heel Sandals,Size 8.5,Nude Clear-low,DHS215-1
2.6-Inch Heel: The transparent heel is stylish & gives a comfortable boost of height.; Rubber Outsole: Slip-resistant outsole provides stability & traction when walking.
$39.99 Amazon Prime
DREAM PAIRS Women's Fiona Nude Nubuck Fashion Stilettos Open Toe Pump Heeled Sandals Size 5 B(M) US
DREAM PAIRS Women's Fiona Nude Nubuck Fashion Stilettos Open Toe Pump Heeled Sandals Size 5 B(M) US
Specially designed in USA--the one choice for all purposes.; Adjustable ankle strap and quality zipper provide better fitness and heel support.
$40.99 Amazon Prime

4. D’Orsay Pumps

Photo by Ray Piedra, Pexels

The characteristic feature of a d’Orsay Pump is the cut-out side which reveals the arch of your foot. One or both sides may be cut out.

D’Orsay pumps can come in a variety of heel heights.

Franco Sarto Womens Trix Pump Melon Floral 9 M
Franco Sarto Womens Trix Pump Melon Floral 9 M
Fabric upper; Eco-conscious linings with soft + sustainable comfort; Padded fototbed; 2.75 inch angular sculpted heel
Sale
LifeStride Womens Saldana Black Multi Pumps 5 M
LifeStride Womens Saldana Black Multi Pumps 5 M
Available in Medium and Wide Widths; Flexible outsole
$41.04 Amazon Prime
XYD Women D'Orsay Low & High Heels Comfortable Slip-on Closed Pointed Toe Sexy Pumps Casual Office Professional Shoes Size 4 Butterfly-Patent 2.5'
XYD Women D'Orsay Low & High Heels Comfortable Slip-on Closed Pointed Toe Sexy Pumps Casual Office Professional Shoes Size 4 Butterfly-Patent 2.5"
SUITABLE OCCASION: Office, party, casual, work, dress and wedding.; VEGAN MATERIALS: Synthetic leather.
$79.79
Calvin Klein Women's Gloria Pump, Black Leather 967, 8.5
Calvin Klein Women's Gloria Pump, Black Leather 967, 8.5
Poitned Toe; Slip on Closure; Imported
$60.18 Amazon Prime

5. Sandals

Photo by Ron Lach, Pexels

A sandal consists of a sole secured to the foot by straps over the instep, toes, or ankle. There are a lot of different types of sandals out there. From double strap and T-strap, from Tory Burch-style to straps that criss-cross across the top of the foot are among some of the variations.

Sandals can either be flat or have a heel and can be anywhere from super casual to formal, depending on the sandal.

Herstyle Womens Monday Open Toes One Band Ankle Strap Flat Sandals, Tan, Size 8.0
Herstyle Womens Monday Open Toes One Band Ankle Strap Flat Sandals, Tan, Size 8.0
Two-piece flat sandal; Slingback ankle strap with adjustable buckle closure; Lightweight and flexible outsole
$21.99 Amazon Prime
Sale
LifeStride Womens Yaya Wedge Sandal, Black, 5 US
LifeStride Womens Yaya Wedge Sandal, Black, 5 US
Fabric upper with an open toe, heel sling strap, and crisscrossing strap detailing; Soft System comfort package provides all-day support, flex, and cushioning.
$44.99 Amazon Prime
Sale
Naturalizer Womens Vanessa2 Rhinestone Embellished Strappy Heeled Sandal ,White Satin ,9M
Naturalizer Womens Vanessa2 Rhinestone Embellished Strappy Heeled Sandal ,White Satin ,9M
All-day comfortable womens crystal embellished dress heeled sandals with slingback strap; Leather or fabric upper with an open toe women's shoes
$99.95 Amazon Prime
MixATB Women's Low Chunky Block Heel Ankle Strap Dress Sandals for Women
MixATB Women's Low Chunky Block Heel Ankle Strap Dress Sandals for Women
DRESSY & FASHION BLOCK CHUNKY MID HEELS: Heel height approximately 6.5cm/2.5 inches; A brush or toothbrush easily cleans dust and lint from the suede surface.

6. Mules

Photo by Lexie Barnhorn on Unsplash

Mules are not only super easy to wear, but also very versatile and can be worn with a variety of outfits. They look great with rompers, and stunning with a pencil skirt, for example!

Their backless design makes them easy to slip in and out of, and give your feet a little room to breathe while still looking fashion forward.

Mules come in all sorts of styles, from flats and wedges to platforms and heels. The open-toed versions are sometimes called sliders.


7. Slingbacks

Photo by Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

Slingbacks are characterized by a strap that wraps around the back of the heel instead of a full heel covering.

Slingbacks are versatile enough to be worn for both casual and more formal occasions and will add an elegant touch to any outfit.

Amazon Essentials Women's Pointed-Toe Sling Back Flat, Tan, 5
Amazon Essentials Women's Pointed-Toe Sling Back Flat, Tan, 5
DETAILS: 1/4 inch heel with non-slip sole.
Franco Sarto Women's Racer Slingback Pump, Peach, 5
Franco Sarto Women's Racer Slingback Pump, Peach, 5
Eco-conscious linings with soft + sustainable comfort; Heel sling strap with adjustable buckle closure
Stuart Weitzman Mondrian 50 Slingback Black/Flannel 8 B
Stuart Weitzman Mondrian 50 Slingback Black/Flannel 8 B
Strappy leather upper.; Comfort leather lining and insole.; Easy slip-on style with a stretchy slingback strap for flexibility.
$194.40 Amazon Prime
NINE WEST Women's HEAT3 Heeled Sandal, White, 7
NINE WEST Women's HEAT3 Heeled Sandal, White, 7
Pointed Toe; Buckle closure; Imported; Translucent detailing

8. Ballet Flats

As you may have guessed by the name, ballet flats are inspired by the shoes worn by ballerinas. With a closed and rounded toe, ballerina flats have a thin, flexible sole.

And although they can sometimes have a smidgen of a block heel, most ballet flats have no heel at all. They can go with many outfits, including jeans, midi skirts, etc.

Sale
Amazon Essentials Women's Pointed-Toe Ballet Flat, Navy, 8
Amazon Essentials Women's Pointed-Toe Ballet Flat, Navy, 8
DETAILS: 1/4 inch heel with a flexible non-slip sole.
$19.90 Amazon Prime
Sale
Amazon Essentials Women's Belice Ballet Flat, Black Faux Leather, 11
Amazon Essentials Women's Belice Ballet Flat, Black Faux Leather, 11
STYLE: These ballet flats have a stylish round toe and a modern upper design.; DETAILS: 1/4 inch heel with a flexible non-slip sole.
$19.90 Amazon Prime
Ollio Women's Ballet Shoes Cute Casual Comfort Flats ZM1987 (6 B(M) US, Orange)
Ollio Women's Ballet Shoes Cute Casual Comfort Flats ZM1987 (6 B(M) US, Orange)
Manmade Material : Faux Suede; Comfort Shoes; Heel height: 0.3"; Origin: Made in China

9. Mary Janes

Mary Janes, like ballet flats, have a closed rounded toe. They also have a low cut and rounded upper. But that’s where the similarities end.

Mary Janes are a much more structured shoe with a more rigid sole than ballet flats. What makes a Mary Jane a Mary Jane is the single strap that goes over the top of the foot.

What makes a Mary Jane a Mary Jane is the single strap that goes over the top of the foot.

The classic black patent Mary Janes are more suited to younger girls. There are, however more “grown up”, contemporary versions of Mary Janes that either have a little chunk to them or have a bit of a heel so they don’t look so much like they’re part of a private middle school girl uniform.

They can look amazing with a maxi dress.


10. Gladiators

Photo by N B on Unsplash

Inspired by the ancient shoes worn by Roman and Greek gladiators during battles, gladiators are a flat sandal with several wide cross straps holding the sole to the foot, with one wide strap around the ankle.

Gladiators started out as a utilitarian shoe, being a tough sole, strapped to the foot to prevent injury. But they have evolved to include heeled versions and can range in height from the ankle to the knee.

By definition, they are a type of sandal, but Gladiators are often characterized by a central, vertical strap that goes along the top of the foot to which the side straps are fastened.

MUDAN Womens Buckle Zip Thong Gladiator Sandal (9 B(M) US, Chestnut)
MUDAN Womens Buckle Zip Thong Gladiator Sandal (9 B(M) US, Chestnut)
Man-made Material,Rubber Sole; buckle zip thong flat sandal featuring slingback strap; Cute open toe sandals for women,Lightweight and Comfortable Shoes
$33.99 Amazon Prime
Rockport Women's Briah Gladiator Wedge Sandal, Black Leather, 5 M US
Rockport Women's Briah Gladiator Wedge Sandal, Black Leather, 5 M US
Heel Height; 2.7 inches; SUPPORTIVE OUTSOLE: TPR outsole increases overall support and stability
$89.99 Amazon Prime
Allegra K Women's Cage Strappy Gladiators Chunky Heels Gold Sandals - 5 M US
Allegra K Women's Cage Strappy Gladiators Chunky Heels Gold Sandals - 5 M US
Vamp: PU; Outsole: Rubber; Heel: ABS; Roman Heels, Strappy, Chunky Heel, Back Zipper; Finished with a slightly padded insole, zipper closure for easy to wear
$33.99 Amazon Prime

11. Oxfords

Photo by Godisable Jacob, Pexels

Oxfords refer to a more formal, closed-toe dress shoe with laces, or more specifically, closed laces.

The defining feature of the Oxford is the eyelet tabs that are stitched underneath the vamp, or top of the shoe. Oxfords often include broguing, which is the decorative perforations on the leather of the shoe, along the visible edges.

Mona flying Women's Leather Perforated Lace-up Oxfords Brogue Wingtip Derby Shoes Brown Size 9
Mona flying Women's Leather Perforated Lace-up Oxfords Brogue Wingtip Derby Shoes Brown Size 9
Vamp: Luxurious Sheepskin Upper; Lining: Soft Breathable Leather; Leather-covered Latex Insole: Non-removable, Supporting Every Step with Comfort
$128.00 Amazon Prime
Odema Women's Lace-Up Chunky Oxfords Classic Mid-Heel Formal Dress Shoes T-Strap Heels for Women Black/White
Odema Women's Lace-Up Chunky Oxfords Classic Mid-Heel Formal Dress Shoes T-Strap Heels for Women Black/White
Features 2: As is known to all, women are very confident and charm with chunky high heels.
$35.99 Amazon Prime

12. Derby Shoes

Photo by Godisable Jacob, Pexels

Derby shoes are very similar to Oxford shoes, and also often include broguing, but the difference is in the lacing system.

Unlike Oxfords, Derbies feature open-lacing, or in other words, the side tabs where the shoelace eyelets are punctured, are stitched on top of the vamp, instead of underneath. Derby shoes are quite often mislabeled as Oxfords.

Both Oxfords and Derby shoes add a quirkiness to dresses and skirts by adding a little bit of a masculine element to something feminine.

Clarks Women's Raisie Bloom Oxford, Black Leather, 7 M US
Clarks Women's Raisie Bloom Oxford, Black Leather, 7 M US
Heel Height 1.1 inches; Ortholite footbed; Cushion Soft technology
Dr. Martens Unisex 1461 Oxford,Cherry Red,4 F(M) UK / 5 D(M) US Men's/ 6 B(M) US Women's
Dr. Martens Unisex 1461 Oxford,Cherry Red,4 F(M) UK / 5 D(M) US Men's/ 6 B(M) US Women's
Goodyear welted; Z welt stitch and heat sealing process
$162.56
Chase & Chloe Dora-5 Two Tone Lace Up Low Heel Women's Oxford (6,Cognac/Navy Pu)
Chase & Chloe Dora-5 Two Tone Lace Up Low Heel Women's Oxford (6,Cognac/Navy Pu)
Approx. 2.75" Block Heel; Lace-Up Oxford, Closed Round Toe; Women's Heeled Oxford; Imported

13. Loafers

Photo by Lisa Fotios, Pexels

Loafers are a slip-on shoe without laces and a low, block heel. They can either be worn with casual attire or for more dressy/professional occasions, depending on the style.

Generally, the sole of a loafer is made of leather and is separate from the rest of the shoe. Loafers are usually constructed with a wide tongue across the vamp (top of the shoe), known as a saddle.

Loafers are among the most comfortable shoes, which makes them great for almost all occasions, especially if you have to be on your feet for long periods of time.

Franco Sarto Womens Harper Slip On Loafer Multi Brown 9.5 M
Franco Sarto Womens Harper Slip On Loafer Multi Brown 9.5 M
Faux leather partially made from recycled materials; Eco-conscious linings with soft + sustainable comfort
Franco Sarto Women's Bocca Slip-On Loafer, Sienna, 5.5 M
Franco Sarto Women's Bocca Slip-On Loafer, Sienna, 5.5 M
Leather, crinkle patent or faux leather upper made from recycled materials.; Eco-conscious linings with soft + sustainable comfort.
Sale
Dr. Scholl's Shoes Women's Webster Loafer, Black, 8.5 Wide US
Dr. Scholl's Shoes Women's Webster Loafer, Black, 8.5 Wide US
Materials: faux leather with soft, feel-good linings; Fit: slip-on fit with faux leather back pull tab
$54.99 Amazon Prime

14. Clogs

Photo by Helena Jankovičová Kováčová, Pexels

The iconic footwear of the Netherlands were the shoes of choice for Dutch laborers. Because they were naturally water-resistant, clogs protected feet in the wet Dutch climate and enabled their wearer to easily move across waterlogged ground.

Clogs nowadays are rarely made solely of wood. But the versions with leather, suede, and even synthetic uppers still maintain the recognizable chunky silhouette.

Clogs are a casual shoe that can have an open or closed heel. Clogs will often feature a strip of material stitched to the opening of the shoe for extra comfort.

Dr. Scholl's Womens Wake Up Clog Clog Black Synthetic 7 M
Dr. Scholl's Womens Wake Up Clog Clog Black Synthetic 7 M
MATERIALS: Faux leather with soft, feel-good linings.; FIT: Slip-on fit for easy on/off.; Water Resistance Level: Not Water Resistant
Skechers Women's Easy Going-Latte-Twin Gore Slip-on Open Back Mule, Black, 9
Skechers Women's Easy Going-Latte-Twin Gore Slip-on Open Back Mule, Black, 9
Relaxed Fit design for a roomy comfortable fit; Air-Cooled Memory Foam cushioned comfort insole
$67.95 Amazon Prime
Sale
Dr. Scholl's Shoes Women's Classic Clog, Honey, 7.5
Dr. Scholl's Shoes Women's Classic Clog, Honey, 7.5
MATERIALS: Faux leather; FIT: Slip-on fit with inside stretch gore for easy on/off; SUSTAINABLE COMFORT: Insole Technology with anatomical cushioning, comfort & support
$39.99

15. Espadrilles

Photo by Apostolos Vamvouras, Pexels

Espadrilles have a sole made of Jute or a fiber, rope-like natural material, often with a canvas upper.

Espadrilles can be flat, platform or have a wedge heel and be closed-toe or peep-toe. The sole is protected with rubber.

They provide great arch support which makes them super comfortable to wear, and they can look great with an anklet.

Sale
Dr. Scholl's Shoes Women's Sunray Espadrilles Loafer, Black, 8
Dr. Scholl's Shoes Women's Sunray Espadrilles Loafer, Black, 8
FIT: Slip on espadrille flats with inside stretch gore for easy on/off; SUSTAINABLE COMFORT: Insole Technology with anatomical cushioning, comfort & support
$59.90 Amazon Prime
CUSHIONAIRE Women's Mandy Cork Espadrille Wedge Sandal, White 6.5 W
CUSHIONAIRE Women's Mandy Cork Espadrille Wedge Sandal, White 6.5 W
Soft Stretch Gore Upper; Slip-on Wear; Cushioned Comfort Insole; Rope Midsole / Traction Outsole
$39.99 Amazon Prime
Soda Topic Open Toe Buckle Ankle Strap Espadrilles Flatform Wedge Casual Sandal (5.5, D-MINT NBPU, numeric_5_point_5)
Soda Topic Open Toe Buckle Ankle Strap Espadrilles Flatform Wedge Casual Sandal (5.5, D-MINT NBPU, numeric_5_point_5)
Man-Made Synthetic; Single wide foot strap; Adjustable buckle ankle strap; Woven espadrille outsole; White rubber tread sole
$39.95 Amazon Prime

16. Cutouts

Cutouts basically look like they were ankle boots or a pair of shoes that have had material cut out of them.

They tend to have a lot more material covering the foot than a normal sandal or pump and they often wrap around the ankle. Cutouts can come in a variety of styles and heel heights. They can look great with lots of outfits, but can really stun with black jeans.


Take Away

I’ve shown you the 16 main types of women’s shoes that are most often worn. Each of the different types shown can vary in appearance, be made from different materials, and have different heels and different heel heights as well.

There are also hybrids of different types of shoes, like mule loafers or kitten-heeled gladiator sandals, for example, that combine different design aspects from different shoes.

With all of the variations and combinations, the variety is almost endless.

But you now know the basic foundation types of the most popular women’s shoes. And now that you have a better idea of the different styles, you can start experimenting with different types of women’s shoes to find the perfect pair for you.

Written by Jacqueline Ames

Jackie is the resident fashion and nail design guru at Luxe Luminous. With a degree in Management and a deep-seated passion for the glamorous styles of the 50s and 60s, Jacqueline offers a unique fusion of business acumen and vintage fashion flair in her captivating articles.