The Ultimate Women’s Heels Guide
Our in-depth guide to the best women’s heels
Heels have been a wardrobe staple for women (and men) for hundreds of years, and for good reason. With origins in ancient Egypt and Persia, the famed shoe was first worn by men, who utilised the shoe’s raised heel to accentuate their calf muscles and secure their feet in horse stirrups. Since then, the modern heeled shoe has been catapulted into widespread daily use, with a little help from Parisian fashion designers, royalty and celebrities alike, who have all championed its fashionable allure.
This iconic shoe, featuring a raised angled heel above the ball of the foot, is still widely appreciated for its practical ability to elongate the legs, flatter the calves and make people appear taller. But when it comes to choosing a good pair of heels, there is plenty to ponder. From the shape and colour of the shoe to the right heel height, there’s lots to decide upon when investing in a luxurious pair of women’s heels. This is why we have created our comprehensive high heels footwear guide to make your heels selection process that little bit easier. In the guide, we walk through the different types of heels available and the best high-heel trends to look out for while sharing some helpful top tips on wearing high heels in ultimate comfort.
How to wear heels
Wearing high heels can be an empowering and glamorous experience when you know how to wear heels comfortably and how to choose designs that reflect your personal sense of style. With so many choices on offer, from low and mid heels to lofty stilettos, it’s important to choose a style and shape that you love and one you will be able to wear again and again. Each person’s feet and style tastes differ, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all approach. But by using the following top heel tips and advice, you should be able to find a pair that works for you:
1. Pick the right Heel Heights: The average height of a typical mid-heeled shoe is around 3 inches or 7.5 cms. Low heels usually measure at 2-5 inches, or 5-7cm, while high heels can lift upwards of 3-4 inches, or over 10cm. You should be able to work out the most comforting heel height for yourself after trying a few different pairs and picking out the ones that feel easiest to walk in.
2. Practice walking in heels: The best way to wear high heels comfortably is by practicing walking in heels around the house. Be sure to always try your new heels on at home before wearing them out and about for the first time, so that your feet can comfortably adjust to the insole and material
3. Choosing heels for your body type and personal style: Also be aware of the look you want to achieve and how this will complement the shape of your legs and body type. Women with long, supermodel-length legs can often benefit from wearing pointed toe heels, as the toe point draws the eye downwards, thereby accentuating the length of the leg. If you have wider ankles or shorter legs, ankle straps can sometimes make legs look shorter than they are. So a slingback heel could be a great alternative. If you favour classic styles that are roomy and comfortable, then a rounder-toed heel is often a good choice as these offer more room at the front than slender pointed heels.
When to wear heels
The beauty of women’s heels is that they are super versatile, and can be worn night or day, at the office or out on the town, at parties, celebrations or just around the house if you wanted. With so many heel heights, heel shapes, colours and embellishments on offer, the most important thing to do is to think about the types of colours and shapes that work best with your everyday outfits, or the specific outfit that you want to wear heels with.
You may want to indulge in a matching shoe and bag set that will look sensational at your upcoming cocktail party. Or perhaps you want to make a bold style statement on a weekend lunch with friends by donning sleek heeled loafers or 70s-inspired platform Mary Janes. You might just simply want to elevate your everyday workday wardrobe with a staple black heel pump that looks smart and goes with everything. Whatever the occasion, think about the outfits you love to wear, and then choose heels that will complement them. This way, you can work those luxury investment heels to the best of your advantage and show them off at every opportunity.
Best high heels to wear
The best heels are those that have been expertly designed and crafted from carefully sourced materials. Always choose beautifully designed and intricately constructed heels, like those at Russell & Bromley, to ensure softness, comfort and durability at every step. Leather high heels, and heels with leather insoles, are the best choice in most cases as leather shoes adapt and mold better to different foot shapes and tend to be more flexible than purely synthetic materials. Look out for styles with sumptuously soft leather linings and those with padded or quilted insoles, which will give the foot premium support as you walk in them.
Choose the best type of heels
Here, we discuss some of our most popular different types of heels to help you choose the best ones that will work for you. This comprehensive top 10 list covers trending styles that reference some of fashion’s most classic and cutting-edge looks:
1. Sensational Stilettos:
The infamous stiletto shoe is all about attention-grabbing elevation, seduction and serious heel height. Featuring an ultra-slim thin heel that frequently reaches vertiginous heights, this iconic shoe shape is named after the similarly striking stiletto dagger. Its tall and towering silhouette will never fail to wow the crowd, and it works perfectly as a head-turning heel for day or nighttime glamour.
2. Chunky Heels:
Choose big and bold chunky high heels if you like experimentation or love to give a conscious nod to the ever-growing oversized footwear trend. This style of shoe comes in a range of designs, from comfortable block heels to chunky styles featuring retro-inspired cleated soles. But all of them feature one standout common element - a thickly formed and sturdy sole that marries heightened style with unrivalled comfort.
3. Perfect Platform Heels:
Platform high heels always raise the style stakes thanks to the chunky wedge plateau that sits on the front of these shoes. You can easily wear this exaggerated yet elegant style in a pared-back way by choosing styles in fresh neutral shades. Alternatively, the heel is ideal as a party starter when bought in standout flashy colours or patent leathers.
4. Embellished Heels:
Seek out heels with entrancing embellishments if you need a high-impact and playful look to see you through the night (or day). From metallic evening shoes to romantic charm accents, you will often find these styles adorned with more sparkle than a jewellery box. Think heels with rhinestone crystals as well as gold or silver-hued studs. You can also embrace more classic looks by opting for simply shaped embellished court shoes in neutral colours like nude, but with a small flurry of embellishment, like a standout buckle fastening.
5. Strappy Heels:
If you need shoes that are primed and ready for the most dedicated of dancing feet, then strappy high heels are the ideal style solution. Securely strap yourself in with timeless slingback heels that feature an adjustable heel strap, or discover block-heel strappy sandals that are ornately decorated with crisscrossing wrap-around ankle straps.
6. Wedge Heels:
Women’s wedges are the go-to heel for bright and blissful summer days or fresh spring-ready outfits, as many come crafted in natural jute and raffia materials that capture the spirit of the outdoors. They’re also a pleasant heel to wear thanks to the solid wedged sole, which works to distribute body weight evenly when worn. Imagine days by the beach or stylish weekend walks.
7. Heeled Mules:
An effortless way to slip back into a pair of heels, the women’s mule is a wardrobe essential for a reason. Easy to slip into, they come in a range of diverse styles, while channelling fashion nostalgia thanks to the buzzing popularity of block heel mules in the 90s. Explore designs featuring bouncy quilted uppers, metallic leathers, sculptural block heels and authentic exposed seams.
8. Heeled Sandals:
When spring and summer days are calling your name, the beautifully breathable heeled sandal is always here. From trending heeled fishermans to strappy heeled sandals, these designs come in a range of fits and shapes. Elegant straps wrap around the foot, leaving skin feeling aerated and exposed, and ready for energising sunkissed days. Feel free to wear them with eclectic colour-pop socks too, for when the clouds roll around or you are just in the mood for something different.
9. Classic Pumps & Court Shoes:
Designed to cater for busy lifestyles, classic court shoes are also known widely as high heel pumps. They are defined by a wearable mid heel fused with the sophisticated silhouette of a classic high heeled style. These bestselling designs are the perfect everyday all-rounders for work and play, with their heritage shapes and their signature slim heels.
10. Kitten Heels:
Playing it safe is never boring when you reach for luxurious kitten heels. This highly wearable style features a small mini heel that is always below three inches. The design was seen everywhere in the Y2K style era and is recently enjoying a retro resurgence thanks to bold designs complete with grained leathers and lustrous metallics.