Women’s Footwear Guide
Women’s Footwear 101
Types of Women’s Shoes
Women's Athletic Shoes
Women's Casual Shoes
Women's Dress Shoes
Work & Safety Shoes
Women's Footwear Buying Tips:
• Choose practicality over style for everyday casual shoes
• Quality and comfort are priorities when choosing work and safety shoes
• Break in shoes that feel a bit snug by walking around the house first
• Know your comfort level with high heels
• Wear your correct size shoe to prevent foot and toe damage
Women’s Shoe Features
Heels range from flat or slightly raised to towering spikes or dagger-like stilettos depending on the type and style of shoe. The height of the heel is typically measured from the seam, where the heel meets the back of the shoe down to where the heel meets the ground. This detail can enhance your look for formal or dressy occasions, making you appear taller and showcasing your legs. Not all heels add height; boots and oxford shoes may have heels of an inch or less. As a general rule, the thinner the stem of the heel, the less stable and comfortable the shoe becomes. A thicker, wider heel provides better distribution of body weight and improved balance for walking.
Dress Heels +
A kitten heel is the smallest heel, one to two inches in height. A stiletto heel has a long, thin stem that can reach as high as six inches. They can be difficult to walk in, but are ideal for high fashion occasions. Platform heels have a thick, platform sole on the ball of the foot to create dramatically more height. A block heel is known for being thick and chunky, but also stable. A wedge heel extends all the way to the ball of the foot and does not have a typical gap like other heels.
Insole & Outsole +
The insole of a shoe supports the bottom of your foot, from heel to toes and absorbs the shock of your foot hitting the ground. If you have flat feet, try a custom orthopedic sole, which can prevent unnecessary pain. The outsole is on the outside of the shoe where it makes contact with the ground. This sole must be durable to withstand the constant pounding of each step. The tread on your outsole varies depending on the type of shoe, season and activity.
The upper is the part of the shoe that covers the entire foot excluding the sole. The upper is comprised of pieces called the toe box, vamp and the quarter. The vamp is the front or top part of the shoe that encases the tongue, which is a separate material on shoes specifically with laces and hides beneath the top layer. The quarter is the material on the side and wraps around the back of the shoe. The upper can feature of a number of materials depending on the style of the shoe. Leather, canvas, and mesh are all possible materials.
Toe Box +
The toe box is the front part of the shoe that houses your toes. If your toes feel stuffed in the toe box, your shoe size is too small. This can cause bunions and other painful foot issues. High heels or pumps usually have a snug toe box, but this type of shoe is not meant to be worn regularly.
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Shoe Care Tips:
• Wear appropriate shoes for the weather conditions
• Treat your leather shoes once a month
• Allow shoes to air-dry naturally away from a heat source
• Stuff shoes with absorbent material while in storage
• Store your shoes in their original box to maintain shape and appearance