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13 Different Types of Flats (Shoes for Women)

Flats are something you can go to when you want comfortable shoes with much style and sophistication. Here are the different types of flats you can wear that might be perfect for you.

A woman wearing white flat shoes.

You may love a nice high-heeled shoe, but sometimes, your feet just need a break. And flats offer just as much style and sophistication as their high-heeled counterparts.

On the other hand, they also work wonderfully with casual styles. Basically, flats can give you everything that a heel can (other than the extra height, of course). 

One of the most important things to know about flats is that they do not come in one type. There are many styles to choose from, each with its own benefits.

For example, some flats offer more arch support, while others are perfect for anyone in a rush. Depending on your lifestyle and needs, there is a perfect flat out there for you. Here are the different types of flats for women and what they have to offer you. 

Related to: High Heels vs Flats – How They’re Similar and Different64 Types of Shoes and Footwear for Women & Men 

Flats with Partial Coverage 

One of the most common styles of flats are those with partial coverage. They offer a little bit of protection for your feet, but not much cushioning. The best thing about these shoes is that they are still comfortable and durable.

These shoes will last you for a while, and they are perfect if you’re not looking for something that offers arch support or extremely expensive material.

Ballet Flats 

A photo of a pink ballet flats.

Ballet flats are a type of flat shoe with a light, flexible sole. These shoes typically have no heel, and they have a rounded shape. These shoes were popularized by — you guessed it — ballerinas.

Shaped like ballet shoes, they can make you feel light on your feet, even if you’re not a dancer yourself. They are also great for people who want to feel feminine in casual or semi-professional situations.

Ballet flats are also very affordable and may last you for years if you take care of them properly. The one downside is the lack of arch support. 

D’Orsay Flats 

D’Orsay flats cover the toe and heel, leaving the sides open. They’re similar to ballet flats, but they offer less coverage. They’re typically made from leather or suede and available in many colors, like black, brown, red, blue, and more.

Plus, rather than having a rounded toe, these shoes usually have a pointed toe instead. If you like the idea of ballet flats but don’t like the rounded look, D’Orsay flats can give you the look you want.

D’Orsay flats have the same downside as ballet flats, however. They don’t offer much support, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for shoes to wear for long periods of time. 

Flat Mules 

A photo of a leather flat mule.

Mules are a type of flat with a backless, slide-on design. (However, you can find mules with heels as well.) Mules come in all styles and colors, from animal print to neutral colors like black and brown. As a result, they offer a lot of versatility.

You can wear them as an everyday shoe, or you can dress them up for more formal and professional situations. The other benefit of mules is that they can provide more stability than other flats, so you may be able to wear them longer than your ballet flats or D’Orsay flats. 

But there are drawbacks to flat mules, too. They may sometimes be uncomfortable for those who have narrow feet or bunions because they don’t always offer much room in the toe box, which could cause discomfort when walking. 

Slip-On Shoes 

Slip-on shoes are the perfect option for women on the go. They are easy to put on and take off, which is ideal if you’re in a rush or just running out the door. You can slip these flats on without having to worry about laces or tying them.

This means that slip-on shoes are also a great option for anyone with limited mobility in their hands.


A men loafer shoes with wood background.

Loafers do have a slight heel, but that heel is small enough that these shoes still fall into the “flats” category. These broad, laceless shoes provide coverage for the front, sides, and back of the feet while leaving the top open.

Though most often worn with casual outfits, they do add an elegant touch. And if you dress them up the right way, you can wear them in professional situations, too. 

Boat Shoes 

Boat shoes, or boaters, are very similar to loafers. Boaters are often made from leather or suede, with a canvas exterior and rubber soles. They feature full coverage for the front, sides, and back. They leave some room at the top of the foot, but not as much as loafers do.

They also have intricate laces across the top and sides. However, you simply leave the laces tied and slip these shoes on, rather than re-tying the laces for every wear.

These shoes have a very distinctive style, so they may not work for everybody. However, they have a lot of versatility and can pair with a variety of outfits. 


Different colored moccasins with a yellow background.

Moccasin flats are perfect for woman who appreciates comfort and style. They provide a great, cushioned sole and come in many different colors or prints. Some people prefer moccasin flats because they offer a more fashionable look than a traditional flat.

Moccasin flats are also ideal for people who spend a lot of time on their feet at work. These flats also look similar to loafers. However, while loafers have a small heel, moccasins are completely flat. 

Canvas Slip-On Shoes 

Canvas shoes are ultra-casual and work well for leisure situations. These shoes usually have a rubber sole, and they’re often extremely comfortable. They also come in a wide range of designs.

Lighter shades of canvas can get dirty easily, so be prepared to clean them often. Also, keep in mind that canvas shoes can wear out quickly, especially in the toes. 

Casual and Athletic Shoes  

Casual and athletic flats are designed for more leisurely activities like walking or running errands. Casual flats are typically rubber-soled and easy to slip on and off.

Athletic flats will have a little more support and help you transition from running to other activities like yoga or lifting weights. Athletic flats can also make great choices for people with back pain because they offer some arch support.

Tennis Shoes 

A tennis shoes worn by a tennis player.

Tennis shoes are one of the original flats. They’re more lightweight than other types and will often give you great support. That’s because tennis shoes are designed for sports and movement. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you have to play sports to wear them.

If you just want a casual shoe, then tennis shoes will provide the look and simplicity that you want. Tennis shoes can also last for a long time. These flats come in a variety of colors, so you’ll be able to find one in your favorite shade.

You’ll also find tennis shoes in a variety of styles, with everything from preppy to sporty. 

Canvas Lace-Up Shoes 

Canvas shoes are a popular choice for many. They are lightweight, durable, and cheap. They provide little to no arch support, but they’re easy to find and easy on the wallet. A lot of people choose canvas shoes when they want a more casual appearance.

These shoes are very similar to canvas slip-on shoes. They just come with laces and may require a little extra effort for you to put them on. If you like canvas but have limited mobility, you might opt for the slip-on version instead. 

Academic, Professional, and Dressy Shoes 

Have you gotten into the Dark Academia aesthetic lately? If so, the next several shoes can help you finish the perfect outfit. These shoes also pair well with professional and formal settings. They all have a very similar appearance, but the differences come from the details. 


A beige oxford shoes on a wooden surface.

Oxfords are similar to loafers but are more formal. They usually have a closed, lace-up design and come in a variety of widths. These shoes are designed for all seasons, and though they do have a more formal appearance, you can also pair them with semi-casual and professional outfits.  

They’re usually made of leather but can also come in faux leather or suede. Keep in mind that although these shoes are technically flats, they do have a slight heel. 


Monks are beautifully academic-looking shoes that look very similar to Oxfords. The difference is that while Oxfords have laces, monks have a strap that buckles at the side. They work perfectly in academic, semi-formal, and professional situations.

However, they have slight style variations, so some work better in these situations than others. They come in single-strap and double-strap versions. 

Many of these shoes have a more masculine style. In fact, these shoes were originally designed just for men. (If you’re interested in these shoes, save yourself some time by searching “monk shoes for women” first.)

If you’re looking for something casually masculine, monks work perfectly. 

However, don’t discount these shoes if you prefer a more feminine style, either. Feminine-looking monk shoes are more rare, but the ones that fit the bill can really pull an outfit together. 


A man wearing leather brogues.

Brogues were also designed for men originally, which is why they also have a slightly masculine appearance. The benefit of these flats is that the right ones can give your foot a lot of support and offer stability while walking.

However, the leather can be tough, so you may want to wear them around the house for a while before you wear them for long periods of time outside the house. 

But once you do break them in, your brogues may become some of your favorite flats. These shoes have a unique appearance because they have decorative perforations. 

Derby Shoes 

Derby shoes are some of the most formal of all flats, and they’re often worn in professional situations. These shoes look almost exactly like Oxfords at first glance. The one major difference comes from the laces.

While Oxfords have closed-lacing, derby shoes have open laces. You can find Derby shoes made from leather, suede, and other materials. Leather is the most common option. 

Flip Flops and Sandals 

A woman wearing a summer sandals.

Finally, there are flip flops and sandals, which are perfect for the summertime. Flip flops are backless and slip on easily, so you might wear them if you’re in a hurry or about to go to the pool. Sandals have backs and crossing patterns at the top, but they still let you show off your pedicure.