Epic list of all the different types of shoes and footwear options for women and men. We include unisex list and then separate lists for women and men.
When it comes to footwear, it is not just a necessity, but also a way to showcase your personal identity. Your choice in footwear tells a lot about your personality – are you fun or funky? Are you adventurous or safe? Whether you are a man or a woman, shoes are something that you can’t live without. A good pair of shoes is not only comfortable but also durable. They make you feel confident and smart.
Are you planning to buy some new footwear? There are so many choices that it is easy to get confused and overwhelmed. Worry not, because we are here to solve that problem for you.
Explore the different types of footwear for both men and women to find which styles suit you best.
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A. Types of Unisex Shoes and Footwear
There are some shoes that look perfect on both men and women. No matter what your gender is, these shoes don’t pick any sides! These are the types of footwear that every woman and man should have in their closet.
- Boots (Women and Men)
- Earth Shoes
- Jika-tabi Shoes
- Saddle Shoes
- Calf Boots
- Barefoot Shoes
Unless you were around back then or you have a ton of interest in vintage fashion, you've probably never heard of Earth shoes. These shoes were a strong fad in the 1970s and they have an extremely distinct sole profile that was designed to enhance posture, reduce back pain and even encourage deep breathing.
Eleanor Jacobs was on vacation in Copenhagen in 1969 when she found an early version of the Earth shoe design that would soon change her life. She was impressed with how comfortable the shoes were and how much her back pain improved. She shared the story of Earth shoes with the Wall Street Journal.
The shoes Elanor tried on that day had slanting heels with somewhat thicker and taller midsoles and sloping toes. This created an almost boat-like profile for the soles of the shoes. This design was created by a former yoga teacher who lived in Denmark. She felt that this design maintained the foot's natural position more than other, more standard shoe styles.
Eleanor and her husband called the shoe designer to ask her if they could sell the shoes in the U.S. In 1970, the couple opened up a Manhattan shoe store. The day was April 22, 1970, and Eleanor was a little disheartened to see lots of young people flocking through the streets but none stopping into her shop.
She flagged down one young man and asked him what was going on. He told her it was Earth Day. This is a commonplace event now, but 1970 was the first year that Earth Day was ever celebrated, amid a growing movement to honor and preserve the environment.
Eleanor grabbed a piece of white cardboard and wrote "Earth shoes" on it. For the rest of the day, the young environmentalists came in and out of the shop to take a better look.
A few years later, the shoes were on shelves and in display windows at more than 130 stores all across the U.S.
Like all fads, Earth shoes fell out of fashion. In 1977, the couple had to declare bankruptcy and liquidate their short-lived shoe empire. Eleanor saved enough Earth shoes to wear them for the rest of her life.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when we say the beach? Yes, it’s flip flops! They are the perfect beach accessory that you can ask for. Flip flops are comfy, stylish, and available in every color and pattern. Flip flops are also called thongs.
Flip flops are the ultimate footwear for the summer season and a popular choice of footwear for men, women and children alike.
Flip flops are the ultimate summer footwear and are especially worn for pool parties, beaches and hot hangouts. They’re generally made with an extremely comfortable foam sole and sturdy plastic toe support that helps keep your feet together. If you’ve recently gotten a pedicure, flip flops are the best footwear to flaunt your feet while also keeping them intact.
Heading to the beach or running a few errands, flip-flops make for an easy and comfortable shoe option. These are the most casual sandals out there, easy to slip on and slip off. Other than being casual and comfortable, flip flops happen to be cheap as well.
There are two very different types of shoes that are called huaraches, which makes things pretty confusing. Either you're talking about truly historic footwear that's been worn through the centuries....or you're talking about a sort of strange shoe design from Nike. You might even be talking about a type of street food. Yeah, huaraches definitely have an interesting story.
Handmade, woven sandals were made in Mexico before Columbus ever sailed across the ocean in 1492. These shoes were widely worn by farmworkers in Mexico and became popular with the hippie culture of the 1960s.
The huarache shoes became even more popular throughout Mexico and the U.S. in the following decades. Now, they're part of mainstream fashion.
The Other Huarache Shoes
Nike created athletic shoes called huaraches that were distinct for their bright color combinations. This style evolved over time and now Nike huaraches are styled in all sorts of colors, including basic black.
Huarache is also a Mexican street food that's very popular. It's a large tortilla with beans, potato, meat, cilantro, cheese, onions, and salsa. Huaraches are named after the Mexican sandals because their shape somewhat resembles the footwear, according to Culture Trip.
Jika-tabi shoes, also known as jikatabi or just tabi shoes, are traditional Japanese footwear that is still worn today. These shoes are distinctive for the split design. Tabi shoes have a split between the big toe and the rest of the toes.
Tabi shoes started out as leather socks, footwear that caught on and became popular throughout Japan. Modern tabi shoes were created in 1919 with the use of rubber manufacturing.
Oxfords are traditional footwear that lends you an elegant academic look. They look neat because of their closed lacing under the vamp. Yes, these shoes are linked to the University of Oxford itself. However, there’s more to their history.
Many records claim that the oxford shoes were originally made in Scotland and named balmorals. Nonetheless, oxfords are flat-heeled, foot-friendly, and look extremely sophisticated.
When you see saddle shoes, you probably think of poodle skirts, classic cars, and Olivia Newton-John in "Grease." These black and white shoes are strongly linked to preppy 1950s fashion. But actually, saddle shoes have a much longer history. It took a long, long time for these shoes to become popular. And when they did, they really became popular.
Saddle shoes were actually invented in the 1920s, having evolved from a style of golf shoes that were fashionable in the 1910s. The style was originally made for men, but saddle shoes caught on with women who liked the sporty look of the two-tone design.
It was teenage girls in the 1940s who made saddle shoes the must-have style for youth of the day. By 1949, saddle shoes were the number one shoe worn by teen girls. Saddle shoes were extremely popular until styles changed drastically in the 1960s, though they were still a standard part of many school cheerleading uniforms well into the 1980s, according to History Daily.
Saddle shoes haven't really made a comeback as a popular everyday shoe. They're typically only worn as part of a costume meant to resemble 1950s looks. This iconic shoe is clearly overdue for a new surge of fashion popularity.
If you enjoy playing sports, especially soccer, then you need to invest in some cleats. A lot of people wear their sneakers or joggers, but that is not right. Sure, they provide your feet with comfort, but cleats go one step further than that. It not only gives your feet the comfort it needs, but it also provides you with stability and speed. There will be no missed goals when you are playing soccer wearing your brand-new cleats. Cleats give you the much-needed traction on the soccer ground and will help you get the MVP award.
There are different brands that offer different colors for cleats. You can go for something funky that will make you stand out in the pitch.
Calf boots may actually be the oldest style of footwear. Like, ever. The oldest image ever discovered of footwear dates to a cave painting in Spain that was created sometime between 12,000 and 15,000 B.C.E. This image shows a man and a woman wearing calf boots.
Boots have been found in Egyptian tombs. The ancient Persians depicted boots on their funerary jars. And according to the Greeks, the Scythians wore boots in 1000 B.C.E. These were simple boots that were lashed to the leg with a leather thong.
Footwear played a major role in ancient style. Boots often represented military and ruling power. Kings, generals and emperors wore ornate boots, while the lower class population usually wore no shoes at all, according to LoveToKnow.
Calf boots have never really gone out of style and there is ample evidence to suggest that they have pretty much always been worn by people since footwear began. They can be made in just about any style or heel height. Cowboy boot designs, Wellington boots and many other styles are all calf boot designs
Boots are not only classy but stylish as well. They portray a regal style that suits everyone. No matter what you are wearing (tailored trousers, a denim skirt or jeans), boots go with every look.
Mass-marketed barefoot shoes are a relatively new phenomenon. However, the concept of running barefoot is not. Many foot experts say that bare feet are already perfectly designed for all the running and walking humans need to do. Marathons and even Olympic medals have been won by barefoot runners. Barefoot shoes are also called toe shoes because of the articulated design.
Barefoot shoes are designed to be as lightweight as possible. They are not padded. Barefoot shoes come in a huge range of styles in both men's and women's designs. Walking barefoot isn't always safe but you can get the same effect with these shoes.
B. Types of Shoes for Women
The variety of shoe styles, colors, materials, and textures for women is endless. There is no match for the instant confidence boost that you get when you slip into your favorite pair of shoes.
Every pair of shoes ever known has a history and identity in the world of fashion. But before we get into the magical world of shoes, let us first appreciate the incredible evolution they have gone through in the course of history.
- Ankle Boots
- Ballerina Flats
- Ballet Slippers
- Court Shoes
- Heelless Shoes
- High Heels
- Jelly Shoes
- Knee Boots
- Peep-Toe Shoes
- Stocking Boots
- T-Strap Sandals
- Worishofer Sandals
- Loafers for Women
Ankle boots are exactly what they claim to be: shoes that reach up to your ankles. You could wear heels or a different style of boots in their place, but they won’t give you the funky, chic touch that only these boots can.
Ankle boots are another classic choice of footwear that can smoothly transition from being formal office footwear to casual everyday foot fashion. They are stylish, versatile, and sturdy. Ankle boots are available in many different styles like Pixie boots or the famous Chelsea boots that look wonderful over leather clothes.
=> Originated in the Victorian era, Chelsea boots are prized for being the first-ever boots flaunted by Queen Victoria herself. It is believed that the Queen used to walk in these prominent boots every day.
Chelsea boot designs are ankle-high without laces, making them the ultimate choice for both formal and informal situations. Whether it is a sleek suit or blazer, or casual designer jeans, these boots work every time with everything.
=> With a two-inch platform and a five-inch heel, Lita boots are the sturdiest and thickest ankle boots you will find. These boots were named after Lita Ford, a member of the Runaways, back in the '70s. Even when they weren’t as successful when they first came in 2010, Lita boot styles have now found a stronghold.
Ladies like to wear these boots in black; however, only recently, Lita boots have also emerged in cosmic prints and flag designs.
Ballerina shoes, also called ballerina flats or ballet flats, are normally made out of soft leather or satin. It was in the 18th century where the female dancers decided that they should appear as if they’re flying when performing ballet. And, this led to the famous pointe ballet shoes.
A pair of designer ballerina shoes can help you pull together an elegant princess-like look and quickly make you the attraction of the party.
Ballet slippers, or ballet shoes, are worn only for the purpose of dancing. Ballerina flats are an adapted design of ballet slippers that can be worn as everyday shoes. Ballet slippers are made with soft materials, typically satin, canvas or leather. A dancer on the Paris Opera Ballet was the first to wear a non-heeled ballet shoe in the 1700s and ballet dancers all over the world followed her example.
=> In 1823, the concept of dancing on the toes was introduced to ballet by dancer Amalia Brugnoli 1823. It was late in the 1800s when Italian shoemakers created reinforced pointe shoes that gave ballerinas further toe support and further refined ballet as a dance art form.
=> Dori shoes are pointe shoes that have a heel on them, which allows the dancer to shift her weight and perform a wide range of dance steps.
You probably know court shoes as pointed toe high heels. What you may not know is that these shoes were once the height of fashion in royal courts and they've been in style for hundreds of years. That's what you call a long-lasting trend.
Court shoe designs are a closed toe high heel with a long, very pointed toe. The height of these shoes varies, but they typically have a medium heel height. The heel style may also vary from chunky to slim, according to Radley London.
Court shoes first became popular in the medieval era. They were fashionable throughout Italy, Spina, England, and France, where they were first worn by the wealthiest citizens and those who frequented the royal courts.
For a time, court shoes were a symbol of wealth and status. In fact, King Louis XIV of France decreed that no one could enter his court wearing red court shoes, as such shoes would be symbolic of power and therefore, they would be disrespectful to him.
In those days, court shoes were worn by both men and women. Heeled shoes were actually first worn by men, partially those in the upper class.
=> Pumps once made a splash in men's footwear as a type of athletic shoe that could be pumped with air. But this term has been used to describe high-heeled shoes since around the 1500s. Pumps are a variation of court shoes that can have varying toe styles. There are pointed toe and rounded toe pump styles. A pump can be any shoe that fits snugly around the heel and the toes of the foot that is supported by a high heel. Within this basic design, there's a lot of room for different styles and color options. Now, the word “pump” is exclusively used for women’s shoes, and pumps are regal and glamorous footwear.
=> D’Orsay pumps are known for their cutaway style. Created by the Count d’Orsay, Alfred Gabriel, these pump heels were originally made for men. Now, they are one of the most enduring and stylish footwear for women.
D’Orsay heels show the curved arch of your foot, which is normally covered. Made by high-end shoe companies like Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik, D’Orsay heels are both stretchable and comfortable.
Espadrilles first appeared in history in a Catalan script that referred to them as “espardenyes.” They are lightweight, canvas shoes with a fiber sole.
Espadrilles have a humble yet rebellious origin. A famous fighter, Sabrino Arana, was found to be wearing espadrilles during the Cuban Revolution supporting the Basque nationalism.
Since then, espadrilles have long remained an attire for champions of justice. They went far and wide, across the sea, and gradually made it to Hollywood fashion. Espadrilles have always been a bohemian-crowd favorite as well. If you’re looking for some rebellious footwear fashion, you know what to wear.
Heelless shoes are a relatively new footwear innovation to enter the fashion scene. It's an immediately eye-catching design that looks rather frightening. To achieve this seemingly physics-defying feat, the shoes are made with an angled shank that connects to a flat support. This keeps the foot lifted without the aid of heels, creating a truly stunning design.
High-heeled shoes are made in a huge variety of styles and today, they're pretty much exclusively worn in women's fashion.
Originally, high heels were worn by men. High heels date to the 1400s Persian Empire, when soldiers wore heeled shoes to keep their feet in the stirrups of their saddles while riding. The style caught on in Europe, where the male Aristocracy wore them to appear taller, according to Teen Vogue.
Chopine shoes were really the first high heels worn by women.
=> Chunky heels are the latest and rather improved form of wedges. They are extremely versatile as they offer the cozy comfort of wedges along with the sultry and slimming elevation of stiletto heels. Chunky heels are edgy and can be paired with a number of looks.
Chunky heels are available in the form of ankle-boots, sandals, and even knee boots. It’s just that they have a chunky block heel. They can quickly upgrade a minimalist shoe look and are styled with straps and bows.
=> A kitten heel, just like its name, is a petite, slender, and slightly shorter heel. Kitten heels were popularized by the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama. If you’re looking for a small boost in height, then kitten heels will work well for you. They are typically made of heavy materials and have round toes in the front.
=> Here’s a fun fact about stilettos: they weren’t supposed to be for women. Yes, stilettos were created for aristocratic and military men back in the old days. Even when they’re associated with feminine fashion now, stilettos primarily evolved from Persian riding boots that had small heels under them.
To increase the speed of running, and agility on the battleground, they were made to be sharper. It was only during the royal era of King Louis XIV, who introduced red heels in his court for women and simultaneously disallowed men from wearing them, that they became part of women's fashion.
And, here we are now. Stilettos, with their sharp heels, are one of the most popular footwear styles for women. They are typically made from leather.
=> Spool heels have a bit of an hourglass shape. It's curvy, thicker at the bottom and top than in the center. This curvy-heeled shoe was the look of choice among courtiers in Europe, where they were worn by both men and women, according to Bodmin Magazine.
Jelly shoes, also known as jellys and jellies, feel like a staple of 1980s fashion. You may be surprised to learn that these unique shoes are actually older than that.
Jelly shoes were invented in the 1950s or 1960s when plastic became widely available to manufacturers. But in the 1980s, jellies really hit their stride. The colorful plastic shoes and the fashion of the '80s were a perfect marriage. Jellies soon became the go-to casual shoe of the decade.
As the story goes, jellies gained attention at the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, according to Bustle.
What’s not to like about knee boots? They can be paired with skin-tight jeans as they can quickly accentuate the slender shape of your legs or with a skirt or dress.
Knee boots can also be made in wide calf boot styles. This is when the opening of the boots is wide, which can be a good look for layered styles.
Mules are a newer trend in footwear. They are basically closed-off from the front and open from the back. Even when they’re quite similar to slide-ins, they’re elegantly sculpted from the front and are available in different textures.
Velvet mules look especially regal and breathtaking on short blouse dresses. Mules can quickly beautify the curvy shape of your toes. For ladies who like easy-to-wear slip on and off shoes, mules are perfect because they’re an extremely comfortable casual footwear.
They lend ample support to your toes and keep them together while showing off your pretty heels. Make sure to get a pedicure and scrub those heels before you wear these super-cool shoes.
Peep-toe shoes are just like pumps but with a small opening at the toe, which is why they’re called “peep-toe.” They may have a long history with the ancient Greeks but the 1940s saw them really become popular. Referred to as the “pin-up” shoe, they were admired by the likes of Betty Page and Marilyn Monroe.
Peep-toe styles are seen in flats, kitten heels, high heels and even ankle boots.
Tall, over-the-knee boots are known more by their nickname than their proper name. You're probably more used to calling stocking boots or thigh-high boots. Compared to other types of footwear on the list, stocking boots are a relatively new design. According to Vogue, these tall boots have only been making waves on the fashion scene since the 1960s.
Tall, over-the-knee boots were introduced to fashion by Yves Saint Laurent. The boots were designed by Roger Vivier for the fall 1963 collection.
The thigh-high boot trend has never totally gone away. This look is always stylish and it's been worn by everyone from true fashion luminaries to celebrities and politicians.
T-strap sandals, also known as T-bar sandals, became trendy in the 1920s. These sandals had a pointed toe with a strap stretching from the toes to the ankle, where it joined another strap that encircled the ankle. This design just covers the toes and heels of the foot. The first t-strap sandals had two-inch heels but as trends progressed, the heel heights and toe styles began to vary.
If your feet hurt in high heels or you’re tired of wearing sharp sandals all the time, wedges are an excellent alternative. Typically famous as a '90s fashion, wedge heels are finally making a much-deserved comeback in the footwear fashion.
Wedges are comfortable and stylish. There are many different kinds like strap wedge heels, cork wedges, denim wedges, and simple pearl wedges. From a huge variety to choose from, wedges lend your outfit an extremely elegant and polished look.
Somehow, fashion-forward celebrities discovered an obscure German sandal made to relieve foot pain and turned it into a high-fashion item. Worishofer sandals are incredibly comfortable and weirdly, totally trendy.
These German sandals have short wedge heels. The leather uppers have a peep toe lace-up design. The uppers are perforated with small ventilation holes that add distinction.
Worishofers were designed by a German podiatrist in the 1950s to relieve foot problems and pains. It was five decades later that a shopping magazine called them "chic" and "comfortable." Suddenly, these orthopedic sandals were on their way in the fashion world.
If you like your toes closed-off from the front, then loafers are a good choice of footwear. Loafers are stretchable to accommodate your feet. They have elasticated panels on both sides that eliminate the need for any shoe fastenings or laces.
Loafers can quickly add a vintage and glamorous touch to your footwear style.
Venetian-style shoes, or Venetian loafers, are a very simple, elegant, and embellished loafer style.
Related: 42 types of shoe heels
C. Types of Shoes for Men
Shoes have always been an important aspect of men’s fashion, as they speak volumes about the person wearing them. In media and literature, shoes have been representative of the wearer’s status.
You might not know this, but shoes have served as an important status symbol in several cultures, including ancient Egypt. Egyptians used to wear woven papyrus sandals, while those they enslaved used to roam around barefoot.
In addition to being indicative of one’s status, good shoes show just how much you prioritize attention to detail. Men are often stereotyped for being less detail-oriented compared to women. By wearing stylish shoes, you break away from this stereotype. Shoes also help you bring your A-game forward, as you’ll look stylish from head to toe.
- Boat Shoes
- Blucher Shoes
- Brogan Shoes
- Buck Shoes
- Chukka Boots
- Combat Boots
- Cowboy Boots
- Derby Shoes
- Hiking Boots
- Motorcycle Boots
- Oxford Shoes
- Spectator Shoes
- Wellington Boots
- Winklepickers Shoes
- Work Boots
- Budapester Shoes
The reason why they’re known as monk shoes is that their history dates back to the time when monks were searching for an alternative to sandals. Monk shoes are less formal than oxfords and a jaunty alternative to lace-ups. Mostly available in suede, monk shoes are secured with a bold buckle and strap.
Single monk strap shoes, which are timeless and chic, are more common, whereas double monk strap shoes have a military touch to them. Monk shoes are a wonderful alternative for anyone who wants to wear something different.
Also known as deck shoes, docksiders, topsiders, and top-siders, boat shoes are a canvas or leather shoe style specifically designed for boat decking.
According to Business Insider, the first boat shoes were invented by a sailor. His leather shoes kept slipping while he was standing on the deck of the ship.
Paul Sperry developed his first pair of boat shoes in 1935. The only problem: the soles were black. This left marks all over the deck of the boat. He changed the soles to make them white and the modern boat shoe took on the look it has today.
It didn’t take long before the shoes quickly grabbed attention from famous fashion giants. Docksiders have intricately hand-sewn uppers and non-slip rubber soles, which truly made them stand out.
Boat shoes are low-cut, lace-up shoes with white soles. The upper part of the shoe has piping around the top outer edge in a design that is similar to moccasins.
First of all, boat shoes look best when worn without socks or no-show socks. Always pair them up with shorter length pants. If you are not comfortable doing so, you can slightly roll your pants. Remember that a little roll can go a long way.
What kind of a shirt will compliment your rolled-up or short-length pants, you may wonder? It is ideal to team them up with a pastel-colored polo shirt or chino. Don’t forget to accessorize with an embroidered belt!
When it comes to choosing boat shoes, the safest is to stick with the classics. Go for boat shoes in neutral leather with a slip-proof rubber insole and outsole. Some other great options that you can choose from are color-blocked boat shoes, two-toned boat shoes, and suede boat shoes.
It's easy to get confused about bluchers. In the U.S., bluchers and derby shoes are usually referred to as if they're the same shoes. However, they are two distinct styles, according to the Gentleman's Gazette. Both are lace-up shoes but the construction is just a little different.
Bluchers are made with small pieces of leather that are sewn directly onto the vamp of the shoe. The vamp is the upper part of the shoe that covers the front of the foot.
Boots were the standard footwear for soldiers in Europe during the 1800s. They were difficult to remove and to put back on again. A Prussian army officer named Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher decided to have the boots redesigned during the Napoleonic wars.
First, he designed a half boot style with two leather flaps that could be laced together. The laces made the fit adjustable and therefore, more comfortable for different sizes and shapes of feet. The boots were named Bluchers.
Later, Blucher and his troops played a significant role in the Battle of Waterloo, which saw Napoleon defeated. That's a pretty big claim to fame for any footwear!
Also known as wingtip oxfords, brogue shoes feature a pointed toe-cap with extensions, or wingtips. These wingtips extend from one side of the shoe to the other.
Wingtip oxfords can be sported with a stylish pair of suit pants or trousers with a casual shirt and blazer. For a more sophisticated look, go for an elegant pair of brogues. The shoes are super versatile, as they go well with even a simple white T and blue jeans. These days, people opt for classic brogues to go with their business suits.
Brogue shoes sit comfortably between oxford and monk shoes. Available in metallic colors, pastels, and the classic black leather, brogues look elegant with dress pants.
Wingtip shoes are a variation of the brogue. They had small perforations in them, allowing for ventilation to keep feet dry. The difference is that wingtip shoes have curving toe cap, according to Fashion Beans.
If you had lived during the 1700s or 1800s, you would have owned a pair of brogan shoes. They were wildly popular. In fact, they were so widely worn that the word brogan itself is thought to be derived from the Gaelic word "brog," which means shoe.
Brogans are ankle-high and made to be durable. They're constructed out of leather and have an enclosed lacing system. They're usually simple in design and have a durable heel.
The brogan shoe was the style of choice during the American Revolution in the late 1700s. They were worn by British Army soldiers back then. But by the American Civil War, soldiers in the U.S. were wearing brogans, according to WiseGeek.
The real innovation of the brogan was that they could be worn on either foot interchangeably. The popular Moden 1859 Jefferson brogan had four eyelets for the laces and a squared toe.
Broghan shoes are still sold today, though they are no longer standard military wear.
Buck shoes, or bucks, are traditionally made with deer hide. This is what gives the shoes their name and this is just one of the interesting tidbits about these now-classic shoes.
The first buck shoes were put together in the 1870s, a soft shoe made with deerskin. Soon, this lightweight shoe was a popular choice on the tennis court and golf course. But it took a royal visit to really make these shoe mainstream.
It was in the 1920s when the Duke of Windsor made a trip to the U.S. and was photographed wearing white buck shoes during his various appearances. The shoe quickly became a trend in America. When popular singer Pat Boone famously wore bucks, the shoe was an absolute menswear must-have.
Bucks are still around today and still a popular choice for smart casual wear, according to GQ. Bucks are simple, low-cut lace-up shoes with a slightly rounded toe and two flaps that meet over the uppers that join the laces together.
It is widely believed that chukka boots became famous in India among British troops that used to wear them while playing polo. Although they originated in the late ‘40s, they are still considered to be a popular choice for casual and formal wear.
As compared to other boots, chukka boots are loose, light, and airy, making it easier to walk around in them.
First designed for the British Army during World War II, desert boots are the most eminent version of the chukka boots. This stylish pair of boots came with two or three pairs of eyelets and a rubber sole. These are a few notable features that make desert boots different from other kinds of boots.
Combat boots, also known as army boots or military boots, have a pretty long history. After all, soldiers have been wearing boots since ancient times. Roman soldiers wore boots. But boots specifically designed for combat are a lot newer...at least, by contrast.
In the cold winter of 1777 and 1778, it looked like the American Revolutionary War was going to be lost not to the British, but to the weather. It was during this winter that George Washington and his men were at Valley Forge, struggling to survive against the harsh elements. It was this harsh winter that proved how important basic footwear really is during times of war.
In 1816, the first boot made strictly for the U.S. military was designed. It was called the Jefferson boot and it was special because it could be worn on either the left or right foot. One less thing to worry about for soldiers on the battle lines.
It's from this original boot that every single other boot worn by the U.S. Army was designed. So in this way, it seems that Jefferson was a Founding Father of fashion, too.
Boot, Boot Revolution
Soldiers were assigned the trench boot during WWI in 1917 and 1918. The trench boot was also called the Pershing boot. French and Belgium soldiers also started wearing the trench boot in 1914. The trench boot had an iron plate in the heel and soles made of tanned cowhide.
Combat boots became much more evolved in the next few years. A special boot for paratroopers was designed during WWII. Known as jump boots, these boots were a completely leather boot design. The official name was the M1943 Combat Boot. According to Filson, these boots were worn by soldiers throughout the Korean War as well.
The jungle boot was also designed just before WWII. It was first tested in Panama and put into service by the U.S. Army in 1942. The lightweight design was made of layered polyvinylidene chloride (PDVC) and had rubber soles. Officially, this was the M-1942 canvas and rubber jungle boot. The M-1945 tropical combat boot was designed three years later.
The early jungle boot designs were used by soldiers in Vietnam. Some improvements were made to the design to create the M-1966 jungle boot. This design used nylon mesh reinforcement and ventilating insoles that were removable in the new design.
Combat boots issued for cold weather wear in the 1960s became known as Mickey Mouse boots because they had such a large design.
Now, all U.S. soldiers are issued one temperate weather set of combat boots and one hot weather set of combat boots. U.S. military combat boots are made of genuine leather. Only cow or cattle hide leather qualify. All combat boots are 8 to 10 inches tall with a sole height of 2 inches or less. The sole is made from polyurethane or rubber.
Today, combat boots are worn by people as a fashion statement, not just by soldiers. Combat boots have become an eye-catching accessory that can be paired with anything. In the 1990s, it was fashionable for women to pair combat boots and combat lookalike boots with dresses.
Cowboy boots were first created for practical reasons, not for fashion. American cattle-wranglers added a heel to their Wellington boots and their Hessian boots, creating the first cowboy boots sometime in the 1800s, according to Fashion Book.
Legend has it that an Italian immigrant living in Texas, Sam Lucchese, saw that ranchers needed simple, practical work boots. Lucchese's name has been attached to cowboy boots ever since. However, Kansas also claims to be the birthplace of cowboy boots.
Another legendary shoe story told by Sheplers says that a cowboy who got work doing cattle drives went to a shoemaker and asked for a boot with a pointy toe. This could go into stirrups more easily. He said the shaft of the boot should be higher and the heel needed to be thicker to keep the boot in the stirrup.
Cowboy boots have a highly distinctive style that is immediately recognizable. These boots typically end somewhere below the knee but above the ankle and usually have a short heel. Cowboy boots have pointed toes and they are typically made of leather or a leather alternative.
Sometimes, the shaft portion of the boot is highly decorated with embroidery and other embellishments. Cowboy boots are also styled in different colors and they're worn by both men and women.
Cowboy boots are still a practical choice for those who ride on horseback but cowboy boots today are worn as much for fashion as they are for the purpose for which they were designed.
As compared to oxford shoes, derbies are more casual rather than formal. Unlike oxford shoes, derby shoes have open lacing, which means that there are no seams between the front and tongue of the shoe. The quarters are meticulously stitched above the vamp. The lack of tightened or fixed laces allows greater movement to the wearer.
Some of the other features of derby shoes include elaborate toes, multiple-paneled construction, and durable leather soles.
The derby shoe has been around for so long, its exact origins just aren't known. However, it's believed that they are named for the 14th Earl of Derby. The story is that the Earl had large feet that were hard for him to get into his boots. His bootmaker created a lace-up style that was easier for the Earl.
Derby shoes have existed since at least 1862 when they were noted in an account book. In 1872, Derby shoes were mentioned in a magazine.
The first hiking boots came along in the early 1900s, just as the U.S. began a love affair with the great outdoors. They were leather boots that laced up to the ankle, with some styles going up to the knee. The first hiking boot styles were developed by Red Wing, according to Heddels.
Hiking boots are traditionally made with gripping rubber soles and tough uppers that give feet protection and traction across all different types of terrain. Hiking boots are typically made in lace-up designs that create a flexible, perfect fit around feet.
Some hiking boots or shoes may have insulated or waterproofing to provide protection in an even greater variety of outdoor environments. Hiking boots are available in a huge range of styles and colors, though natural colors and patterns are most common.
=> The Adidas kampung has set a whole new bar for hiking shoes. These shoes have gained national attention when a woman won a race up the side of a mountain wearing a pair of Adidas kampung hiking shoes in 2011, according to the travel website Monkey Rock World.
gyou'reThe shoes are made entirely of rubber, which makes them waterproof. They also have a cleat tread pattern to provide grip and traction on all types of terrain. These shoes are low cut and have a lace-up design. They are made in Malaysia because they're so perfect for hiking in jungle environments. If you're looking for a great trail shoe, this is it.
When it comes to top-class appeal and aesthetics, loafers reign supreme. Loafers are one of those casual slip-ons that you can wear to any laid-back outing and still look dapper. They are designed as a low shoe, exposing the ankles.
Sometimes, they feature leather around the vamp, a design known as a saddle. They are the kind of shoes that can be perfectly paired with both casual wear (like shorts), office attire, or evening looks.
=> Laceless bit loafers come with a piece of horizontal metal across the vamp. Originated by Gucci in the 1960s, bit loafers are popularly known as “Gucci loafers.”
=> Preferred mostly by businessmen, penny loafers boast a leather strap on the top. They come with a unique diamond shape which is the most attractive feature of the shoes.
The versatile style of the penny loafer has been popular in men's fashion for decades. During the loafer craze of the 1930s, a typical pay phone call cost two cents. The newest loafer design of the time allowed just enough room to hold two pennies. This made penny loafers not just stylish but highly practical, too.
The penny loafer was one of the most-seen shoes of the 1950s and '60s. Phone calls at the payphone cost five times more in this era than in the 1930s. Some switched the pennies for dimes, but the penny look by then was already a classic. The addition of a penny in each loafer has remained, though many now say that they use the pennies simply for a little extra good luck.
Penny loafers are low-cut, laceless shoes with a short tongue. The uppers are usually made of leather or a leather alternative, though newer loafer styles may be made from fabric or plastic. Penny loafer shoes continue to be an enduring look that remains popular, according to Brooks Brothers Magazine.
=> Worn best with casual and business suits, tassel loafers are the most desired loafers globally. They also give a smart appeal when paired with a blazer and chinos. Tassel loafers in brown and black leather are the most sought after.
Motorcycle boots were first known as engineer boots. The tall design of the boots protected the legs while riding. Films like "Rebel Without a Cause" and "The Wild One" popularized the look of wearing engineer boots while riding a motorcycle. Soon, the style came to be known as motorcycle boots. The design was refined with a higher heel and a pointed toe. This modern take on engineer boots came known as Chelsea boots and later, Beatle boots, according to Fashion History.
Simply put, oxford shoes are lace-up shoes that are largely considered classic dress shoes. They are characterized by closed lacing with a low heel and a low cut, which exposes the ankle of the wearer.
The most common oxford shoes are the plain ones that do not boast any elaborate piecing. Their sheer simplicity and elegance make them the perfect choice for formal evening shoes. You can find these shoes mostly in black patent leather, ideal for a black-tie wedding or an evening ball.
Some plain oxford shoes also come in polished brown leather styles.
Sometimes referred to as balmoral oxfords, cap toe, or cap-toe, cap toe oxfords come with a toe cap, along with the vamp and quarters. A piece of leather is placed across the toe box. The design also has a heel cap.
Men often rock their business suits with classic black cap toe oxford shoes. They are also available in plenty of color shades, such as tan, oxblood, brown, and cognac.
Unlike most shoes on this list, spectator shoes do not adhere to a single shoe design. Loafers, oxfords, derby shoes...just about anything can actually be spectator shoes as long as one criterion is met: a two-toe design. Any shoe that is made up of two colors on the upper is, by definition, spectator shoes, according to the Gentleman's Gazette.
Making their way from the mud puddle to the fashion ramp, wellington boots are so much more than footwear for the rain. Popularly referred to with funny names like billy-boots, gumboots, and poop-kickers, rain boots were first made by LeverettCandee, who used vulcanized rubber to create the prototype. This is the same type of rubber used for tires.
Wellington boots are a variation of Hessian boots. They are traditionally made with leather and date to the early 1800s, according to the Fashion History Timeline.
Wellingtons are calf-length or below the knee. They have a seam below the ankle and seams down the side. Wellington boots have loops at the top to assist in pulling them on. They're waterproof boots and reportedly, named for the Duke of Wellington. He was a military hero who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
A pair of rain wellington or rubber boots are the ideal footwear for regions where rain and snowfall are quite frequent. Nowadays rain boots are available in beautiful floral designs and patterns that look lovely on a pair of jeans and winter coat.
If you were in Britain in the 1950s, then you owned a pair of winklepickers. These shoes are still a hot look among rock and rollers because that's the music that made this style famous.
Winklepicker shoes were the hottest look for young men in England during the rise of rock and roll. The style actually dates to shoes worn during the 15th century, the crakow shoe. However, these older shoes had very long, pointed toes.
Winklepicker hoses have pointed toes, but no longer than four inches in length. Newer styles are usually less than one inch long.
These shoes are typically made with leather or a leather synthetic in an ankle-high style with slight heels, pointed toes and buckles, and zippers on the uppers. This is in keeping with the rock and roll history of winklepickers.
According to Shoe IQ, you can find winklepicker shoes on the feet of luminaries like Jack White, Kings of Leon, and The Kills.
There are many different types of work boots. Depending on the safety requirements for your job, work boots may mean safety toe boots or steel toe boots. Some workplaces require these protective boots, while others do not want you to wear safety boots with this feature.
Industrial safety mattered more than ever during WWII. It soon became obvious that it was cheaper to protect workers through safety measures than it was to replace them. German shoemakers developed steel toe boots, a trend that caught on and helped define future generations of work boots.
Other tough materials, such as composite, are also used to make safety boots. Some styles have puncture-resistant plates and other features. Work boots may be insulated, cushioned, or have any number of features to make them comfortable and well-fitted to your feet.
Typically, work boots are a little taller than ankle-high and they're made with tough materials and lots of comfort and safety features.
The Budapester is defined by its many features as much as it's defined by its country of origin.
Budapester shoes are a low-cut, open lace shoe design. These shoes closely resemble derby shoes but they're made with double stitching, a wing cap and a heel cap. Budapesters have a double sole and a large heel.
These shoes are easy to confuse with derby shoes and brogue shoes because they are similar in style, according to Shoe Passion. Sometimes, these shoes may be sold as Budapester derby brogues.
Shoemakers in Budapest were making Budapesters regularly at the end of the 1800s. But in Budapest, these shoes are actually called karlsbaders!
Related: Formal dress shoes for men
The First Shoe in History
You’ll be surprised to find out that the oldest shoe in the world was actually just deerskin glued together with a stuffing of hay.
There are other historical pieces of evidence that have brought out another type of shoe. These are known as bast shoes and are stitched from tree barks. Incredible, isn’t it? Bast shoes date back to the Neolithic period and were found to be worn by people from the Russian countryside.
The first prototype of modern sandals appeared during the time of the Egyptians. These sandals were made with raw leather and palm leaves. Although they looked extremely unrefined, the Egyptians were the true pioneers of modern-day shoes.
Moving into the Antiquity Age, the famous Grecian gladiator sandals remained the most famous footwear for the aristocrats. They were typically worn by Greek men when they walked and inspected the cities. Now they’re a trending shoe style for women.
The Middle Ages emerged with a new wave of footwear that was entirely different from their previous prototypes. They were pointed and richly dark in color.
Fast forward to the Renaissance and the funkiest shoes you’ve ever seen came into existence. Typically made in bright, vibrant colors like sparkling purple, lime green, light blue and lemon yellow, the shoes of the Renaissance era truly stood out.
Shoes have evolved from simply stitching together animal skin to more elaborate, refined and beautifully jeweled footwear. Let us now break into the modern world of footwear. With this definitive list, we will take a closer look at the different styles and types of shoes for women these days.
Do you still have questions about footwear? Get the answers to some of the most common questions about footwear and satisfy all your burning curiosity about the most important part of your wardrobe.
What shoes should a man own?
It’s a common stereotype that women own a lot of shoes. Perhaps that’s because there are so many different types of footwear for women. However, there are tons of options in men’s shoes, too. So it’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed and for men to have trouble knowing which basic pairs of shoes they should even own. After all, how many dress shoes does a man need?
According to Esquire, men’s style magazine, an adult man should have a couple of pairs of sneakers, a pair of slide sandals, a comfortable pair of slippers, a pair of dress boots like chukkas, a pair of tough winter boots, a pair of work boots, a pair of oxfords and a comfortable loafer. You should have all your style bases covered with this!
What shoes should a woman own?
Do you have lots of pairs of shoes but never the right pair for what you want to wear? it’s an age-old adage that you can have a closet full of options and never find anything to wear. According to Harper’s Bazaar, women can rely on a few different shoe styles and be ready for every outfit and social occasion that life throws their way.
They suggest that every woman own a pair of black pumps, a pair of stylish flat sandals, a strappy heeled sandal, a pair of statement heels, a pair of sneakers, a pair of all-weather hiking boots, a pair of mules, a pair of loafers and a pair of knee-high boots.
What are shoe soles made from?
The first shoe soles were made from natural materials, such as leather and bark. In the modern era, there’s a much wider variety of materials available for shoe-making. Shoe and boot soles are most commonly made with rubber, polyurethane (PU), leather, thermoplastic rubber (TPR), plastic or fabric. Some soles are even made with straw or rope.
What is the difference between a shoe and a boot?
The debate over whether a type of footwear is a shoe or a boot isn’t a new one. The root of the word shoe comes from the word for a metal plate that was put on a horse’s hoof. The root word for boot referred to a covering for the foot and lower leg. A distinction between the two words emerged as early as the 1400s, according to Etymology Online.
The basic definition of a shoe is that it is not tall enough to cover the wearer’s ankle. A footwear design that covers the ankle is a boot. However, even within these parameters, there are some distinctions. High-top sneakers, for example, cover the ankle but are still considered to be shoes. Hiking shoes in the same style as high-top sneakers, however, might be called hiking boots. In some modern designs, the two words are used interchangeably.
What types of shoes do nurses wear?
There are no specific shoe styles that are “nurse shoes.” However, there are many types of shoes that are marketed to nurses, restaurant professionals and others who spend a lot of time working on their feet. Typically, nurses look for shoes that are slip-resistant, easy to clean, comfortable to wear and tough enough to protect feet from needles and other workplace hazards, according to Nurse.org.
Nurses often wear sneakers, sandals, clogs, loafers and orthopedic shoes, among other styles, as long as they fit the main criteria of keeping feet comfortable and safe.
Which types of shoes are best for dancing?
The type of dancing shoes you wear has everything to do with the type of dancing you’re going to perform, according to the Independent. If you’re going to be doing energetic hip hop dancing, pop and lock or any type of street dancing, sneakers are going to give you the support you need.
If you’re doing ballroom dancing, including salsa, you don’t want rubber-soled shoes. Ballroom dancing shoes have soft suede soles that allow your feet to move and flex. Ballerina flats are a good choice for ballroom dancing.
Some women wear high heels while ballroom dancing for the aesthetics. If you choose heels, choose a low heel height and choose a pair of comfortable, supportive heels that firmly fit your feet.
Which type of shoes are most comfortable for working women?
It can be tough for women to find the right work shoes. Obviously, sneakers are always comfortable but they aren’t always appropriate for some work environments.
When you need a shoe that looks professional but doesn’t kill your feet, try simple flats like Mary Janes, mules or clogs. A pair of loafers looks great anywhere. Low-heeled pumps are always a perfect professional look, too.
What is considered a dress shoe?
What’s considered to be a dress shoe differs on where you are in the world. In the U.S., a dress shoe is really any type of footwear that is not a sneaker or certain types of boots. Combat boots, hiking boots and work boots definitely aren’t dress shoes, but there are boot styles that are considered to be dressy enough for anything. Chukkas, for example, are perfectly fine as formal boots.
What types of shoes should men wear in an office?
They say that shoes make the man. And in office environments, that’s true. You want to dress for success. So when you’re in an office environment, slip into a pair of loafers, oxford shoes, derby shoes, chukka boots or monk strap shoes. According to the Trend Spotter, these are all stylish, smart choices for office wear.
Which shoes pair well with any outfit?
Travel + Leisure recommends a simple ankle boot for anything you wear. A sleek ankle boot in brown or black will look great with dresses, skirts, blue jeans, shorts or a pantsuit. You can’t go wrong with a classic loafer, either. They can be casual or a little bit dressy, sensible and stylish all at the same time.
A pair of pretty flats in basic black can go anywhere and be worn with anything, from a sexy cocktail dress to a pair of khaki pants to some trendy skinny jeans.
What are the highest quality shoes?
The cost of a shoe doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of the shoe. Neither does the brand name. Even the highly expensive, well-known brand names can be poor-quality footwear. Remember that shoemaking is such an art form, it was once all done completely by hand.
Pay attention to the quality of the materials used to make the shoe and the way the shoe is made. Look carefully at the specifications of the shoe and how it’s put together inside and out. Look for stitching around the sole, which can indicate how well the shoe is put together. Look at the sole of the sole and the uppers of the shoe. What are they made from?
Look also at the features of the shoe. Are they waterproof? Insulated? Do they have arch support and insole padding? Look at all the little details and you’ll know whether you’re looking at something high quality and well made or something much poorer in quality, according to ShoePassion.
What are the most expensive shoes?
There are a great many expensive shoes in the world because some designers are so highly in-demand. The most expensive shoes ever bought, however, are all very specific shoes that have some special history. Among the most expensive shoes in the world are the actual ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz,” the Air Jordans that Michael Jordan himself wore while sick with the flu when he played an amazing game, some diamond-encrusted high heels made by famous designers for fun and fortune and a pair of stiletto high heels made with gold and diamonds that cost $17 million.
The most expensive shoes that people can actually own, however, aren’t quite as famous as Dorothy’s ruby slippers but they still have a lot to offer.
The most expensive pair of shoes that have been produced more than once are probably the Testoni shoes. They retail for about $40,000, according to Money Inc. They’re made from alligator leather and have a gold and diamond buckle. These shoes are a lace-up oxford style and they definitely do look like money.
The most expensive casual shoes in the world that were produced multiple times are probably the Nike Air Mag Back to the Future 2016 shoes. Yes, they are a replica of the shoes shown in “Back to the Future 2.” Nike made only 89 pairs and raffled them off for $10 a ticket in 2016. Their estimated worth now is $26,000 a pair.
If you want something a little more affordable but still ridiculously expensive, turn your gaze to Aubery Diamond shoes. These gorgeous loafers are made for luxury and they’re available in multiple leather colors for a cool $4,500 per pair.
Which types of shoes are in style?
When you want to know which footwear types are in style right now, take a look around. See what actors are wearing on TV shows and talk shows. Get on social media sites like Instagram and search for shoes to see what people are posting.
In menswear, white low-cut sneakers, chukka boots and loafers without socks are all current hot looks, according to Trend Spotter.
Harper’s Bazaar points to heeled loafers, tall over-the-knee boots and platforms as some of the biggest current shoe trends for women.
What is the most popular shoe?
So what’s the most popular shoe of all time? Moccasins have been worn the longest. Boots may have the most practical uses. High heels completely changed fashion for everyone. But when you get right down to it, one type of footwear is more epic, more iconic, more worn and certainly more purchased than any other: sneakers.
The humble sneaker is probably history’s most popular type of footwear to date. People from all walks of life own a pair of sneakers, from the world’s greatest billionaires to the starving artists who have given up money to focus on nature.
They are worn by men, women and children of all ages and they are worn for every imaginable activity, from Olympic-worthy athletic training to casual grocery shopping. Sneakers are the most ubiquitous footwear out there, though other types of footwear have been worn for many, many more years.
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