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29 Types of Shoes for Women – Do You Know them All?

A woman trying on five different pairs of shoes.

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. Safe to say, an average woman in the U.S. probably owns more than 15 pairs of shoes. And that is just an average number, one can only imagine how the wardrobe of an actual shoe-lover could look like.

Every pair of shoes ever known has had 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.

Women’s Shoe Chart

An illustrative chart depicting the different types of women's shoes.

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.

An antique shoe made from hay and deerskin.

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 a trending shoe style for women, you can only imagine how far we’ve come in the course of humanity.

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. Resembling the shoes of a magical elf, who would have known they’d be making trends during the medieval age.

A close look at a pair of dark pointed leather shoes.

Fast forward to the renaissance era, and the funkiest shoes you’ve ever seen came into existence. Typically in bright, vibrant colors like sparkling purple, lime green, light blue, and lemon yellow, the shoes of the renaissance era truly stood out.

A close look at a Baroque shoe with jewels from the Renaissance era.

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 have a closer look at the different styles and types of shoes for women these days.

1. Stilettos

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 traits 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.

And, here we are now. Stilettos, with their sharp heels, are one of the most reliable footwear for women. They are typically made from leather. They may appear tall but are super-comfortable. Stilettos are the standard footwear in beauty contests, especially during the swimwear round.

Elisabet Tang High Heels, Womens Pointed Toe Slip on Stilettos Party Wedding Pumps Basic Shoes BK 9 Black
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2. Mules

Mules are the newest 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.

Steve Madden Women's Hugh Flat Black Multi 6 B(M) US
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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.

3. Gladiators

Cambridge Select Women's Open Toe Crisscross Strappy Flat Knee-High Gladiator Sandal (6.5 B(M) US, White)
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Gladiators were historically worn by men in the grand arena. In Ancient Rome, these sandals were worn to soak up the blood as the men engaged in fight and game.

Gladiator sandals are basically cavemen shoes that are strapped right up to the knees with a T-bar running down from the front. Representing the typical Grecian footwear fashion, gladiator sandals are wonderful for holiday events. Even now they are just as beautiful and regal.

They have a beautiful uniqueness and look lovely on leg-bare dresses. These sandals work well for summers when you’re more likely to wear shorts and skirts. Having recently made a huge comeback on the high streets and catwalks, these strappy sandals also go well with formal office wear and striped trousers.

4. Wedges

DREAM PAIRS Wedge-Height Nude Pu Mary Jane Platform Wedges Shoes for Women Size 7.5 B(M) US
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If your feet hurt in high heels or you’re tired of wearing sharp sandals all the time, then 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.

5. Flip Flops

Havaianas Women's Slim Flip Flop Sandal, Blue, 5/6 M US
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Flip-flops are the ultimate summer footwear and are especially worn for pool parties, beaches, and hot hangouts. They’re usually made of rubber, which makes them easily foldable. You can conveniently keep a pair in your bag when you head out to the beach.

The flip flops are 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.

6. Platforms

CAMSSOO Women'Pumps,Ankle Strap Stiletto High Heels Platform Prom Party Dress Shoes Blue Velvet Size US9 EU41
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Here’s a fun fact: during the time of the Greeks, platform heels were donned by superior characters in a comic play. These heels signified their dignity in the ancient stage plays. Hence, there’s no question why they are still stylish, classic, and formal footwear.

Simple, elegant, and easy to slip on, court shoes are typically worn at formal places like business meetings, church gatherings, and legal meetings.

7. Army Boots

Herstyle Florence2 Women's Ankle Lace Up Military Combat Booties Mid Calf Boots Black 8.5
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Also known as combat boots or military boots, these shoes are famous for their thick and sturdy fabric. They can withstand the harshest of weather and grounds. If you’re a rough and tough girl who likes to wear thick boots and do adventurous things, then the military boots are perfect for you.

Inspired by military advents, these boots are super-thick, sturdy, and chunky with stylish laces and buttons on them.

Military boots will instantly give you that good-girl-gone-bad look because they have the element of toughness.

8. Loafers

Franco Sarto Women's Carolynn Loafer Flat, Black, 8.5 M US
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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, whether worn for office or over a nighttime outfit.

9. Rain Wellington Boots

DKSUKO Rain Boots for Women Waterproof Elastic Wellington Boots (5 B (M) US, Amy Green A)
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Making their way from the mud puddle to the fashion ramp, rain wellington boots are so much more than footwear for the rain. Popularly referred 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.

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 coats.

10. Gumshoes

Vans Unisex Shoes Era Black/Classic Gum Sneakers (6 Men's / 7.5 Women's)
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Nobody can hate a casual yet chic pair of gumshoes. Their unique styled laces and bright colors quickly set them apart from other footwear. These shoes that you’d have probably worn for softball practice are quite frankly one of the chicest and stylish around.

Casual sneakers are one of the best choices for street fashion and are slowly making their way into formal events as well. Set the party on fire by pairing a chic pair of sneakers with a funky dress.

11. Mary Jane Shoes

Chase & Chloe Kimmy-21 Women's Round Toe Pierced Mid Heel Mary Jane Style Dress Pumps (9 B(M) US, Black)
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If you’re curious where these shoes got their name from, then look no further. We have all the facts for you. The name Mary Jane was taken from the same character in the comic strip, Busty Brown, who used to wear these shoes.

They were extremely popular for both girls and boys back in the early 1990s. If you don’t own at least one pair of classic Mary Jane shoes, then your foot wardrobe is clearly incomplete. It can readily add that fancy oomph factor to your otherwise pale, lackluster dress. The sincerest advice anyone can give you on shoes is to quickly buy a pair of Mary Jane shoes.

They are not just snug, but they also keep your feet warm and strap beautifully.

12. Knee Boots

Ellie Women's 557-Gina Knee-High Boot - 5" Heel Lace-up, Black Patent 10
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What’s not to like about high-heeled boots? And if they’re made of velvet and are thick, you simply can’t say no to them. When winter comes and the trees are all brown, step onto the streets in a luscious pair of high-heeled 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.

13. Sling Back

Bandolino Womens Zipporah Slingback Pump Black 8 M
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What goes around comes around. And that’s exactly how slingback heels are worn. They may resemble strap heels, but they’re not the same. These heels simply have a strap that goes back around the heels and is fastened at the front of the foot.

14. Pumps

Aerosoles Women's Octagon Pump, Black Leather, 8.5 M US
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Pumpers or court shoes have a low-cut vamp without any fastening in the front. Hence, they are extremely to slip on. Just like flip-flops, pumps are also perfect for summers. They are extremely versatile and available in different patterns and colors.

The origin of the pumpers is still disputed. Some people believe that pumps were a male equestrian shoe in the Far East. This might be true because up until the 1600s, male and female shoes were quite the same.

However now, the word “pump” is exclusively used for women’s shoes, and pumps are regal and glamorous footwear.

15. Ankle Boots

MVE Shoes Women's Side Zip High Stacked Block Heel Ankle Booties, Dave-8 TAN 10
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Ankle boots are exactly what they claim to be – shoes that reach up to your ankles. Now, 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.

16. Ballerina Flats

ANNA Dana-20 Women's Classic Ballerina Flat w/Elastic Crossing Straps Black 7.5
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Ballerina shoes are normally 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.

17. Kitten Heels

LifeStride Women's Sanya Pump, Black, 10 M US
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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. Because they are chunky and curved heels, they keep your toes warm and enhance the slender shape of your feet.

18. Oxfords

U-lite Brown Blue Perforated Lace-up Wingtip Leather Flat Oxfords Vintage Oxford Shoes Women BB 8
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Oxfords are traditional footwear that lends you an elegant academy look. They appear unique, trim, and neat because of their closed lacing under the vamp. Yes, these shoes are linked to the university itself, back in the 18thcentury, however, there’s more to their history.

Many records claim that the oxford shoes were originally made in Scotland by the name of balmorals. Nonetheless, oxfords are flat-heeled, foot-friendly, and look extremely sophisticated.

19. Espadrilles

Espadrille Sneakers for Women: Hollow Canvas Casual Flats Classic Slip-On Comfortable Shoes 7.5 B(M) US Beige
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Espadrilles first appeared in history in a Catalan script that referred to them as “espardenyas”. 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 for 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.

20. Monks

KEEN Women's Sienna mj Leather-w Fashion Sneaker, Grand Canyon/Monks Robe, 6 M US
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You’ve probably noticed that a lot of shoes in this list were actually made for men. But that’s the cool thing about fashion— there are no limits to what you can wear. What looks good on a man may look even better on a lady. And so is the case with monk 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 and sometimes brogue, monk shoes are tied by 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.

21. Trainers

PUMA Women's Tazon 6 WN's fm Cross-Trainer Shoe, Black Silver/Beetroot Purple, 10.5 M US
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Many people confuse training shoes with running shoes. Trainers are primarily made for multi-directional movements like cutting, jumping, breaking, and changing directions quickly. They have a flatter sole to allow more agility and flexibility in movement.

Trainers are super-comfy workout shoes because they are well-cushioned, stretchy, and have a sock-like fitting. Made from high-quality materials, they can be worn both with and without laces.

22. Peep-toe Shoes

Forever Link Women's Peep Toe Slip On Wedge Pump,6.5 B(M) US,White
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Peep-toe shoes are just like pump heels 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 were when they really became popular. Referred to as the ‘pin-up’ shoe, they were admired by the likes of Betty Page and Marilyn Monroe.

Peep-toe shoes are available in flats, kitten heels, high heels, and even ankle boots. Having a retro touch to them, they are a favorite spring and winter-time footwear.

23. Clogs

MIA Women's Abba Mule, Luggage, 8 M US
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Clog shoes are known for being made of wood. They traditionally served as protective footwear for mines, factories, and agricultural activities. Even though they are considered as folkloric footwear, certain types of clogs have found huge popularity on the runway.

Traskor – the Swedish clog— is either made from pine, alder, or berch. The canvas of the traskor is made of leather while the soles are made from wood. They are vibrantly painted with floral designs and motifs.

Another type of clog shoe is the Japanese geta, which is a combination of clogs and flip-flops and is typically worn under the yukata dress. They have two blocks of elevated wood attached underneath them with a fabric strap on the toe.

24. Brogues

100FIXEO Women Wingtip Lace Up Vintage Oxford Shoes Brogues (5.5 (B) M US,Black)
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Brogue shoes sit comfortably between Oxford and Monk shoes. Despite this, Brogue is a type of shoe in its own right that has decorative and perforated patterns on the toe.

You’ve probably heard of cap toes and wingtip shoes. Both of those are brogues. Brogues for women usually have a chunky sole and stylish laces. Available in metallic colors, pastels, and the classic black leather, brogues look elegant with dress pants.

25. Docksides

Sebago Women's Docksides Boat Shoe, Mint Corduroy, 5 B US
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Also known as boat shoes, docksides were originally made for sailors to prevent them from slipping. However, it didn’t take long before they quickly grabbed attention by famous fashion giants. Docksides have intricately hand-sewn upper and non-slip rubber soles, which truly made them stand out.

With pretty laces and smooth suede texture, they’re perfect for both formal and casual hangouts. It doesn’t matter if you’re a boater or not, docksides are extremely comfortable and great for first impressions.

26. Lita

Forever Camille-86 Women's Comfort Stacked Chunky Heel Lace Up Ankle Booties (Dusty Pink, 5)
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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 boots have now found a stronghold with wannabe-style bloggers.

Ladies like to wear these boots in black; however, only recently, Lita boots have also emerged in cosmic prints and flag designs.

27. Chunky

BAMBOO Women's Chunky Heel Platform Sandal with Quarter Strap, Black Nubuck PU, 8.0 B US
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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 minimalistic look and are styled with straps and bows.

28. Moccasin

Minnetonka Women's Cally Slipper,Cinnamon,9 M US
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Moccasin shoes are made from soft leather or deerskin, with heel-less leather soles and sides, tacked with a vamp. Moccasins are also known as driving shoes and were originally indigenous footwear for North Americans.

Designed to be sturdy, snug, and comfortable, moccasin shoes have a super-soft sole, embellished with beads and other embroideries. Also known as ‘Gucci loafers’, moccasins are wonderful leather slip-on shoes.

29. D’Orsay

Via Spiga Women's Ava D'Orsay Pump, Black Ash, 8 M US
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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. This unique style exposes that rare skin because of which these shoes are extremely flattering. Made by high-end shoe companies like Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik, D’Orsay heels are both stretchable and comfortable.

Now that you know the many different kinds of shoes and the colors and styles they are typically worn in, it’s time to refill your wardrobe. All of these shoes are equally wonderful when it comes to style, comfort, and feet protection. Head out for some shoe shopping and get yourself a gorgeous pair of these fantastic shoes.

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