Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Are Shoe Serious?: Types of Shoes

Welcome to the first edition of ARE SHOE SERIOUS? !! This is a series all about shoes... I'm going to cover the essentials about all things shoes and what the every day woman needs to know!  If you have any request regarding shoe topics leave me a comment and I will be sure to cover it!

Types of Shoes
To some of you this subject will be a no brainer but honestly... do you know what certain shoes/materials are called? I didn't think so. If you have a certain idea in your head and you want to "Google" the shoe would you know how to define it? 


oxford/trouser shoe
 Here we have a classic oxford. These have become very popular latey. So if you are looking for a tailored flat that looks similar to a men's shoe then you would be sure to call it an oxford shoe.
basic ballet flat
 Then we have our classic ballet flat. The rule of thumb is that all ballet flats just cover the toe and heel area and are open on top.... also they are completely flat
basic sandal
flip flop

So in case you didn't know there is a difference between a flip-flop and a sandal. If you are looking for a flip-flop and not a sandal... do not say sandal. The difference is simple a flip flop is a type of sandal that doesn't have support in the back. So when you walk your shoe flip flops. Get it? Easy I know.. a true sandal is just an open toe shoe that is styled for warm climate. :)
gladiator sandal
Another popular type of sandal is a gladiator sandal. The main characteristics that make a gladiator sandal a gladiator sandal are the Romanesque features of the shoe. The sandal will almost always be ankle height and will be buckled. More trendy gladiator shoes will have rivets or studs on them. 

L to R: Espadrille, Cork, Chunky/Thick Heel, Stiletto Heels
kitten heels
This picture says it all... there are many different types of heels. We have wedges, thick/chunky heels, kitten heels, stiletto heels and prism heels. I'm sure Im leaving something out but there are certainly different types of heels. These just happen to be the most popular. Stiletto heels are probably the most sought after type of heel. They look great on every one. Not only do they add extra height but the slenderness of the heel elongates the body and changes the way you stroll. Stilettos are typically very skinny no thicker than a marker... so yes walking in them is challenging but they look amazing!! Kitten heels are great for those people who are just starting out in heels or like to get a little height at work. A kitten heel is typically any wear from .5 inches to 2 inches in height. They are almost always paired with pointy toe shoes. Chunky/Thick heels are really trendy right now. Designers like Michael Kors and Jeffrey Campbell are absolutely in love with them. Chunky heels not only look great but they are super comfortable. They are usually paired with clogs, boots, and now it seems open toe super high heels (4.5-5inch) not to mention they are almost always made from wood or cork.
Stacked Wood- Prism Heel
Ok. So lets talk about prism heels. Those are very commonly found on boots and during the fall/winter. I will say a prism heel is much more comfortable then lets say a stiletto heel. This is due to the wide base of the heel. The wider the base the more support your foot has and alas more comfort. So, if you are more in it for comfort and you are sick of wearing wedges and flats then a prism heel may be a great alternative for you.

Top to Bottom: Espadrille, Wood, & Cork Wedges.
They are known for their comfort and are super popular during the spring and fall. They typically come in 3 forms: espadrille, wood, or cork. I do say that the cork is the most comfortable but the most fashionable is the wood. I love espadrilles but their lasting power isn't so hot.  Almost always, wedges will have a platform. If the shoe isn't platformed that means its either a very low wedge or its meant to be dressier.
Military/Combat Boots

Okay, so there are MANY types of boots out there and I'm leaving a lot of them out. I just wanted to point out 2 types of boots that many people get confused about.  That would be combat/military boots and booties/ankle boots. Yes, it does seem that combat/military boots are a no brainer but many people do not know how to describe these boots. So if you are looking for rugged, 90's inspired, boots you are looking for combat boots. Companies like Dr. Marten and Steve Madden seem to really love these cool boots and I must say that I am definitely a fan.  
Ankle Boot & Bootie

Okay so what is a bootie? A bootie is a very small boot in fact.. its a shoe essentially that looks like a boot. Both of the shoes picture on the left are booties but the taupe colored one could very well be a simple ankle boot. Its a little confusing but ankle boots are boots that are ankle height... usually booties are right below the ankle. I'm sorry if I confused you more. Lets just say that the black shoe is most definitely not an ankle boot but the taupe one is both an ankle boot and bootie.
L to R: Basic Platform/Hidden Platform

Recessed Platform
There are 3 types. The first type is the one that most of us see... that would be the basic platform. A platform is a very thick portion of the sole. This style became very popular during the 70's. I thank the 70's for chunky heels, platforms, and fun dance music. :) Anyway, the basic platform is anywhere from .25-1.5 inches normally but there are higher out there. lol  Hidden/Covered platforms are very popular with boots and pumps. Designers like Christian Louboutin and Yves St. Laurent love to use the hidden platform. It gives the illusion that you are walking on a 5 inch heel when reall you are walking on a 4 inch. Its super sleek and sexy looking. I 'm a big fan.  Recessed platforms have a very bad reputation but they can be found on some of the most fun shoes. Recesed platforms are platforms that are put in directly under the shoe... they are not lined up with the upper. Stripper shoes almost always have a recessed platform.

Other Helpful Terms

L to Right: Open toe, Peep toe
An open toe shoe is a shoe that shows most of your toes.  A peep  toe  shoe usually shows just your big toe and second toe.  Although this seems very obvious I have come across a lot of women who do not know the proper terminology. A "peek-a-boo" toe just sounds down right silly... you'll get your point across but saying "peep toe" sounds much nicer.

Sling Back Shoe
Another term that I've noticed that people don't know the right word for is sling back.  A sling back shoe is a shoe that has just a strap above the heel. It "slings" around the back of your foot. Though I do find that sling backs that do not have elastic by the buckle are the best kind to get. After a while, elastic stretches and a sling back can prove to be a very aggravating sort of shoe.
L to R: Almond Toe, Round Toe, Slight Rounded/
Squared Toe & Pointy Toe.
Types of Toes
Okay so these are the mot popular ones to date. Almond toe, Round toe, Slightly Squared or Rounded Toe, and Pointy Toe.
The almond shape toe is a hybrid between a pointy toe and a round toe. This is a good shape for those of us who really arent a fan of round toe shoes. A round toe is well a round toe shoe... this is the most common type of toe shape. A slighty rounded/squared toe has become very popular as of late thanks to Yves St. Laurent. The key features are 2 stitches on both sides of the point of the shoe. This gives the toe a more squared look even though the shoe is basically almond shaped. Its a nice illusion. Last but not least are pointy toes... now pointy toe shoes look great with wide legged trouser pants but these can be the most painful! 

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