If your style is classic, old-Hollywood glamour, then 2018 is the year for you. Women’s styles this year are heavily inspired by vintage looks, feminine themes, and classic shapes.
If you are looking for a dressy, fashionable shoe to get you through summer socials and all the way into fall and winter parties, today we’re looking at some of the top women’s dress shoes of the year and choosing our favorite styles.
Top 5 Women’s Dress Shoes Comparison Chart
Women’s Dress Shoes Reviews
Olivia K Women’s Rhinestone Dress Sandal
The fun, strappy peep toe, and rhinestones on these women’s dress sandals from Olivia K create drama and glamor in a high-fashion sandal, but with a shape, fit, and heel height to keep you comfortable all day. With these sandals, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort in order to be beautiful, and your feet can hold up for any long summer nights as long as you can.
The synthetic upper of these shoes features slender straps packed with rhinestones, forming an eye-catching and glamorous design. Peep toes and open sides keep your feet cool and comfortable, for a style that can go day-to-evening without missing a beat.
The very slight platform in the sole and the low kitten heels make the Olivia K women’s rhinestone dress sandals more comfortable and easier to wear than they look. The strap design comfortably hugs your feet from your toe to your ankle, giving extra stability when walking or dancing. They have a lightly cushioned insole, and the heel is well-placed for extra support and balance.
These sandals are great for capturing a dressy, formal style without wearing extra-high, uncomfortable heels. The choice of fun colors includes ultra-fashionable rose gold, which is perfect for a summer evening. The low heel, moved toward the center of the shoe, with wrap-around straps and a small platform, all combine to add stability and comfort, to keep your feet from sliding around inside the shoe and causing blisters.
These sandals aren’t adjustable at all, and have the potential to be uncomfortable and look wrong if they aren’t the right size. If they are slightly too small, the zipper in the back pinches. If they are slightly too large, your foot slides down into the toe. While they do run true to size, it’s a design without much room for error.
- Pretty, sexy sandals
- Nice choice of colors
- Great choice for daytime or nighttime wear
You may want to order two sizes and return one in order to get the right fit
Getmorebeauty Women’s Snake Stripe Dress Sandals
The getmorebeauty snake stripe dress sandals have a high-fashion silhouette and classic style. They come in bold colors perfect for summer, with a sexy, stylish shape that can go anywhere.
The faux snakeskin texture on these high heeled sandals adds drama and interest. The peep toe and strappy design are both cool and sexy for summer looks, while the high heel creates glamour. These sandals are guaranteed to get compliments, and go with a wide range of fashion styles and colors
They are made of synthetic material. They have a soft lining in the sole beneath the foot, up to the peep toe. The 3.15-inch heels appear taller due to the moderate platform shape, that adds height without reducing comfort or stability.
These dress sandals are loaded with style, and the vibrant colors are really ideal for nearly any summer outfit or occasion. They are airy and breathable, which is important when shoes are made of synthetic material.
They run a little bit large in size, which is important to account for because the fit is essential in a strappy sandal. They do not have any interior cushioning or arch support, so they may not keep you out dancing all night long. And they aren’t very durable, and shouldn’t be expected to last forever with street wear.
- Cute, versatile, sexy looking shoe
- Vibrant, fun color choices
- Good heel height for look and comfort
- Not so durable
- Often have an unpleasant smell of synthetic materials and adhesives
- In some color choices, faux snakeskin texture can look plasticky
Guilty Heart Open Toe Heeled Sandals
These cute, dressy sandals from Guilty Heart are just the thing for a summer party. With a wide range of colors and surfaces to choose from, there are options to match any outfit and style, and a versatile heel height suitable for many occasions. These sandals can be dressed up or down for a wide range of looks.
The wide ankle and toe straps of the Guilty Heart Open Toe Heeled Sandals provide some structure and stability, while the open sides, toes, and barely-there sole show off a summer pedicure.
They are lightweight sandals with an upper made of leather-looking polyurethane. Suede sandals should be spot cleaned and softly brushed to preserve the pile.
These really are a versatile sandal, that can be dressed up and sexy, or dressed down and playful. The heel height is perfect to transition day to night, and the wide range of colors lend themselves to a lot of looks and occasions. They run true to size, and the lining helps prevent your feet from sliding inside the shoe.
These shoes obviously don’t have any padding or impact protection that would help make them comfortable for prolonged wear. Unusually, the ankle strap can’t be adjusted at all, and an ankle strap is not a typical consideration when determining shoe size or fit. However, if the ankle strap is too loose for your ankle, the whole look of the shoe can be thrown off.
- Nice, versatile design and color palette in an easy-to-wear shoe
- Good heel height for a day-to-night transition
- Not comfortable for extended wear
- Zipper makes a clinking sound with every step
Odema Women’s High Heel Oxfords
The timeless style of an Oxford is dressed up and made more feminine with the addition of a fun, chunky heel in these cute shoes from Odema. With a thick, treaded, rubber sole, these shoes will withstand all-day wear if you work on your feet, or are traversing unpredictable fall weather, and the classic style will suit a wide range of fashion choices and occasions. These are great shoes for any workplace, from casual to formal, and will suit a wide variety of fashion styles and statements.
Menswear-inspired detailing in the wingtips and brogueing on the vamp add style to these oxfords, available in black, brown, and beige. The chunky heel is feminine and stylish, but wide and low enough to not compromise traction, stability, or comfort.
The upper is made of polyurethane synthetic leather, and the soles are rubber with excellent tread and traction. The body of the shoe is also deep enough for a removable insole if you have a need for additional arch support.
The Odema Women’s High Heel Oxfords have a classic, enduring style that can be worn for years, regardless of fashion trends that come and go. These shoes have great traction, cushioning, and durability. They have plenty of room in the toe box for wider feet and are designed for prolonged wear.
It would be nice if these were made of real leather, but of course, that would increase the cost. The laces are low-quality, and it would be a good idea to replace them with better laces. It would even be fun to straight bar lace them like men’s Oxfords, to accentuate the look of the shoes.
- Enduring, classic design and look in these women’s dress shoes
- Thick rubber sole for long wear and comfort
- Deep sole tread for fall and winter wear
- Wide toe box and roomy interior could accommodate an insole
Poor quality laces
Ellie Shoes Women’s Lucille Dress Pump
The Lucille dress pump could be called vintage, or retro, but the style is timeless. These shoes are fashionable, fun, and cute, and could be worn nearly anywhere, for a playful twist on a classic black pump. The satin surface needs a little extra protection from rain and rough weather, but these adorable shoes are worth the effort.
The T-strap is a nice way to visually elongate the foot, with slender straps and a delicate buckle. The heel is medium-low, at just 2.5 inches, but the overall style of the shoe is so delicate and feminine that it has the look of a higher heel.
The outer shell is made of black satin, adding a nice sheen to the surface. The insole is lined with leather, and the outer sole is made of rubber with a non-slip tread for extra stability. The slight flare of the heel, and heel placement forward, beneath the foot, also helps to enhance balance and stability.
We can see that many women buy these shoes to complete their wardrobe, and are looking for a retro style shoe that also allows them to dance. But the truth is, these shoes are so cute, classic, and comfortable that they could easily be worn to a workplace or any social gathering without looking like a “costume” shoe.
It’s really surprising that a woman’s dress shoe like this doesn’t come in half-sizes. The design of the shoe doesn’t allow for adjusting of the fit through the arch of the foot, or the addition of an insole or extra cushioning, or even wearing thick socks, so half-sizes would go a long way toward creating a better fit and more lasting comfort.
- Classic but distinctive style
- Cute, go-anywhere shoes
- Little support or impact protection
- No half-sizes
While women’s dress shoes are as diverse as the women who wear them, there are a few things to be aware of when shopping for shoes, so that you can make the best choice for your needs.
There are, of course, some incredible designers making amazing shoes. For those who can afford designer shoes, these brands can elevate your fashion to a whole new level. However, it’s worth remembering that in many cases, the big price tag is all about the brand, and not about the quality. Furthermore, people who really care about designers can usually spot a cheap knock-off. If you don’t have designer money to spend, you can still get high-fashion dress shoes that will command respect for their quality and their looks, if not for the name.
There are some important features to be attentive to in a woman’s dress shoe, whether you plan to wear the shoes all day in a professional setting, or just want to step up your fashion when going out.
When you stand normally in bare feet, your weight is fairly evenly distributed through the sole of your foot, from your heels to the ball of your feet. When you are wearing high heels, your body weight is shifted forward, to the balls of your feet. Over time, this shift in weight distribution and posture can strain not just the feet and ankles, but the knees and lower back as well. To preserve your health and be fashionable at the same time, be attentive to how stable the shoe is, how it will distribute your weight, and how it will help preserve your balance. Some features to look for are:
The overall height/stretch of your arch in the shoe
This isn’t necessarily the heel height, as platform shoes can have very high heels without fully extending the arch of your foot. The further your foot is arched, the greater the impact on your stability and posture.
The placement of the heel
Most stilettos have a heel that is centered at the very back of the shoe, beneath your Achilles tendon. This placement doesn’t help preserve balance and stability. Chunky heels, kitten heels, cone heels, wedges, and some heels with a curve in the construction, offer more weight support beneath your heel, closer to the middle of your foot, and therefore closer to a natural weight distribution.
The texture of the sole
A thin, smooth, slippery sole will always make you feel unstable and more prone to slipping and falling. If the sole doesn’t have any texture, consider buying non-slip pads for the sole of the shoe.
Because your weight is shifted forward, the balls of your feet bear more weight and handle more impact in high heeled shoes than they do in flat shoes. Many women’s dress shoes have no cushioning at all, making them very uncomfortable for prolonged wear. Shoes can be cushioned in two ways:
In the sole on the bottom of the shoe
Many women’s dress shoes have extremely thin soles, which transmit the impact of every step up into the body, becoming painful over time. Shoes with a thicker sole will naturally absorb some of that impact, even if they have not been designed with additional cushioning. This is one of the reasons why many women find wedges and platform heels more comfortable than thin sandals and pumps, even if the heel his higher.
Inside the lining of the shoe
Shoes can be made with extra padding and cushioning in the lining, to absorb and protect from impact, particularly at the balls of the feet. Many designers are now borrowing air cushions from athletic shoe designs and incorporating them into women’s high heels. If your shoe doesn’t have added cushioning, you can often buy cushions for insertion.
We live in an exciting time where women can take fashion inspiration from all over the world and nearly any time period, and make it work. However, it’s also true that fashion in women’s shoes changes rapidly, which can make it difficult to find shoes that will be fashionable for years to come. Toe styles, in particular, change year over year, and can quickly make shoes look dated. But here are some classic women’s dress shoe styles that can be a wardrobe staple and never go out of style.
A black leather pump
A high-quality black leather pump with a slender high heel and moderately pointed toe goes with everything and goes anywhere. This shoe has a timeless style and silhouette that never goes out of fashion.
A black ballet flat
Whether this shoe is completely flat or has a slight heel, it’s another classic that can go anywhere, at any time, paired with nearly anything. Ballet flats can be dressed up or down and be comfortable and stylish year in and year out.
A black knee-high boot
A black knee-high boot with a low-to-moderate heel height, rounded toe, and thicker sole can be worn in fall and winter, with pants and skirts, rain and shine, season after season. Fashion trends will see heel and toe shapes on a knee-high boot come and go, so it’s best to avoid extremes of squared-off or pointy toes, very slender or very chunky heels, in order to get a boot that stays in style year after year.
Women’s dress shoes are made of a variety of materials, which affect the look, the cost, and the durability of the shoe. Most fashion advice is to purchase the highest-quality-possible shoe, because the investment pays off in durability and long-lasting wear. However, that advice often doesn’t account for the reality that:
- Women’s shoe styles change very quickly. While it’s worth spending $500 for a classically-styled pair of shoes you will wear for year after year, most women own 20 or more pairs of shoes, and can’t afford to replace all of them with high-quality options with the speed that fashions change
- Many women are buying dress shoes for a specific look. When buying shoes for a specific season, occasion, or outfit, long-term durability is less important. Many women buy shoes knowing specifically that they won’t be wearing them day after day, year after year, and don’t need to make an investment in quality
With that in mind, let’s look at two of the most common materials used to make shoes.
Leather uppers vs. PVC (or other plastics)
Most women’s dress shoes are either made from genuine leather or made from PVC or a plastic heated and stamped to look like leather. Genuine leather is the best material for a high-quality, long-lasting shoe because it is breathable, durable, flexible, and handsome. PVC shoes are not breathable, so the insides can get moist and slippery, and they quickly scuff or scratch to show wear and strain. Importantly, leather uppers are stitched to the sole of the shoe, making it easy to repair and replace the sole, so you can wear the shoe for decades. Plastics are bonded together with glues and adhesives, so the soles often come off the shoe, particularly under heat and strain, and cannot be repaired. This is also why cheap plastic shoes tend to have an unpleasant, chemical smell, while leather smells like leather.
Rubber soles vs. TPR soles
Rubber is a natural material, and TPR (thermoplastic rubber) is a synthetic version of it. Both materials offer cushioning in the sole of a shoe, and both can provide additional grip and traction depending on the tread design of the sole. TPR is preferable for those who are sensitive to rubber or latex, and rubber is generally preferable in wet, muddy conditions.
Women’s fashion is highly fluid, and each woman should use her own judgment about the attire that is best suited to the environment and the occasion. However, there are a few general guidelines that are often helpful when choosing dress shoes.
Spring and summer
- Style: Pumps, sandals, wedges, flats.
- Colors: Neutrals, pastels, bright colors, patterns.
Fall and winter
- Style: Pumps, boots, clogs, loafers
- Colors: Neutrals, jewel tones, solid colors
Generally speaking, metallics are best with evening wear, and thigh high boots should be saved for the club. But make the statement that works best for your style.
The range of decorations and additions in women’s dress shoes is large, but there are a few important features to look out for.
Depending on the season and your climate, waterproofing can be extremely important for the wear and durability of your shoes, particularly if they are made of leather. Many shoes and boots are waterproofed by the designer before you receive them, and it’s the best way to ensure that the leather remains preserved, flexible, and colorfast.
The ideal insole would provide good arch support and cushioning for your feet. Many shoes designed for all-day wear have memory foam insoles for additional padding, gel cushions at the ball of the feet and/or the heel, or have inner construction to fully support the arch of the foot.
Women’s Dress Shoes FAQs
How do I wear pointed-toe heels?
Pointed toe shoes are back in fashion, and add a sleek, stylish look to a wide array of outfits. In terms of style and fashion, they are highly versatile and don’t insist on a complementary look. In terms of wear, there are a few things you should do when wearing pointed toe heels.
A pointed toe shoe compresses your toes, particularly if you have wide feet. And the elevation of the high heel will also naturally slide your weight forward, deeper into the toe of the shoe. For these reasons, pointed-toe shoes can quickly lose their toe shape and sleek style. In order to preserve the toe shape and the look of the shoe:
- Don’t wear the shoes for prolonged periods. Not only should you not wear the same pointed toe heels two days in a row, but, if possible, take periodic breaks and give the shoes a break while you are wearing them. Take them off for 15-20 minutes at a time and let the shoes relax while you wiggle your toes and balance your weight on your whole foot
- Use a shoe tree. When you aren’t wearing the shoe, use a high-quality shoe tree to preserve the toe shape
- Protect the shoes from excessive heat, cold, and moisture. Heat, cold, and moisture can all impact the shape and durability of the upper of a shoe, no matter what it is made of. Keeping them dry and temperate will maintain the shape of the toe as long as possible
What color shoes do I wear with a blush dress?
With a blush dress, there are three really good options. You could wear a neutral color shoe, in a tan, beige, or pale color, and keep the focus on the dress. Or you could wear a brighter, contrasting color, like a blue, fuchsia, or purple, and complement the shoe with a clutch, wrap, or choker. Or choose a metallic shoe in silver, gold, rose gold, or even rhinestones, for a fun accent.
Generally speaking, a black shoe would probably be too severe for a blush dress. And avoid matching the shoe color to a blush dress color exactly, unless you want a matchy-matchy bridesmaid look.
Are platform heels comfortable?
While “comfortable” is subjective, and is heavily influenced by the overall construction and fit of the shoe, most women find that platform heels are more comfortable than high-heeled shoes without a platform. The platform allows the heel to be very high, but not flex the foot as steeply, allowing for a better weight distribution and more stability when walking. And the platform also provides more cushioning and protection from impact when walking,
How can I stretch heels out?
There are two ways to stretch heels, depending on whether you need lots of stretch or a little stretch.
For a little bit of stretch
- Put on thick(er) socks, and put on the shoes to be stretched
- Use a blow dryer to gently heat the shoe, focusing on the areas to be stretched, but not overheating them.
- Blow dry the shoe for 15-20 minutes, then turn off the blow dryer and let them cool on your feet
- Take off the shoes and let them cool entirely
- If necessary, repeat
For more stretch
- Use a freezer-style sealable plastic bag and fill it about half full of water.
- Place the bag inside the shoe, putting a corner of the bag into the point of the toe, and letting the water-filled bag conform to the shape of the inside of the shoe
- Place the shoe with the plastic bag inside it inside another plastic bag, and put the whole thing in the freezer overnight
- The water will expand as it freezes, forcing the shoe to stretch
- If necessary, repeat this process
How do I walk in heels without falling?
If you are just getting used to walking in high heels, it’s important to start with a low-heeled shoe. Practice getting comfortable at heel heights in 1.5-2.5 inches, and then you can get higher shoes once you are comfortable.
To begin, walk without your shoes on and notice your body mechanics. You naturally put your heel down first and then roll your weight forward to your toes with each stride. Notice how much your lower back normally shifts and sways with each step. The idea is to mimic that kind of natural stride and sway in high heeled shoes.
When you put on your heels, be attentive to your posture. Heels will naturally arch your lower back a bit, so you want to hold your spine straight up to compensate. Keep your head up and shoulders back.
When walking, roll your foot as naturally as possible, placing your weight on the heel of the shoe, then smoothly rolling through the ball of your foot with each step. Do not place the entire sole of the shoe down at once, as if you are stomping, and do not hold the heels up and tip toe. Trust the heel of the shoe to bear your weight and try to walk as smoothly and naturally as possible.
With practice, you will gain confidence, and, truly, confidence is the whole secret. When you are confident that the heel of the shoe will hold and support you, you can walk naturally. When you are confident that you are walking naturally, it’s easy to hold your upper body upright and have good posture.
Then go strut your stuff!
While this review of the top 5 women’s dress shoes of the year has all our favorite choices, we can’t help but strongly recommend the Odema high heeled oxfords for a woman who wants to look both fashionable and professional on her feet all day.
We can’t get over the attractive style and lasting comfort of those Oxfords. But for sheer summer fun and social occasions, the Oliva K rhinestone sandal is a playful, comfortable, easy-to-wear alternative, with the ability to dress them up or down and go day-to-night.