Posted on August 30 2020
Updated July 4th, 2022
Welcome to this type of heels guide! We will help you identify and choose the type of heel that will look amazing AND feel good all day long.
They say good shoes take you good places, but finding a pair of good dress shoes hasn’t been easy for many women.
In this type of heels guide we talk about:
- 4 factors to consider when choosing the perfect heels
- Getting to know your own feet needs
- How to choose the shoe type, without the pain
- Example styles to inspire
Skip to each section:
We are passionate about good shoes, without the pain
Ally Shoes reimagines how functional fashion pieces support women every day while encouraging them to express themselves and their style. Each heel is handcrafted with premium lambskin leather and stretchy suede lining softer than moleskin.
We re-engineered the statement heel with a podiatric surgeon to create a flexible structure that secures your foot and looks fabulous. The handcrafted leather upper is padded with an ergonomically-designed insole, proper arch support, and available in half sizes and 4 different widths.
Our patent-pending design is the epitome of chic yet wearable footwear – scientifically engineered to alleviate pain. Read more about our mission here.
How to use this guide
Here is how we recommend you use this guide:
- First take the Fit Finder Quiz to identify your type of feet: Click here to get started. This quiz will give you size predictions based on your foot condition.
- Once you know your feet type, come here and understand the type of heels that fit your type of foot.
- Read through each element of types of heels and get additional ideas to choose the right type of heel for your foot.
Bonus step: Check out Ally’s Shoes options here.
Best Shoe based on Foot Type
Here is a table to help you identify which type of heel is best for your current foot condition. Again our Fit Finder Quiz will help you with this process as well.
|Foot Type||Recommended Heel|
Bunions / Wide Foot
Round toe, pointed toe with gradual point and wide fit
Wide toe box, Arch support, low-mid heel
Arch support, mid-high heel with curved-in heel or block heel for stability
Anatomy of a Shoe
Below is a quick breakdown of different parts of a classic high heel. In this guide, we will focus on a few main points of consideration, including picking the right toe box for your foot shape, choosing the right heel height and shape, and deciding between a simple pump vs adding straps.
The Toe Box is the front part of the heel, where your toes live.Popular toe boxes for dress shoes usually range from round, square, almond, to pointy. Often the level of comfort and style (formality) of these styles are inversely related, especially in high heels.
One trick is to select toe box shapes based on the shape of your toes, as indicated by the picture below -
However, from a style perspective, pointed-toe look is often considered the most professional and chic. In fact, we often hear from women in our community that they love how the pointed-toe look elevates the entire outfit and elongates their legs, but this style also tends to be the most uncomfortable to wear. This problem is especially prominent for those with wide feet. As a result, they often have to compromise comfort for style, or vice versa.
How to wear an elegant pointed toe without the pain:
Here are some tips for wearing a pointed toe:
- Go for a more gradual point, instead of a sharp one, to allow for more space in the shoe.
Source: ALLY Shoes, Classic White Leather Pump, Bridal collection
- Look for brands that offer different toe-box width options. This is especially helpful for those with bunions. Oftentimes, people with wider feet tend to size up in order to have more room in the toe box, which then makes the shoe too loose. Finding the best fit is half the battle when it comes to comfortable high heels. By finding shoes with a wider toe box, you can actually find your best fit without sizing up! As a result, at ALLY Shoes, we offer four different toe box widths: narrow, medium, wide, and extra wide.
Source: Ally Shoe Collection
When it comes to heel heights, we have options from flats (less than 0.75 inch / 2cm), kitten heel (1-2 inch / 2-5 cm), mid height heel (2-3 inch / 5-7.5cm), or real high heels (3-5 inches / 7.5-12cm).
When we are walking in flats, our weight is more evenly distributed between the front of our foot and our heel. However, as the heel height increases, more weight gets distributed to the front, as illustrated below.
While a pair of flats are definitely more comfortable to walk in, a pair of heels often completes a look, making the outfit more elevated (even with jeans!) So how do we balance (pun intended) this argument between style and comfort?
Source: ALLY Shoes, Black Leather Kitten Heel (2-inch / 5CM)
Source: ALLY Shoes, Black Suede Pump (3-inch / 7.5CM), Little Black Heels Collection
Our tips for gradually working toward a higher heel
Some things to consider when working toward a higher heel:
- Avoid super flat shoes with thin soles and no arch support, as this may cause your arch to drop over time and lead to plantar fasciitis (source). In fact, when developing ALLY’s new flat collection, Dr Clarke, our Chief Scientist, recommended going for a 1.5 cm heel with a padded insole, to provide the level of support needed in a flat shoe.
- Look for a mid-height heel. A mid-height heel between 2-3 inches gives you just the right amount of elevation without putting an erroneous amount of weight in the front
- Look for high heels with built-in arch support. Whether you have flat feet or high arch, there is often space between your arch and the outsole of the shoe. By putting in arch support to fill that space, you will get additional weight support and stability when walking in heels
Let’s talk heel shape! This can change the way you feel in your shoes and also give off a different aesthetic.
Stiletto vs. Block Heel
Stiletto heels are classic, slick, and often considered more professional. As a result, this is your go-to choice for an important client presentation, speaking engagement, or cocktail party. However, they are not the most commuter-friendly, as the thin stiletto can get scrapped or stuck in gridlocks. As a result, if the occasion isn’t super formal, and you anticipate walking a lot throughout the day or are just looking for more stability, block heels can be a great option.
Straight Heel vs. Curved Heel
Let’s say you’ve decided to go with stiletto, should you choose a straight or curved-in one? With the same heel height, a straight heel looks visually taller. However, an indented heel aligns better with your spine, hence creating more stability.
Source: ALLY Shoes, Five Shades of Nude Collection
Plain Pump, Ankle Strap, or Mary Jane? Plain pumps are clean and timeless, so it’s no surprise that’s still the most popular style you will see on the market. However, what if you have a very thin back heel, or if you are just getting used to wearing heels and need more security? A simple solution could be adding a strap.
Source: ALLY Shoes, Ankle Strap Pumps in Gutsy Garnet, Dressy Straps Collection
Ankle straps are a very versatile add-on to dress up the pump, making it a great style option for any A-line dress or skirt. When you pair them with pants, you can also hide them under the slacks. They also make the heel look visually higher. At ALLY, we also made our ankle strap removable, adding more versatility and creating a 2-in-1 shoe.
The Mary Jane is a classic look from the 20s making a comeback this year. They give you a more vintage look while adding more security around your arch and foot bed.
Source: ALLY Shoes, Cross-over strap, Design Sketch. Do you want us to make this one? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know!
When picking your next pair of dress shoes, it’s important to find the best style and structure that fits your needs. It’s also crucial to find the best fit in sizing. One size doesn’t fit all, which is why at ALLY we offer inclusive sizes and widths.
Check out our fit finder quiz to find your best fit: https://www.ally.nyc/pages/fit-finder/