With women’s shoes the style most commonly heard is definitely the pump. What exactly a pump is may be a bit of a loose definition, but in short, the back of the shoe is closed, the front is low-cut, and they are above all, defined by a “high heel.” The classic image of a women’s formal shoe is defined by this shape.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are flats, or ballerina flats as they are sometimes called. With the basic look of a ballerina’s slipper, these shoes have no heel, are typically closed at the toe, and are low-cut, or a lot of the top of the foot shows.
A bit less delicate than the previous two styles, clogs are women’s shoes that are open at the back and closed at the front for easy slip-on usage. Clogs and mules are terms often used interchangeably; however, the clog traditionally has a platform style heel, and was traditionally made of wood.
Traditionally of Spanish origin, espadrilles are shoes which have woven or canvas fabric on the upper part of the shoe, and a sole woven of rope or grass.
French heels, of somewhat historic origin, can be traced back to King Louis XIV of France who stood at only 5 feet 3 inches height. His special style of shoe became a fashion trend, eventually landing firmly in women’s-ware. These shoes are characterized by curved heels of medium height.
The name Huaraches once referred only to handmade, traditional sandals of Mexican origin, but today can cover any manner of leather or rubber construction which features a sturdy design and woven materials. These shoes are slip-on in style and noted for comfort and durability.
When a shoe has a kitten heel, this means the heel is low, usually 2 inches or less, and is located in the middle of the heel portion of the shoe.
A Mary Jane style shoe is characterized by the strap, usually a buckle that crossed over the top of the foot. The toe of a Mary Jane is generally rounded, and the heel is either flat or a bulky platform.
Oxford shoes are traditionally considered men’s shoes, but any shoe that laces up and is formal in style can be considered an Oxford shoe.
When a small cut-out in the front of a shoe allows a bit of toe to show, it is known as a peep-toe shoe. This is different from an open-toe shoe that allows the majority of the toes to show.
Platform shoes, although commonly believed to be defined by the heel, are actually defined by the part of the sole under the toes. Any shoe with a bit of a boost given by a sole being the thickest under the sole is known as a platform shoe. Platform shoes were especially popular in the 1970s with both men and women.
When a shoe is referred to as a slide, it is a slip-on shoe that features open toes and open backs. Just below the toes the shoe will have a strap or straps designed to hold the shoe in place, however there are no toe or ankle straps on a true slide.
A sling-back shoe is any shoe that has a strap wrapping around the back of the heel or ankle, where the strap is connected to the sole of the shoe.
When a heel is said to be a stacked heel, the heel has a look which appears to be stacked pieces of wood or other material giving the height effect.