Different Types of Shoes

Key Difference: There are many different types of shoes for men and women. At the same time, some shoes are meant for men and women both. There are numerous styles and designs of shoes. Some of the common types of shoes are – oxfords, derbys, brogues, ballet flat, mules, wedges, etc.

A shoe is a footwear which is used for protection of the foot by humans. The concept of footwear is very old as shoes are observed in some Spanish cave drawings which were made around 15000 years ago, as they too depict human beings covering their feet with skins and furs of animals. There are many different types of shoes in the world today. The designs of shoes have evolved during the years out of necessity, fashion, trends, availability of raw material, etc.

Earlier, shoes were made by lapstone and hammer, but later with the invention of the rolling machine in 1845, the shoe making took a great leap. Later, sewing machine made is much easier.

Some of the popular common types of shoes are –

Oxfords or Balmorals –These shoes are meant for men. They are characterized by their round toes and are usually with a cap. They have a close lacing style. These shoes are considered good options for a formal business wear. These shoes are also known as Balmorals shoes named after the Queen’s castle situated in Scotland.

Derbys – These are also formal shoes like Oxfords. Oxfords and Derbys are almost similar, except from one apparent and significant difference. Unlike an oxford shoe, the eyelet facings in derbys are stitched on thin top of the vamp. This style is also known as open front style.

Brogues – These shoes have perforations and this is the only requirement to be categoriesed as a brogue. It can be even a derby shoe with perforations which is referred to as a brogue shoe. They also possess separation at the visible edges of material. They are worn as outdoor footwear. Today they are also worn as casual shoes.

Espadrilles – These shoes are also known as alparagatas. They are mostly flat but sometimes come in high heel versions too. These types of shoes originated in the Pyrenees. They are made of material like canvas or cotton. The sole of these shoes is made from jute rope. The main characteristic of this shoe is the jute rope sole, as the upper section may different from one shoe to another.


Monk-straps – These are lace-less shoes which use buckles and straps for closing. They are usually found in two versions – single strap and double strap. These shoes are easy to wear and look good when worn with suit ore denim. They got their name due to their popularity among the monks in Europe.

Boat shoes – These shoes are also known as deck shoes or topsiders. These are generally made from canvas and leather material. The main characteristic of this shoes is that the upper section of this shoe is made in such a way that is repels water and also tends to be stain proof. They are hand sewn and top stitched. They came in both lace and lace-less versions. Herringbone pattern is carved into them.

Boots – Boots are special types of shoes which not only provide protection to the feet but are also designed to cover and protect ankles or sometimes lower legs. Tall boots are preferred for winters. They are known for their stylish look. There are many different types of boots like rigger boots, dress boots, Chelsea boots, fashion boots, cowboy boots, mukluks, etc.

Cleats – The underside of these shoes is equipped with a projecting piece of hard rubber or metal. This feature is added to the shoes for providing better grip to the shoes. These shoes are usually worn by players in sports like soccer, baseball, etc.  These shoes also come in many different styles. These shoes with studded soles are also known as stud sometimes.

Sneakers – These shoes are also known as athletic shoes. These shoes are specifically designed for sports or physical exercise related activity. However they can also be worn as casual shoes.  They are available for men as well as women. Sneakers fall in the category of soft shoes, which are mostly equipped with rubber soles. A good bottom sole can be made from different types of rubbers like solid rubber and gum rubber.

Flip-flops – These are very comfortable types of footwear which are often characterized by two thin straps joined in V-shape in their upper sections. They are categorized under casual sandals. They are known b different names in different parts of the world. There are flip flops for everyone irrespective of age or gender.

Sandals – These types of footwear are characterized by straps which pass over the instep and at times the straps are also available around the ankle. The toes are left uncovered in sandals. Sandals are worn in different occasions. However, they are preferred to be worn during warm season. For women, they come in different heel options.

Loafers – The term loafer is used for any type of shoe which does not have any kind of lacing or fastening system. They can be easily worn as foot is simply slipped on it. They are also known as slip-ons. The toes remain fully covered in these shoes. They are also available for men, women and even children.

Ankle straps – These shoes for women have one or many straps which are tied around the ankles. The straps are made from different types of materials. They may have heels or no heels. It gives a very stylish look.

Ballet flats - These have been inspired from the ballet shoes. These are usually flat and are enclosed types of shoes. They are very comfortable to wear. They may have many designs incorporated on them. They are favorite of ladies of any age group.  They are good to be worn during the warm weather.


Mules – These shoes are usually closed toed types but are characterizes by their backless portion. They may have any type of heel. They are very comfortable to be worn. They usually work as casual shoes but can also be worn in professional work environment. This shoe is usually meant for woman, however some mules are also designed for man.

Pumps- The word is used for any shoe which has closed toe form and heels. They may be made from any type of material ranging from leather to canvas.  Heels usually vary from half inches to 4 inches. These are different from the platforms which bear thick soles on them.

Platforms – These shoes are also known as disco boots or simple platform shoes. These shoes have thick soles and heels. This shoe was popular in ancient Greece and was recognized as a symbol of wealth. However, these days it is considered to be a fashionable item.

Peep toes – The name of this shoe has been derived from its design in which the front of the shoe bears a narrow opening. This opening exposes toes and therefore the shoes are known as peep toes. They may or may not have any heels with them. They look elegant and stylish.


Wedges – These shoes have got their names from their heels which have a shape similar to a wedge.  This heel is different from other heels as it covers the shoe throughout in its lower section. Usually they come in the form of sandals, but many types of wedge boots and wedge pumps are also available in the market.

According to heels women shoes can be categorized under

Kitten heels – Shoes with less or equal to 1.5 inches of heel are categorized under this group.  This heel is little bit set forward

Low Heels – The upper limit for heels of these shoes is 3 inches.

Medium Heels – Shoes with heels ranging from three to five inches are categorized under medium heels

Stilettos or high heels – These are shoes with high heel which is tapered and narrow. The heel is known as spike heel too.  These are usually above five inches are recommended for an elegant look.

Image Courtesy: indumenti.se, selectism.com, scopekenya.wordpress.com, brcla.com, porhomme.com, everyguyed.com, blog.justfab.com, solecollector.com, commons.wikimedia.org, favecrafts.com, bubalondon.com, bagittoday.com, intheircloset.com, voguemagz.com, shoestutor.com, impfashion.com, asos.com, blog.justfab.com, toms.com

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