Difference between High Heel, Stiletto and Pumps

Key difference: High Heel, Stiletto and Pumps are trendy women footwear, usually preferred according to the occasion and place. These are types of high heel shoes, which differ in pattern and structures, i.e. a High Heel is a type of shoe which has a heel of normal height, whereas a Stiletto has a higher heel as compared to other heel shoes, while a Pump is a shoe which covers the front toes.

The High Heel, Stiletto and Pump shoes are fashionable footwear, which are generally preferred by women. They are high heel shoes which are attractive and adorable in use, they are style icons in the modern market and era. These are designed in specific patterns and structures, and are preferred on occasional basis at many places. Generally, women prefer them at workplaces, occasions, parties, and on their usual daily basis. Actually, they are known to be favorites among women.

High heeled shoes are often the normal high heels or simply heel footwear. These raise the heel of the wearer's foot significantly higher than the toes. This gives an aesthetic fancy look to feet, which makes women and girls look longer than their normal height. These are available in various styles of high heels, as depending upon the fashions and shapes of the shoes. According to high-fashion shoe websites like Jimmy Choo and Gucci, a "low heel" is considered less than 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters), while heels between 2.5 and 3.5 inches (6.4 and 8.9 cm) are considered "mid heels", and anything over that is considered a "high heel". There are also high heels above 6 inches available in the market, but those are preferred only on specific occasions and not on the usual basis due to their extraordinary height and length.

Stilettos are a type of high heel shoes. They are known to have extra long heels as compared to other heeled shoes. The core of the heel is made from solid steel or alloy, the heel is of a stem shape and are are generally made up of metal tips or rubber. Their height varies up to almost 25 cm. They are normally thin, long and narrow. The Stiletto shoes are generally made from any type of material, but the preferred one is the patent leather. They are known to add a too long look among women and girls. The wearer’s posture and gait is improved with prominence given to bust and buttocks. They give a more feminine appearance, when used by girls and women.

Pumps or court shoes are normally flat and low heeled shoes. They do not have a high and narrow heel; mostly their heel tips are wider. Pumps have a round cut or peep-toes, which are made up of patent leather. Generally, they are preferred in formal attire, in order to enhance an individual’s look and personality. Pumps have a formal appearance when worn in combination with a tuxedo or suit. They are more comfortable as compared to other types of heeled shoes and known to add a casual look when accessorized with skirts or jeans. They are also generally preferred  while dancing.

All above mentioned high heel categories are favorite among modern girls and women. They have been in use from the historic times. If compared, the high heels are the most common and general purpose types of heels, which are worn by many girls and women, whereas a stiletto is too high a type of heel which are mostly known to add glamour and a feminine look in women, and a pump is the most preferred and common high heeled shoe, which generally adds a more formal look. The high heel shoe forms and types keep changing according to the trend in the fashion world. They are opted and used probably on occasions and styles as they are are available for people of all age groups.

Comparison between High Heel, Stiletto and Pumps:


High Heel



These are

Footwear that raises the heel of the wearer's foot significantly higher than the toes

Footwear which is long, thin, high heel found on some boots and shoes

Footwear are flat or low heeled shoes

Length of the heel

Normal height

Too high

Low height

Heel type

Heels are normal

The heel is usually very skinny

Low inches as compared to high heel and stiletto. The shoe covers the front toes.

Length of heels

2-5 inches with thick and normal width

They are always of 5 inches, having a thin type of heels

Heel of 2.5cm or less

Image Courtesy: cm-wallpaper.com, gracefashionstores.com, corporette.com

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The accuracy of the before mentioned definitions don't match with the general understanding and references. A stiletto is a particular shape of high heel. The pump is only a styling of the upper shoe coverage and isn't part of the heel. The shape of the upper is altered to accommodate the height of the heel styling. Some of the titles of upper shapes that have been supported by heels: the pump, the oxford, the loafer, the sandal, the mule, the boot, the slipper, and the slide. Some names of the heel stylings are: the stiletto, the spike, the block, the blade, the cone, the Cuban, the kitten, and the wedge. Mixed references of the type of heel has also been broadened to include the shoe type it supports, just as the upper styling reference has included the type of heel applied - thus the general confusion in knowing what shoes or heels are the subject being presented.

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