15 Types Of Shoes Every Woman Should Have In Her Closet

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Shoes are a daily essential we can't live without — and we wouldn't want to! There are so, so many cute styles and fun color combinations out there that can bring your daily fashion to the next level. Thanks to the trend resurgences and general style experimentation brought on by social media, you can wear pretty much anything you want these days, which makes shopping way more fun. As one TikToker has said, "If I like it, I'll just grab it in another color!" That being said, minimalist living is also trending and can help you reduce your environmental impact without missing out on the fun. Shopping for quality over quantity and versatility over niche will help you get the most out of each pair of shoes for years to come.

When a New York Times reader asked fashion critic Vanessa Friedman for a recommendation on a pair of versatile boots that would stay on trend for the next five years, Friedman said one should really aim to buy shoes that can be kept even longer. "Why settle for five years?" she mused. "I'd go for 10. That is, after all, when the sustainable apparel coalition writes the environmental impact of a garment down to zero."

There are several types of shoes you definitely want to keep in your closet, even if you think you don't need them now. We've highlighted some of the trendiest looks in the most useful categories of footwear so you can grab the best of the best while they're hot.

Everday sneakers

Did you know sneakers were originally designed for trolling people? That's right — your average pair of Nikes is the descendant of a shoe advertised as a way to get the jump on unsuspecting passersby. According to The New York Times, an agent for an advertising firm came up with the word back in 1917. The shoes, which were extremely quiet thanks to their rubber soles, made it easy to sneak up on others. This is a simultaneously hilarious and creepy concept, which tracks with meme culture if you really think about it.

All jokes aside, though, everyday sneakers are a must-have. As fitness coach James McMillian pointed out to CNN, a little bit of support goes a long way. "The feet support our entire weight and our shoes absorb this impact as we walk," he said. "Comfy shoes also will help with your body alignment and in return it evenly distributes your body weight, relieving great pressure or pain on your joints."

You can wear sneakers with literally anything, as there are tons of designs and colors to choose from. From the famous, high-end Pradas to your favorite $20 pair of Athletic Works sneakers from Walmart, there's a pair for every budget!

Combat boots

Combat boots are the grittier version of ankle boots. They're versatile, genderless, and well-built — perfect for strutting your stuff all year long. As it turns out, we can thank our ancestors in the armed forces for this tough-built beauty. "The laces, thick sole, and higher shaft all have practical origins for protecting soldiers' feet," fashion expert Kelsey Barnes told Byrdie. "Now they're consistently seen on runways and in street style but still retain those hallmarks from their original usage."

Though you might think of goth girls (à la Wednesday Addams) when you see a pair of combat boots, they've actually become a popular fashion staple for use with all kinds of outfits. Classic black ones can weigh down a floral dress or dress up a pair of jeans, while light-colored ones will play up soft looks or complimenet fun statement colors. Like your daily sneakers, these are also available in all budget ranges, so you can save up for nearly $1,500 GUCCI Matelassé lace-up boot or grab some Dr. Martens off Amazon for $100.

Flats

Flats are back and they're cuter and comfier than ever! Since the early 18th century, when the style was first popularized by ballerina Marie Camargo, designers have been working on ways to reinvent this classic style. It's no secret these shoes are a cute but often aggravating fit.

With ballet flats, in particular, trending in 2022, you may be wondering whether they're worth the purchase or not. If you lived through the 2000s or 2010s waves of flats, you might be a bit traumatized. The woes of flats are as old as time — blisters, stinky feet, foot cramps. But many of us deemed the results to be worth it. However, there are new ways to mitigate these issues.

For one thing, it's now perfectly fine to wear socks with flats. In fact, socks make the look ultra light and feminine, or quirky and more #goblincore in nature. You can also try foot deodorant on sweaty feet if the socks aren't for you. Most importantly, look for cushioning before you settle on a pair of flats. According to foot expert Dr. Brad Schaeffer, even an after-market insert is better than nothing. As he told Well+Good, "If you need to wear them, I'd say look for ballet flats that have gel cushioning in the shoe, or you can put gel inserts in to provide the cushion and support that is needed." Test run the well-reviewed $19 pair from Target or invest in some serious arch support with Vionic's Minna ballet flats.

Weatherproof boots

Weatherproof boots will be your new best friend, especially if you live in a wet or cold climate. No more soggy, numb, or muddy feet! Rainboots of the past were pretty one-note, but now you can get them in all kinds of heights, styles, and colors. Have fun with plaid or novelty designs – just sure to double up your socks for extra insulation!

If you were part of the great exodus to the Pacific Northwest, you might need something a little heftier for snow season. Those random winter blizzards won't stand a chance against a pair of quality snow boots. "The Sorel Caribou, which comes in men's and women's sizes, feels impenetrable," winter footwear tester Eve O'Neill told Wirecutter. "The rubber sole lifts you almost an inch and a half above the ground, which keeps feet warm and dry by physically removing you from the slush."

Though snow boots don't come in as many fun colors as rain boots (and they're more expensive), your decision between the two ultimately comes down to lifestyle. If you live in New Mexico but take skiing trips all the time, snow boots may be for you. Likewise, if you live in northern California and walk to work every day, you may want rain boots for the wet season.

Slippers

Nothing says vintage glam like a silky negligee and some fluffy kitten-heel slippers! With "ultra-feminine fantasy" looks on the rise coming into 2023, it's a good time to slip into something more comfortable. Of the trend, fashion expert Agustina Panzoni told Refinery29, "The vibes are innocent, almost angelic. Think cotton-candy hues, rib knits and satin, where rhinestone accessories and conventionally girly designs such as butterflies and hearts now add a contemporary spin and extra sass." 

If the femme look isn't your vibe, no worries! No matter the style you choose, you can still benefit from a nice pair of slippers. Dr. Ashley Lee, a podiatry specialist at  Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, advises wearing slippers around the house. As she explained to FabFitFun, "Most people have hardwood floors and walking around without any form of support, leads to excessive pressure on the ball of the foot and heels. The lack of support can also cause the arches to stretch and flatten."

At the end of the day, comfort and functionality are what will keep your feet warm and supported during the long winter months. A good indoor-outdoor pair is always worth your time — and L.L.Bean's pet-themed Daybreak Scuffs would make quite the holiday gift.

Hiking boots

If you live for camping trips, challenging waterfall hikes, cave exploration, or backwoods foraging, you need a good pair of hiking shoes. Even if you don't think you need them, there will inevitably be a time when you get invited to an outdoor event only to wish you'd have a sturdy pair of boots. Worst case scenario, you can keep them in your car for unexpected circumstances.

What type of hiking shoe you should buy depends on a number of factors, including where you'll be hiking, any history of past injuries, your body weight, your pack weight, and your foot type (via The Hiking Life). According to REI's hiking boot guide, the heavier the load you carry, the more ankle support you generally need. Backpackers will want to stick with high-ankle boots, whereas casual daytrippers may only need a low-cut hiking shoe.

As far as colors go, the world is your oyster. If the look is really important to you, or you want your shoes to match your parka, expect to find a pair in your favorite color. Some top-rated hiking boots brands to check out include Merrell, Timberland, and Salomon.

Slides

Slides, the trendy croc-like sandals you saw everywhere in 2022, have their origins in the sports community. They were designed and popularized by Adidas in the '60s as an easy slip-on for professional athletes, according to the Los Angeles Times. They've since made a comeback as go-to athleisure footwear. Perfect for road trips, pool days, and hanging around the house, these supportive sandals offer plenty of style and grip. Some even have extra soft and thick soles, like the viral TikTok pillow slides.

You can buy Adidas Adilette sandals on Amazon, try out the assorted colors offered by other brands, or sample high-end slides from Saks Fifth Avenue if you're committed to designer only. Slides are also a great fit for experimental fashion. As of this writing, there are a ton of unique, eye-catching designs to explore. We're talking cabbage slides, lobster slides, trippy patterned slides, and even shark slides

Ankle boots

Ankle boots are much loved by celebrities and casual fashion fans alike. According to The Guardian, ankle boots were initially dubbed "shoots" (for shoe-boot). These fashionable boots took hold in the 2000s and quickly became a closet staple. Now, we can't imagine life without them.

These boots can transform even the most basic look into a sophisticated, stylish fit. Similar to combat boots, a sleek black pair of ankle boots can be used to dress up your mom jeans, catsuits, and floral dresses. "Ankle boots are so versatile depending on the style and design," stylist Sarah Nearis told Marie Claire. "There are so many ways to style them." Wear them to work, on a date, to a funeral, or to a concert. You'll definitely want a pair of these for your wardrobe.

If you prefer traditional wedge or thinner heel styles, you can easily find a pair at your local DSW. If you're looking for something especially trendy, go for a block heel or platforms, both of which can easily be found online.

Heels

Do you have a hate-love relationship with high heels? You're not alone. There's an entire community of TikTokers who absolutely despise wearing heels and have been trying to find alternatives to this going-out staple. As one TikToker put it, "I'm sorry to disappoint, but I hate wearing heels. They're just like not comfortable." Not to mention all the mishaps — like stiletto heels that break off halfway through the night, get stuck in grates or cracks in the sidewalk, and make you wobble when you walk.

Of course, you don't have to wear heels, but many love to don them occasionally. Before buying another pair, though, look for ones with some extra padding, or try platform heels. Chunky platform heels are the hot new heel on the scene, brought back from the '90s. In many cases, this style of heel is more comfortable because the heel isn't actually that tall, only the platform. In other words, if you were to chop off the platform, you'd be left with a very short heel. Sneaky!

Over-the-knee boots

Slay all fall and winter long with some over-the-knee boots, baddies! These statement shoes are nearly as versatile as ankle boots — with some added sass, of course. Though you are free to grab those skin-tight over-the-knee black boots you've seen all over the internet, stylists recommend shopping with your local weather in mind first and foremost.

"Warmth is crucial when you consider where you're based," stylist Jacquie Trevizo told Today. "If you live in a [very cold] area, maybe consider a boot that is lined with faux fur." Sounds perfect!

The best part about this boot style is that it's inherently dressy. While you opt for a short or tall heel, a classy suede thigh-high boot will do all the heavy lifting for you without needing any added accessories. Throw on a pastel sweater dress for the soft girl look or a bodycon for the villain-era vibe!

Walking shoes

Don't be caught without comfy walking shoes! You don't want to show up to your hotel late at night before a big Disney World vacation only to discover your one pair of shoes (aside from your slip-ons) are some old, beat-up sandals you found in the trunk of your car.

When picking out a pair, look for good arch support, plenty of cushion, and some wiggle room for a good range of motion. Test your new shoes, checking to make sure they aren't too heavy and that they're made with the right materials. These days, many platform sneakers are made with foam soles instead of rubber, which won't absorb footfall impact as much nor provide as much cushion to your feet while you walk.

As for style, the look and color are completely up to you, but you can't go wrong with the rubber-soled Hoka Hopara or Ryka Devotion Plus 3.

Slip-ons

Loafers, UGGs, Mukluks, and clogs are like flats ... but better. They get one thinking about cozy cabin vacations, trips to the library, and sharing a craft beer with friends. These shoes say, "Slow down and enjoy the moment." Ranging from a sleek business look to an almost slipper-like fit, lounge shoes can be anything you want them to be. They're also great for pairing with a dark academia aesthetic, which isn't going anywhere in 2023. Grab a pair of black leather loafers for your next trip to the campus archives or some extra fluffy moccasins for your next date at the drive-in!

If you're wondering how comfy these shoes really are, rest assured — these are some of the most comfortable fits on this list. What they sometimes lack in cushion, they make up for in soft insoles, easily flexible materials, and a relaxed overall fit. Your foot is basically sitting in a La-Z-Boy recliner. "From running around the city all morning to standing for eight hours straight behind the host stand, I have absolutely no problems wearing them all day," designer Merica Lee said of her go-to slip-ons, Dansko Professional Clogs, when speaking to The Strategist.

Shower shoes

City living often (and unfortunately) involves sharing bathrooms with people. Even if you don't live in a city, though, you can encounter the scourge of athlete's foot if you enter a gym or college dorm shower sans shoes. However, a pair of waterproof flip-flops are all you need to prevent the spread of this annoying foot fungus — and they only cost a couple of bucks at your local supermarket. Please don't be the person who opts out. Even with antifungal medication, athlete's foot can be persistent, according to WebMD. That's right, fam, it can take weeks to fully heal and it may even come back.

Instead of taking the risk and going barefoot, we've got a better idea. Purchase a pair of inexpensive water socks, aka aqua socks. They are a great investment — not just for keeping your feet clean, but also protecting them during beach days. Hawaii, for example, has more sharp, black boulders on its beaches than it does soft, white sand. Water socks will stay on better than flip-flops and prevent your feet from getting scratched up. Bonus: they fit inside snorkeling fins really well!

Slip-resistant shoes

If you've ever worked in a casino, coffee shop, or kitchen before, you know that grippy shoes are non-negotiable. It may be hard to believe a pair of Skechers' will save the day, but they really do make a difference when you're running around on slick marble or concrete floors. "In order to prevent slip and fall accidents, shoe safety is the main concern restaurant management needs to address," SIA Insurance Group asserted. "Starting from the head chef and the sous chef, their footwear needs to be comfortable and non-slip." 

Shoes with good grip are a must-have for hospitality positions, manual labor jobs, and pretty much anything that involves moving around on slippery floors. This can include positions like zookeeper, grocery stocker, dock security, car washer, bank teller — you name it. However, you can also use these shoes outside of work, like at the gym, theme park, mall, or skatepark. They're a good option to keep around.

Fashion sandals

Fashion sandals are perfect when you want to dress up a bit in those warmer months and break out of your everyday sneakers. They're usually just a notch above casual, so they can be a good fit for both daytime and nighttime outings. 

So, what counts as a fashion sandal? Pretty much anything that's not a basic flip-flop or dad sandal with Velcro. We're talking sandals that are bedazzled, strappy, leather, or even heeled. Like so many other Y2K legends, gladiator sandals have come back in a big way — and they're the perfect example of this type of shoe. They have leather straps for days, buckles, and some are even bedazzled with jewels.

If gladiator sandals aren't for you, you might like Steve Madden's platform and heel sandals. TikTok certainly can't get enough of them, and you can find them in neutral shades like black, white, and tan, or statement colors, like vivid green.