An in-Depth Look At the Different Types of Shoes That Exist Today

Americans spend around $100 billion every year on shoes, jewelry, and watches. That’s more than on higher education!

Shoes do more than completing an outfit, they’re a snapshot into another part of history and every pair has a story. Perhaps you want to brush up on your shoe lingo, but you’re unsure where to start.

Sounds familiar? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here are the different types of shoes you should know. 

Boots

When checking out different types of shoes, it’s important to mention one of the oldest styles. You can find boots in an array of materials, from wool to felt, but they are mostly made from leather. 

Knee-high boots, for example, date back to the 15th century and were mostly worn by men. This was when military wear evolved from heavy garments to thick, leather boots that offered more coverage. Nowadays, knee-high boots are associated with women with overtly sexual connotations. 

But, you can also find rubber boots that grew in popularity after World War Two. Consumers loved how they were affordable and waterproof so they could continue laboring in the wet weather. 

If you’re interested in getting a pair of durable boots, then check out Dunham shoes for an extensive selection. 

Winklepickers

Calling all rockers!

Winklepickers is a favorite with indie-rock artists. Think Jack White, Kaiser Chiefs, and Kings of Leon. You’ll notice these shoes have pointed toes and buckles, complete with a slight heel, perfect with skinny jeans. 

Sneakers

The beauty about sneakers is how they’re versatile so you can use them to dress down a suit or match your favorite athleisure outfit. But aside from sports sneakers, you’ll find the streetwear sneaker is a giant market where you can choose between low-, mid, or high-tops.

Low-tops are lightweight and stop below the ankle, perfect for summer. It’s also popular with runners as the soles are thick and comfortable to wear. Although mid-tops are the least popular, they are rising in popularity as Nike and Adidas are releasing new collections. 

High-top sneakers are basketball shoes that have been appropriated into streetwear. These are the tallest design and cover the ankle which offers fantastic ankle support. Note, that every pair works with any outfit, but if you’re after basketball shoes, consider your playing style so you find the best match.  

Clogs

In the past, clogs had a wooden sole and a flexible upper cover material like leather. But this structure has changed since the Roman empire. 

Nowadays, the best clogs can be made from plastic or canvas while still staying true to the design.

Mary Janes

Mary Janes are flats that have a rounded-toe and a single strap across the top. This became statement footwear for women in the 1920s and now comes in an array of designs. For instance, you can find a pair with platforms or chunky heels which have become popular with subcultures like punk-rockers. 

Mules

The term “mule” is a French word that means a “backless style of shoe”. Most mules have a closed toe but contemporary designs have open- or peep-toe options.

Make sure you find a pair that is well-fitted so if you’ve got narrow feet, find a slim pair to support your toes and stop your shoes from slipping. 

Loafers

Loafers are a key part of men’s footwear and work with both casual and formal outfits. These are low-cut and have a short tongue, often made from leather or suede. 

If you want to pair your loafers with a casual outfit, make sure your shoes aren’t too formal and wear summery colors like powder blue. Loafers also look fantastic with chinos if you’re heading to a smart-casual event. Or, those after a formal style should get dark velvet loafers as they’re a timeless classic.  

Blucher Shoes

Blucher shoes are made from smaller pieces of leather to create the upper part of the shoe. Unlike loafers, these have laces and come in a variety of styles. For instance, you can find plain bluchers or semi-brogue bluchers which have an intricate pattern on the toe and sides. 

You can also find wingtip bluchers, also known as budapester shoes. These have broguing on all the major parts of the shoe and get the name from the wing-shaped stitching that goes across the upper part of the shoe. 

As a general rule, you wear more embellished blucher shoes in a formal setting. 

Moccasins

Traditionally Native American footwear, moccasins are a heelless shoe made from soft leather. The upper part is often adorned with embroidery or beads, so there’s a pair to suit every occasion.

But despite being lightweight, moccasins are padded to give your feet the necessary protection. 

Boat Shoes

The first pair of boat shoes, unsurprisingly, was developed by a sailor in the ‘30s. Paul Sperry, the creator, kept slipping in his leather shoes so he designed a pair with non-slip rubber soles.

Generally, boat shoes are low-cut, have laces, and are characterized by their white soles. Fun fact: the soles were initially black but they left marks all over the deck of the boat, so white was chosen instead.   

Different Types of Shoes

Hopefully, you’re now familiar with different types of shoes, so you can assemble the perfect outfit for your day. 

Grab comfortable knee-high boots or, if you’re spending the afternoon on a yacht, invest in boat shoes. The key is to use your shoe choice to express yourself as it adds a dash of your personality to any outfit. Happy shopping! 

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