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How to find the best women’s dress shoes

Are you attending a fancy party or formal event? Even if you already have an outfit, you’ll want to finish the look with the perfect pair of dress shoes. According to many shoppers, it can be challenging to find the pair that ticks all the boxes. 

Dress shoes offer an upscale aesthetic that you can’t find in everyday footwear, such as embellished details, higher heels or premium construction. Some styles are understated and let the outfit remain the focal point, while others add a touch of sparkly pizzazz to simpler outfits. For those who want to get the most bang for their buck, you can wear some dress shoes outside of parties and events. 

What to know about dress shoes


It’s common for shoppers searching for dress shoes to have an outfit picked for their event already. Therefore, they usually search for specific colors that will complement or match it. A pair of black stilettos, for example, pairs well with many cocktail dresses.

Another option is to choose dress shoes that match the colors of their jewelry or bag. Gold, silver, pewter and rose gold remain top choices. Additionally, many people try to match a shoe’s embellishments, like rhinestones or glitter, to similar embellishments on their dresses, suits or blazers.

Comfort features

Dress shoes put aesthetics first, so it’s less common to find a pair as comfortable as everyday footwear. Still, there are many designs available with comfort features, such as cushioned insoles or heel counters. Others have chafe-free details to reduce friction and the likelihood of blisters. 

Heel height

Dress shoes are available in various heel heights, ranging from flats to platforms to sky-high stilettos. Selecting the ideal heel height is primarily a personal choice, as well as a practical one.

ViveSole Silicone Gel Heel Cups

  • Flat and low-heeled shoes are ideal if you’re walking or standing for prolonged periods. Some of them accommodate comfort accessories, like memory foam insoles or gel heel cups
  • Heels between 2 to 3 inches are considered a comfortable option for those looking for height without compromising ease of walking.
  • Heels that measure 4 inches and taller, which include stilettos, are appreciated for their attractive designs. However, they’re not the most comfortable options and may require some practice before wearing them to an event. 

Tips for wearing dresses shoes

Consider the weather 

Before you fall in love with a pair of dress shoes, think of how they’ll hold up to different weather conditions:

  • Specific dress shoes have completely smooth outsoles, whereas others have traction detail to provide a better, more stable grip on wet or challenging grounds.
  • Icy and snowy weather may call for closed-toe shoes as opposed to peep-toe or sandal styles. 
  • Warm-weather events, like beach weddings and outdoor parties, call for lightweight, breathable dress shoes. 

Bring a spare pair

Women's Foldable Travel Ballet Slip On Comfortable Flats Roll Up Walking Shoes with Carrying Pouch

Some may have a modest journey to the party or event location, which sometimes involves sitting in traffic or taking public transportation. In these situations, it’s common to bring a spare pair of shoes that are more suitable for the journey, like flip-flops or instant ballet flats. Not only are they more comfortable, but they also prevent dress shoes from sustaining extra wear and tear. 

How much you’ll spend on dress shoes for women

Simple dress shoes made with synthetic materials cost $30 or less, while better-quality styles with better aesthetics run $40-$80. Designer dress shoes with fancier features and high-quality construction cost $100 and above. 

The best dress shoes for women


INC International Concepts Women's Zitah Embellished Pointed Toe Pumps

These lace-inspired pointed-toe pumps with a 3-inch heel elevate the look of simple party or event outfits. They have a flexible instep and a memory foam sock, making them a comfortable option. 

Badgley Mischka Kiara Embellished Peep-Toe Evening Pumps

For those looking for an elegant lift, this peep-toe Badgley Mischka evening pump is ideal. They have dramatic jewel-encrusted detail at the heel and come in sapphire, latte and ivory. 

 Journee Collection Luela High Heels

Simple and versatile, Journee Collection Luela High Heels features wrap-round ankle strap styling and a modest heel. The shoe has understated glitter detail and comes in four colors.


Sun + Stone Reeta Block-Heel Platform Sandals

Sassy and bold, this retro block-heel platform sandal is a favorite night-on-the-town style. To keep wearers comfortable, the dress shoe has a cushioned insole and breathable lining. 

Nina Genaya Strappy Evening Sandal

At only 2.5 inches, the Nina Genaya Strappy Evening Sandal is easy to walk in for most wearers. The crisscross strap design offers a secure fit and flatters the foot. The sandal, a bestseller, is available in five colors.

Embellished shoes

Jewel Badgley Mischka Caroline Embellished Ankle-Strap Evening Sandals

A touch of glam, these embellished ankle-strap sandals feature chunky rhinestones that capture light. The satin shoe, praised for its quality construction, has a leather upper and a textured outsole. 

Style & Co Phillys Two-Piece Evening Sandals

Appreciated as an understated design, this Style & Co evening sandal has a modest amount of glitter and sparkle across the toe strap. It has a zipper closure for easy off and on. 

Betsey Johnson evening bootie

A genuine show-stopper, this rhinestone-studded Betsey Johnson evening bootie has all the glitz and glam anyone could wish for. The block heel and pointed toe give the foot a sleek silhouette. It comes in gold, silver and light pink.

Low-heeled shoes

DREAM PAIRS Women's Sole-Shine Rhinestone Ballet Flats Shoes

A popular style for casual or beach weddings, these rhinestone ballet flats are affordable and comfortable. They have a premium latex cushioned footbed and a smooth, seamless design.

Nina Florina Wedge Sandal

The Nina Florina Wedge Sandal remains a customer favorite for its comfortable design that lends itself to all-day wear. It has a crisscross toe strap with rows of rhinestones and comes in gold or silver. 

LifeStride Saldana Women’s D’Orsay Heel

Classy and chic, the sophisticated styling of this LifeStride Saldana Women’s D’Orsay Heel features a pointed toe and patent details. It has a flexible design, low heel and a padded footbed for added comfort. 


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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