Not all feet are the same – how to choose the right shoe shape for a flattering look
Find yours too big, too wide or simply not proportionate? Here’s how you can beautify them by picking a pair that's most appropriate for you.
Shoes are essential to completing your daily look – perhaps more so than a bag, we dare say. Choose the right pair and they can instantly elevate your outfit, boost your confidence and enhance how your figure and legs look.
It’s one of the reasons why so many women are willing to bear with the discomfort of walking the entire day in five-inch heels.
But heel height isn’t the only feature about shoes that can significantly alter how your feet and legs look – the shape of the toe box can also do the same, albeit in a different way.
You may have realised that you tend to gravitate to a certain type of toe shape when shopping for shoes. Or perhaps you have never paid much attention to this particular aspect of your footwear, and simply went for whatever looked great on your feet.
Guess what, the shape of these shoes that you love was definitely a factor – whether you were aware or not – in their appeal to you.
Feet, of course, come in different sizes, lengths, widths and shapes too, which means not every type of shoe will flatter the pair that belongs uniquely to you.
And it’s not just about aesthetics – wear a pair that doesn’t suit your feet, and it can cause so much pain that you won’t be able to walk.
Have you found one that works best for you? If not, CNA Lifestyle lists down what’s available out there and what each different shoe shape can do for the aesthetics of your feet.
READ: Ladies: These are the seven classic shoe styles you'll ever need to walk through life stylishly
On days when we want to look extra polished, we have a tendency to reach for a pair of pointed-toe shoes. Not only do they pull together a formal work outfit, they can make a casual jeans-and-tee ensemble look smart too.
That’s not the only reason why many women love pointed-toe shoes. Design director of Charles & Keith, Frederika Stevens, told us that it has got to do with the visual effects it has on the foot too. “Pointed toes (and diagonal straps) will elongate and slim the foot, which is usually what women want,” she said.
The shape of the pointed-toe shoe will suit those with narrow feet best, in terms of fit and comfort, but you can make it work too if you have feet that are of an average width or slightly wider than average.
It may sometimes help to go half or one full size up for pointed-toe shoes so that you’ll have more room in the toe box of the shoes. If doing so makes the shoe a little loose around the heel, using heel liners can easily fix the fit issue.
Those with very broad feet (especially when they are also short in length) will do best to stay away from them, as they are bound to have a restrictive, uncomfortable fit on your feet. What’s more, they may even have the opposite visual effect on them, making your feet appear broader and shorter than they actually are.
ALMOND OR TAPERED TOE
The almond-toe shoe may not be nearly as sharp as the pointy-toe shoe is, but it has the same slimming and elongating effect on feet, albeit without the pain that the latter can inflict on feet that do not suit its shape.
Stevens says that the almond-toe is a good alternative to the pointed-toe shoe for ladies with broad and fleshy feet. “Having said that, every brand’s shoe cutting is different, so it does not mean that those with broad feet can’t wear pointed-toe shoes at all. It really boils down to how particular the individual is about the look, as there are people who insist on wearing pointed toe shoes even though they have broad feet,” she added.
If you need more room in the front of the shoes, look out for those that come with a peep-toe opening as this will help accommodate your feet. “Criss-cross straps or T-bar strap designs also help to ‘narrow’ down the appearance of broad feet as well,” Stevens said.
The one shape that will work great on all types of feet is the universally flattering rounded toe. Whether your feet are narrow or broad, or if your toes are stubby or long, this classic shape will suit you. They are also the most comfortable shoe shape, too – think ballet flats, which are essential for days when you are likely to be up on your feet for long periods of time.
The round-toed heeled pump is a versatile classic and works especially well for those with large feet who would like to visually minimise the length of their feet with the right shoes. If this describes you, a pointed toe may not be ideal (particularly if your feet are also narrow) as the sharp silhouette will only serve to further elongate them.
According to Stevens, the round toe is one of the highlights in recent shoe trends too. “We are starting to see a tendency for round-toe shapes with heavier outsoles, which are in line with the gender-neutral look.”
BOXY OR SQUARE TOE
This edgy shoe shape was a pre-pandemic hit in 2020, and it looks like they are here to stay for a while longer than we had expected. It’s not strictly “covered” shoes that can have a square toe, too – Stevens said that the shape is also seen on many open-toed sandal designs, which are very popular right now.
But even if you’re not one to blindly follow fashion trends, the square-toe shoe could be a comfy, foot-flattering yet interesting choice for a wardrobe staple – just pick one that has a slightly tapered toe-cap instead of one with an exaggerated square shape.
Stevens agreed that the square-toe shape is suitable for all feet types, both fit- and style-wise.
“We see that the broader square toe is appreciated by a younger customer either on boots or shoes with heavy outsoles. Women who prefer very feminine styles might not immediately gravitate towards this style," she said.
"Though if the square toe is more subtle, it is definitely easier on the eyes of more conservative individuals. In that case, it can be considered to be more classic and versatile when it comes to styling an outfit.
These can also have a foot-elongating effect, without being too challenging to wear – in other words, they are perfect for wide feet or those who cannot bear having their toes smooshed together by their shoes for the entire day.