Best Clear Strap Heels Reviewed
There are two types of people when it comes to clear strap heels: one group which immediately thinks of Cinderella and her glass slipper, evoking images of ballrooms and fairytales. And then there is the other group which recognizes clear strap shoes – that often come with transparent heels as well – as the shoes worn by entertainers.
Don’t be disheartened, however! It is true that these kinds of heels are popular in the burlesque profession, but ever since their inception clear strap heels have been a regular part of the runway as well. Designers such as Christian Louboutin, Nicholas Kirkwood, and Oscar de la Renta have all had at least one pair of PVC shoes in their collections. In fact, the origin of clear strap heels is attributed to none other than the iconic Salvatore Ferragamo. In 1947 he designed the so-called ‘invisible sandal’, using thin nylon threads to make a vamp and slingback. He based his concept on a fishing line.
The clear straps of the clear strap heels are usually made out of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or polyurethane. While this is an unnecessary chemistry lesson, maybe, you should keep in mind that these materials require breaking in before you can properly wear the shoes. These straps are not as pliable as other natural or synthetic fabrics, but they can be stretched to fit you comfortably.
As far as appearance goes, clear strap heels are undoubtedly unique. Depending on the silhouette of the shoe, they can be elegant and classy, whimsy and cute, or even smoking hot with added platforms and lucite heels. Their versatility knows no bounds, and they are equally suitable for a prom night, for a wedding, and can often be found in fitness and pageant competitions.
This is why we have put together a list of the best clear strap heels currently on the market. They are trendy, eye-catching, and thanks to their transparency, they go well with any outfit! We hope you will have fun browsing through our models, and hopefully pick out a great pair of clear strap heels for yourself, by the end.
10 Best Clear Strap Heels
1. Steve Madden Cheers
With straps made out of PVC material, it can be quite hard for the foot to breathe. However, you will notice that the wide strap of the Steve Madden Cheers is perforated on one side, allowing air to circulate and keeping your foot dry and sweat-free.
A shoe constructed entirely out of synthetic plastic materials is tough on the skin and can be a pain to stretch out. The Steve Madden Cheers prevents the discomfort that comes with this by having the rest of its upper made out of kid suede for that easy, natural feel.
Cost and Value
The Steve Madden Cheers is not the cheapest model on our list, but it is also far from the most expensive one. For a reasonable price, you will be getting a comfortable, if albeit high in the heel, sandal which won’t constrict your foot and will help you feel fresh and breezy as well as modern in style.
- Kid Suede & Lucite Upper
- Cylindrical Heel
- Perforated Clear Strap
- Poor Arch Placement
- Not for Long Walks
2. Chinese Laundry Jainey
What is unfortunate in the case of clear straps is that they tend to be rather painful if they dig into your skin. This is why the Chinese Laundry Jainey is equipped with a buckle on the side, which allows you to adjust the fit of the clear ankle strap however you like. This will ensure your feet stay comfortable even after prolonged wear.
We absolutely fell in love with the ruched design of the vamp of this sandal. Made out of satin, it is sweet, romantic, and eye-catching. Together with the silver glitter of the sole and the heel, these sandals will make you feel like a princess!
Cost and Value
As a company, Chinese Laundry has always strived to make their footwear affordable to as many people as possible. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Chinese Laundry Jainey comes at a reasonable price. It is fun, flirty, and you won't have to worry about breaking the bank.
- Buckled Ankle Strap
- Ruffled Vamp
- Glitter Heel and Sole
- Three Inch Heel
- Difficult to Stretch Out
3. G by Guess Brayla
The heel of the G by Guess Brayla is only three inches tall, classifying it as the classic heel height, one that is comfortable for practically everyone. Not only that, this heel is wide and blocky, preventing your ankles from wobbling and providing you with a secure step.
The benefit of a slip-on design - which, as its name says, allows you to simply slip in and out of the shoe - is that if you’re late, or in a hurry, you won’t have to worry about wasting precious minutes on complicated lacing or zippers that can get easily stuck.
Cost and Value
We couldn’t believe that a sandal this classic, this elegant has such a low price. Granted, because less material goes into their construction, sandals are generally less expensive than other types of footwear, but the G by Guess Brayla is fantastically affordable, especially given how glam it looks.
- Three Inch Blocky Heel
- Slip-on Design
- Translucent Straps and Heel
- Not for Wide Feet
4. Jeffrey Campbell Viola
Despite having a synthetic sole and synthetic straps, the benefit of the Jeffrey Campbell Viola is that its lining is made out of leather. This ensures that your foot feels comfortable - since the leather contours to your foot shape and that the shoe is durable!
Let’s be real for a moment - the Jeffrey Campbell Viola is definitely a show-stopper. It is feminine, romantic and awe-inspiring with its big flower designs and crystal decorations. Pair it up with something simple of a matching color, and you are sure to impress!
Cost and Value
The price of the Jeffrey Campbell Viola is in the high range. However, we still find that this is a good deal for a shoe of such magnificent design and quality materials, especially if you’re someone who’s always looking for new ways to stir the crowds with your outfits.
- Crystal Embellished Flowers
- Leather Lining
- Open Toe
- Adjustable Buckle Strap
- Solid Heel
5. Jessica Simpson Seena
If you’re planning on spending the whole day on your feet, extra cushioning in the footbed is a must-have. The Jessica Simpson Seena comes with a memory foam insole, which takes shape of your foot and basically means you’ll feel like you’re walking on clouds.
The benefit of a wedge heel is that, no matter how high it is, it is one of the most comfortable types of heels there is. In the Jessica Simpson Seena, your weight is evenly distributed over the surface of the shoe, easing the pressure off of the front of your foot, and allowing you to walk without any pain or discomfort!
Cost and Value
The price of the Jessica Simpson Seena leans towards the high-range. It is a sandal that will not disappoint and is perfect for any summer outfit combination, but be prepared to unstring our coin purse for these beauties.
- Memory Foam Insole
- Wedge Platform Heel
- Cork Outsole
- Crossover Upper
- Not For Wide Feet
6. Steve Madden Teena
Since it is difficult to wear inserts in clear strap heels, as they would easily be seen, it is fortunate that the Steve Madden Teena has a padded insole, allowing you to walk in it for as long as you wish. No numbness and no pain!
The thickness of the heel enables you to walk with confidence, without fear of stumbling, and its height of four inches gives your foot an arch, making your legs look long and lean. A perfect model-like figure.
Cost and Value
The price of the Steve Madden Teena is in the high range, compared to other shoes on our list. However, it is truly an exquisite sandal, which captures the essence of transparency in its clear straps, and you surely won’t regret spending your money on these.
- Padded Insole
- Transparent Sculpted Heel
- Adjustable Buckle
- Complementary to the Figure
- Synthetic Leather Footbed
- Foot Slides Forward
- Toe Strap Too Tight
7. Kendall + Kylie Leila
In the Kendall + Kylie Leila, you won’t have to worry about walking for extended periods of time. The three-inch square heel, along with the light padding in the footbed, increases the comfort level of this sandal, making it perfect for long evening strolls in the summer.
The beauty of this sandal is not in its decorations or embellishments. Rather, the Kendall + Kylie Leila is refreshingly simplistic in design. Thanks to its clear straps and subdued effect, this sandal goes well with any type of outfit you can imagine - from skirts and dresses to jeans and even shorts!
Cost and Value
Given the worldwide fame of its designers, it shouldn’t be strange that the Kendall + Kylie Leila is quite pricey. The sandal is undoubtedly beautiful, easy to wear and comfortable as well, but if you don’t care for brand names so much, there are much more affordable versions of this design out there.
- Clear Block Heel
- Lightly Padded Footbed
- Multi-strap Upper
9. J. Adams Daisy
The block heel will give you the perfect boost in height with its almost three-inches, and that, combined with the ultra-lightweight design, makes the J. Adams Daisy wearable all day long.
The beauty of the minimalistic style of the J. Adams Daisy is that this shoe goes well with anything. Jeans, shorts, skirts, dressy, or casual wear, you name it! This sandal will become a staple in your wardrobe and will be suitable for all but the most formal occasions.
Cost and Value
The J. Adams Daisy just barely fell short of our ‘cheapest shoe on the list’ prize. It doesn’t come with any world-famous footwear designer names, its materials are not particularly high quality and it won’t stand out in the crowd. However, this sandal is perfectly comfortable, easy to wear and even easier to combine with the clothes in your closet; for such a low price, we don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t get it.
- 2.5 Inch Block Heel
- Timeless and Versatile
- Adjustable Ankle Strap
- Good for Wide Feet
- Good for Flat Feet
- Wears Out Quickly
- Painful to Break In
8. Bamboo Sandal
With the buckle closure on the ankle strap, the Bamboo Sandal fits any ankle size, and you won’t have to worry about it digging into your skin. Furthermore, the footbed of this shoe is lightly cushioned, providing you with much-needed support while you walk in these heels.
Forget about sliding, skidding and pulling a muscle in the Bamboo Sandal! Its heel is four inches high - not low, but not too high either - but thanks to its non-skid outsole you will be able to easily walk on any surface, wet or dry, sleek or rough. Elegant and functional!
Cost and Value
It is without a doubt that the Bamboo Sandal is one of the least expensive models on our list. You may think this is a good deal, however, given the problems this shoe can cause with its rigid straps and unreliable construction, it may be best to invest your money somewhere else.
- Open Toe
- Padded Footbed
- Adjustable Fit
- Non-skid Outsole
- Foot Slides Forward
- Straps Cause Blisters
10. Cape Robbin Benny
Other than the obvious aesthetic purpose, the benefit of having an open toe on a PVC bootie such as this is that it allows for better air circulation. Maybe not ideal, but your foot will be able to breathe somewhat, and sweat less than if the shoe were entirely closed.
How many times have we struggled to fit into that one cute pair of booties only to give up because we couldn’t yank them on? This is why the Cape Robbin Benny comes with a zipper in the back, to allow you to ease into and out of the shoe without any problems.
Cost and Value
The Cape Robbin Benny comes at a middle-range cost. It is far from expensive, and if you’re dying for a pair of transparent boots, these are the right ones for you. However, judging by the discomfort the shoe potentially brings, the sweating and the foot fog, maybe it would be best to spend the money on a different model.
- Entirely Transparent
- Block Lucite Heel
- Peep Toe
- Zipper Closure
- Causes Foot Fog
- Four Inch Heel
After scrolling down a list of such gorgeous shoes, you can tell that it’s not necessary for clear strap heels to be provocative or over the top in any way. Granted, it all depends on what effect you aim to achieve with your shoes – if you’re looking to cause everyone’s jaw to drop with that sky-high pair of lucite heels, or if you’re just looking for something a little eccentric for your office party or family gathering.
Either way, clear strap heels won’t leave anyone indifferent. Of course, while shopping for them, you should always be thinking about other factors that make a great shoe – comfort, breathability, quality, and durability. You will be disappointed if you purchase a glam pair of clear strap heels only to have them wear out in record time.
So consider all of that, as well as the price of the shoe before you make your decision. In the end, however, shopping for clear strap heels shouldn’t be stressful at all. You’re looking to treat yourself to a pair of fashionable, futuristic shoes that will look great on you, and so don’t waste too much time deliberating. If you have found a design that you like, go for it!
Criteria For Evaluating the Best Clear Strap Heels
Unfortunately, as far as comfort goes, the clear strap heel – or clear strap anything for that matter – hasn’t had the best track record. PVC and polyurethane, what the see-through straps are made of, are not very breathable or malleable materials and can cause some problems if you’re not too careful. These range anywhere from unseemly sights – cracked nail polish and corns on full display underneath the transparent straps – over foot fog in the shoe to the plastic materials digging into the skin and causing blisters.
In order to avoid these, let’s see what one should pay attention to when looking for the right clear strap heels.
- Materials –
Of course, there isn’t a wide selection of materials to choose from when it comes to the clear straps themselves. We have already established that they are constructed out of synthetic plastics, and there aren’t any other types of materials that would be able to achieve the desired transparency.
However, to help fight the blisters and pain and even foot fog, try to go for shoes which are in some part – or larger part – made out of a different type of material, such as leather or suede for example. This will make the shoe much more comfortable to wear.
- Size and Fit –
Straps, in general, can be quite bothersome if they are too tight. Clear straps have an added disadvantage in that the plastic cuts into the skin and can leave lacerations.
Therefore, when you’re choosing your clear strap heels, make sure to find the right fit. If you can’t squeeze your toes inside, it’s best to go for half a size or even a whole size up to avoid any discomfort. If it is a closed toe box, your toes should be able to comfortably wiggle in it; if it is an open toe shoe, there should be enough space between your big toe and the end of the shoe so that your toes don’t fall over the edge.
As for straps, it would be best to find ankle or T-straps which have a buckle, and as such can be adjusted to the width of your ankle, so that they don’t hurt you.
- Cushioning and Inserts –
Because of their inability to hide anything, it is a bit tricky to have inserts or added insoles in clear strap heels. Even some celebrities had unfortunate red carpet mishaps where their inserts pitifully hung from their clear strap shoes in photographs (see: Emma Watson).
This is why it is important to look for shoes which have cushioned footbeds. With the added padding they will be extra comfortable, will provide support and shock absorption, and you won’t feel the need to purchase extra inserts to increase their comfort level.
- Ventilation –
Clear straps, or clear uppers, aren’t very convenient for maintaining a cool, dry climate for your feet, nor do they allow for proper air circulation. This results in so-called foot fog, meaning that the clear parts of the shoe fog up, turning into quite an unbecoming sight. While there are ways to avoid foot fog – see our FAQ section – here, we will mention one that has to do with the construction of the shoe itself, and that is – perforated shoes.
Little holes anywhere on the PVC part of the shoe offer good ventilation. Your foot will be able to breathe, won’t sweat as much and won’t suffer from unpleasant odors. What’s more, perforations will add a bit of interest to the design of the shoe, so it’s a win-win for all!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are some good ways of breaking in clear strap heels?
A: Clear strap heels can be hard to fit into the first time you’re trying them on. One of our suggestions would be to wear stockings. This will make it easier to slide into your shoe the first couple of times.
Secondly, if you can’t get them on even with stockings, try gently heating up the clear straps by using a hairdryer. Once the strap is warm (but not hot!), you should be able to fit into the shoe. The straps should then mold to the shape of your foot as they cool down and allow you to slip in and out of them whenever you want!
Other, less tested, methods of stretching out clear straps would be to put beans under the straps (the beans expand when exposed to air), or to freeze the straps with bags of water under them (the water expands when it turns to ice). These sound a little silly, and messy, so we advise sticking to the stockings and the hair dryer.
Q: How to keep foot fog at bay?
A: If you’re unwilling to punch holes in your not-originally-perforated footwear – and we don’t blame you for that – then there are a few neat little, or not so little, tricks you can use to prevent foot fog in your clear shoes.
The simplest one – use anti-perspirant deodorant on your feet. Just like it works on your armpits, the deodorant will seal your pores and stop your feet from sweating. The best time to apply this method the night before, or if you’re in a hurry, a couple of hours before you’re due to leave the house.
Another way to minimize the foot fog would be to wipe down your boots with WD-40. This is a penetrating oil and water-displacing spray with a wide variety of uses, both domestic and commercial. Most commonly, it is a go-to product for waterproofing winter footwear, and thus we are sure it’s going to work on your clear shoes as well. Just don’t forget to wipe down both the inside and the outside!
At the risk of sounding contradictory, another advice would be to wear socks with your clear shoes. It defeats the whole clear-shoes-on-bare-feet idea, but this is a good way to spice up your look! You don’t even have to wear real socks, you can go for fishnet stockings for that va va voom effect.
Lastly, and this is a bit drastic – there are Botox treatments for your feet that will stop them from sweating. It is expensive, and sounds excessive just for the purpose of being able to wear clear shoes, so we will leave you to decide if this method is worth it or not.