Best Designer Shoes Reviewed for Fashion
When you hear the names Jimmy Choo, Badgley Mischka and Manolo Blahnik, you see red carpets, runways, stunning fashion, and the very best in shoes. With a new demand to be the best-dressed, many are turning to designer shoes to make them stand out.
Whether it’s your power suit for work, the Armani dress you’ve been eyeing, or a pair of jeans and a shirt, wearing great designer shoes makes you look great and feel great. Despite what people may think, the designer fashion is within reach of many fashion-forward people. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best shoes sure to turn heads.
Whether you can afford a closet full of designer shoes or you’ve saved up for that one, perfect pair, you won’t regret purchasing a shoe that is uniquely designed, high quality, and made from the most luxurious of materials. Add some wow to any outfit. Buying quality is on often on the upper end of many budgets, but it is an investment in your style that can transcend time.
From stilettos to booties, from loafers to slides, there’s something for everyone on our list. Also, make sure to have a look at our criteria list, as well. These are the items we considered when choosing what shoes should be added to our list. Whether you like a pair of designer shoes you saw a celebrity wearing or a friend recommended a pair to you, designer shoes are a significant investment. You’ve already put a lot of thought into the purchase. We recommend that you do a little research before you purchase to avoid disappointment and angry, hostile feet. Our criteria list and frequently asked questions will help you have all the information you need to make the best choice for you. With that, let's take a look at the brands that made our 10-best list.
- Salvatore Ferragamo Vara
- Badgley Mischka Kiara
- Michael Kors Fulton
- Prada Patent Leather Sandals
- Gucci Platform Wedges
- Jimmy Choo Claudette
- Tory Burch Miller Sandal
- Prada Trainers
- Manolo Blahnik BB
- Salvatore Ferragamo Groove
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Designer Shoes
1. Salvatore Ferragamo Vara
True To Size
No Wide Sizes
Salvatore Ferragamo was known for his creative, handmade, high-quality shoes. His daughter, Fiamma, continued his legacy with the Vara pump 40 years ago. Topped with Ferragamo’s signature leather bow, there is every good reason these classic pumps have become a signature for the family-run design house.Read more
The leather (grosgrain on the original) bow and emblem on the vamp of this shoe immediately identify it as a Ferragamo, with all of the luxury material and high-quality construction that comes with the name.
The upper in this classic pump is patent leather with more leather in the insole and the sole. The wrapped heel is another signature mark of the Ferragamo name.
Cost and Value
These shoes are in the mid-range of our designer shoe list. They are an investment that will last for a very long time if properly cared for. The simple yet elegant design will suit almost any outfit you wish to pair them with and the low pump will allow for many hours of wearing without exhausting your foot.
2. Badgley Mischka Kiara
Wide Color Variety
No Wide Sizes
These Badgley Mischka Kiara rhinestone embellished stilettos are a beautiful addition to any wardrobe and explain why the duo of fashion designers quickly rose to the top of the fashion world when they teamed up in 1988. These shoes are perfect for the young fashion minded wearer who can’t get enough of their styles.Read more
Rhinesone heel counter
What says youthful, fun, fashionable and elegant all the same time if it’s not well designed, well-placed bling on a long stiletto heel? These are attention catching and perfect for any semi-formal or formal occasion. But honestly, slipping them on while you’re wearing your favorite broken-in jeans works so well too.
Stilettos are great for giving height and a long, sleek look but they can be a little unsteady and hard on your forefoot. Enter the platform which better distributes the pressure on your forefoot, making the shoe more stable and easier on the foot. Plus, have you noticed that cute little peep toe? We did and we love it!
Cost and Value
The good news for your pocketbook is that these shoes are among the least expensive on our list. Still an investment, they will require some care with the rhinestones on the heel counters. For that money, you are getting youthful fashion that equally suits a fun night with friends and a runway.
3. Michael Kors Fulton
Rhinestones Require Care
You won’t mistake these Michael Kors moc flats with the metallic MK logo on the vamp. These classy designer flats can easily be dressed up or dressed down. The shoes are water-resistant soft leather that will hug your feet for comfort. Designer style in an ultra comfortable shoe.Read more
All day comfort
Designer shoes are not always built for comfort but this Michael Kors flat certainly is. The leather upper is soft and will gently hug the sides and top of your feet.
These are an upgrade to the classic ballet flat style that can easily be dressed down for your favorite casual outfits or dressed up for special occasions, work or fun.
Cost and Value
These are the least expensive shoes in the list and for a very, very reasonable price, you get the comfort that Michael Kors has become known for along with a stylish shoe for casual and more formal occasions.
4. Prada Patent Leather Sandals
There's a reason they say the devil wears Prada. These shoes make a strong, demanding statement that says, "I'm here, now bow!". Originating in Italy, like so many fashion houses of today and the past century, Prada is designed for the classic woman who know's her worth.Read more
These yellow sandals will pair nicely with almost every dress, jean or short in your wardrobe. The patent leather design is unique to these sandals, and cannot be replicated by competitors. The bow on the front gives you a soft and feminine look that is sure to impress.
With an adjustable strap and non-absorbent skid rubble sole, you can wear these sandals all day. To the beach or in the streets of Milan, you can take these everywhere with you.
Cost and Value
While these sandals are priced at a higher price-point than other shoes on this list, you get what you pay for. The quality, the finish of the materials and the clean, well-cut lines make these sandals a winner, even at the high cost! At least you can rest assured not just anyone will be walking around in these, but you can!
5. Gucci Platform Wedges
Comfortable For Platforms
Satin & Leather
Gucci is synonymous with style, luxury and wealth. Also originating from Italy, Gucci is relentless in its pursuit of everything fashionable. These platform wedges are a perfect complement to those super-dark indigo pair of jeans you've been waiting to flaunt.Read more
With a patented leather and canvas construction, these platform sandals are combined with a delicate and feminine ankle detail with hearts or beachballs adding extra flair.
You can wear these all day, claim Gucci. The satin and leather sole and trim keep your feet comfortable and always ready for the next event.
6. Jimmy Choo Claudette
Gorgeous Textured Fabric
Check The Sizing Chart
Jimmy Choo is a Malaysian fashion designer based out of the U.K. and is known for his high quality, timeless style and handmade shoes. The Claudette is no exception to this reputation, featuring a soft and delicate style in a nude color. Perfect for accessorizing.Read more
Handmade with Craftsmanship
Featuring a gorgeous nude color and delicate ankle straps, these pumps were handmade in Italy and are perfect for adding class to any outfit in your wardrobe. They feature a sturdy 4.75 inch heel with a comfortable footbed.
The nude color and with the textured fabric and gold-plated heel make this shoe to die for. It can easily be paired with jeans, shorts, dresses and more. Combine it with gold accessories to having you feeling like royalty.
Cost and Value
Jimmy Choo is a top-tier fashion house and their shoes are in the top-tier price range. Although pricey, the gold heel combined with the silky, delicate straps on these shoes justify its high cost. Wearing these shoes will make you feel like a million dollars, and they cost less than $1000. Sounds like a good deal!
7. Tory Burch Miller Sandal
Reflective Black Color
Ultimate In Style For A Sandal
Limited Width Selection
Tory Burch's signature Miller Sandle was designed for the on-the-go woman that needs comfort and versatility, but demands style and craftsmanship. Featuring a rich leather with a graphic laser-cut double-T logo, it goes with everything in your wardrobe.Read more
Designed with genuine leather and a plastic sole, these sandals are comfortable to wear and easy to maintain.
Pair it with jeans, shorts or anything in between, these sandals are sure to impress with the Tory Burch logo woven into the straps. Lots of colors to choose from means you might have to pick up a couple of pairs!
Cost and Value
A much more reasonable price-point compared to some of the shoes on this list, the Tory Burch Miller Sandal will wrap your feet in luxury, comfort and style, and can be worn with many different outfits.
8. Prada Trainers
Good Grip For Working Out
Easy To Maintain
Expensive For Trainers
One Color Option
Originating in Italy, Prada has dressed the most powerful or successful actors, models, influencers and world leaders of our time. Unlike the classic dresses or pumps you may think of when you think of Prada, these running shoes are meant to be worn around town or even to the gym; anywhere you want comfort without sacrificing style.Read more
Made of genuine white leather with a comfortable insole and rubber sole, you will feel like you're walking on clouds with these shoes. They can even stand up to the toughest gym workout without making your feet hurt.
The pink racer bottom and toe cover screams "pretty in pink". Coupled with the classic red Prada horizontally-stretched logo on the sole and inside the shoe adds flair to a pretty pair of trainers.
Cost and Value
Looking pretty in pink and Prada doesn't come cheap, but these trainers can follow you from the gym to the street to the plane, and everywhere in between. Take the dive and look gorgeous in these new Prada Trainers.
9. Manolo Blahnik BB
Can Scuff Easily
Few things say luxury against your skin than soft suede - silky, smooth, you won’t want to take these off. Manolo Blahnik really upgraded the classic high heel with this beauty! The topline cut is low so you can show off your feet while standing in a tall, sleek stiletto. Definitely runway ready!Read more
This Blahnik is all about sleek and elegant lines. With the low cut topline in this shoe, you’ll show off the shoe and your gorgeous feet! Rock that runway, then take your look and rock all the after parties. You go!
Manolo Blahnik oversees the quality and design of every shoe in his line personally. With every shoe, you are guaranteed his stringent and exquisite attention to detail and quality. How can you go wrong?
Cost and Value
These shoes are in the mid-range for our designer shoe list. Still an investment, you will wear these shoes everywhere for the sheer luxury and elegant style. Perfect with any outfit you choose, you just cannot go wrong with these Manolo Blahnik stilettos.
10. Salvatore Ferragamo Groove
No Wide Sizes
These Ferragamo sandals are indulgent, with a full-sized gold logo over the vamp. Lounging on the deck of a boat or at the beach, or just running around doing errands, your feet will be cool and cushioned in style. The most casual shoe on our list, they are still all Italian designer style.Read more
The whole slide is made from durable rubber, which gives these sandals a great deal of shock absorption and cushioning. They dry quickly and will last for many summers.
Laid back style
The top shoe on our list is this Italian designer sandal with it’s laid back yet very fashionable style. Ferragamo was known for his creativity and scientific approach to shoes and his family has continued the tradition with this slide.
Cost and Value
These are at the lower end of our list of designer shoes. They are an investment for a sandal but in return for the investment, you get a very stylish, laid back slide that will last for several summer seasons.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Designer shoes are rarely designed for comfort, though some designers do ensure there are good quality comfort elements in their shoes. They are designed to be fashionable, unique and high-quality and comfort is lower on the list of priorities.
Still, they are some fine shoes that are worth every penny of the investment you put into them. Time to fill you in on a secret that people who walk the runways and red carpets know. Here are some of our best tips for making your new designer shoes more comfortable:
No shoe will be comfortable unless it fits properly. Be careful to read reviews to see whether the shoe fits a little larger or smaller, if they fit wide or narrow but more importantly than this, have a podiatrist or other expert measure your feet. The more accurate the measurements, the better the fit you will find. Often designer shoes are built in countries like Italy where the sizes are slightly different than American sizes, so read sizing charts as well.
Insoles and footpads: There are insoles and footpads made for every shoe and every occasion, even or those super strappy stilettos! Gel insoles and pads are the least conspicuous, and thicker insoles can be useful in boots, loafers and other closed shoes.
Avoid pressure points: Pressure points can cause discomfort and sharp, agonizing pain. If your incredibly beautiful designer shoe has a pressure point that is making you uncomfortable, you can try moleskin over the point to reduce the pressure and make your foot more comfortable.
Foot fitness: Keep your foot in their best shape possible, ensuring that you treat any concerns early and regularly. Dry, cracked heels will feel and perform much better, even on a 4” stiletto, if they are moisturized and callouses removed. The healthier the foot the more comfortable you will be. Enjoy a foot soak or massage when your feet are tired to get the best out of them and your shoes.
Be selective: Not every foot is meant for every style of shoe. If straps cut into your ankle or toe, look for a shoe that has different straps in more appropriate locations for your foot, or choose a closed stiletto instead. Pay as much attention to detail as the top designers do and you will get so much more pleasure out of your purchase.
Top shoe designers make it to the top of the fashion world for two reasons. First, they have amazing creativity when it comes to designing shoes that are eye-catching and stylish. Second, they understand that looks are not enough. Quality material and build are also important. This is why people keep coming back to the biggest names over and over again. The best build the best and no detail is overlooked.
There are some common features to a high-quality shoe and the first is the engineering.
- These shoes will not fall apart easily, seams are well incorporated, where appropriate the insides are lined with a quality material like leather, and heels are well designed to both fit into the lines of the shoe and stay stable.
- The shoes are well-balanced and the fit is as perfect as it can be. Stitching will be even and not abrasive.
Second are the materials.
- Leather comes in varying degrees of quality and a good designer leather shoe will use only the highest quality leather. This applies to other materials as well.
- Rubber will be high quality and thickened for durability and traction.
- Satins will be well-woven and attached perfectly to the underside. There will be no dye marks and colors will last.
The investment you are making in a designer shoe demands quality and all the designers on our list produce quality. It’s a terrific match!
The midsole is designed to provide cushioning and shock absorption to the shoe, nestling the foot in comfort. Whereas running shoes tend to have thick midsoles, flats and thinner shoes not designed for high-impact activities often have thinner midsoles. The reason for this is simple: you need more shock absorption and vibration dampening during high-intensity movements or activities to maintain comfort and prevent foot injury then you otherwise would with a regular shoe, flat or sandal.
Midsoles are often made from EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate), a synthetic plastic also used to make insertable orthotics. A firmer type of EVA for the midsole will make the shoe heavier, but more durable; whereas a softer type of EVA, like those found in running shoes, improve shock absorption, but wear much quickly. Podiatrists tend to prefer firmer midsoles for those suffering with orthopedic conditions, such as plantar fasciitis.
Given that designer pumps or heels, or even other shoes for that matter, are not always the most comfortable, we paid special attention to the midsole of each of the products on our list. We only included shoes with midsoles that provide proper support and comfort for the wearer, because you should be stylish, but also comfortable and supported.
For the money that you spend on a designer shoe, you also demand style. Nothing boxy or gaudy, nothing that appears cheaply made or made with little thought to how it will look on your foot. You’ve carefully selected the other pieces of your wardrobe and you want a shoe that will complete or even make the look.
Style is partly subjective (what you like) and partly objective (what scientists will tell you are natural inclinations toward certain aesthetics). An appealing look with be symmetrical and if off-symmetry it will have a pattern that is pleasing to the eye. For example:
- The glass crystals on the Louboutin’s are asymmetrical but the flow of the crystals is very appealing to the eye.
- The 5050s are asymmetrical from the side but symmetrical in every other way.
- These small details are incredibly important to determine what makes for great style. These details are also consistent over time.
Subjective style can change with the times and the age group that is targeted. Big, bold colors and beautiful rhinestone detailing are appealing to some, while classic but muted color and fine, subtle detail are appealing to others. Subjective style is harder to pin down because everyone has different tastes and preferences. Whatever your personal style though – bright and bold and energetic or muted and classic, there is a top designer out there for you!
We recognize that many people will buy a designer shoe with a specific purpose or event in mind, while others may purchase a designer shoe for no specific function.
Whether you’re purchasing a designer shoe or a sneaker for school, we recommend that you consider the purposes of the shoe before you buy. If you’re purchasing the shoes for a formal function, for example, are you going to be able to wear it for other functions as well? Can it be dressed down or dressed up a little? For example, if you’re purchasing a white shoe for your wedding, can it be dyed later to suit other occasions? The more versatility you can get out of your shoes, the more life you will get and the more value for the investment.
Consider the season as well. Will the shoe be appropriate only in winter or only in summer? Or is it great for all seasons? Is it water resistant to spring rain? Is it protective enough for winter? Breathable enough for summer?
Does the shoe require special care to make it last? Can the suede or leather be treated and conditioned with standard shoe sprays? Will the colors run or spot when wet?
The more you consider the details, the happier you will end up!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
You've found your next, or perhaps first, pair of designer shoes you are ready to purchase. The feeling you get when you first slip them on may give you a sense of satisfaction like no other, and for good reason!
Every pair of designer shoes has been carefully crafted and created with the utmost attention to detail and style. Wearing them can make you feel confident that you look sharp, and give you the feeling that you are ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
Most designer footwear has been made with high quality materials, so caring for them is key to make sure they last a lifetime. Check the brand website for help on how to best care for your specific pair. Treating your shoes with a shoe protectant is a great first step toward extending their longevity.
Leather requires upkeep, with application of conditioner every couple months, as well as polish to remove scuffs and keep the color sharp. Silks will need attention to cleaning out stains by dabbing a damp cloth to remove them, and a weather protectant to prevent others from setting in.
Other Factors to Consider
The bottom line is that a pair of designer shoes, while expensive, can be an investment that pays back dividends for years to come. Sometimes, nothing tops an outfit off more than a stylish pair of designer shoes, heels or sandals. If you are looking to give your dress an extra pop or just show off your toes in a new pair of Prada sandals, there is something for you on our list.
In order to make the most informed choice, make sure you read our criteria section. By understanding how we arrived at our scores and conclusions for each product, reading our methodology for judging each product is a sure way to guide yourself to the best pair for you.
With that, get to it and go and buy a killer pair of shoes that will leave you feeling like a million dollars.
The outsole, or more simply, the sole of the shoe, makes direct contact with the ground and therefore supports the entire foot and body when in motion. Needless to say, a poorly-constructed outsole will lead to discomfort, slipping and foot or other bodily injury. For this reason, many manufacturers use materials that are water-, weather-, heat-, and impact-resistant. Depending on the type of footwear, one will often see outsoles made from natural or synthetic materials, such as PVC, EVA, rubber and leather. Each of these has their advantages, depending on the shoe’s purpose; however, as a general rule, they each are resistant to the aforementioned factors. They are also flexible enough to support a proper foot cycle when in motion, but they are not so flexible that they feel like a pair of socks. A sole made of the materials above tend to score higher on our product evaluations, as they are not only comfortable, but also support other criteria, such as “support” and “durability”.
To assess each of the products on our list for durability, we not only read through thousands of customer reviews on our recommended products, but we also looked for some of the hallmarks of quality construction. From brand name reputation to their initial smell out of the box, there are a few ways of identifying a well-built, made-to-last product.
To assess for durability, make sure to look at the zippers and construction. Bad zipper or threads that are loose? Put it back on the shelf. You can also consider things like the brand name and product purpose. Wearing a brand known for having poor durability products is a red-flag. Similarly, wearing shoes for purposes other than what they were intended for is a sure way to wear out your shoes faster than necessary.
That being said, all the brands on our 10-best list are fantastic, but some are better than others, depending on your style and purpose for your purchase. Make sure you consider these factors when reviewing our list, your top pick may be different from ours, because you're a unique buyer. Don't sell yourself short!
Frequently Asked Questions
Designer shoes are made of the best materials, but what makes them cost sometimes ten times as much as ordinary fashion shoes are the demand for expensive clothing in itself. Sure, the shoes are made by professionals and designed by extremely talented designers, using only the highest quality leather and material. But the name is also something you are purchasing.
Choose a size up if you regularly find that your pointed toe shoes fit too tightly. Do not be fooled into buying knockoffs or replicas that are rarely, if ever, made to the same quality standards. You will get strange sizing and shapes with cheaply made knock-off shoes.
A great pair of shoes can make you feel incredible. There’s no doubt that looking good can make you feel confident and on your game.
Functionality is extremely important as want to be able to use your shoes for long periods, whether they are the designer or not. But, the look is the focus of designers. It’s best to check reviews and details for any investment you make and if the functionality is what you are looking for in a designer shoe, you make have more research to do than others.
Heels can normally be repaired quite well by a reputable cobbler (shoemaker). We do not recommend attempting to repair a designer shoe yourself however if you have experience there is a lot of information out there to help you repair your shoes. Read reviews for shoe repair shops in your area or contact the manufacturer for advice. Don’t worry all is not lost!
Most scuffs in good quality leather can be buffed out with a little effort. On patent leather, you can try gentle buffing with a good eraser. Satin shoes can be dry-cleaned, or try a little basic soda paste – mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with just enough water to make a paste. Use a soft cloth to apply the paste and gently buff out the scuff marks. Use a damp cloth to wipe off any excess and then wipe dry.
There are a number of ways to improve the traction on leather soles. You can purchase sole pads that stick to the sole to provide traction, apply a traction spray or even scuff them up slightly to improve traction. You could also apply a small amount of hot glue to the bottom to improve traction.
Those soles are striking, aren’t they? Don’t fret, they soles can be touched up with products that are specifically designed to match the Louboutin red. It will take a little work and careful instruction following on your part but you can check Amazon for products that will help.