Different Types of Heel Heights on Women's Shoes

There are many different types of heeled shoes for women, each distinct and with pros and cons attached. Some people may consider how much height different styles provide as one of these factors, and this will be discussed here.

Understanding The Height Heels Provide

The advertised heel height is often different from the actual height increase that you will gain from wearing them.

This is due to the fact that manufacturers measure the heel from the lowest to the highest point at the back of the shoe, as seen in this photo (black arrow). As an example, this heel measurement is 4 inches. In reality however, the height you will gain from wearing the shoe will be around 3 inches.

stiletto heeled boot black for women

The reason for this loss of height is because your foot hinges and tilts upwards at the ankle, and this is known as the "pivot point", which runs further down the shoe, and is also where your maximum height is gained from the shoe (red arrow). 

In general, it is going to be hard to gain over 3.5 inches of height without a platform base. So, the higher the platform, the taller you are going to be. 

Another thing to mention is that the height you will gain depends on the angle the footbed is sloped at. As an example, if we take the same version of a shoe with differing heel heights of both 2 and 4 inches, the 2 inch heel will have less of a sloped footbed, and therefore you will gain a height nearer the advertised 2 inches of height.

However, with the 4 inch heel, the footbed will be sloped at a higher angle, and therefore you will lose more height when compared to the 4 inch heel measurement.

How Much Height do Heels Give?

There are 100's of variations of women's shoes and it is impossible to pinpoint the exact height you will get from them. But as a general rule, if the shoe lacks a platform front, it is possible to lose over an inch from the advertised heel height. If however there is a front platform then you will lose no more than an 1 inch from the advertised heel height. 

Things To Note

  • Platform heights will differ depending on styles.
  • The angle of footbeds differ depending on manufacturers
  • The size of the shoe can change the height of the heel, platform, and footbed by a few mm's
  • Manufacturers will not always measure the back of the heels correctly, and this can cause errors.
  • The insole of enclosed designs will differ in thickness, and therefore the height gained. 

List of Heel Types

Each of these heel types have varying heel heights, depending on the style of the shoe. 

  1. Kitten heels - slim styles with good stability
  2. Ankle strap heels - good ankle support 
  3. Fantasy heels - creative/eccentric designs
  4. Comma heels - shaped like a comma
  5. Block heels - a supportive, sturdy design
  6. Espadrille heels - great for the summer
  7. Flared heels -  a flared bottom heel
  8. Oxford heels - formal designs
  9. French heels - a high, curved heel
  10. Cuban heels - a tapered back + straight front
  11. Corset heels - sexy creative designs
  12. Cut Out Heels - a cut out front
  13. Ballroom dance shoes - designed to be used on the dance floor
  14. Mule heels - backless designs
  15. Cone heels - shaped like an ice cream cone
  16. Spool heels - wide top + bottom + narrow middle
  17. Ankle boots - reaches just above the ankle
  18. High heeled boots - a variety of shaft and heel heights
  19. Platform heels - a strong + supportive platform
  20. Stilettos - a sexy, thin and high tapered heel
  21. Pumps - a low cut front area, reinforced heels
  22. Slingback heels - supports the back + side of ankle only
  23. Cork high heels - a firm cork base
  24. Sandal heels - strappy, lightweight designs
  25. Peep toe heels - allows the toe peep out the front
  26. Flatform heels - a flatter leveled platform compared to wedge heels
  27. Wedge heels -  a sloped, supportive platform
  28. High heel clogs, supportive, reinforce the foot's natural arch

15 Examples of Heel Heights

1. Super High Platform Heels

Super high heels have a 6 inch heel and 2 inch platform that really adds to the height gained. You are going to stand very tall in them.

These are going to make your legs appear much longer and are probably the heel height limit before heading into dangerous territory! Walking in these is going to take some practice inside the house before attempting outside!

super high heels with platform sparkling for women

2. Chunky Platform Heels

Thicker heels are commonly seen on taller styles of 4+ inches. In this example, the 5 inch heel + 1.6 inch platform gives a large height gain. The platform allows for a lower angle and tilt of the foot, and therefore more height is gained.

Styles often incorporate straps to secure the foot. If you want max height and added stability then these are a good option.

chunky platform heels black golden for women

3. Thick High Heels: 

The design here is on the high end with a 5 inch heel and 1.1 inch platform, which allows for less of a sloping footbed, and therefore additional height is gained.

This style will elevate both your look and confidence and the thicker heel will ease stress off of the feet by distributing weight more evenly than similar styles will thinner heels.

thick black high heels for women with platform

4. Stiletto Heels:

Stiletto heels can range in height from 1 inch to 8+ inches! The stiletto heel in this example is on the taller side at 5 inches, and the footbed is highly sloped, and due to their being no platform, it means that the actual height gained will be significantly less than the back of the heel measurement.

Due to the thin heel, your weight is transferred into a smaller area, and this means they can cause balance issues, so need to be practiced walking in before going outside. Lower stiletto heels are a safer option.

stiletto heels black without platform for women

5. Wedge heels

Wedge heels typically measure around 4 inches at the back heel. The heel here measures in at 4.3 inches and there is a thick 1.5-inch platform, that helps push the height gained above the 3 inch range.

Wedge heels and sandals are joined to the sole for a firm and stable base. They come in styles that are elegant like a high heel, but with valuable added support. 

blue wedge heels sandals for women

6. Cone Heels

This design has a 3.5 inch heel that is shaped like an upside-down cone, being thin at the bottom and gradually widening upwards. This style is also without a platform, and there is quite a steep sloped footbed, so the height gained is less than expected.

They will be easier to walk in than slimmer heels but can cause balance issues due to the varying thickness from the top to the bottom heel area.

cone heels sparkling silver glitter for women

7. Spool Heel (Average Heel)

This average-sized heel will measure around 2.5 inches at the back and has a 0.5 inch platform. In this example, the angle of the footbed gradually slopes downwards and therefore a good amount of height is gained.

With their average-sized heel and ankle-strapped design, this style is considered a practical heeled shoe option for daily wear.

8. Flatform Heels

Flatform sandals offer a flatter and higher platform than wedge designs, and therefore more height is gained. In this example the 2.75 inch heel and high 2 inch platform ensure you receive a nice chunk of height. 

With a quirky and unique vibe, they also offer a highly supportive strapped design, and due to the low sloping footbed they put less stress on the feet and are generally easy to walk in.

flatform heels espadrilles sandals for women

9. Flared Heel

This type of shoe has a 3 inch flared heel design that widens down towards the sole, and the footbed has a steep slope with no platform, so less height is gained. 

The lace-up design gives a snug, custom fitting, and the thick and curved heel ensures added levels of support and stability, with the flared bottom providing ample support in the heel area.

sexy flared heels

10. Clog Heels

Clog designs range greatly in height. This example illustrates a common clog heel that measures about 2.75 inches, and due to the gradual slope of the footbed and a 0.75-inch platform, a nice amount of height is gained.

The strapped design and firm wooden base will give continuous support, and will be comfortable for all-day wear.


11. Low Block Heel

This design has a 2.5 inch heel and without a platform. The footbed is sloped at less of an angle than a regular high heel, so these will also give a healthy height gain in comparison to the back of the heel.

The low block style is highly comfortable, spreading the weight of steps throughout the entire heel area for more even distribution. 

low block heels black

12. Cuban Heels

The average Cuban heel will generally measure between 1.5-3 inches. In this design, the heel is around 2 inches high. There is no platform on this style of shoe, but there is an insole that will boost your height slightly, so you are going to get a solid amount of height.

This heel provides a solid base and support to the heel area and promotes a natural walking gait. They are some of the most flexible footwear available and will work with almost any kind of pants, and many clothing styles.

cuban heels ankle boots women

13. Chunky Platforms

The 1.87 inch heel height also has a flat 1.5 inch platform base and comfy footbed insole, ensuring that you will gain a nice little boost of height.

These are comfortable to walk in due to their high-quality construction and a good choice for a smaller height boost, versatile styling, modern appeal and all day wear.

dr. martens platform shoes

14. Kitten Heels: 

Kitten heel designs tend to give you anywhere from 1-2 inches of height. This style measures 2 inches at the heel and is without a platform. If you want to maintain the elegance of a higher heel but are not comfortable wearing them, then kitten heels are a great choice!

They will also help to avoid heel blisters and maintain valuable walkability, meaning they can be regularly worn throughout the day.

kitten heels sparkling gold

15. French Heels

This type of heel is pitched forward from the back and has an inward swoop with a supportive tip. The heel in this example is 2 inches high without a platform, and you will gain a relatively small height boost from it.

These are rarely seen these days, but are great for adding a flair to traditional outfits, and a solid option for comfort + all day wear. 

French style heels red

What Heels Should Can You Wear All Day?

In an ideal world, the most healthy and comfortable size heel to wear is around 1 inch (2.54 cm) high, with arch support, and a thick base. This is because wearing a lower style heel with a wider base actually helps to evenly distribute pressure, allowing a more natural foot position and stride, preventing aches and strains while avoiding unnecessary problems.

Of course, this is not a practical option for those wanting to wear higher and thinner heeled shoes. In this case, podiatrists recommend that the ideal heel should be anywhere in-between one to three inches (2.54-7.62 cm) high, which is within the average range.

Heels over this height will not add as much support, and the high angled footbed of some designs can put excess pressure in specific areas, such as the balls of the feet, that are not used to it, causing discomfort and injury to the metatarsal bones. Other areas such as the Achilles tendon at the heel bone can also be negatively affected.

In higher heels there is also more chance of ankle slips and injuries occurring, making them generally unsuitable for day-to-day wear.

Are Expensive High Heels More Comfortable?

It is true that expensive heels tend to be of a higher quality. So, if we are comparing, for example, a 4-inch stiletto-heeled shoe between a cheaper and expensive brand, then we can assume that the higher-priced pair will be more comfortable. This is because the materials will be of higher quality, such as leather or suede, that will generally provide more comfort than synthetic materials, preventing as many blisters and red spots from occurring.

Also, higher-quality footwear designs often go through rigorous anatomical testing to ensure they fit the average foot like a glove. They often have padding and cushioning to stabilize key areas of the foot and help prevent aches or pains. You can also find that some higher-level stores will thoroughly measure the dimensions of your feet so you will know your true size, and this can help you find the perfect pair of heels for the custom shape of your feet.

Heel type is another factor, as flatter platform designs are going to naturally be more comfortable than a long 4-inch stiletto, and take far less practice to walk in, too. So, if you are planning on buying a more elegant design, it is always going to be better to get sized correctly and to purchase a more sturdy, reliable, and durable pair of shoes.

However, this is not necessarily always true, as all feet come in different shapes and sizes, and therefore have different requirements for comfort. Some Women have reported buying cheaper heels of 40 dollars that have fitted them perfectly for the shape and size of their feet.

Finding the perfect pair of heels can be a tiring and lengthy process. So, if you do find a pair of shoes that suit you, try to stick to that brand and check out their collection, as you can save a lot of time by not having to constantly return them.

Tips to Stay in Heels All Night

There are some tips to be able to stay in your heels throughout the night.

  • Prepare beforehand by practicing and wearing them indoors to allow your feet and muscles to adapt, as this can help break them in and reduce chances of blisters + unnecessary aches and pains. Use a shoe stretcher to stretch them out overnight if necessary.
  • Be prepared and take plasters with you so you can reduce the chances of blisters occurring. You can also wear hidden socks to prevent soreness in specific areas of the feet. 
  • Lessen the time you are in your heels. Take a spare pair of flat shoes out with you, so that you can change into them when heels aren't necessary, such as on the way home, or in periods of walking between venues.
  • If possible, add either a full length or a gel insole to soften steps and cushion certain tender areas of the feet, such as the heel and arch area.
  • Buy from a brand that suits you, your size, material, style of heel, and fitting. This way you can ensure you have the footwear you are comfortable and confident to walk in, even when new.
  • If you aren't used to wearing higher heels then a lower heel is going to be the most comfortable option, as they will be easier to walk in and the footbed will be sloped at less of an angle, causing less strain on the feet. Pointed-toe styles can also be an issue, being too compressed in the toe area for some, so a rounded toe option may be a better choice for those with wider feet. 
  • When wearing heels, the nerves in the feet can get irritated - one specifically being the nerve lying in-between the 3rd and 4th toes, which gets irritated by the toes being spread apart. The solution - tape the 3rd and 4th toes together!
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