Best Designer Shoes Reviewed & Rated
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. 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.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research
True To Size
- Salvatore Ferragamo Vara
- Gucci Platform Wedges
- Stan Smith Trainers
- Badgley Mischka Kiara
- Tory Burch Miller Sandal
- Michael Kors Fulton
- Stuart Weitzman 5050 Boots
- Prada Trainers
- Jimmy Choo Claudette
- Christian Louboutin Pigalle
- 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.
2. 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.
3. Stan Smith Trainers
Durable Leather Upper
Perforations For Airflow
Pimple Outsole Provides Traction
No Wide Sizes
Adidas Originals Stan Smith sneaker is a reintroduction of the classic 70’s sneaker. It maintains its traditional tennis style. This sneaker has a clean, simple look with a low profile. Three perforated stripes line the sides for ventilation. They are made with rich, full grain leather. This retro throwback sneaker is comfortable and great for trekking.Read more
These sneakers feature the Stan Smith logo on the tongue and heel. Stan Smith is a famous tennis player that become the world champion in 1972. Adidas then partnered with Stan to be the face of this iconic sneaker.
The rubber pimple grip sole of the Stan Smith sneaker provides supreme grip. So even if your plans include wet weather you can ensure good footing on any surface. Adidas Originals price is higher than your typical sneaker. Consumer reviews show proof that these sneakers have a comfortable fit. Its simple look and clean design will go with any outfit you choose to travel in.
4. 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
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!
5. 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!
6. 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
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.
7. Stuart Weitzman 5050 Boots
These gorgeous boots by Stuart Weitzman feature an over-the-knee height that is classy yet surprising. You can pair these boots with almost anything for a sophisticated look.Read more
The 50/50 Boots have almost a horseback riding boot look but that's not to say they look farm-ish. Made from 100% leather, these boots are versatile. You could wear them to a variety of events in different settings. They look great with dresses at a fancy event or with jeans on a casual night out.
The short 1-inch heel gives you the right amount of height without being tall enough to cause any annoyance while walking all day. The rubber sole will keep your feet from slipping underneath you while out and about.
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.
9. 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
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.
10. Christian Louboutin Pigalle
Can Scuff Easily
Few things say luxury against your skin than soft suede - silky, smooth, you won’t want to take these off. Christian Louboutin 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 Louboutin 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!
Louboutin 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?
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 from 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 poorly 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 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 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. 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 tends 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!
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What brings up the cost of designer shoes?
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.
q: How do I deal with pinching in the toe-box in some of the more narrow and pointed designer shoes?
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 poorly made knock-off shoes.
q: Can a high fashion designer shoe made me feel differently?
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.
q: Is functionality more important than style in designer shoes?
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.
q: The heel has come off on my stilettos. Long story. Help!
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!
q: My shoes are scuffed up a little. What can I do about the marks?
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.
q: The leather soles on my shoes do not offer much traction. Help!
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.
q: I love my Louboutins but the red soles are scuffed up from walking in them. What can I do?
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.