Best Pointy Toe Shoes Rated & Reviewed
The Poulaine, a tip, or the ‘beak’ at the front of footwear is more than a fashion statement. Just as large, ostentatious codpieces were once intended to imply super-masculinity, a very long projection at the end of one’s toe was a sign of wealth and social status. From the 12th century on, a very long extension at that very spot has made simple footwear the height of fashion. And then it disappears once again, replaces by squared or open toes, steel and jewel tips or, perhaps a wild flash of nail polish from an open front.
Said to be the invention of a fashion visionary in Krakow the capital of Poland, the tip was dubbed the Krakow or Poulaine in honor of the birthplace of the innovation. By the time they became fashionable in England, cobblers called them Pikes.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 100 hrs of research
Top 10 Picks
1. Steve Madden Local
Heel wears quickly
With high quality and good prices Steve Madden is a popular line. Heels and sandals, sleek or chunky, boots or mules they are always on trend and totally attractive. A brand that never goes beyond fashion and into risky shape or questionable fabrications. Madden makes footwear for the working public.
Raise the Bar
A timeless, classic silhouette with a 3 ¼” stiletto heel, the Local is just right for work or play. Graceful lines for that long-legged look but comfortable.
Sleek and Simple
Minimalistic design, without hardware or artifice, these pumps are an old favorite with modern colors and style. An excellent addition to any wardrobe. Fun and flirty for day or night.
Cost and Value
Great colors like synthetic white/multi snake print; Pony hair upper material in leopard print, dark plush patent leather; black leather; red and yellow suede. Man-made sole and leather lining, these stilettos are modestly priced and made for a day at work, on weekends or out to play for the night. Steve Madden pumps are always a good buy.
2. Marc Fisher Alie
Comfort and style
Marc Fisher designs are known for reinventing classics for your pleasure. From mules and strappy sandals in new shapes to modern fabrics where you’d least expect to see them, Fisher rethinks the entire field with wonderful and surprising details and these are no exception. The tradition of making everyday footwear that makes everyday special is right here in the Alie.
A sweet pair of synthetic suede covered Mary Janes with a double strap for a twist. These are ultra adorable and chic! Double strap detailing is mirror on the vamp with shiny faux buttons.
Fashion forward design includes zipper in the heel covering that continues all the way up to the ankle creating a modern silhouette for a familiar style. Toes are a sharp and perfect point giving you those long leg lines even in a flat.
Cost and Value
The details are meticulous with top stitching on the straps and a bit of sueding on this whisper of a heel. Curvacious and sexy but totally sophisticated in black, ivy and soft blue or a crazy great multi coloring this is truly versatile footwear that will dress up casual wear with a touch of class or pair perfectly with your most sophisticated suits. Priced so affordably you can buy in every color.
3. Puma X Fenty Pointy
School sneakers reinvented
Super soft tongue
Straight from Rihanna's oh so modern FENTY x PUMA collection, creeper sneakers that shine with a mirror-like finish. A fun and fabulous take on basic sneakers and old-fashioned school days lace-ups. Glossy glam for young and lovely walkers these will shine on the dance floor and at work. Cool Puma style seaming in the body and embossed Puma logos on the heel, the side and right there on the tongue above the laces.
Puma’s chunky soled sneaker with crazy sharp front pointing you in the right direction. Wherever you go eyes will be on your feet in these shiny wonders while you enjoy soft comfort and cushiness.
Big, thick, ridged rubber sole makes a loud statement and cowhide ribbing around the sides gives the illusion of a super tall platform Shiny patent leather gives these creepers all the class they need.
Cost and Value
Dress up your jeans for weekend wear or take them out for an active evening with your most glam outfits. These sneakers are welcome everywhere you go in all black or dove uppers with glacier grey surround and soles. You get all the comfort of a sneaker with glossy style and fronts that really make your point. These creepers are a little more expensive than the rest but they’re all that and more when it comes to making a fashion statement.
4. Marc Fisher Abree
Soft and flexible
Studs are hard
Raised in a footwear making family, Marc Fisher knows a thing or two about making walking around super comfortable. But the innovations are self-taught, inspired by architecture and the joy of bringing you new ideas and shapes and fun. From the traditional penny loafer of school days to a casual slip-on for business, Marc Fisher has reinvented an old favorite with an infusion of super fashion.
A big wow for these super shiny loafers with incredible details from their sharp tip to rounded, low heels. A higher vamp with a soft vee cutting down into the body gives it a spaceship design appeal and a slightly higher back than the typical loafer style.
Bold and Beautiful
Knock ‘em dead with a slap of fashion on your feet and make your point with these tips! Silver metal studs surround the heels bringing flair and style from end to end.
Cost and Value
Update your wardrobe without buying anything to wear above the feet. Mirror glossy patent leather in Cherry or Black or soft, velvety fabric uppers in a brown leopard like print. A perfect pairing with pants from jeans to business wear. Loafers work well with skirts and shorts for any occasion but these add style and flash to any outfit. Totally comfortable with great construction, the price reflects quality but Marc Fisher is always affordable.
5. Nine West Emmala
So many rich colors
With a hint at New York chic in the name, Nine West’s reputation for fashion started in the early 80’s and carries forward to modern footwear. Quality and style are the expectation with accessories and handbags ow added to the line. A happy marriage with New Balance has brought something new to the brand but you can always count on Nine West to be at the front with fashion trends.
The Emmala gives you classic lines and exceptional details like the lining around the insoles matching the fabric uppers. A gorgeous sweeping silhouette with a seam right up the heel makes these a great modern tweak on standard pumps.
These 3 ½” heels are wood look stunners that give you that long-legged look without the super stiletto height. Insoles are padded and comfortable all day or night in a happy blend of fashion and function.
Cost and Value
Nine West brings you the latest trends for the season, translating the best of fashion in everyday chic footwear. This is a really great price for that legs-for-days look you crave and these are available in an array of colors and textures including natural linen; navy, light natural, black and bone leather, yellow, blue, pink and green; lilac or light pink suede; orange patterned fabric; beautiful fabric and lace in black or off-white. Great variety and chic styling for footwear that is perfect for pairing with almost anything in your closet.
6. Calvin Klein Gella
An American institution, Calvin Klein sets the tone for a season or a decade with coats, dresses, jeans, underwear, handbags, accessories and footwear. A huge influence on the American ‘look’ since the 1970s, Calvin Klein is all about clean lines and no-frills minimalism. With every new product, whatever the season Calvin is there on the fashion scene.
The Gella is a beautifully cut, d'Orsay pump with a 3” tapered heel and wrap around strap. And the toe! Narrow, shapely and gorgeous while a sharp point.
Kick Up These Heels
Perfect for dancing the night away or business, travel and an evening out, the d’orsay shape makes this pair of footwear an elegant, slightly sexy choice wherever you are going.
Cost and Value
In neutral sand leather, these are a go-with-anything-and-everything color. The d’orsay cut is a great option if you want the openness of a sandal without the traditional ankle strap. Great curves, lots of skin showing and perfectly secure. Calvin Klein construction is no nonsense simple with no gimmicks to hide imperfections. An excellent price for a versatile selection.
7. Aldo Zulian
A bit of flash
Little arch support
Aldo is everywhere with fashion-forward footwear for everyone. A Canadian retail group with stores all over the US, it’s a less pricey alternative to super star designer brands. Without a single individual driving the look, this is a brand that will turn out all your favorites for the season. Great looking, quality footwear meeting trends with beautiful fabrics, for flats, heels, sandals, and boots.
Classy and Comfy
A sweet, strappy ballerina flat with a zipper at the heel for easy on and off. Metal ring ornamentation holds double crossed straps across the ankle. Excellent plated heel detail.
Soft, beautiful microsuede surrounds the narrow front and sides with a textured PU at the back, encasing the zipper. The crazy great detailing on the insole with stripes of gold and a lining trimmed with a braided pattern.
Cost and Value
A really gorgeous pair of flats that look great and wear well. With just a touch of bling, these are a perfect selection for dressing up jeans but they will go well with skirts and suits and with evening wear. Chic and stylish in black and bone, the Zulian Ballet beautiful sueded flat that’s a steal!! If you don’t mind not having the label for status, Aldo is a great bet.
8. Franco Sarto Sela
Wear them everywhere
Easy on and off
Hard to keep on
From cobbler to world famous designer with a major footwear brand, Franco Sarto understands the craft from the nails and leather to the color and beauty of every design. Sarto’s Italian influenced artistry keeps in mind the public’s passion for beauty and comfort Franco turns out the kind of footwear that makes us smile with pride at every step.
Best of Both Worlds
Beautifully styled with a loafer like cut in front, this mule has just a bit of a heel at ¾” and topstitching along the vamp. Perfect sharp end toe with just right arch support.
Easy slip-on style goes great with pony hair dyed in a leopard print. Sleek lines make the simple elegance a must have for fast fashion. Comfy like your favorite slippers but right on trend.
Cost and Value
Sophisticated mules in the coolest of animal prints. Sarto is a brand you can trust for comfort and good construction. Lovely low heels make these an easy to wear addition to your closet. An excellent choice for day or night, business or casual and hanging around the library. A youthful design with an elegant finish, they work for almost any age.
9. Nine West Tanesha
Great for cool weather
Big around the ankle
Right now styles and the best of every season, Nine West brings out runway worthy footwear as it walks out of the showrooms. If it happened in fashion today, it’s available for you by tomorrow. A great source for busy people with real lives and demanding jobs. On trend, hip and fun for all ages and sizes.
Gorgeous details with a crisscrossed thin strap from vamp, extending around heel at the ankle and dainty buckle closure. Side zip from arch to top for easy entry.
Tall and Stylish
Great suede booties with 4” stiletto heels. A medium tall shaft at 6” from the arch, over the ankle but not up to the shin and calf. The boot opening is a generous 10” circumference.
Cost and Value
Nine West style and comfort in a beautiful pair of classy booties. For all-day wear at work or running errands, these are a gorgeous addition to any wardrobe. Rich wine colored suede is a subtle, sophisticated look that works well with everything from jeans to tights to a flirty dress. A little more expensive than flats or pumps, you are paying for super style and the price is more than fair for this much fashion.
10. Adrianna Papell Langley
Just right height
Secret shiny insole
Great for wide feet
Low cut vamp
A Go To designer for wedding attire, Adrianna Papell footwear can dress up a prom or party. Bringing delicate lace and fabulous leather to every design there are plenty of styles for business and everyday wear, too. Red Carpet ready looks and styles for transitions between seasons, there’s something here for every day and every occasion. Priced right for people who work hard.
Leather and Lace
Elegant upper with lace around the vamp and sides and suede around the heel and front. The Langley is full on class and daintiness with a glossy wedge heel.
Delicate and Durable
A demi-wedge at 2” this is super comfortable. Leather lining and a padded sock will keep you happy all day at work and out to a party at night.
Cost and Value
The Langley goes with everything from dresses to suits, to skirts and shorts or a pair of jeans. The lace is a romantic touch that adds just a little femininity to whatever you’re wearing. In black, navy and gorgeous graphite. You can’t go wrong with these lovelies and nearly every color will work with your entire wardrobe. Great price for such versatility.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
According to sociologists, much can be known about a person by what they wear on their feet. History has shown that status and wealth are easily identified by the price tag on your Jimmy Choos. Quality is almost always expensive and in some circles, the worth of your person just might be related to the weight of your purse. Throughout history, the most important people gained the greatest wealth and employed the finest craftsmen to make their clothing. Only the best cloth, leather and wood or rubber were used to make high-quality shoes. Only the wealthiest people could buy them.
As more people gained access to footwear the wealthy added decoration to distinguish themselves. Real gold and silver thread and buckles and valuable jewels appeared on the feet of the best footwear. But those were the days when nobility was carried through the streets, times when the feet of wealthy people never touched the ground outdoors unless there were carpets or manicured lawns beneath them.
In the modern world, things are different. The invention of manufactured footwear has brought us closer to being able to access high fashion from most levels of society. They may not be real Jimmy Choos but there are exciting and fun heels and sandals and flats and loafers and sneakers to wear for rich and poor. No need to give up style whatever your budget, like the lengthy poulaine of old a sharp tip at the end of your foot is a sexy look. It draws everything to a point and gives the eye a place to start when taking in the whole picture. A very long point adds to the illusion of the long leg and it’s a style that works on almost any type of footwear. In the hands of a master designer, it is one hot fashion statement!
The original elongated footwear was a flat so let’s begin here. Be it a strappy sandal or a Mary Jane, ankle straps are a great pairing with a nice long ‘pike’ at the front. It helps prevent that shortened look you get when you cut the leg with a strap. Instead, the eye follows the point right straight up to the hem. Ankle straps also add a sweetness to the look and remind us the many iterations of this style. Throughout history these lacings have been used to hold the footwear on the foot, to cover socks and hold them up as well. As far back as footwear exists, there have been straps which were replaced by buckles and buttons, now and then, snaps and zippers here and there but always returning.
Sneakers are the ultimate teen wear unless the sport is your thing. Imagine footwear intended for golf with tweaked end out front. Mary Janes remind us of innocence but add the narrow front and maybe a metallic tip and it’s just a bit wicked. Ballet slippers say hard work and grace and if the end isn’t rounded we usually see a blunt end for standing on the very tip. Add a sharp point and it’s a very different, much more sexy statement. Slouchy boots are a reminder of the adventures we crave and enjoy but they’re more fun with little Robinhood extension out in front. Cowboy boots are never truly flat but they often have a sharp point on the front. Flats allow you to run and move without worry about breaking a heel or twisting an ankle. Stairs are no problem, the body maintains a more natural attitude and flats are easy to wear with just about everything. Add a good pike on the front and you are styling.
Red soles and heels were practically invented by Louis XIV of France in the 1600s and we can thank him for dozens of fashion inventions, conventions, and irritations. Who knew we needed to feel taller? Who would have thought we’d want to totter on heels too high for anything but fun? One might have believed that a few accidents later, humans would have given up on their quest for greater heights from footwear alone but… no. We continue to push the limits. Even a modest kitten heel can use the balance of a sharp beak on the front. It’s a sexy way to point your way down whatever path you’re on.
Structurally it only makes sense to use the pike in proportion to the rise of the heel. If the heel is extremely high, the instep is very steep so there’s a lot of pressure on the pads of the feet between the phalanges and the metatarsals, most especially at the joining of the largest phalange. Placing too much weight on this area can cause foot pain and even serious problems including numbness and too much tension in the calf muscles. Once you start cutting off circulation and irritating joints in your toes and feet or ankles you are asking for future trouble. Be wise and make choices that make your body happy as well as your design mind. If the heel is steep and the front is too long and narrow, terminating in a point, it’s a good bet that you’ll pinch your tender phalanges and need to soak after every party or event.
A shorter heel and a longer beak go together very nicely. This is similar to the original Poulaine style. It looks a little like the foot goes on forever without making them seem too big. Long and narrow is often a leg-lengthening look, especially if nude or tan colors are in play. Again, a metallic tip is a great look but only if the heel is low enough to make this a comfortable structure. If it’s too steep from toe to ankle there’ll be some circulation pinching going on and soreness will ensue. So much better to enjoy a long day or a full evening out rather than cutting it short because your feet hurt.
Because a d’orsay shape can cut away most of the vamp, it’s an ideal style for having a pike. Some cuts will still force a lot of pressure on the upper joints of the phalanges and pinch the flesh at the end of the foot but there are many styles that allow for any kind of sharp tip because the rest of the foot does not have to slide down into this part of the footwear.
Wedges often have a more gentle slope allow for a nice sharp, elongated beak. This style really gives the illusion of longer legs and makes an easy to achieve fashion statement. A really comfortable and stable way to look super trendy with all the comfort of a fully supported arch and lower heel.
A slingback is a classic style for narrow nosed footwear. The fact that the heel is open gives us a little more latitude and, as long as it’s not a high stiletto, there won’t be too much pressure at the front. With a full, closed vamp or with lots of cutouts and straps down the front of the foot, a very serious, long point at the front is entirely welcome. There’s something elegant and clean about finishing your look with a really great, sharp pike. Whichever style suits your fancy, our best advice is to look for products that are well-made and great looking but manufactured for a sensible price. No need to give up style, you just have to know where to look.
When we think about some of the hottest and most luxurious brands in the fashion industry, ones like Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo might come to mind. A product is a promise made, but a brand is a promise kept; generation after generation. A brand and its label are a statement of quality, craftsmanship and service found in each of its products.
When assessing the products on our list for “brand”, we took into account the quality of its products, its attention to detail and style, its reputation within the fashion industry, its commitment to customer service and its perceived luxuriousness and exclusiveness, to create an overall score for brand equity. Brand equity can loosely be defined as the pricing power a brand has in the marketplace due to each of the aforementioned factors.
So, while a product that scores high on this list may be gorgeous and exclusive, you can also bet it will much pricier, as well. After all, if everyone could afford it, it wouldn’t be exclusive or luxurious, would it? Be prepared to look amazing, but feel the pain at the bank, if a product scores high on this metric!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
One of the best things about pointy toed shoes is having them peek out from under jeans or longer slacks and dresses. Using them to add a pop of color to darker hues or complex patterns brings an ensemble together!
While the pointed toe on shoes is a great fashion statement, sometimes it can be hard to find the right fit.
If the shoe has a more flexible materials, usually your toes won't feel cramped or pressed forward, and you can order your regular street size. However, if you have a wider foot, or the shoes' material is stiffer, you may want to consider sizing up by half to make sure for a good fit, and less restriction.
Other Factors to Consider
While most fashions tend to repeat themselves on a regular cycle, this one has had only modest renditions of excessive length in front. Modern times have never even come near repeating the peak of its glory. One monk claimed the length of the toe had reached a full yard by the 15th century and the ‘beak’ needed to be tied to the wearer’s shin with silver chains to avoid tripping over the toes as they walked. The whole trend was curtailed for some time when Edward IV banned excessive Poulaines throughout England, restricting the length of a pike to just two inches.
It seems a long way to go for fashion for mankind is inclined to decorate bodies and attire for a variety of reasons. Since footwear can be replaced seasonally or over the years there’s not a reason not to opt for different styles when the mood moves us. Of course, budgetary concerns may dictate our options but if we feel like wearing laces up the calf, super high platforms or see through stilettos with live fish inside there is absolutely no logic that can prove we should not. The best part about a sharp tip at the front of your favorite footwear is that it pairs perfectly with every style you can think of! Boots, sandals, pumps and flats, mules, stilettos or slides. Every style can make a point.
Often a leg-lengthening look when paired with graceful lines, this style has enjoyed popularity at least once a generation. Sometimes a super length is adopted by a social set that is designed by their own fashion trends such as Mods or Zoots or Greasers. If top designers slip them in now and then we hardly need a name for the extra length or shape, they are embraced and adored by nearly everyone.
A little extra at the front of your footwear is an easy way to make a fashion statement with a style that lengthens those legs simply by extending the line. Chanel brought attention to the front of her designs with color blocking in the 40s and this year repeats the idea with a great upgrade, surrounding the tip with a gold toned metallic. It doesn’t hurt to remind that, when selecting footwear that narrows sharply at the front, you need to honestly consider the width of your foot. Sometimes it gets a little tighter more quickly where that beak starts to form. A sharp tip is a great way to give your outfit a clean finish. We can’t guarantee it, but we’re guessing you’ll feel a smile coming on every time you look down and see that beak pointing you in the right direction.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Don’t pikes in front make a long foot look longer?
Not necessarily. It all has to do with the style of footwear. If there are straps up the ankle it makes the whole leg look like it starts at the beak so it’s the leg that looks long not the foot.
q: Why sneakers with sharp angles instead of rounded at the front? What’s the point?
It’s a fashion conceit. It’s fun and unusual and brings a little more style to classic sport shoe shapes.
q: I love super high heels with long sharp fronts but I have a really high instep and can’t wear boots or closed shoes because the top of my foot can’t get in. What else can I do?
It’s not really a problem anymore due to the invention of the back zipper. You just slide right in. If the front of your foot is crushed or the instep too high, you’ve got the wrong size.
q: My foot is pretty wide. Wouldn’t it look strange to have wide footwear with a sharp point at the front?
Not necessarily. Consider a low wedge with a stretchy fabric body that ends in a longer beak point. The wedge gives you some lift so the width isn’t as noticeable and an elastic fabric on the sides like a lace or weave will let your foot sit comfortably above the beak without pinching the front of your foot.