Best Steve Madden Shoes Reviewed & Rated
This designer owes his success to his innate understanding of trends. His creations speak of authenticity, individuality, always with a twist – with a new way of looking at the world. His inspirations are rock and roll, his New York background, as well as many different cultures he has gotten to know through traveling over the years. From chic and sophisticated heels to laid-back, effortlessly casual sneakers, this designer offers a wide variety of footwear. If you are looking for high quality, for comfort and support without sacrificing style, and all of it for a reasonable price, then these are an excellent choice.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research
Chic & Casual
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Steve Madden Shoes
Chic & Casual
Needs Breaking In
The Gills is a classic round-toe slip-on sneaker that is an all-time favorite this season. It has twin gore panels in the vamp for easy wear, and an upper constructed out of a variety of materials - suede, lurex, leather or synthetic - and in a variety of colors. We are in love with the glittery effect of this particular one - casual and yet eye-catching! The Gills sneaker has a 1.25-inch platform synthetic sole and synthetic lining. It is bound to bring a touch of chic to your everyday style!Read more
In this busy era when everyone is rushing and late for this meeting and that appointment, saving time is a luxury. With its slip-on design the Gills does just that - you don’t need to bother with complicated lacings or unreliable zippers, just slip the sneaker on and you’re good to go!
One of the many benefits of the Gills is that it elevates your height while still keeping you comfortable. You don’t have to wear painful high heels to get that boost, as the thick sole of this sneaker cushions your steps and guarantees a smooth, effortless ride.
Soft Sock Lining
Poor Arch Support
The Lancer is the perfect representative of the word athleisure. An athletic silhouette and leisure lines seamlessly blend together in this unusual monochromatic sneaker. It comes in a few different color options, each one trendier than the last. The Lancer sneaker is made out of neoprene and rubber for the upper, a rubber sole and has a fabric sock lining for snug comfort. This design comes with a 1.25-inch platform to elevate your height and an asymmetric lacing system as a touch of sporty stylishness.Read more
While the shoelaces on the Lancer serve the purpose of helping you adjust the fit as tight or as loose as you’d like - very important if you tend to unexpectedly break into a run! - they are also a fashionable accent without which this sneaker wouldn’t be as interesting to look at.
The combination of neoprene and rubber in the upper, as well as the soft lining inside the sneaker, make the Lancer effortlessly comfortable. Not only that, but this is also incredibly lightweight to boot. It is true that the Lancer is not a sneaker designed for sports. While you can jog a little in it, or walk for longer periods of time - or even chase after your kids or pets - its purpose is not to exercise. Rather, the Lancer is a creatively unique lifestyle sneaker that you won’t help but fall in love with, especially when you see its middle-range price. Fashion forward functionality has never been this affordable!
2.5" Hidden Wedge
Sometimes simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and this is very evident in the case of the Wrangle sneaker. This shoe is available in three neutral colorways, making them very versatile and a great addition to a wide range of outfits. A hidden 2.5" wedge adds height without being too obvious, while the high collar gives these shoes a bit of an avant-garde look that would feel right at home either on the runway or out on the town.Read more
Slip-on styles are incredibly popular for a number of reasons. The lack of lacing gives the shoes a more minimalist appearance, and slip-ons are often the shoe of choice for those with motor difficulties or who simply don't like to fuss with traditional closures. Instead, the Wrangle features a high and almost overexaggerated collar, giving these slip-ons a unique styling.
Leather has been used in shoemaking for thousands of years, with one specimen found in Armenia being older than Stonehenge itself. This material is prized for its natural durability and water resistance and is used in a wide range of shoes even today.
Faux Fur Upper
Slide Sandal Design
Material Doesn't Stretch
It’s difficult to keep a smile off your face when you see the Safety. Other than the fact that its name in itself is adorable, this slide sandal comes with a faux fur upper that makes everyone’s hands simply itch to touch it. It has man-made lining and a man-made sole with a one-inch platform. There are numerous colors and patterns to choose from, meaning that you are bound to find a combination which suits your personal style. The Softey sandal is fluffy, furry, and we are absolutely enchanted by it.Read more
Slide sandals are the epitome of easy comfort, and all the craze this season. The Softey sandal is there when you need comfortable, trendy footwear to run to the grocery store in or even a pair of interesting sandals for the beach - just slide them on and you’re ready!
A great thing about the Softey sandal is that it doesn’t have a flat, unaccommodating footbed. It comes with a lightly molded platform which provides support - enough to prevent standard foot-ailments which come from flats, such as fallen arches.
Wide Range Of Sizes
The Cliff sneaker is a more unique Steve Madden design and sits comfortably at the intersection of high fashion and modern-day streetwear. The 2.5" wedge and bold color blocking make this shoe one that definitely stands out from the rest. The Cliff is available in a wide range of colorways, ranging from wild animal prints to vibrant metallics, with multiple colors and textures being prominent in each option.Read more
Platform and wedge sneakers are an uncommon design that often comes off as looking clunky or cumbersome. This is not the case with the Cliff, however. While the unique color blocking does make the wedge on this shoe stand out more, it is done in a manner that adds to the overall style rather than detracting from it. There is also a half inch platform, which makes the shoe more comfortable and the overall wedge less jarring.
Something that is important with every shoe is support. The right support can make a world of difference and is often a determining factor in terms of overall comfort. While the Cliff does not sport any unique technologies in this regard, the overall build of the shoe is very supportive, especially for those with flat feet.
Soft Suede Upper
Hidden Wedge Heel
Dual Side Zippers
Get ready for a little rock’n’roll glam in the Wedgie. This sneaker has a hidden wedge sole of about 2.75 inches in height, and a one-inch platform all around. Its upper is made out of soft suede with dual side zippers for quick and easy wear. You will enjoy the slip-resistant rubber sole for added stability and the gentle fabric lining which won’t cause any discomfort to your feet. The Wedgie will elongate your silhouette and complement any casual outfit with its sexy, laid-back style.Read more
Even though you can’t see it, it’s there. The Wedgie has all the hallmarks of a classic wedge, except that it’s hidden. This makes the sneaker effortlessly casual in appearance, comfortable to wear, all the while taking excess pressure off of the front of your foot.
Suede is a soft, malleable fabric which promotes proper airflow through the sneaker - allowing your feet to breathe and creating a healthy climate. It also changes shape over time to accommodate your foot, thus providing you with easy, customized comfort.
Cost and Value
The Wedgie sneaker is in the lower range of cost, compared to other models on our list. It is a uniquely fashionable design, one that we can’t help but admire. Despite having a hidden wedge and a platform, it is incredibly easy to walk around in, and if you’re into these sort of rock glam designs, we see no reason why you shouldn’t get the Wedgie.
Short, Comfortable Heel
Horse Bit Ornament
Natural Leather Upper
The Kandi represents a unique, and yet triumphant blend of two well-known and loved footwear styles: the loafer and the mule. This innovative loafer-slide is made out of leather for the upper, lycra for the lining, and synthetic materials for the sole. It has a horse bit ornament in the front for a touch of opulent elegance, and a half an inch heel for only a hint of elevation. We can’t be more in awe of the unconventionality of this design, and the versatility that it offers.Read more
The Kandi is a great option for when you need to go from home to work to cocktail hour. It is an exquisitely refined loafer-slide, and you can easily pair it up with a business suit, or even a sweater and skinny trousers for effortless stylishness. Practically all of the features of the Kandi have been designed with comfort in mind. This loafer-slide is made out of soft natural leather for breathability and good fit, with a low heel for all-day wearability, and is ridiculously easy to slide in and out of.
All things considered, the Kandi is one of the lowest priced models on this list. We are pleasantly surprised how affordable this unusual design combination is - you get all the polished charm of a loafer with the easy functionality of a mule. The high-quality materials mean that the Kandi will last you a long time, and for its price, it is truly a great choice.
Different Strap Options
Either in the leather version or the clear strap version from the picture, it is undeniable that the Moto is one glam edgy sandal. It has studs and crystals in different shapes and sizes all over its crisscross straps, a stiletto heel of a staggering four inches in height, and a practical zipper in the back for a quick and easy way in and out of the sandal. Since it goes relatively high around the ankle - an ankle sandal, if you will - you will be pleased to know that there are buckles on not one, but two straps for a fully customized fit.Read more
With all of the straps and the buckles on display in the Moto model, it may get a bit confusing what you’re supposed to undo first and how to put your foot inside. Fortunately, sliding on this chic sandal is made easy by a simple, uncomplicated zipper in the back.
If you’re someone who struggles with getting the fit of ankle straps just right - either because your ankles are too thick or too thin, then you will be more than happy with the Moto design. This model comes with two straps which can be adjusted to the right width to help you maximize the comfort of the sandal.
Not Very Durable
The Kirsten sandal is here to liven up your summer with its trendy, platform design. It comes with a two and a half inch heel and a one and a half inch platform made out of a combination of cork and treaded rubber. The upper of the Kirsten is constructed out of leather, two straightforward straps around the foot and one strap around the ankle with a buckle closure for adjustability. It comes in several trendy colorways, from black, over a breathtaking rose gold metallic, to this cool, stylish snake pattern.Read more
The platform sole of the Kirsten sandal contains cork - which has outstanding shock absorbing abilities, and reduces stress in the ankles, shins and knees - and also rubber, which has a tough tread pattern to prevent slipping and provide a good grip as you go about your day.
The middle strap of the Kirsten sandal, the one which goes around your instep, has an elastic panel on the inner side, which allows it to stretch to accommodate your foot. You don’t have to worry if your arches are too high, as this sandal will ensure a perfect fit!
Stretchy Fabric Upper
Iconic Platform Design
No Arch Support
Talk about nostalgia! Steve Madden brings back the 90s with the Slinky slide sandal. This is a minimalistic sandal with a well-known simple silhouette, a 2.25 inch high heel and a 1.25 inch high platform. The upper is made out of fabric, unlined, and the sole is man-made. This design is truly a blast from the past, and a much needed relief from the craze of ballet flats which has swept the world since the early 2000s. While you might not be able to run around in it, the Slinky is that perfect throwback sandal to wear to any relaxing, summer event.Read more
One of the staples of this 90s design is the stretchy fabric upper which accommodates any foot shape and size. The Slinky sandal won’t cut into your skin or give you any blisters or lacerations. Easy and comfortable! We can’t think of a casual outfit with which the Slinky sandal wouldn’t go well with. This is one of the many reasons it was so popular back in the day. It is simple and clean in style, making it perfect for shorts, jeans and dresses!
The Slinky isn’t expensive, but it is not too cheap, either. It is a solid sandal, one that will fit well into your closet. However, we do feel like the iconic platform design is a bit heavy on the feet, and likely to cause shin splints and ankle pain. Though wearing them for short periods of time should be just fine to fully enjoy that 90s vibe.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The style of the shoe you are looking for largely depends on what occasion you need it for. Something modest for the office? A glitzy pair of heels for a night out? An elegant, understated model for a wedding? Or maybe just a simple, stylish sneaker for going about your day?
It wouldn’t make much sense to wear high heels to a chill family picnic, or sneakers to an important business meeting, and this is largely why we sorted all of the designs from our list into different categories. We break them down further according to their comfort levels, and which events they are most appropriate for.
When it comes to occasions where you have to look presentable, classy and poised, heels are always the best option. They elevate your height, visually elongate your legs, make you look slimmer, and instill confidence in your posture. In heels, you are the star of the show, and everyone else is a supporting role.
The heels, in particular, have this distinctive quality of being fashion forward and yet practical at the same time. The brand does not shy away from staggering heights or platforms, and with those their high heeled designs take on a chunky, rebellious vibe.
Let’s take a moment to examine different heel types, heights, and other features which can go into selecting the best, most comfortable pairs of heels.
Big, chunky heels, on the other hand, provide a wider base that adds stability to your footsteps, thus preventing any dangerous wobbling or stumbling.
Similarly, platform heels are comfortable because they add height under the ball of the foot, the area that is under the most pressure in high heeled designs. The platform reduces that pressure and evenly distributes your weight in the shoe. With platform heels and platform designs in general, it is not important how high the heel is since it is as comfortable to wear as both low heels or even flat models.
Of course that you will be able to find those with a comfortable two or three inch heel height among the brand’s products, but we would also like to point out that, even if some of the heels may look scarily high, this footwear label does take into account the fact that people would like to wear high heeled designs for longer periods of time.
This is where the above-mentioned platforms come in: they decrease the angle of high heels and make them unexpectedly easy to wear.
We should also mention other comfort factors, such as cushioned footbeds, gentle uppers made of natural materials, and straps which help keep the foot in place in a high-heeled design.
Closed-toe heels – pumps or boots – are great if you have to be outside and the weather conditions aren’t perfect. Especially boots, which are designed to withstand rain, snow, mud and usually have slip-resistant soles, even with high heels. The pump is a more elegant alternative, one that is a staple for formal events, and which is also an important part of many office looks.
Open-toe designs, on the other hand, are a great choice for warm summer temperatures. After spending the autumn and winter crammed in constricting winter boots, your feet will be happy to breathe a little, to wiggle around and enjoy the sunshine. Sandals also help prevent bacterial and fungi infections and keep your feet dry and comfortable.
Their flat designs can either be dressy or casual. But even the casual styles – sneakers and flat sandals – have an aura of effortless chic about them. Sure, they are meant for every day, and they can’t be considered formal, but there is a modernity to them, a freshness which makes the wearer’s style stand out on the sidewalks.
On our list, there are a few models with flat soles, and we sorted them into several categories.
The comfort of a shoe depends on many things. How well it's made, the kind of cushion it has, and how supportive it is, to name a few. If you're shopping for heels keep in mind that their height affects how comfy they are to walk in. Higher heights are much more difficult and put more strain on the arch of the foot. Lower options like kitten heels are easier on the feet and back causing fewer problems overall. It's important that the materials be breathable and lightweight to prevent sweat and odors from occurring which can become very uncomfortable. When feet sweat odor-causing bacteria begins to grow and once this happens it won't be long before the inside of your shoe starts to stink. It will be very hard to get the smell out and it can totally ruin your footwear for good.
If you feel uncomfortable walking in higher heels then opt for a kitten style or for a flat. This will prevent a world of discomfort later in the night and will keep you quick on your toes all through the eve. For those with wider feet, it's good to opt for a rounded toe which offers more room than a square or pointed. Don't try to squeeze into something that doesn't fit properly because this will lead to blisters and can make it impossible to walk for the rest of the night.
Cushioning is a big part contributor to your comfort. Inadequate padding puts more pressure on the sensitive sole of the foot which can cause pain in the arch and heel. The cushion also acts as a shock absorber preventing waves from traveling through the foot and up the leg.
It would be quite embarrassing to be out with some friends, on a date or performing at a fashion show and, all of the sudden, your footwear snapped/broke from underneath you.
This is something that we wanted to avoid when doing our research for today’s guide. Now, to do this, we needed to carefully study the durability of the entire footwear. For each product was analyzed, we looked at the different materials, how the manufacturer talked about the durability, and even what previous customers said regarding their experience with the footwear.
If we found the materials to be cheap or the manufacturer not mentioning much about the longevity of the product, we removed the product from our list. In addition to this, if we found that the majority of consumers complained about some aspect of item’s durability, we also removed it. We only sought to include brands and footwear that were proclaimed as the very best.
Once we were assured that the product we were looking at was indeed six-inches, or taller, the next important criterion is the materials. Evidently, if the product is made from weak materials, the footwear will be weak, unstable, and potentially break. In efforts to avoid any of those circumstances, we sought to find products that were made from the following materials:
Any of the above materials are well-known for the comfortable and durable properties. During our research, we found that the top-notch brands often designed their own materials or handmade their products, which is a huge plus. Companies that invest that much time into the products speak more about their dedication to the shoe and the consumer.
The final criterion that we used in choosing our list today is all about the features of the shoe. Before we talked about this, we would like to mention that no consumer should purchase a pair of footwear solely based upon the design and appeal. In other words, just because a shoe is sexy and appealing does not mean it’s worth your money. With that being said, for the sake of today’s buying guide, we tried to focus on picking a diverse set of products, all of which would be considered appealing in the eyes of consumers.
Now, since we know that desirable features are in the eyes of the owner, we looked at consumer reviews to see what previous consumers said about the looks and appeal. If we found that there was a majority consensus that a product was visually appealing, it was considered for our list.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
As it has become an iconic fashion brand, loved across the world for unique styles, comfortable design, and posh looks, it's hard to imagine the start of the company coming from humble beginnings. The next time to step into a pair, you can be inspired by this juggernaut's start in the footwear industry from selling shoes out of his car, to stores that have popped up in every mall across the world!
This is also a 'feel good' kind of brand to dress your feet with. The company's CEO is a regular supporter of The Doe Fund, The American Cancer Society, and Dress for Success, all amazing fundraising organizations that support a variety of causes.
Other Factors to Consider
From humble beginnings in 1990, Steve Madden has expanded from a humble factory in Queens to become one of the most well-known designers worldwide. His designs range from sophisticated high fashion to modern streetwear, with each one offering their own appeal and features. There's a Steve Madden shoe for everyone, including men's and children's options.
Frequently Asked Questions
The company includes several different brands, such as Steven, Madden Girl, Freebird by Steven, Stevies, Betsey Johnson and more. Steven, in particular, is a more sophisticated sister label, where they are presented as combinations of youthful colors and mature designs. The quality of the footwear is higher, but the same goes for their price points as well.
It does not. This brand produces footwear for men and children as well. Waved bottom sneakers, patterned high tops, and chelsea boots are particularly popular among their collections for men.
Accessories, yes. This fashion label is in the business of designing handbags, anywhere from clutches, over shoulder bags and totes to backpacks and belt bags. They also design socks and tights, sunglasses, belts, hats and scarves, jewelry, even phone cases and tech. Unfortunately, they don’t feature any apparel.
Not all of them! This designer uses natural materials for the construction of their products, but all of the designs which have ‘man-made upper’ in their description are made out of synthetic materials. Additionally, Madden Girl, one of the many brands under the designer’s name, has an exclusively vegan line that you can check out on their website.