Open Toe High Heels

Mary Gormandy White
Louboutin Open Toe Shoe

Open toe high heel shoes look great with many business, dressy and even chic casual looks. This popular type of shoe is available in many styles, from fairly conservative looks to super-sexy designs. Whether you're looking for a premium designer label or more affordable shoe that is still stylish, there are plenty of terrific options available.

Designer Labels

Dr. Ngozi Etufugh, the Manhattan fashionista (and Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon) behind the often-quoted fashion blog, Ihenaewu, states, "Brands that are generally best for open toe shoes are labels that design primarily shoes such as Giuseppe Zanotti. This is because the shoes are not only designed to look good but are designed for comfort as well."

She also states, "Christian Louboutin makes great-fitting comfortable pumps due to the cooperation of an internal platform in his designs. Manolo Blahnik makes shoes that flatter a long slender foot; his designs also show a fair amount of foot cleavage as well."

  • Giuseppe Zanotti Coline High Heel: These elegant open toe high heel shoes combine leather lining and python printed satin floral embellishments for a delightfully decadent look. It is a great style for evening wear, giving a bold look to little black dresses and enhancing dresses or formal pantsuits that feature metallic elements. Their upper, lining and sole are leather and the heels are 3.75 inches high. This style is available in sizes six through eight for less than $2000.

  • Christian Louboutin Patent Leather Peep-Toe Pumps: For the ultimate in elegance, you can't go wrong with this widely-recognized, classically beautiful style from Christian Louboutin. These shoes feature a 4.25" heel paired with a half-inch hidden platform, for an equivalent height of 4.75 inches. They are traditional pump-style shoes, with the exception of the toe cutout, so they look lovely with everything from boardroom attire to formalwear. The insole is padded, the uppers are patent leather, and they come in black and nude with, of course, the designer's signature red sole. Available in sizes five through 12 for $845. You can also get them in leopard print for $20 more.

  • Christian Louboutin Lady Peep Python: If you love the style of classic Christian Louboutin peep-toe pumps but want something more adventurous than patent leather, try this pair in beautiful python light. They have an overall height of 6 inches (a one-inch platform plus a 5" heel). These shoes are perfect for evening wear, but also pair well with less formal attire when you really want to make a statement. They are lined in leather, have a padded insole, and - of course - the designer's signature red sole. Available in sizes 6 1/2 through 11 for around $1600.

  • Manolo Blahnik Phylosusbi: These open toe wedge sandals are a lovely choice for formal day events, pairing perfectly with skirts and trousers. These sling back wedge shoes feature a bold polka-dot print. The heels are 3 1/2 inches high and the shoes come in your choice of blue or red polka dots. Available in sizes six through 12 for around $700.

More Affordable Options

Of course, there are non-designer options that look great with a lower price tag. Etufugh states that some stores "carry more affordable shoes that mirror the esthetics of these designers."

  • Bebe Clarissa Peeptoe Pumps: These glamorous pumps with ankle straps combine trendy tone-on-tone, mixed-fabric design with super-high nearly six-inch heels. These shoes combine faux suede with synthetic leather embossed with a reptile print. They are available in your choice of black with metallic gold outlines or red with a bit of bright pink and purple. These are ideal for dressy occasions when you want to rock a funky style. Sizes range from five to ten, and they are priced around $150.
  • H & M Suede Sandals: If you like high heel mules with an open toe design, these lovely black suede shoes from H & M are an outstanding option. Priced under $70, they provide an affordable way to add sexy style to your feet no matter what you are wearing. From glamorous evening wear to skinny jeans or leggings with an oversized sweater or wrap, these shoes can truly be worn for any occasion. Available in sizes 5 1/2 to ten.

Tips for Wearing Open Toe High Heels

Business Wear

Dr. Etufugh offers tips for wearing open toe high heels as part of your business wardrobe. She states:

Dr. Etufugh in open toe square heel shoes
Dr. Etufugh open toe square heel shoes
  • "Business skirt suits can be paired with open toe shoes as long as you wear them with stockings that match the color of the shoe," if you are going to wear stockings.
  • For work, "Select shoes that have a rounded toe, a wedge to elongate the leg or a square heel for comfort."
  • "Business pantsuits can be paired with a more pointed toe to elongate the leg better. Avoid sling backs as they might have a tendency to catch the hem of the pants. Like with the skirt, be sure to wear stockings that match the color of the shoe for a cohesive polished professional look."
  • "Business casual can be achieved by wearing socks with the open toe shoe as opposed to stockings for a lighter look. The heel can also be lower to be more casual."

Dressy Looks

Dr. Etufugh's tips for working open toe high heel shoes into your dressy wardrobe include:

  • "For a more dressed up look try to show more skin with bare legs and go for a higher heel."
  • "Metallic and patent leather shoes with skinnier heels are best suited here."

Smart Casual Wear

When you want to look smart and chic for casual occasions, open toe high heels can be a great option. Dr. Etufugh recommends:

Dr. Etufugh in open toe suede boots
Dr. Etufugh open toe suede boots
  • "You can add a touch of fantasy by wearing leg warmers with an open toe shoe."
  • "Smart casual wear can be achieved by bringing in the unexpected, such as thigh high open toe boots or boots made with a casual material such as canvas or suede."
  • "An unexpected color" is also a good option for smart casual open toe boots or shoes.

How to Wear Them

Simply put, open toe shoes can be worn with nearly anything. Consider these tips before you step into that new pair of heels:

  • Ensure proper fit: Dr. Etufugh advises, "When choosing an open toe shoe, fit is most important to avoid having your toes hanging out or sliding out. Pick your exact size to achieve this. Be sure to test the shoe on a hard surface before leaving the store for fit and comfort of walking. At this time, you have to decide on how many toes will be exposed in the shoe. By so doing, the look is cohesive and streamlined and the shoe becomes the focal point.
  • Get a pedicure: "With open toe shoes a good pedicure is a must, as is removing any noticeable hairs on your toes," says Dr. Etufugh. She urges, "You want to present a polished look."
  • Pair with appropriate outfits: Dr. Etufugh points out, "The best outfits for open toe shoes are eveningwear, where you want to appear glamorous and sexy and show more skin. However, open toe shoes also enhance the look of a mini skirt or shorts - again situations that require skin to show. Pair open toe shoes with simple looks to avoid too may trends in one ensemble."
  • Avoid inappropriate outfit pairings: Dr. Etufugh urges, "Avoid wearing open toe shoes with very long dresses or skirts where only your toes are peeping out; this disrupts the flow of the look and distracts the eye. Try not to pair an open toe shoe if the leg is cut up already with a pair of culottes or long shorts, as this tends to make the leg look shorter to the eye."

Add Glamour to Your Wardrobe

Open toe shoes with high heels provide an excellent way to add glamour to your wardrobe. No matter what style you prefer, remember that comfort is just as important as style. A beautiful pair of shoes won't enhance your wardrobe if you leave them sitting in your closet. With so many different styles available, there is sure to be one (or more!) options well-suited for your foot, your wardrobe and your lifestyle.

Open Toe High Heels