Choosing Your Wedding Shoes

Choosing wedding shoes can be just as overwhelming as other aspects of the wedding planning process. Not sure what type of shoes to wear on your wedding day? Then it pays to think about the features you want before looking. Also, consider whether you will wear one pair at the ceremony (for effect) and another at the reception (for comfort) or one pair throughout the day. Here is an overview of the different features and options available:

General Styles

Like other shoes, you can choose from a variety of styles. Designers offer pumps, sling-backs, all heel heights, platforms, open-toes, closed-toes, sandals and other strappy designs. Chances are you can find your favorite style in a wedding shoe.

Heel Height

Heel heights range from flats to six or seven inch spike heels. Considerations when deciding what height shoes to wear include whether your wedding is outside or inside, how comfortable you are wearing high heels, how tall you want to appear relative to the groom during the ceremony, and if you are going to change shoes at the reception.

Flats. Outdoor weddings lend themselves to flat shoes because it is easier to walk flat-footed across sand or soft soil. As outdoor and destination weddings have become more popular, shoe companies are making a wider variety of flat bridal shoes. Flip-flops, thongs, ballerina shoes, and even open-backed slippers are all available.

Tennis Shoes. We have all seen video of barefoot brides kicking it up at the reception. If you’d prefer comfortable — but not bare — feet, there are options. One is the bridal tennis shoe. You can purchase a pair from one of a few online vendors, or make your own by gluing lace, crystals, or pearls to a white pair of sneakers. The above-mentioned flats are another option for dancing.

Low Heels. If you are wobbly in high heels but feel uncomfortable wearing flats, a low or wedge heel may be just right for you. You can find a selection of 1/2″ to 1 3/4″ heels in several styles.

Mid Heels. Mid-rise sandals and pumps with heel heights around 2″ – 2 3/4″ provide a bit more height than the lower heels. Mid heels are, in general, skinnier than their lower counterparts.

High Heels. Your options are numerous if you have the skill to walk in 3″+ heels. Many fashionable, higher heel styles are out there. If you need practice walking in high heels, we suggest buying your shoes several weeks before the wedding and wear them until you can walk up and down steps, spin, squat, and otherwise walk around for several hours in comfort. We also recommend a back-up pair of lower shoes for the reception.

Platform wedding shoes. If you like to shake things up a bit — or want to add several inches to your height — these chunky high heels may be for you. Platform heels tend to be 3″ or more, plus added lift from the platform. They can be harder to find than other bridal shoes, so you may want to order from an online specialty store. Search the Web for platform wedding shoes and you will find several options.

Shoe Color

White and ivory are traditionally the most popular colors for wedding shoes. There are options for the non-traditional bride as well. Bridal shoes are available in black, silver, gold, and even pink.

Dyeable Shoes. There are several brands of dyeable wedding shoes commonly available (Coloriffics, Dyeables, Colorful Creations, Nina Dyeables, and Touch Ups are some brands you will find). These white satin shoes can be worn as-is or dyed to match your gown. Experts recommend having an experienced shoe dyer color your shoes. While you can purchase dye and try it yourself, realize that the process can be more art than science. You could end up with a blotchy pair of shoes or a wrong color.

Clear Shoes. If you are the kind of bride who likes to show off her feet, consider a clear shoe. You can find several shoe styles with clear vinyl straps. Some have clear heels as well. Many are also decorated with Swarovski crystals or other decorative embellishments.


Wedding shoe decorations range from none (plain satin pumps) to extravagantly ornate. Crystal buckles or a Swarovski cluster can dress up an otherwise plain shoe. For a bolder look, shop for beading across the top of a high-heeled sandal, or roping accents. Even more noticeable are rhinestone starbursts or other flashy detailing splashed across the top of the foot. You are sure to find an adornment level to suit your style.