These days, it seems like wedding season is every season, so there is no time like the present to talk about one of the most important aspects of a foolproof bridal look—shoes. Thanks to this column by Shelley Brown, fashion and beauty Editor at The Knot, we officially have the 411 on the best and worst shoes to wear on your wedding day. While the gorgeous heels pictured above might look dreamy, Shelley explains why on the day of, shoes with that particular shape might actually be your worst nightmare.
With so much importance placed on the wedding dress, it can be easy to forget the accessories you need to complete your look. One of the biggies? Your shoes. While some might say you should consider function over fashion, others will tell you they should be as fabulous as the rest of your look. We’re here to help you find that happy middle ground.
Read on for the one shoe style you should avoid, and how to find the most comfortable wedding shoes to buy this year.
What to Avoid: Pointed-Toed Stilettos With a High Heel
While sky-high stilettos with a pointed toe are totally glam, they put all the pressure on your arches, the balls of your feet and the edges of your toes (read: three times the pain). Unless you’re planning on a very short walk down the aisle and then immediately switching into flats, it’s best to skip this style—especially if you want to rock heels in your photos and on the dance floor.
What to Wear Instead: Pointed-Toed Stilettos With a Midi Heel
If you don’t want to forgo a classic pointed-toe heel on your wedding day, opting for a style with a lower heel (70 mm and under) is a good compromise. You’ll still get the leg-elongating effect of a pointed toe, without as much strain on the rest of your feet. While this style is still not the most comfortable (you will feel the pinch of the pointed toe eventually), it’s a good place to start if you’re dying to sport stilettos. Plus, you can always change into a more comfortable pair after your ceremony and photos.
What to Wear Instead: Block Heels
Besides being on trend, a block heel gives you height without the added pain of a stiletto. The thicker heel, supportive sole and low arch make these pretty sandals almost as comfortable as flats—just make sure you keep the ankle strap loose to avoid blisters and irritation throughout the day.
What to Wear Instead: Platforms
Platforms bring the balls of your feet closer to the level of your heel via the platform, alleviating the strain on your arch and ankles. The thicker sole also offers more padding between your foot and the hard ground, which is always a plus. This pink satin pair is formal and just a little bit funky—perfect for the fashion-forward bride looking for shoes slightly off the beaten path.
What to Wear Instead: Flats
Flats are a wedding day no-brainer if you’re looking for maximum comfort. And, thanks to an array of fabulously embellished styles, you don’t have to give up the luxe look usually associated with bridal shoes. That said, when searching for day-of flats, look for a pair that matches the vibe and venue of your wedding. If you’re having a casual, backyard affair, it’s perfectly appropriate to ditch the satin and sparkles and opt for a simpler pair of ballet flats or Mary Janes.
What to Wear Instead: Sneakers
If you never wear heels and are all in on the athleisure aesthetic, consider tossing tradition altogether with a pair of white sneakers. The crystal-encrusted buckle on these ones is a fancy touch, while the white leather upper and rubber sole have major cool-girl appeal. Love the idea of but not sure how to style it? Pair your bridal kicks with a streamlined pantsuit or shorter dress.
What to Wear Instead: Espadrilles
If your wedding is on the beach, a boat or has a general nautical vibe, these canvas flats have a casual look that feels right at home in a seaside venue. The flat, plaited bottoms are totally giving you a stable foundation, so you won’t succumb to sand or a rocky boat ride.
What to Wear Instead: Flat Sandals
The practical benefits of flat sandals are obvious: no strain on your arch or ankles, no unsteady heels and no toe-scrunching toe boxes. If you think flat sandals are an uninspiring choice for your walk down the aisle, think again. From laser-cut details to metallic finishes, there is no shortage of pretty, wedding-worthy options out there to choose from.
What to Wear Instead: Wedges
Similar to block heels and platforms, wedges have more surface area than stiletto heels (provided they aren’t too narrow), making them generally more stable and easier to walk in. Wedges are also ideal for outdoor nuptials since they won’t sink into grass or cause you to stumble over uneven terrain, but they’ll still work in a formal or semi-formal setting.
What to Wear Instead: Open-Toe Boots
Open-toe booties are just made for a rustic or vintage-inspired affair. Unlike their closed-toe counterparts, they allow your toes to lay flat for maximum comfort since scrunched up toes are generally not happy toes. Pro tip: If an open toe rubs or pinches your skin, add a strip of moleskin to create a frictionless buffer.