High heel pumps get a bad rap for how uncomfortable they are, but there's no denying that they're often the perfect finishing touch to an outfit. The trick is finding a pair that combines form and function, so they feel as good as they look on your feet.
Pumps are typically shoes with a closed toe, but there's plenty of variation in other style details, such as the toe shape, heel type and height. For pairs with high heels, though, that usually means pumps with heels that are 2 inches or taller. So if you're looking for a striking pair of leather pumps that offer surprising comfort despite their 4-inch heels, the Jessica Simpson Claudette D'Orsay Pump is worth checking out.
Pumps are available with several types of high heels. Some styles are easier to walk in than others, especially if you're new to wearing heels.
Pumps are generally considered high heels if they have 2-inch heels or higher. If you're not used to wearing heels, stick to pairs with 2- to 3-inch heels.
Other common heel heights include:
You can find pumps with heels higher than 5 inches, but they're usually extremely challenging to walk and balance in. They're best saved for occasions when you won't be standing much.
Pumps are available in a wide range of materials, but common options include:
Pumps typically feature a closed-toe design, but you can choose from several styles or shapes.
Since it can be tricky to walk in high heel pumps, it's a good idea to choose a pair with a nonslip bottom. Some shoes feature a rubberized sole and heel cap that provides effective traction on most surfaces.
Pumps come in nearly every color. You can often choose from plenty of fun patterns, too, including animal print, polka dots and floral print.
For a basic everyday pair, stick to neutrals, such as black, gray or nude. You may want a pair of statement heels for evenings out, though. Red, pink, white or purple pumps are ideal for helping you stand out.
High heel pumps generally cost $20-$1,000. You can find budget-friendly pairs that cost $20-$50, but you'll usually pay $50 to $250 for high-end, durable pumps or embellished heels. Designer pumps can cost as much as $1,000, though.
A. Pumps and other high heel shoes can cause issues for your feet, including bunions and hammertoe. They can also lead to back, knee and ankle pain. That's why it's crucial to choose the right size, so they don't put undue pressure on your feet. It's also a good idea not to wear them every day and save your high heels for special occasions.
A. Pointy toe heels are the most flattering style if you want your legs to look long and lean. It also helps to choose a pair in a nude color to give the illusion that your legs extend a bit farther.
What you need to know: These simple, elegant heels work well for many occasions and add the perfect feminine touch to any outfit.
What you’ll love: The uppers feature 100% leather construction. They're available in a wide range of colors and patterns. The 4-inch heel is still comfortable. The lightly cushioned insole provides effective shock absorption.
What you should consider: Sizes can run somewhat small. Light-colored pairs can scuff easily, too.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: These stylish, affordable pumps are easy to wear for even those new to high heels, but they still provide excellent height.
What you’ll love: The platform design and block heel offer excellent balance and comfort. The heels are 3 3/4 inches for flattering height. The almond toe is comfortable for both wide and narrow feet. They feature faux leather if you want a vegan option.
What you should consider: Some buyers report that they run somewhat big, so it may be difficult to find the right size.
What you need to know: These classic pumps offer a stylish look but still boast plenty of comfortable features to allow for all-day wear.
What you’ll love: The 3-inch stiletto heels offer a striking look. The pointed toe helps elongate the look of your legs. The shoes feature gel pod inserts for comfortable cushioning. The soles have a nonslip, weatherproof design that helps with shock absorption.
What you should consider: The sizes can run small, so you may need to size up if you have wide feet.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.