Wedding Shoes for Brides

Looking for the perfect mix of comfort and class for your wedding shoes? Read our complete guide to help you choose your bridal heels or kicks.

By The Zola Team

bridal wedding shoes
Photo by Zola

For most people, your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. Many brides spend weeks trying to find the perfect dress for their big day and, unfortunately, have to try on a lot of lemons before finding the right fit.

However, shoes are just as important as the dress. After all, your shoes not only have to look amazing with your gown, but they also have the monumental duty of carrying you through your entire ceremony and reception without mishap.

Sometimes trying to find the right shoe that complements your bridal dress is like looking for a needle in a haystack. You want a pair of shoes that looks stunning, while still being comfortable enough to wear for the better part of a whole day. That’s a tall order to be sure.

How to Find Comfortable Wedding Shoes

Wedding Shoes for Brides Photo Credit // Alexander Michl Photography

There are a few secrets to finding the right shoes for your wedding day. Some—podiatrist-approved—tips to get your hands on that perfect pair of bridal heels includes:

Finding the Right Size

The first and foremost thing to consider before buying heels—or any shoe for that matter—is finding the perfect fit. Loose heels, whether they’re loose at the front or the back, can make it extremely difficult to walk properly.

Try walking around the shoe store a few times to ensure the heels you like fit your feet like a glove. Make sure the shoes are made for your foot type, too (i.e., narrow or wide). And don’t forget to leave enough space for your toes, otherwise, you risk painful blisters.

Consider Sensible Heels

Heels come in many different shapes and heights. From stilettos to kitten heels, pumps to mules, they all have their pros and cons. But if there’s one style of heel brides should be wary of, it's stilettos or other styles with ultra-thin heels.

Remember: You’ll be standing for hours at a time and maybe even dancing up a storm. For most brides, the safest and most sensible recourse is to look for broader heel designs that offer optimum support and comfort, without sacrificing style.

Cushioned Footbed (Arch, Ball, Toes)

Making sure the bed of your shoes—especially the arch area—is cushioned can mean the difference between a wearable shoe and a painful one. Cushioning significantly increases your comfort levels, plus prevents friction between your shoe and your foot.

It can also help reduce—or even prevent—pain in the ball of your foot. All of these factors help contribute to the amount of time you can spend standing in those heels while still keeping a smile on your face.

Supporting Strap

Wedding Shoes for Brides Photo Credit // Captures by Jstine

Sometimes shoes with ankle or front straps or laces or ribbons that tie around the ankle are easier to wear than strapless heels. This is because the heels provide additional support using your ankle to tether you to the heel.

Trust us: You’ll be able to move a lot easier in footwear with supporting straps. You’ll also be able to dance without wobbling, regardless of the kind of heel it is.

Top Coverage

The more coverage at the top of the shoe, the better your grip will be. Look for shoes with multiple straps at the toe area or pumps that completely cover up your toes. Booties and mules are two additional examples you can try that cover more of your foot.

Design Ideas for Bridal Shoes

Block Heels

Arguably one of the most favored designs in recent times, block heels are all the rage these days. Block heels are broad enough to provide ample support on the ground, so that you are steady on your feet, without looking like grandma's shoes.

An added benefit is that most block heels come with ankle support, which can increase the shoe’s overall comfort exponentially. Ankle straps can be worn using buckles, ribbons, laces, etc.

Wedges

The biggest benefit wedges provide to the bride is a greater surface for bodyweight distribution. Your feet are designed to distribute your body weight on the toes, arches, and balls of the feet in a proper manner.

When you wear thin heels, all that weight and pressure comes down to a single point. In the case of wedges, the broad heel design helps offer maximum support.

Another plus is that wedges are wonderful for outdoor weddings, regardless of your wedding theme, because there’s no chance of your heel getting buried in the ground.

Stilettos

We get it—nothing looks more stylish than a stiletto. However, the stiletto shoe is only for extra daring brides who have practiced walking in them frequently. If you’ve practiced and trust yourself not to fall whilst strutting down the aisle, more power to you.

Either way, there’s no denying that stilettos are an intriguing shoe that happens to be perfect for a glam, black-tie wedding. Just make sure your gown is cut high enough to show off the fancy heel or you’ll be wearing uncomfy shoes for naught.

Sandals

Arguably one of the most versatile of shoe designs, sandals come in many styles and sizes. They make excellent choices for those brides who want to be comfortable during their wedding but still look snazzy. Sandals are especially ideal for summer weddings, such as beach gatherings or outdoor garden ceremonies.

Flats

Flats are worn by people of all ages and personalities. They are a shoe style that always remains popular, regardless of current hot trends. However, that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste or wear a shoe that doesn’t fit your vibe.

Many flats are available embellished with lace, pearls, or rhinestones and are made with the most luxurious satin or velvet fabrics. There’s no end to the versatility of flats. They work tremendously well—no matter what kind of wedding you plan on having.

Pumps and Mules

For the bride with an inner fashionista hidden inside of her, mules are a wonderful shoe choice. Mules are easy to wear since they provide some coverage on the top of the fit to use as leverage. Mules come in different levels of fancy, which means there’s a style to suit almost any personality. As for pumps, you really can’t go wrong opting for a timeless, classic white pump.

Sneakers

If you’re more of a practical bride, why not consider sneakers? There are so many custom sneaker designs available nowadays, with many of them embellished with rhinestones or other jewels and goodies.

So, if you’re a bride that plans to wear a long, trailing dress, you could wear sneakers underneath it and no one would ever know. Or, if you’re less traditional and more fun-loving by nature, you might decide there’s nothing wrong with wearing sneakers as your wedding shoes.

Tips for Wearing High Heels

Break Them In

To make sure your shoes don’t pinch your feet horribly on your big day, break them in early. Take a few walks wearing your new shoes, even if only around the living room.

This way, your shoes will adjust to your foot and they will feel less pinchy at the wedding. It’s also a great idea to practice and perfect your posture in your practice runs so that you can display a more put-together and refined walk down the aisle.

Use Foot Pads and Inserts

In today’s world, it’s easy to get your hands on footpads or inserts in a variety of types, including fabric pads, silicone or gel inserts, etc. You can also get them in a variety of sizes.

Some brides prefer a full foot insert, while others elect to use a smaller one to target little areas of discomfort like the toes, arches, or balls of the feet. Inserts can also help increase grip and reduce friction, which is a big win on your wedding day.

Tape Your Toes

This is another somewhat bizarre tip that many people swear by to help decrease discomfort and reduce pressure on their toes. However, keep in mind that this trick only works for shoes in which your toes are covered.

At the end of the day, there are no hard-and-fast rules for selecting the best shoes to wear on your wedding day. Seek attractive shoes, that complement your wedding dress, and that, above all, is comfortable. Comfort is the true litmus test for every pair of shoes—especially bridal shoes.

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