A Deconstruction Of Fall's Most Ubiquitous Heel Styles

Designed by Tristan Offit.
We've all been there: You're shopping for shoes and spot a pair that makes your heart quicken — only to pull them off the shelf and find that your dream shoes are attached to a cork heel of doom. Do you overlook it and buy them anyway? Or do you put them back, bitterly cursing the hell from which cork heels come?
The fact that most people would answer B shows how much of a make-or-break element heels really are. A good one can elevate a basic shoe to the sublime. But a good shoe with the wrong heel is like a catchy song with a wack chorus, a cute dude with no text game — it makes an otherwise-lovely prospect a total nonstarter.
Because they're the raison d'etre of footwear, heels are also a natural focus for designers' creativity, and the place where trends are most evident, too. The uppers of shoes don't undergo much in the way of transformation from season to season. But a heel's height, chunkiness, and the presence or absence of a platform can define an outfit — or an entire era.
In tribute to the most expressive part of your shoes, we're breaking down the 12 most distinctive heel trends this fall. The shapes range from sophisticated to surreal, heights from barely-there to towering; some curve sensually, while others are sharp, spiky, and take-no-prisoners. There's really no one "must-have" heel this fall — the only bad one is a boring one, and your guide to avoiding that misstep is right here.

More from Trends

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.