The Best Dress Shoes For Women

Shoes can make or break an outfit. Especially with formal attire, the shoes you select can instantly elevate your overall look to take it to the next level. Whether you opt for a classic black pump or prefer a more comfortable alternative like ballet flats, choosing the right formal shoes can be a challenge. From finding the right fit to picking a timeless style, we've got you covered. Check out our favorites to transform your ensemble from average to extraordinary.

Dream Pairs Women’s Low Heel Pumps

If the shoe fits

These are versatile black heels you can wear almost anywhere.
Best Overall

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This low heel is the perfect footwear for any occasion. From jeans and a tee to a cocktail dress, this pair of pumps is a chameleon that goes with almost anything in your closet. The low, stack heel is just over 2 inches, offering a sophisticated but comfortable option that won’t leave you with sore and tired feet. The ankle strap has an adjustable buckle so you can get the fit just right. Finished with a timeless pointed toe, these shoes will quickly become a fast favorite in your wardrobe.

Pros:

  • The 2.25-inch heel is comfortable enough to wear all-day
  • A pointed toe and ankle strap easily transition from casual to formal affairs
  • It’s available in over 20 different colors and patterns, so you can find a pair that suits your style

Cons:

  • Because the sides are open, they’re not well-suited for people with wide feet
  • They run small, so consider sizing up

Dream Pairs Women’s Luvly Low Heel Pumps

Pump it up

This classic pair of heels is effortlessly understated.
Best Pump

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From work to first dates to cocktail parties, this pump is the perfect design to take you from morning until night. The 2.5-inch heel is the ideal height to give you a little boost, while still staying comfortable with all-day wear. A rounded toe gives the pumps a classic look, while the black leather exterior ensures that they go with any outfit. Even if you’re on your feet for hours, they will be your new go-to for both comfort and style.

Pros:

  • The 2.5-inch heel adds a dressy element while still delivering comfort
  • A rounded toe gives the pumps a classic, timeless look
  • They’re available in several colors and styles, so you can pick the one you like best

Cons:

  • They may need to be broken in before wearing
  • Some people experienced problems with the heel caps coming off after a few months of wear

Dadawen Women’s Classic T-Strap Platform Oxford Shoes

Dress to a T

The classic oxford gets a modern upgrade in this platform, t-strap style.
Best Platform

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These stylish heels blend the best of form and function. Inspired by classic men’s oxfords, the platform style has a traditional feel. The T-strap gives them a vintage edge, while the chunky platform and stacked heel add a modern twist. The perfect combination of charming and trendy, these pumps go with almost any outfit, from jeans to skirts to dresses, so you’ll soon have a new versatile wardrobe staple.

Pros:

  • The oxford detailing adds a traditional element to the shoes, making them a timeless option for all occasions
  • With a T-strap silhouette, the heels have an adjustable buckle so you can get the fit just right
  • The stacked heel and platform make the shoes comfortable enough to wear all-day

Cons:

  • They may be too tight if you have wide feet
  • They’re made of faux leather instead of real leather, so have a shinier look

Vionic Women’s Aruba Coralina Slingback Wedge

Wedge in, wear out

This woven pair of wedges is the perfect sophisticated staple.
Best Wedge

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This slingback espadrille is the perfect all-purpose warm-weather shoe. The almond toe design is versatile enough to wear for both casual and formal events, and the woven wedge adds a stylish and pleasant feel. The light-colored canvas is the ideal complement to any outfit, from breezy dresses to dark denim. The footbed was even designed by podiatrists to deliver amazing arch support so you feel comfortable all day long, even while standing.

Pros:

  • With an almond-toe silhouette, the wedges are a sophisticated and stylish option for formal warm-weather events
  • The adjustable buckle allows you to get the fit just right
  • The wedge style is comfortable to wear for extended periods, even when you’re on your feet

Cons:

  • These aren’t appropriate for colder weather or environments
  • The light-colored canvas stains easily

Skechers Women’s Cleo-Scalloped Knit Simmer Ballet Flat

Flat out gorgeous

These scalloped ballet flats blend the best of dressy and casual for an all-purpose pair of shoes.
Best Flats

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With a pointed toe and scalloped edge, these ballet flats get a fancy upgrade from the classic style. Made from a soft, stretchable knit, this pair of shoes will keep your feet cool and comfortable all day for the ultimate formalwear attire. The interior of the shoe has a cushioned insole, delivering even more comfort, making these the perfect option for anyone who will be standing for hours. From weddings to corporate retreats to job interviews, these flats are a versatile way to infuse your outfit with a hint of style, all without having to wear uncomfortable heels.

Pros:

  • The pointed toe gives the flats a more formal feel, making them appropriate for almost any occasion
  • They have a scalloped edge that adds a unique and unexpected element
  • The insole is cushioned for added comfort

Cons:

  • They run a full size small, so consider ordering up
  • Like most ballet flats, they provide less comfort than more structured shoes

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered a dress shoe?

Most shoes that aren’t sneakers or boots are considered dress shoes. While for men, sandals are considered casual shoes, for women, there are dressy sandals that are appropriate for more formal events. Dress shoes for women can also include ballet flats, heels, and wedges.

Are flats considered dress shoes?

For women who don’t like to wear heels, flats can be a good alternative for formal occasions. Be sure to choose flats that are more elevated for upscale events. Consider pairs that are patent leather or have an almond or pointed toe for a dressier style that’s more appropriate with formalwear.

Should dress shoes be shiny?

While some dress shoes are made of shiny patent leather, dress shoes can also be made of other materials like nubuck, suede, or synthetic leather.