The 10 Best Shoes to Wear With an Evening Dress
Updated: Feb 9
Getting dressed up and ready for a special event can be both exciting and nerve-racking. One of the first things most people decide on when shopping for a special occasion is the dress. In second place is typically the shoes.
Whether we're getting ready for prom night, a red carpet moment or a fancy night out with our best friends, we want our shoes to compliment and complete our outfit.
Most of us tend to think of high heels as the shoe of choice for formal occasions, and this is mostly true. Sometimes however, due to either a medical condition, leg injury or simply the need to avoid discomfort, we want to go for a non-heeled shoe.
In this post, I will present to you several options of footwear you can wear at your next formal event.
I have a similar post on the best shoes to wear with a long dress which can provide you with some more inspiration.
Different styles of dresses call for different types of shoes. As I mentioned in my previous post, a general rule that works for me is: if there's a slit, go for an open toe shoe. If most of your foot is being covered, a pointed or closed-toe shoe works great. If you must do flats, try to have them sleek-looking.
I find that the right shoes can boost your confidence regardless of your outfit choice. Your confidence would shine from the inside and boy does it show on the outside.
I think this might be the most popular evening shoe in any woman's closet, lol.
No matter your height, size or body type, high heels are definitely always welcomed at fancy events. The type of heel however would depend on the style of the dress as well as its length, which I shall explain further in this post so keep reading to discover my list of best choices of shoes to wear with that beautiful evening gown you've got in your closet.
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.
1) Strappy heels
Of course I had to start this list with the queen of all formal shoes. A strappy heel works great with cocktail or short dresses and any formal wear that shoes off at least a portion of your legs. This is because they elongate them effortlessly. Long dresses would just cover up the beauty of the strapless shoe.
A smaller ankle strap works better for very formal wear while a thicker ankle strap works if the dress code is more casual wear. Either way, you're wearing heels and that immediately should make you stand a little taller and strut elegantly across the room.
When it comes to the height of your heels, go for whatever you can handle for the duration of the event. If you know there would be seating, you can risk wearing a higher heel whereas if you're going to be on your feet for hours, kitten heels may be your bestie. Just remember, a shorter heel does not always equate to more comfort.
For shoe color, think of complimenting and not necessarily matching. For example, a green dress doesn't need a green dress. Yes, you could wear it if you want but it would be a very loud outfit. Complimentary colors for green would be white, gold and orange.
* Similar shoe here
With dresses in neutral colors, you can try shoes in bright colors while brightly colored dresses would be a good match for more neutral-colored shoes such as brown, beige, burgundy, black and white.
Pumps and evening wear are a pairing that also go hand in hand. They're the perfect shoes for your pencil dresses, midi dresses and other formal evening gowns showing some part of your leg from your ankle to your toes. This is because again, you want to show off that pump at least a little. A pair of nude pumps would work so well with a range of outfit colors from red to blue to white, black and even yellow.
These gold pumps look amazing and have great reviews.
Pumps don't need to be sky-high to be considered appropriate for a special evening event. A shorter heel height would work great with skater dresses and dresses that reach your ankle. I find that pumps with a higher heel just look so much better with cocktail dresses and so you might want to carry a pair of flats in your bag if you'll have to be on your feet for long.
3) Flat shoes
You know I have to show some love to my flat-shoe lovers. There's nothing wrong with not wanting to teeter around in 5 inch heels - you've already got enough on your mind besides wondering where the closest chair is. If you're not a stiletto person, I got you covered.
A pair of sleek or embellished ballet flats are your best bet if you're attending a formal event wearing a maxi dress or full-length gown. This way, your feet are covered and even if they do show a little while you're walking, the shoes are still very much appropriate for the occasion.
Pro tip: I recommend going for patent leather flats or, if you're going to be somewhere warm, a flat sandal with some embellishments. This would elevate your footwear and entire look.
4) Clear heels
You already know my love for clear heels. I mean, I did an entire post on the different outfits to style them with. Clear heels would work great with practically any color dress/outfit you decide to go with as they're extremely neutral.
The shoe style in this case would depend once more on your style of dress. A tie-up clear heel would look amazing with a shorter dress or one with a slit while a clear mule or kitten heel would give you the added height you want when wearing a maxi or midi dress.
7) Ankle booties
Oh yes, best believe ankle boots have a spot on this list. Some ankle boots can complete a dressier look, especially in the winter season. One of my favorite booties to wear with a nice dress are peep toes. These ones by JLo are so cute & affordable!
They're such a great choice for maxi dresses because all you really see is the front of the shoe and then a heel - leaving folks wondering what type of shoe you got on under there.
Ankle boots tend to also be more comfortable than stilettos and strappy heels. Try to keep them in a solid color to keep things more formal.
8) Flatform slippers or sandals
I had to round off this list with the most comfortable shoes you can wear to a formal occasion - flatforms. These are the type of shoes you wear to your friend's beach wedding because no one has time to remove sand from between their toes every 5 seconds.
Flatform sandals give you the added height you wish while maintaining extreme comfort by not having your feet at any weird angle. They work great with floor-length gowns as they'll make you look taller without giving away your little secret.
If you intend to hit the dance floor all night, then these are the right pair of shoes for you.
I hope you've gotten some inspiration for your next special occasion. Remember that a formal gown does not necessarily require a pair of heels. You could pull off a pair of flats or flatform slippers if your dress is long enough. If you really want to show your legs off, opt for strappy sandals or stilettos. If it's a little chilly, a chic ankle boot would keep you looking polished and warmer.
The shoe color you go with would depend on the colors of your dress but remember, you don't have to match your dress, just compliment it. If your dress or outfit is in a bright/ bold color, try: black shoes, silver shoes, white, brown or clear shoes. If your outfit is in a neutral color, you could try out a bold color of shoes.
I can't wait to see what shoe choices you make.
You can also check out my post on the best shoes to wear with a cocktail dress HERE.
If you're working with a black cocktail dress, check out my post: 10 shoes to wear with a black cocktail dress.
Find out 5 different ways to wear a strapless dress HERE
I also have a post on 6 ways to wear a cardigan over a dress.
Until the next post,