The Anatomy of a High Heel

Basic parts of a high heels


Out of all of the relationships I have ever had from high school to now, my senior year at the University of Maine, shoes have been my longest relationship. Some may find that sad, but shoes make me happy like nothing else I wear; and yes I do wear high heels at least three times a week.

In the above picture you will find a shoe designed by the mother of all shoe makers; Christian Louboutin. He is a French shoe designer. His shoes can be found at Sax Fifth Avenue, a store in which I have never personally shopped, however maybe someday I will be able to. His shoes range in values, from $400.00 to the mother of all shoes, Louboutin’s Daffodil 160mm (6.5 inch) heel with a 2.5 inch platform, covered in Swarovski crystals which will cost you a whopping $6,400.00.

Christian Louboutin Daffodil Pumps covered in Swarovski Crystals.

So the anatomy of a shoe would be as follows, and please refer to the first photograph.

1. Toe Box: This is basically what it sounds like, where your toes go into your shoe. When shopping for shoes, make sure your toes can all fit comfortably and have room to spread out in the toe box. If your toes are on top of each other in your shoes, this will cause a multitude of problems, especially with the distribution of weight, which will cause your feet pain and permanent damage.

2. Sole: The sole of your high heel should be rubber to stop from slipping and for the purposes of traction. If for some reason your shoes do not have a rubber sole, no need to fear, you can buy rubber soles. However, if you are buying quality shoes, they will have a rubber sole already attached.

3. Insole Lining: Pretty much self explanatory, this is the lining of the sole of your shoe. There are a few different ways in which these are placed in a shoe, there are some which are glued into the shoe (which is not very good quality since they usually end up slipping after a few wears) and there are the insoles that are sewed into the shoe which are usually of the best quality. When buying shoes make sure that the insole is properly attached to the shoe; if the insole is glued, make sure there are no gaps or peeling. If the insole is sewed into the shoe make sure there are no loose threads or hanging threads which (in all seriousness) can pinch your feet and cause you a lot of pain.

4. Heel: This is also pretty self explanatory, this is the heel. The height of the heel will vary between less than an inch (kitten heel) to seven or eight inch heels. Quality heels have a metal stake inside of the heel which will give them the durability to hold most body types.

A lot of people ask what that plastic piece at the bottom of the stiletto is. This is not pointed out on the diagram in the above picture but it is called the “Top Piece” and this goes under the stiletto which is made out of a durable material and keeps the traction on the ground and is always flat on the bottom. Over time after wearing your heels for an extended period of time, these will wear down. They are usually able to be replaced since they usually attach to the metal spike inside the heel.


High heels are complex when it comes to fitting appropriately, and of course the ultimate challenge, being graceful in your heels. Stay tuned, I will add a “How to Walk in High Heels” blog sometime to give you all some tips on how to stay safe in your heels.


About Rachel

My name is Rachel Boudreau. I am 24 years old and have been blogging for the Bangor Daily News for almost a year. I am a Certified Personal Shopper and a Certified Fashion Stylist. I have always had a complete love and desire for anything fashion. I have recently started studying French fashion, (Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc.) I watch all of the high fashion runway shows every spring and fall. I love shopping for people and picking out clothes for them because I like when people try things they normally would not, that, after all, is how you find new things you like! Happy reading!!!