How to Choose the Best Comfortable Shoes to Wear with Formal Dresses

On the hunt for the perfect pair of shoes for a wedding, gala, or some other upcoming formal event and don’t know what to choose?

Whether you’ve got your eye on a classic, elegant pump or a sexy or dramatic evening shoe, there’s one important factor you shouldn’t overlook.

Since a formal event will have you spending a lot of time on your feet, wearing comfortable shoes is crucial. You want to enjoy your special evening, not think about how badly your feet hurt!

Here are a few other things to consider when choosing the best shoes for formal dresses to elevate your look!

comfortable shoes for formal dresses

Different Types of Formal Dresses

The type of formal dress you wear will affect your choice of shoes. For example, If you go with a floor-length gown made of lace, wearing shoes with sharp crystals or embellishments is not a good idea since they can catch and snag the lace. The best shoes would be smooth.

If you’re new to choosing formal dresses and putting together a dressy evening outfit, let’s break down the 3 most common traditional dress styles.

  • Traditional ballgowns typically have a fitted top with a large, flared-out skirt.
  • A-line gowns are also more fitted at the top and don’t flair out until the hips, but they don’t have as large of a skirt.
  • Mermaid gowns have a curvy silhouette and are are fitted down your body to right below your knees.

Once you’ve selected the type of formal dress you’ll wear, it’s time to find comfortable dress shoes to pair it with.

Your average pair of heels isn’t necessarily going to have the highest level of arch support or super cushion footbeds. However, there are stylish evening shoes that will give you comfort and stability throughout your event.

Dress shoes have come a long way in terms of comfort. Order a few pairs online, try them on and walk around the house with them. Make sure they fit well and feel comfy before you decide they are the ones. Be sure that you wear them in a little before the big event to avoid blisters.

Event Dress Code

Another factor when deciding the best shoes to pair with your formal gown is the dress code for the event.  Check the invitation for a wedding or another special occasion to see if a  dress code is specified.

Some invitations may suggest a heel height or preferred style. Or they could say something like, “Be ready to break it down on the dance floor,” or “The reception is a bit of a walk from the ceremony,” so you will want to adjust your shoes accordingly.

Remember, this isn’t your first prom night, so don’t choose shoes that are hard to walk in, even if you love the style. You don’t want to slip and fall in a long, elegant formal gown!

gold shoes mother of the bride

Heel Height

Choosing the right heel height is key.  First, think about how comfortable you are wearing pumps in general. Then, consider the length of your dress and how high a heel you’ll need. Finally, note the event location, indoors or outdoors, and choose the best heel for stability.

Some of the most common types of heels that women wear to formal events are kitten heels, slingbacks, platform heels, pointed-toe heels with ankle straps for support or without a strap, stilettos (which are typically 3-5 inch high heels), wedges, and sometimes you can even get away with chic ballet flats.

A chunky heel or even a wedge can be very comfortable even when you want extra height.

mother of the bride shoes lucite heel

Avoid These Problem Shoes that are not Comfy

Walking in skinny stiletto heels on patio stones or over wooden walkways at an outdoor event is a nightmare. You don’t want your heel to break in the cracks.

Backless shoes can be a disaster, too. It can be pretty embarrassing to walk out of your shoes accidentally!

Shoes with tiny, thin straps offer little support, making it easy to slide out of the side of your shoe and twist your ankle. Strappy heels can also cut into your feet and make your skin bleed. That’s painful and not a good look!

Best Colors for Shoes for Formal Dresses

Your dress’s color and fabric also influence what type of shoes to wear.

The main rule of thumb is that if your dress is black, navy, or any other solid color, use this as an opportunity to wear a shoe that pops. Something with crystals, sequins, or different bright colors looks fabulous.

On the flip side, if your outfit already has a lot going on, a comfortable pair of black shoes or something in the nude color scheme would complement your outfit better.

What Shoes Should You Not Wear With a Formal Dress

Now that you know how to choose comfy shoes for your formal dress, let’s talk about a few things that will quickly reduce the chic factor of your outfit. Footwear like ankle boots, sneakers, flip-flops, loafers, and knee-high boots are far too casual and should never be worn with a formal dress.

What Else Do You Wear With a Formal Dress?

Once you have selected your evening gown and some comfortable dress shoes, it’s time to take your outfit to the next level with the perfect accessories.

Jewelry, a clutch bag, and other refined evening accessories will make your outfit look glamorous. The goal is to make your outfit stand out without being too over the top. Think elegant and classy. Often, less is more to create the perfect outfit for your formal event.

You can find more inspiration and ideas for creating the perfect formal outfit in some of my other posts.

Formal Dresses for Women Over 40

What Color Shoes to Wear With a Gold Dress,

Velvet Cocktail Dresses to Wear to Glam Holiday Parties.

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