The technology behind shoes has advanced drastically, and most people may not have noticed that. From functional to structural shoes, for a male to female, most shoes have undergone a drastic change for the better. Let’s first talk about the functional shoes that people wore in the ’90s are now outdated because they do not offer the same protection and support. They are also known as athletic shoes, which means a shoe for exercise or sports. The young generation is keen on adopting a healthy and fit lifestyle. They practice at least one sport a day and ensure to hit the gym often. This is because they have started realizing being fit can help reduce the chances of chronic disorders like diabetes, blood pressure, depression, etc. To ensure the prevention of injuries while exercising and playing sports, the right type of shoe is very important. This is why the demand for athletic shoes is growing.
Before we jump onto the types of athletic shoes available in the market, let’s also talk about the structural shoes. There are many styles of shoes available, unlike the past when there were only a few. The designs have evolved during the years based on necessity, trends, availability of materials, etc. There are plenty of styles of structural shoes for men and women, which has a specific feature of its own. Let’s have a look at the popular ones:
Types of Shoes for Women
Structural shoes are also known as casual shoes. We are going to run through the different styles in this section. Here are the most popular designs:
A beautiful and practical solution to everyday women’s shoes. These are flat slipper kinds that are a necessity in your wardrobe. They are available in plenty of prints, designs, colors ranging from the evergreen nude to loud prints.
Women Canvas shoe is lightweight when compared to men and sportier looking than the ballerina shoes. They make a perfect choice for casual wear as they are practical, comfortable and are available in every print and color you are looking for to match your outfit. Wear these with jeans and a t-shirt for a simple casual look, and you are good to go.
Are you looking to give your outfit a polished look with heels but do not want to hurt your legs? Wedge heels are the perfect type. They are more comfortable than heels. These are available in lower and high wedge heels, so choose the one according to your preferences.
These are shoes that require you to fasten the laces. These can be loafers, canvas, brogues, etc. if you are looking for something more comfortable, then lace-ups are an ideal choice. They provide extra support to your feet and are sturdier.
Laces provide adjustable fastening, which can be tightened or loosened as per your preferences.
Are you planning a summer vacation to a beach place? Then flip flops are the perfect summer shoes you need to put in your beach bag. They are made of foam sole and have plastic toe support, which is waterproof.
Flip flops are available in various designs, colors, and materials. If you are looking for something that will last long, then go with the ones made of leather. You will find flip flops with stones on the toe support to add extra glitter to your outfit. These are super versatile and can be carried off with a swimsuit or any outfit.
If you are looking for comfortable slipping on and off shoes, then the ladies mules are a perfect choice. They have a closed front and an open back.
The mules are similar to the flip flops but provide extra support and a classier look. Another difference between the mules and flip flops is that mules have lower to high heels.
If you are looking for a shoe that you just have to slip on and leave the house loafers are the best option. It is time-saving because it does not have any laces. It is a slip-on shoe with elasticated panels on the sides.
These are the best work to party shoes that adds vintage to your workwear and glamour to your party outfits.
Women trainers are designed to be worn while training at the gym or other yoga classes. But, we put trainers in the structural issues section because they can be worn as fashion footwear as well.
If you’re looking for shoes that provide you the right cushioning and support for your daily activities, then basic trainers are the best option. Your hips and legs will not hurt if you wear good quality basic trainers for your daily activities.
Gladiators are strappy sandals with or without heels. This type looks amazing when worn with a maxi dress. Gladiators with heels are making a comeback on the ramp. Wear these with tailored trousers at work, and you are sure to get tons of compliments.
The court shoe is one of the most common types of dress shoes. They are perfect for formal outings like weddings or work meetings. These shoes have a low line upper and often have medium height heels with a pointed toe.
Gone are those days when they were available in basic colors like nude, brown, and black. Today, you can find them in various prints and bold colors.
You thought brogues are only for men? Well, why should men have all the fun! They have become a major fashion trend for women lately. Brogues look more formal than the ballerina flats and are as versatile as any other flat shoes.
They look eccentric on a summer floral dress and make your workwear look polished. Brogues were designed only in black and brown leather, but with it’s increasing popularity, brands have now come up with various prints, designs, and colors. If you want to add that extra chic factor to your outfit, pair it with heeled brogues.
As the name says, these boots exactly reach your ankle. Just like you ought to have flip flops, you cannot miss out on ankle boots as well. These look amazing from work to party. Style it with tailored trousers or floral dress; they look chic.
Ankle boots are available in various styles like Chelsea and pixie. The former type has a flat top line while the later has cute pointed toes.
These boots offer more coverage and go up to your calf. They are perfect for the chilly winter days. Since they are worn during the colder months, it is best to buy them in a long-lasting material, so you do not have to keep re-purchasing.
Storing calf boots can be tricky. Keep them in a way that maintains their shape and clean them before you store. They need to survive the cold, mud, and moisture.
This shoe has a narrow opening in the front, and it exposes the toes. This is how the name of this shoe is derived. These shoes may or may not have heels. Without heels, peep-toes are ideal for casual events, while heel shoes are perfect for parties.
Types of Shoes for Men
If you think women have more shoe options than men, you are completely wrong. From modern casual shoes to smart brogues, we have got you covered. The following are the types of shoes you need in your wardrobe.
These are named after its perforations (broguing) present on the surface of the shoes. These are the classiest pairs that every man must have in their wardrobe. Brogues are usually worn for formal events, but for its popularity, people are now styling it with smart casual outfits. They are found in different types, Derby, Oxford, and Monk Strap in varied toe cap styles, namely, full brogue, semi brogue, quarter brogue, and longwing brogue.
- Full brogues are also known wingtips, the wing shape that extends on the surface of the shoe, around the outside of toes.
- This type has a more subtle brogueing along the cap toe. Some also have a decorative brogueing on the center surface.
- The quarter brogueing only has a decorative brogueing along the seam and nothing in the center.
- Longwing brogues have brogueing on the wingtip cap along the sides to its back.
If you are looking for a semi-casual pair of brogues, derbies are a great option. These do not have the typical perforation on the surface like brogues. They have tie-up laces and eyelet that is sewn on the top surface of the shoes. They look stylish and classy at a formal event and also at casual outings. Derbies are often alternated with oxfords, but there is a difference between them both. The main difference is derby shoes have open lacing, which allows a wider fit.
This type of shoe was very popular in the 19th century among college students, especially Oxford University. The Oxford shoe has the facing attached beneath the vamp; this is known as closed lacing. Oxford is known for its minimal look that can get paired with any outfit. Oxford is available in a wide range of colors. If you plan to wear it every day, you can choose any color from blue to brown to dark red. If you wish to keep it limited to workwear, pick a black, English tan or dark brown.
The monk brogues are the best option if you are looking for something that lies between the Oxfords and Derbies. It is a laceless shoe that is less formal than Oxford but more formal than a Derby. It has a similar shape of an Oxford, but instead of the eyelet closure, the monks have leather fastened across the shoe for closure with a single or double buckle. Monks are a classic addition to your wardrobe full of laced shoes. These can be worn with dapper suits or jeans. They are often made of suede or leather and sometimes also have the decorative brogueing.
The most common type of slip-on shoe for men. Loafers were first made for King George, England, as casual house slippers. It wasn’t popular then until it came to the United States. American lawyers and businessmen started wearing loafers with suits. Gucci introduced the loafers with a metal strap. This innovation elevated the status of formal footwear. You can identify the loafers easily compared to other types of shoes; it either has tassels or a saddle.
A casual version of the loafers is moccasins. These are also known as driving shoes. Moccasins are made of soft material and are less structured when compared to other types. The soles and heels are designed considering comfort while driving.
The Dress Boot
It is similar to an oxford. The only difference is it has a longer shaft. It is one of the most common daywear footwear. Every man ought to have a dress boot in their wardrobe. It is the perfect boots for winters. Also, when taken care of properly, these can last for many winters.
Espadrilles are the only shoe you require in the summers. It is very comfortable and fashionable at the same time. They look amazing when styled with casual outfits like jeans and shorts. You can carry it off with trousers as well, as many men do.
It is one pair of shoes every male should have in their wardrobe. If you love sneakers, you know there is nothing as too many sneakers.They go very well with any casual outfit. They are available in a variety of colors and prints. From a classic white that goes with everything in your closet to retro sneakers that make your white t-shirt and jeans pair look cool.
Types of Athletic Shoes
Now that we have gone through the structural shoes let’s move on to functional shoes. In 2017, more than half the athletic shoe market was dominated by the men. Women’s footwear is catching up in the market gradually. Let’s delve into different types of shoes:
The most common type of athlete shoes is running shoes. Brands have focused on its development and improvement. This type can be classified into 3 groups:
- Motion control
Stability shoes offer up to moderate stability to individuals with arch. Such runners are known as ‘pronators’ and need shoes that help them maintain an arch while running. This type of shoe has up to three shades of gray polyurethane material in the heel and arch of different density to offer the required support to that flat-footed runners. The cushioned shoe is designed for ‘supinator’ runners having high arched rigid feet. The midsole of this type has single color soft foam material in the heel and arch. The Ethylene Vinyl Acetate has a dissimilar density to offer less or more cushion.
‘Severe pronators’ need not worry because the motion control shoes are specially designed for you. The motion control shoes provide the required stability to people with heavy bodyweight and flat feet. It has an additional stabilizer added in the heel to provide the necessary control while running. To determine if you are a pronator or a supinator runner, have your foot evaluated by a professional. In case you want to get it done yourself, check your footprint when you step out of the shower. If you leave a flat footprint, it means you are a pronator. If the footprint is incomplete, your arch print is missing; then, you have a supinated foot.
Trail Running Shoes
If you prefer to run off-road, then trail running shoes are an ideal choice. It has a deeper pattern for solid traction. It provides additional stability when compared to regular running shoes.
Barefoot running has become popular for a few years now. Running without shoes promotes midfoot or forefoot strike and not heel strike. It is basically how your foot strikes on the ground, which reduces the load on the lower limb and reduces injuries. The minimalist shoes are designed specifically for barefoot running, that does not offer any cushion or support but provides the required protection from uncomfortable surfaces and sharp objects. Before you consider this option, it is better to consult with a professional trainer. This type of running may not be suitable for everyone.
If you are a walker, consider lightweight shoes. Shoes having a rounded sole will help shift weight from heels to the toes. If you are into walking, you will need extra shock absorption in the ball and heel to reduce pain.
The bottom of the football shoes is very stiff. Brands have designed football shoes for particular positions as the requirements differ. For example, running backs and wide receivers require a low-cut shoe that allows you to run swiftly. The linemen require shoes with a high top for extra ankle support.
Basketball involves you running up and down the court. This requires you to have shoes with thick and sturdy sole to provide extra stability. Basketball shoes offer support to your ankle when you make quick changes in directions and while jumping and landing.
These are commonly known as cross-trainers. These are the multi-function shoes that most athletes wear when not practicing. They are the favorites of most people for gym workouts when they do not have the shoes. Training shoes offer shock absorption, thus perfect for cardio and treadmill workouts. These are perfect for everyday wear as well.
Tennis involves a lot of quick side to side movements. To make this possible, the shoes should provide flexibility in the sole on the ball of your foot. So you require shoes that support your feet on the inside as well as the outside. Consider your fast movements while purchasing tennis shoes. If you play on a hard court, consider shoes with more tread and choose soft-soled shoes for the soft court.
Do you head to the hills often? Hiking boots are essential as they give your feet a better grip on the hike to avoid slips and falls. Not all boots are made the same, so choose a pair that matches your hike plan:
- If you go for short hikes, pick lightweight hiking boots.
- Are you looking for shoes to hike on uneven terrain? Midweight boots are the right choice.
- In case you are carrying a backpack of more than 15 kgs and hiking on the ice or rocks, heavyweight boots will help you keep your foot in place.
You can go to the pool barefoot, but many swimmers prefer wearing swimming shoes to protect him/her from slipping. Swimming shoes are a must-have when you go for a swim at a rough pool to protect your feet from scraping. Water shoes can be worn out of the pool as well. Wear it when you go hiking around the waterfalls or streams.
Protecting yourself from head to toe is essential before you enter the boxing ring. Boxing shoes keep the boxers in place. They are lightweight, flexible, and up to the ankle to offer protection from kicking. Boxing shoes are often available in lace-ups, and you can pick from low profile to high profile based on your style.
These shoes not only help you improve your game but make it safe to walk on the golf course. The tiny cleats on the shoes put your feet into course during the swing, so that you do not slip. The gold shoes provide you more stability while you walk on the course in and out of the sand traps.
There are varieties of cycling shoes available in the market. Choose the one depending on the cycling you do. For recreational cycling, choose shoes having sunken cleats with flexible soles with which you can walk easily too. For performance cycling, pick shoes having stiff sole and cleats on its outside. There are cycling shoes available for indoor cycling as well, which fall between casual and performance cycling.
These shoes are narrower and longer than other types of functional shoes. The toe cleat of this shoe is made of metal rather than plastic. Baseball players often experience arch pain if the right kind of shoes is not worn. A good baseball cleat offers the required support to the arch.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Types Of Shoe Soles Are There?
Most people do not consider the soles while purchasing the shoes. The fact is, the sole is where the heart of the shoe lies. Wearing the wrong shoes can hurt your feet. Brand’s design soles that provide you the required support and grip. There are 5 types of soles:
Rubber Soles: these are made of recycled rubber. This sole is waterproof, flexible, and durable. They are designed to meet different styles like formal and hiking shoes.
Christy Soles: these are lightweight soles that provide stability and traction. It does not have a defined heel. This sole has a rippled pattern and is made of rubber.
Lugged Soles: these are designed for utility and hiking boots. They are made of rubber and are weather resistant. These commando soles are perfect for slippery surfaces, providing extra support and protection. These have to be cleaned often.
Cork Soles: cork is a soft material harvested from the cork trees. These provide a custom fit to the wearer. They are impact-resistant and provide the required support. Another plus point is, they can withstand rain.
Camp Soles: these soles are designed for casual shoes. They are waterproof and lightweight. It is often found in moccasins and loafers.
Can Sneakers Be Used For Gym?
Walking shoes are appropriate for smooth motion and should be worn to the gym or for running. If you want to buy shoes that are versatile and perfect for gym activities, cross trainers are an ideal choice. They provide the required cushioning, stability, support, and durability, which makes them ideal for regular and gym use.
What Is The Difference Between Training And Running Shoes?
Training and running shoes may look similar, but there are differences in the heel and sole flexibility. Training shoes are designed for multi-directional movements, explicitly side to side. It’s sole is flat, helping it be more flexible while carrying out actions. These are perfect gym shoes. Running shoes are designed for head to toe movements. High heel drop provides extra cushioning and support. They are perfects for runs on tracks.
Can You Wear Gym Shoes Outside?
Gym shoes are casual shoes. You can certainly wear cross-trainers for casual events under jeans and a t-shirt. Many people wear gym shoes at casual outings because it helps to provide their feet support and required cushion. These are the only functional shoes that are versatile, unlike other sports shoes.
We hope this guide helps you buy the right type of shoes you are looking for, functional or structural. Ensure to read through every style to make an informed purchase.