We know that a great outfit is literally built from the ground up. We know that the perfect outfit will suffer if the shoes don’t lend a bit of panache to the ensemble. We also know that any true fashionista will have more than just five pairs of shoes in her repertoire. But if you’ve got to limit your collection, we’ve come up with the “short” list of five shoe types that are a must have for any fashionista.

  1. The black pump. This classic shoe pulls together a multitude of outfits, from the simple blue jeans and classic T-shirt, to the elegant little black dress. The versatility of this shoe is not lost on designers, either. You can find almost as many variations of the black pump as there are outfits to accentuate. The pointy toe is back in style, giving this shoe a bold “she’s got attitude” statement. Variations on the pump include the mule, which is essentially the pump without the heel cup, making it a perfect slip on as you slip out, for a quick jaunt to the pub to meet friends.

Manolo black pumps

  1. Another good reason to pamper yourself with a pedicure is the ankle strap sandal. These are as popular on the runway as they are on the beach. This season the toe strap, ankle strap is a popular combination. The beauty of this sandal is the variety in which it comes, from the delicate Ancient Greek style with skinny little straps to a taste of the Gladiator with heavier leather straps and studs. But that’s not all. These shoes are just as sexy with or without a heel. So if you suffer from low arches or bunions, choosing a flat in the ankle strap category will treat your feet with the kindness they deserve.
  2. alexandre-birman-clarita-genuine-calf-hair-ankle-tie-sandal.jpg

emme-parsons-susan-ankle-tie-sandal.jpg

  1. Boots—This category could have five contenders all to itself, but we’ll limit it to just two. There is the ankle boot that is trendy with jeans and short skirts alike. Then there is the timeless tall, equestrian-inspired boot that claims you are a woman who loves adventure and are not afraid of risk. The shorter ankle boots are quite fashionable in styles that benefit from a bit of lift from the heels, spicing up your attitude with presence. The taller riding boot is a classic that is best worn flat with a pencil skirt or tucked into jeans to show off the strong, outdoors girl in them.

Valentino equestrian boots

  1. The athletic shoe has come out of the closet as a new fashionable member of the must-have collection. Once delegated to the gym or simply used as the go-between from home and the office, the sneaker has emerged from the carry-all and is making a splash with new styles and accents, while adding a touch of sensibility that is a welcome sight for fashionistas looking for a comfortable and casual alternative to the torture of the stiletto. Not only are these shoes great for walking, but paired with jeans, shorts, or even a flowing skirt, the athletic shoe has gone from plain and practical to cute and coveted.

saint-laurent-court-classics-stars-sneakers.jpg

  1. With all the attention you’ve demanded strutting your shoes about town, it’s time to relax with the last of our selection—a good pair of slippers that any girl would be proud to own and not embarrassed to be caught wearing: the Birdsong Slipper. This sleek and sexy slipper made the headlines when the new Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle donned a pair before the big day. These are not your average everyday slippers, no. These have style, class, and are exquisite as well as comfortable, with a “pressure reducing heel cookie”. They are the perfect way to pamper your tootsies and yourself while lounging around the house. In case you need a cup of sugar from the neighbour, they look pretty chic with those favourite jeans too.

birdies6. Shoes are as personal as the individual who loves them or hates them. When choosing shoes, think about your personality and your wardrobe to get the most mileage from your investment. Don’t be tempted by those flashy fuchsia pumps if you don’t have anything to wear with them. Choose your shoes based on the frequency in which you can and will wear them and with healthy feet in mind. Without good feet, your later years may be spent wearing clunky orthopaedics. So here are a few tips to help avoid those special-needs feet:

7. Buy good quality shoes. Saving a buck today is not worth the agony of bad feet tomorrow. Good shoes will often have additional heel and ball cushion as well as better arch support. 

8. This may be obvious, but: the taller the heel, the harder the wear-and-tear on the hips, knees, ankles and the balls of your feet. If you have flat feet, many podiatrists recommend that you limit the heel height to no more than 2.5 inches. While you may look great in those stilettos, give you feet a break and wear some flats every once in a while. Flex your feet and ankles with yoga or a long barefoot walk in the sand. Your feet will thank you for it.

9. Look for arch support when buying shoes. Whether you’re wearing flats or pumps, supporting the arches will mitigate pain in the ball of the foot, and may help you avoid developing bunions or hammer toe, often caused by wearing high heels. Anatomical toe spacers can also help alleviate pain by helping to align your toes properly.

10. If you have wide feet or Morton’s toe (index toe is longer than big toe), look for a shoe that features a bigger toe box, giving all your little piggies plenty of room to stretch and breathe. Or opt for the open-toe sandal and flaunt that toe like you mean it—paint that nail in gold and add a little bling.

11. This just in from the royalty who know: buy your shoes one- to two-sizes too big. While you may not be standing for long hours in a receiving line or posing for the press, if you spend a lot of time standing, your feet may swell. Having a shoe that is just a bit large will prevent rubbing and blistering. Don’t worry about whether your feet look big, no one ever notices, and a true fashionista should be more concerned with her composure than her footprint.

And last–be kind to your feet. They are your foundation; they will get you wherever you want to go in life if you treat them well.