A Guide to Types of Womens Shoes

Here is a quick overview of different shoe styles, plus the answer to the question that has eternally perplexed you: Why are women so crazy about shoes?

Okay, fellas, it's not like you actually want to discuss shoes with your female, but in case you've ever heard your wife gush to her girlfriends about buying the cutest pair of mules and rushed in a panic to look into the back yard, you may want to have at least a passing acquaintance with shoe-related terminology, if only to watch your significant other faint dead away at your murmur of, "Hm, nice wedges."

Stiletto (stil-LET-toh) - The stiletto heel is usually 4"-6" in height and tapered sharply, like the spring-loaded knife for which it is named, and a lady who spends enough time in a pair of stilettos may feel that she is indeed walking on knives. Stilettos are often called "eff me pumps" because they are insane amounts of sexy.

Kitten heel (KIT-ten HEEL) - Tapered like the stiletto, but as the heel is only 1"-2" high, the effect is more cute than sexy.

Stacked heel (STAKT HEEL) - A much more substantial heel, made from thin slices of wood sandwiched together. Can be squared off or tapered, as on cowboy boots. Good for kicking ass and taking names.

Platforms (PLAT-formz) - Refers to a built-up sole. Platforms can either be shoes with a small, built-up sole at the ball of the foot, accompanied by a high heel, or one large platform from toe to heel. Remember those big-ass boots the guys in KISS wore? Those are platforms. Rock on! (Insert appropriate devil-horns hand gesture here.)

Wedge (WEDJ) - This is not just a golf club, gentlemen, but a type of sole that starts out low under the front of the foot and rises, ramp-like, toward the heel, elevating the wearer on a wedge shape rather than on a distinct heel. Traditional wedges are flat at the ball of the foot, but there are also platform wedges. Where KISS had dragon's heads and whatnot, ladies' platform wedges are usually decorated with cork or jute.

Slides (SLYDZ) - Slides are flats that have a single arch of leather or fabric across the forepart of the shoe, into which the wearer can slide her foot. Can be open-toed or closed-toed, like those floppy slippers your mom wears on the cold bathroom floor.

Mules (MYOOLZ) - Mules are slides that have a heel. They are usually dressier than standard slides. Those "boudoir slippers" in the Frederick's of Hollywood ads that had the pink marabou feathers and little heels were mules.

Thongs (THONGZ) - Yeah, they're undies, but way before that they were flip-flops. Technically, "thongs" refer to any kind of shoes with a thong connecting the sole to the upper (said thong is anchored between the big toe and the second toe-the one that stayed home, I believe), and some of them are way too nice to be called "flip-flops", but you get the picture.

Pumps (PUMPZ) - Standard high-heeled shoes we gals wear to our high-powered office jobs. The female version of the wingtip.

Slingbacks (SLING-bakz) - Open-backed shoes with a strap that runs back along the heel, rather than around the ankle. Way sexier than pumps. Can have a high or low heel.

Toe cleavage (TOH KLEE-vuj) - When the toe compartment of a pump is cut low enough to display the lines between a woman's toes. This is, I kid you not, considered sexy by some people, although I think it looks like you are trying to stuff your big-ass foot into Cinderella's dainty slipper and failing miserably.

"Cute shoes" (KYOOT SHOOZ) - The gold standard of compliments, by which one woman expresses everything from admiration to covetous lust for another woman's footwear. If these two words ever come out of your mouth, you will sound like a giant homosexual.

Mary Janes (MAIR-ee JAYNZ) - Flat, round-toed shoes with a strap across the bridge of the foot. Traditionally made in black patent leather, these are the kicks your little sister used to wear to Sunday School.

Okay, men, that is your shoe tutorial. I haven't the foggiest idea how knowing this stuff might prove useful to you, but it kind of rocks knowing those pointy heels were named for the kind of deadly weapon that might snick unexpectedly from the end of an assassin's cane. Badass!

Oh, yeah, and before I go, let me answer the question that has eternally perplexed you: Why are women so crazy about shoes? Answer: No matter what color they are, what style, or even what price range, our feet never look fat in them.