30 March 2022

The best shoes to walk down the aisle in

Fashion and function both play an important role when deciding on the perfect shoe for saying 'I do'

(c) Leah Cruikshank Photography

If you've begun searching for the perfect pair of wedding shoes you will know that there are a plethora of options available to you, whether that be online or to try in-store. Chances are, you may already be starting to feel a little overwhelmed by all the choices! So do you play it safe and opt for classic white pumps that ooze timeless sophistication, Or do you up the ante, succumb to temptation, and splurge on a pair of designer glitter heels to walk confidently down the aisle in?

Whether it be glamorous slingbacks encrusted with pearls and crystal or something a little more understated in the form of bridal flats - there is a style that caters to everyone's footwear fantasies. But where to start?

A woman in a white dress is sitting on an upholstered chair and adjusting the strap of one of her pearl-embellished high-heeled sandals. The scene includes a patterned rug and wooden flooring.
Close-up of a pair of elegant open-toe high-heeled shoes decorated with pearls, placed on a dark surface. A bouquet of white flowers is softly blurred in the background, providing a delicate and sophisticated ambiance.
A bride in a white gown and veil sits by a fountain, holding a bouquet of white flowers. She smiles joyfully while wearing strappy heels decorated with pearls. The background features water spraying from the fountain and lush greenery.
A bride and groom sit on a white bench in a lush, green garden. The groom, in a white jacket and black pants, kisses the bride, who is in a long white gown with a veil. They are surrounded by plants and flowers, enjoying a serene and intimate moment.

YOUR DRESS MAY BE THE DARLING OF YOUR DAY, BUT SHOES PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE!

Understandably, your wedding dress steals most of the limelight on your wedding day, but just as important as the gown are the shoes you wear underneath it. Adding the finishing touches and that 'something extra' to your ensemble, the ideal wedding shoe will look to complement rather than compete with your dress. The visibility of your shoes will play a leading role in your decision-making process. If you have a hemline of varying lengths, a tea-length dress or a dress with a side or front split your shoes will take centre stage, and the decision may be orientated around fashion rather than function.

The next step will be to marry (pun intended) the style of your gown to your shoe and like most great relationships, opposites attract! If your gown is more straightforward or minimalist, consider pairing it with a shoe with statement embellishments or unique features that brings some welcome flair and drama! If your gown features intricate beading, lace, applique details or metallic embellishments, then you may want to consider pairing it with something more subtle and classic.

Wedding Planning Tip: If you want the colour of your dress and your shoe to match, then aim to have them match precisely by taking a material swatch or your dress with you. Otherwise, go for contrast or choose to partner the colour/features of your shoes with another accessory.

If you have a ball gown or dress with lots of lengths, flowing fabric, or train, your shoes won't be as prominent. As a result, you won't be seeing your shoes on the day, or they may only be making a cameo appearance in your 'getting ready' photos. Therefore, consider something more comfort conscious, like a kitten or block heel.

A bride in a white wedding dress walks down a gravel path, accompanied by five bridesmaids wearing matching soft pink dresses. Each bridesmaid holds a bouquet of flowers. They are all smiling and appear to be having a joyful moment together. Trees and foliage are in the background.
A bride and groom sit together on the edge of a stone fountain in an outdoor setting. The groom wears a black tuxedo, and the bride is in a white strapless wedding gown with a veil. They both hold champagne glasses, and the bride is wearing sunglasses. Fairy lights are visible in the background.
A bride in a strapless white wedding dress holds a pastel pink and white flower bouquet. She stands on a grassy lawn with trees in the background, with a long sheer veil draping over her shoulder and flowing down to the ground.

PAIR THE MAGIC OF YOUR SHOE WITH THE MAGIC OF YOUR VENUE

Your wedding shoes have a significant role to fill on your wedding day in that you'll be walking, posing, dancing and partying in them for at least 10 hours, maybe even more. From walking down the aisle to sojourning between photo locations and then finally dancing the night away with your partner, your wedding venue will be an essential factor when choosing the right shoe. Backyard, beach, garden, church or Brisbane courthouse, each venue will come with its own pros and cons for footwear. Brides choosing a backyard or beach wedding may opt for something more casual like espadrilles, flats or sandals. At the same time, a black-tie wedding will call for something more elevated and formal. Weddings hosted in winter may call for embellished boots or closed in pumps. In contrast, summer weddings lend themselves to strappy sandals and open toe heels to prevent shoes from rubbing and pinching and feet swelling in the Brisbane heat.

A white wedding dress is hanging from a window by thin straps, displayed in front of a glass door with decorative framing. Below the dress, a pair of white high-heeled shoes are placed on the ground next to a bouquet of pink and white flowers.
A woman stands outside a building with large windows, wearing a white lace mini dress with sheer sleeves. She is holding a drink and wearing white high-heeled sandals. Her hair is styled with a headband. The ground is paved with bricks and there are potted plants nearby.
A bride in a white wedding gown sits on an antique sofa near a window with sheer curtains. She adjusts her white high-heel sandal while smiling. A bouquet of flowers is placed on the sofa beside her, and an ornate rug covers the wooden floor.
(c) Figtree Pictures

HOW HIGH IS TOO HIGH?

Christian Louboutin famously touted, "Shoes transform your body language and attitude. They lift you physically and emotionally". While this may ring true for some, for others, the notion of added height on their wedding day can make them nervous. Therefore, your wedding shoe choice needs to be a natural extension of your everyday shoe preferences. If you never wear heels, your wedding day is not an ideal time to start. If you daily prescribe to Sonia Rykiels mantra of, "how can you live the high life if you do not wear the high heels?" then slipping into a pair of stilettos to say 'I do' will be an obvious choice.

Important to note: Come ready for your dress alteration with your heel height, or even better, your wedding shoes- you don't want the hemline to be too short, but you also don't want to spend the day-tripping over it!

ASK YOURSELF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS BEFORE FINALISING YOUR HEEL HEIGHT:

Will added heel height or flat shoes affect the aesthetic of my dress? Will my heel height complement my partner and bridesmaids for our Brisbane wedding portraits? Will I need to consider heels of varying sizes for my bridal party? Instead of a high heel, would a kitten heel be preferable? Do I need a solid base to spend the day walking on? Would a block heel or a wedge be preferable?

Something to consider: If trying to elongate the look of your legs with heels, then avoid anything with a closed ankle strap, especially if it is chunky.

(c) Figtree Pictures

IS SPENDING ON A DESIGNER SHOE WORTH IT?

Budget is a constant consideration on your wedding planning journey. From flowers to the perfect Brisbane celebrant, wedding invitations to rings, brides need to prioritise and organise their spending based on what is most important to them on their day. or some, right at the top of that list will be their wedding shoes. Unlike other wedding spends that may last only as long as the days' celebration, a designer pair of wedding shoes can be the gift that keeps on giving for years to come. Whether they boast exceptional Italian craftsmanship, sexy cut-outs, unique detailing, or divine embellishments, designer bridal shoes can be your outfit's defining point of difference.

Wedding Planning Tip: If it has always been your dream to say ‘I do in Choo’s’ or wear Roger Vivier’s, your wedding day may be your chance. Not only will your wedding shoes be immortalised in your wedding album, but every time you wear them, they'll be a reminder of your dream day!

A pair of elegant light blue shoes with bow accents are placed next to a white jewelry box containing a gold ring with small diamonds. Nearby, a perfume bottle and a pair of earrings with white stones framed by gold sit on the surface.
A pair of elegant blue high-heeled shoes with bow accents, placed in front of a lush bouquet of flowers featuring white orchids and peach-colored roses. The scene is completed with a pair of dangling gold and pearl earrings.
A close-up image of light blue high-heeled sandals with large fabric bows on the front. The sandals are displayed on a round table next to a bouquet of pastel roses and greenery and a small bottle of perfume. The background is softly blurred.
A close-up of wedding accessories includes a blue shoe with a bow, a pair of gemstone and pearl earrings, a white ring box containing two rings, and a perfume bottle placed on a beige surface with a pink ribbon. White flowers are partially visible in the background.

WHAT STYLE OF SHOE IS BEST SUITED TO MY WEDDING DAY?

PUMPS

A wedding day favourite, pumps are as classic as they are timeless. Pairing perfectly with almost every silhouette, they are a tried and true choice for brides. Popular in satin or leather and with a range of hues from champagne to soft-white and silver, pumps often feature simple lines or, for a touch of 'added frosting', jewelled embellishments. The enclosed toe like the ‘Mia’ by Panache makes pumps ideal for cooler Brisbane weather or formal weddings, and a kitten heel pump is the perfect middle ground for brides wanting to lower the stakes. To pimp out your pumps for extra comfort throughout the day, invest in some gel insoles to keep your feet in place and prevent your feet from 'scrunching' which can cause blisters.

BLOCK HEEL

For the perfect combination of height and poise, the block heel provides an array of chic options. A transitional look that will have you walking with confidence down the aisle and comfortably dancing the night away. Closed-toe or open toe, like the gorgeous ‘Alexandra’ or ‘Alexene’ range from Harlo, this versatile heel will allow you to navigate Brisbane garden wedding locations with ease and is ideal when paired with sandal straps in summer. For an elegant option that your feet will love, also try Australian designed 'Bared Footwear' whose range boasts a biomechanical footbed for all-day wear.

SANDALS

Try and name a more iconic duo than summer and sandals! Extremely diverse, this style of shoes includes everything from high heels with edgy rhinestone embellished straps, like the divine ‘Tequila’ or ‘Love Link’ by Aquazzura, to minimalist white leather sandals like ‘Casa’ by Toni Bianco which will be a long stay in your wardrobe long after your wedding day. Perfect for combating the Brisbane heat and for avoiding sweltering feet on your wedding day, sandals also allow you to show off your bridal pedicure!

Some helpful information: If you have sandal straps that cut in, consider lining them with a softer fabric to prevent rubbing on the day. Alternatively, an industry trick is to place a light coating of a roll-on deodorant on the inside of the strap for all-day comfort.

STILETTO

Eye-catching and show-stopping, nothing feels more empowering than donning a pair of sky-high stilettos. However, elevating your look with the likes of Valentino or Manolo Blahnik, in this style of shoe is not for the faint-hearted! Seasoned stiletto wearers will have an endless array of attractive options but may need to consider having a pair of substitute shoes on hand if walking large distances between photo locations or across varied terrain. Additionally, with some stiletto heels reaching lofty heights of over 10cm, it will be a necessary and essential factor to consider heel height when altering the hem length of your dress.

FLATS

There is no shame in playing it safe, and if you are opting to wear flats on your wedding day, look to add flair and a touch of glamour with embellishments or a statement feature. To make sure you shine from every angle try bows and metallic tones, or in the case of Aminah Abdul Jillil's latest collection, both! If your gown is floor-length, try to avoid intricate beadwork as your dress may catch. If the hemline is shorter, experiment with beaded, pearl-encrusted or embellished flats like these ones from Badgley Mishka to bring some romance and whimsy to your ensemble.

Wedding Planning Tip: Start the day with heels. After the formalities, consider slipping into some fun, embellished flats to dance the night away in. Your feet will thank you!

EMBELLISHMENTS

Move over minimalist brides! Embellished shoes are for those wanting to add some extra flair to their day. With so many playful details available to be added to your footwear, you can choose from gold lamé bows by Loeffler Randall to a shower of glitter in the form of Miu Miu slingback pumps. The options are endless: Pearls, metallic notes, rhinestones, oversized buckles or tulle bows!

Wedding Planning tip: If choosing metallic embellishments, ensure the hue matches the colour of your other accessories.

A pair of elegant white high-heeled shoes adorned with pearls and ankle straps placed on a wooden floor, with sheer tulle fabric softly draped around them, creating a delicate and dreamy atmosphere.
A bride in a lace wedding dress stands in the center of a room, surrounded by four bridesmaids in matching light purple dresses. Two bridesmaids adjust the bride's dress train, while the other two stand beside her, smiling. The room is elegantly decorated.
A pair of elegant white high-heeled sandals adorned with pearls is displayed on a wooden surface. Behind the shoes is a stylish floral arrangement with pink and white flowers, alongside a perfume bottle and a necklace, creating a delicate and chic composition.
A wedding arrangement featuring pink and white flowers, a pair of white high-heeled shoes adorned with pearls, a bottle of perfume labeled "Bal d'Afrique," a pink velvet ring box with a ring inside, a pair of earrings, and a hairpin, all placed on a wooden surface.

SOME ADDITIONAL THINGS TO CONSIDER

  1. No matter how familiar you are with the style of shoe you choose for your wedding day, be sure to break them in! Wear your shoe for 30 mins a day (with clean feet, on a clean surface) in the fortnight leading up to your wedding day.

  2. Invest in some inserts for added all-day comfort, choosing from either gel or full-sole inserts to add cushion and relief. You can pick the arch, toe, or ball of your foot support for a more targeted approach.

  3. What will the weather be like? You may be chasing winter wedding vibes, but that doesn't mean you want your feet to be freezing. If wearing closed-toe shoes, opt for stockings for some added warmth. If choosing bridal boots, add some thermal socks to your wardrobe - just remember to select the size of your boots accordingly.

  4. Will there be slippery surfaces at your venue? Nothing spells disaster for a bride on her wedding day like slippery surfaces. Navigating a few glasses of champagne, nerves, excitement, and a big dress means that you need your footwear to be reliable. Consider adding heel and foot grips to the bottom of your shoes if you are worried about wet weather on your wedding day.

  5. Have a backup option and pack a spare pair of equally beautiful shoes on your wedding day. Worst case, you'll be well prepared if a strap breaks or the weather changes (you don't want to be traipsing those gorgeous satin pumps through the wet while looking for that perfect photo opportunity).

WHERE TO START LOOKING AND THE BEST BRIDAL SHOE SITES TO EXPLORE:

Whether it be a pair of dazzling designer heels or minimal white pumps that have the look of 'wedding' written all over them, allow yourself time to find the perfect fit and level of flair for your special day.

For Brisbane brides wanting the experience of trying on their shoes in person, the Queens Plaza David Jones has all the prominent Australian and international designers in one convenient location. From Edward Meller to Nine West, Valentino to Toni Bianco, they have everything from high-end designer offerings to a few more budget-savvy options. But, of course, most brides will prefer the online shopping world, with sites such as 'The White Collection', 'Deseo' and 'The Iconic' offering extensive collections. With companies like ‘The White Collection’ offering free shipping and exchanges, brides are increasingly opting to purchase their bridal shoes from the comfort of their own homes.

To help you on your way, we've curated a list of the most popular international and Australian bridal designers and some swoon-worthy inspiration from their collections:

INTERNATIONAL DESIGNERS:

JIMMY CHOO
A white high-heeled sandal with a thin ankle strap, open toe, and a large, decorative, semi-transparent bow on the back. The sleek and elegant design is suitable for formal events or weddings.
A high-heeled sandal decorated with white pearls. The shoe features a single strap around the ankle with a gold buckle, an open toe, and a pearl accent near the toe area. The shoe has a slender heel, also adorned with pearls. The interior is beige.
A sparkling high-heeled shoe covered in rhinestones. It has a pointed toe and a Mary Jane strap adorned with pearl accents. The shoe features a stiletto heel and a luxurious, elegant design.
A silver high-heeled pump adorned with sparkling crystals, featuring a pointed toe and a sleek design, against a plain white background.
A single light pink high heel sandal with an ankle strap and a textured bow embellishment on the front. The interior sole has branding text. The heel is thin and mid-height. The design is elegant and feminine.
A single elegant sandal with a low heel, featuring a thin toe strap and an embellished ankle strap adorned with pearls and rhinestones. The sandal is beige in color and has a metallic accent on the sole.
A pair of light blue strappy sandals with glittery speech bubble embellishments. The left shoe has "Wifey" and the right shoe has "For Lifey" written on the embellishments.
A metallic gold high-heeled sandal featuring intricate wing-like cutout designs on the heel and ankle strap. The elegant shoe has a thin stiletto heel, open toe, and a glossy finish, giving it a stylish and luxurious appearance.
A pair of elegant, pale pink high-heeled shoes. Each shoe features a pointed toe adorned with a sparkling crystal bow embellishment. The shoes have a sleek stiletto heel and an open side, showcasing a stylish and sophisticated design.
A stylish high-heeled shoe in white leather featuring a pointed toe design, pyramid stud embellishments, and an ankle strap with a buckle. The shoe has a mid-height stiletto heel and a T-strap connecting the toe area to the ankle strap.
A white high-heeled sandal with a chunky heel, ankle strap with a gold buckle, and a gold triangular embellishment on the toe strap. The shoe has a minimalist and elegant design suitable for formal wear.
A metallic gold high-heeled slingback shoe with a pointed toe and a crystal-embellished heart detail on the front. The shoe has a slender heel and an adjustable ankle strap. It is displayed against a light beige background.
A single high-heeled shoe is shown against a plain background. The shoe has a sleek, metallic silver finish and is adorned with small, shiny, rounded studs. It features a pointed toe and an elegant slingback strap. The stiletto heel is thin and high.
A high-heeled sandal with a shiny silver finish. The sandal features thin straps, one across the toes adorned with a large silver bow embellishment, and another around the heel. The shoe has a sleek, elegant design with a stiletto heel and a beige sole.
The image shows a white high-heeled sandal with an open toe design and an ankle strap. The sandal features an ornate silver flower embellishment on the toe strap. The heel is sleek and slender, adding an elegant touch to the sophisticated footwear.
A single gold-toned high-heeled sandal is shown against a white background. The sandal has a thick, block heel and features a crinkled texture with a knot detail at the front strap. The heel and strap are made from the same textured material.
A stylish light blue high-heeled sandal with a block heel, ankle strap, and an intricate crisscross bow detail over the toe area. The straps and heel have a textured appearance, and the shoe is set against a plain white background.
A white open-toe sandal with a block heel. It has a delicate ankle strap with a buckle and a large decorative bow on the front. The heel has a textured pattern while the insole and inner lining appear to be in a light pink shade.
A high-heeled silver sandal with a clear strap adorned with a decorative, sparkling bow accent. The heel is thin and metallic, and the insole is a light beige color. The shoe is modern and elegant, suitable for dressy occasions.
A silver high-heeled pump with a pointed toe, adorned with intricate rhinestones. The design features an ankle strap with sparkling embellishments and a decorative rhinestone bow on the front, creating an elegant and glamorous appearance.
A stylish white satin mule with a pointed toe and a low, thin heel. The shoe features an elegant jeweled bow embellishment on the top, adorned with sparkling crystals. The background is plain white.

AUSTRALIAN DESIGNERS

HARLO

A high-heeled sandal with a metallic finish, featuring a block heel and ankle strap adorned with pearl-like studs. The open-toe design includes a similarly studded strap across the toes. The interior is lined with a tan material.
A white high-heeled shoe with a pointed toe and a thin, elegant stiletto heel. The shoe features a decorative strap adorned with sparkling rhinestones and a tassel detail. The background is plain white.
Side view of an elegant, high-heeled sandal with white straps adorned with sparkling, silver-tone rhinestones. The shoe features a closed back and a zipper for closure. The stiletto heel and open toe design add to its sophisticated appearance.
A white high-heeled sandal with multiple thin straps that crisscross over the foot and wrap around the ankle. The shoe features a pointed heel and a square open toe design, with a minimalist and elegant aesthetic.
A white high-heeled sandal with a thin ankle strap and buckle closure. The shoe features a thin stiletto heel and a minimalist design with two slender straps across the toes. The interior sole appears beige. The sandal is set against a plain white background.
A beige high-heeled sandal with a textured surface and multiple thin straps. The sandal features an intricate, wrap-around ankle strap that coils above the ankle. The sole is slightly cushioned, and the heel is slim and tall.
A side view of a single white high-heeled women's shoe with a pointed toe and an ankle strap secured by a small buckle. The heel is block-shaped, and the interior lining appears light brown. The shoe has a sleek, minimalist design.
A stylish white ankle boot with a short block heel and a side zipper. The shoe has a sleek and modern design with a smooth finish, and the sole is a light brown color.
A white sandal with gold studs and a wooden low heel. The design includes an ankle strap with a buckle, a horizontal strap across the foot, and another strap across the toes. The sandal has a simple and elegant look suitable for casual or semi-formal wear.
A white flat shoe with a closed pointed toe and a low wooden heel. The shoe features a decorative ankle strap adorned with intricate silver floral embellishments, fastened with a small buckle. The background is plain white.
A single white high-heeled shoe with a peep-toe design, displayed on a white surface with a reflective background. The shoe has a sleek, elegant appearance with a smooth finish and a stiletto heel.
A single white high-heeled shoe with a pointed toe and a slingback strap. The shoe has a mesh detail on the sides and a stiletto heel. The image is set against a plain white background with the shoe's reflection visible below it.
A stylish, beige stiletto heel shoe with a pointed toe. It features a decorative bow on the front and an elegant, thin ankle strap with a small buckle. The stiletto heel is high and slender, giving the shoe a sophisticated appearance.
A single white high-heeled mule with a braided strap across the top and an open toe design. The heel is stiletto-style and the shoe features a textured pattern. The background is plain white.
A stylish high-heeled sandal featuring a cream-colored, twisted knotted front strap design. The shoe has a delicate ankle strap that ties around the ankle and a sleek stiletto heel. The sole and inner lining are light pink.

With so many incredible shoes both locally and internationally designed brides are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the perfect footwear for their wedding day.