kitten heels

An Ode to the Undoubtedly Feminine Kitten Heel

A timeless footwear staple we’re styling in unexpected ways.

We know you’re bored of hearing the phrase fashion is cyclical, but as we’ve sort of put ultra-high heels to bed for the time being, the kitten heel has reemerged as a wonderful alternative. The feminine style offers a dressed-up silhouette that you won’t want to kick off after a few hours.

Known for its curved low heel, the miniature stiletto has been around for centuries, but in terms of recent history, the low-heeled style rose to popularity in the 50s due largely to designer Roger Viver, preceding stints in the spotlight of both the 60s and 90s. According to an article in CR Fashion Book, “the name came about because the style was considered a training heel for ‘kittens,’ aka young girls not ready for grown women’s high-heel stilettos.” A symbol of timeless glamour, the low-heeled style has been favored by movie stars and first ladies alike.

kitten heelsPhoto: Getty
Designers have begun to challenge the traditional silhouette of the kitten heel, too. What started as an attribute of a pump now transcends to sandals, boots, mules, flip-flops, and more. Recently, there have been a few incredibly iconic styles that shot across the fashion industry, like the Balenciaga Knife Mules, the Khaite Zebra Boots, and the Dior Slingbacks.

In my opinion, the coolest way to style them is to disregard all notions of their traditional pairings—the ultra-feminine silhouette needs something masculine to ground it. Think oversize silhouettes, denim, and boxy tailoring. You can also try implementing a little irony with contrasting statement materials like leather or sequins.

Shop Modern Updates of the Classic Style:

Kitten Heel Mule

Le Monde Beryl

Leather Slingback Pumps

$675 $338

Maelle Pumps

$795 $318

Leather Mules

Porte & Paire

Maysale 50mm Buckle Pumps

Manolo Blahnik

Brie Two-tone 60mm Pumps

MICHAEL Michael Kors



Naomi Sandals

Manu Atelier

Eel Heel Sandals

Simon Miller
$410 $123

Toe Strap Kitten Heels

Paris Texas
$347 $277
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