How To Identify All These Different Types Of Shoes

Shoes come in a lot of different sizes and materials based off of trends, pricing, design choices, and function.

This can make it a bit intimidating when you take the time to go shopping if you aren’t quite sure what it is that you are looking for.

With the rise of e-commerce, it is impossible to avoid all of the shoes and clothes being promoted into your space, and it only gets harder to tell what is and is not worth the investment when these companies have such strong marketing campaigns.

Given the fact that shoes can be pretty expensive, it is important to know what you should look out for when you go shopping for a new pair of shoes.

The last thing that anyone wants is to spend two hundred dollars on poorly made shoes that look absolutely nothing like the picture or break down within two weeks of use.

In order to avoid these traps, it is important to know what constitutes as a good shoe so that you don’t end up overpaying for a cheap mess. 

Ways to identify cheap shoes

We have all seen a pair of shoes that look like they were 3D printed by an artistically challenged twelve year old who thinks that they know what a shoe looks like.

Some shoes are simply cheap and identifiable as cheap within a quick naked eye assessment because the quality really is that bad. However, it is always an unfortunate turn of events when you buy shoes that looked attractive and reasonably nice only to learn a few days later that you were horribly wrong.

girl sitting on curb wearing shoes

When it comes to recognizing cheap shoes, a few things should always come to mind.

First of all, look at the way that the patterns and design choices line up on the shoe. If it looks like any part of the shoe is ill-fitted or the stitching veers off in a clear error in pattern, it is safe to assume that the shoes you are looking at were made as quickly and cheaply as possible, which means that beyond what you can see as wrong, other issues will without question arise and the product should be avoided.

Past general appearance, looking at the materials that shoes are made out of can tell you a lot about the quality of the product.

If you notice that the cute “leather” shoes you are looking at are actually composed entirely of synthetic materials, you might want to think of the implications of your purchase.

While there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with synthetic shoes because they tend to be a great way to enjoy shoe design for a fraction of the cost, making sure that you are not getting charged the same price for synthetic as you would be the real deal is important to preserving your financial situation.

You also need to be aware that synthetic materials will breakdown more quickly, so counting on synthetic shoes to last you a long time is not generally a safe bet.

Related: 10 Most Popular Athletic Shoe Brands In The U.S. (Based on shoes sold)

Ways to identify leather shoes

The difference between a high end pair of shoes and cheaper alternatives is largely about the materials used and the design process. Nicer shoes are more likely to have real materials like leather or cotton rather than synthetics.

High end dress shoes will almost always have a leather sole in place of a rubber sole, which can make them last longer if they have been treated properly and you continue to maintain them.

leather shoes

Aside from materials, a nice pair of shoes are more likely to have specific and complex stitching patterns or might even be hand-stitched depending on the design.

As an added consideration, a general rule of leather is that the softer the leather is, the nicer the material is. Soft leathers will conform more readily to the wearer’s shoes in a way that allows them to ultimately be perfectly fitted to that one individual.

This enables a unique shift where a nice pair of leather shoes will actually become more comfortable and look more appropriate over time. For athletic shoes, nicer versions tend to be made of more breathable materials that are designed to keep your feet cool while you work out, which is not a feature that synthetic shoes tend to have. 

How to identify knockoffs

There is nothing worse than thinking that you are getting a great deal on expensive shoes and then realizing when they show up that something simply isn’t right.

When it comes to internet shopping, the risk of getting knockoffs instead of what you ordered is real, which is why you should know what to look out for to avoid being duped.

A surefire way to avoid ending up in this predicament is to only buy from the brands themselves or affiliated retailers, but in the event you are gambling on a less common site for the sake of a deal, you can begin by looking at the product itself.

The biggest indicator of a knockoff is a faulty logo. If you notice that the Nike symbol seems slightly misshapen or that the proportions aren’t right, you are likely looking at a pair of knockoffs.

Beyond investigating the symbol, checking to make sure that the products are coming in the right packaging or that the sizes available match what you would see on the original brand’s site can help you to dodge being conned into buying fake shoes that will cost a lot and break down fast.


Though there is no golden rule that dictates that the only right pairs of shoes to buy cost a ton of money, knowing what makes a quality shoe is a great way to avoid getting ripped off or ending up with shoes that you think will last a long time when they definitely will not.

As is true with most anything in life, being well educated regarding what you spend your money on is an excellent way to find quality products and avoid wasting money.

When it comes to having great shoes for any occasion, there is no better way to do it than go in as an educated buyer ready to spend their money well and look fashionable at the same time.