What is the difference between slippers and espadrilles

The 1 × 1 of shoe types

Jun 21, 2018

Even die-hard shoe fanatics get into a skid when it comes to this topic. No wonder, there are more types of shoes than there are prime numbers ... From ankle boots to toe separators, from car shoes to mukluks to wedges - the ABC of shoe types reads like an encyclopedia of the funniest word creations.

But real fashion professionals know: There are very serious differences between the individual types of shoe. So that you no longer sit there with a big question mark over your head when shopping online in the future, I have put together a little table of the most important types of shoes for you.

What types of shoes are there?


Ankle boots

They are the classic among the ankle boots: Ankle boots are stable boots with a short shaft that does not go higher than the ankle. Ankle boots are available with and without heels and in a wide variety of designs.



Ballerinas get their name from the delicate shoes that ballet dancers wear. Characteristic for ballerinas is the flat sole and the rounded tip. Ballerinas, as the name suggests, look very feminine and girlish and are very comfortable to wear precisely because of their flat soles.


The collective term boots covers all types of boots, from ankle boots and biker boots to cowboy boots and overknees.



Hole-decorated shoes are called brogues. This includes, for example, the Budapesters. The term is a bit misleading, because brogues were originally Scottish shepherd's shoes with holes through which penetrated water could drain more easily. Today, brogues are mainly found in upscale men's shoe fashion.


They are a classic among men's shoes and have also arrived in the women's world for a number of years. Budapesters have been known in Hungary for hundreds of years, because this is where the cradle of this characteristic shoe model lies. Characteristic of Budapest is the typical hole decoration and the wide, sturdy strips. As classic men's shoes, Budapest shoes have an androgynous effect on women and can therefore be great for stylistic inconsistencies.

Car Shoe

The Car Shoe brand was founded in the 1960s and was very well received in the car-loving America of the time: the original Car Shoes are classic moccasins with a hard-wearing rubber sole and deep tread with knobs. The idea: racing drivers in particular have optimal grip. By the way, car shoes are also very comfortable.

Chelsea boots

The unisex shoes are a timeless variant of ankle boots and were designed by Queen Victoria's personal shoe designer as early as 1830. You can recognize Chelsea boots by the semicircular tip and the rubber insert on the sides.



Chucks have long since achieved cult status. The unmistakable canvas sneakers with white rubber caps were not only the favorite shoes of rock legends like Kurt Cobain, but were originally designed as basketball shoes. Incidentally, the Converse company has sold over a billion of these shoes so far, making Chucks by far the most successful shoe model in the world. By the way, Chucks are called Chuck Taylor All Stars by their full name. The popular kicks come in all possible colors and materials, the original Chucks were black with a white sole.


Clogs are typical casual shoes and have their origins in the wooden shoes of the Dutch. The slipper-like clogs with straps over the heel are often worn by children, but you also see models for adults again and again, like this mega-stylish platform uclog from Balenciaga.

College shoes (also penny loafers)

No preppy look without college shoes. The flat loafers with the characteristic shaft bridge are part of the typical 50s college look like tweed blazers and pleated skirts. College shoes can be recognized by the roughly finger-wide shaft bridge (which often has a slit) that decorates the shoe above the instep. This is where the name Penny Loafers comes from, as college students like to hide a lucky penny for exams in this slot.


You can get a few centimeters taller with creepers - flat low shoes with extra thick crepe soles. Creepers were originally worn by British soldiers in the 1930s and 40s because the thick sole provided protection from rain, mud and hot desert sand. Creepers later found their way into the rockabilly scene and are indispensable to this day.


The synthetic version of clogs had a lot of fans, especially in the early 2000s. The typical rubber shoes with a hole pattern were not only used as children's shoes and garden shoes, but sometimes even replaced the flip-flops as popular summer shoes. The practical: They are not only waterproof, but also ultra-light and super-comfortable.


Alongside the Budapesters, they are the second classic among men's shoes. Derby Shoes are characterized by a particularly high shaft cut, which is used in many shoe models today. The timeless elegance of Derby shoes make this model absolutely versatile.

Desert boots

If you ever get embarrassed about going on a desert hike, the footwear of choice is probably this classic. Like the Creepers, the Desert Boots were originally developed for the military. The lightweights among the low shoes are characterized by their flat soles and four eyelets (two on each side). Desert boots suit men and women equally and go great with chinos or jeans.


It is the ultimate vacation shoe. Espadrilles have their origins in the hot and dry Basque Country, where they are part of traditional costume. The canvas shoes with the braided bast sole became popular as summer shoes for the first time in the 1980s - this trend is still unbroken today. Espadrilles are certainly not the most robust shoes (usually the sole has worn out after a summer), but they are inexpensive and available in many different variations.


All shoes without heels are called flats. The term applies equally to flat sandals and low shoes such as moccasins, loafers, slippers or brogues. Ballerinas are also classic flats. While high heels were mainly in demand in women's fashion until a few years ago, today flats are absolutely trendy and are worn on a wide variety of occasions.


Perhaps the most unusual shoes in this 1 × 1 of shoe types are the training shoes from the Vibram brand, which are now widely copied. Fivefingers were originally designed as natural running shoes, which should give runners a natural barefoot feeling. Fivefingers are not only characterized by the extreme flexibility of the sole, but above all by the fact that they enclose each toe individually.


Practical like rubber boots, especially if you want to protect fine shoes: galoshes are simple overshoes mostly made of thin rubber, which are used to protect non-waterproof shoes from rain, snow and mud, or sensitive parquet from coarse shoes.

Gladiator sandals (also Roman sandals)

For quite obvious reasons, they are also called Roman sandals and go not only with tunics or toga but also, of course, particularly well with short skirts and summer dresses. The straps are partly laced up to the knees, which emphasizes the calves.

Brogue shoes

They are a must for all traditional costume fans, Oktoberfest enthusiasts and folk festival goers. Haferl shoes are part of the Bavarian costume, which also includes lederhosen, doublets and traditional jackets. The sturdy low shoes are traditionally worn with thick wool socks.


Klompen can hardly be found today, but Dutch clogs have a long tradition. They were made almost exclusively from soft poplar wood, which is easy to work with and very durable. Wooden shoes have their origins in northern Germany and the Netherlands.


Loafers are all low-heeled low shoes that do not have a fastener, i.e. are made to be easy to slip on. The loafers include, for example, the penny loafers or college shoes, or the classic tassel loafers, which are adorned with decorative tassels on the forefoot.

Mary Janes

The famous Mary-Janes are a real classic among women's shoes. The namesake for this playful-looking shoe model is an American cartoon character from the comic Buster Brown. Today, various models of strap and buckle shoes are called Mary-Janes. What they all have in common is the round to semicircular toe and the characteristic strap over the instep.


They are probably the original model of all shoes: Moccasins are considered the oldest shoes in the world and were already made in this form by people in the Stone Age. Moccasins are also known from the culture of the Native Americans, who decorated their characteristic leather shoes in a particularly elaborate manner. The fact that moccasins look back on such a long history has to do with their extremely simple shape: Original moccasins consist of only two pieces of leather: a wide strip that was used for the sole and the sides, and a narrow piece for the top. The wide piece of the sole is folded up and sewn to the upper strip - this results in the characteristic shoe shape.

Moon boots

The cult shoe of the 80s just recently celebrated its revival. Moonboots are particularly chunky winter boots made of light synthetic material with a particularly thick lining. Due to their shape, they are reminiscent of the boots of space travelers, hence the name. From the 2010s onwards, the moonboot experienced a comeback, especially among winter visitors in Aspen, the trend soon spilled over to Europe and can now also be observed in Kitzbühel and Co.




The name Mukluk comes from the Inuit language and simply means "boots". Mukluks are the typical footwear of the arctic natives and were traditionally made from seal skin. Today mukluks are also made from faux fur and are sold by many manufacturers as the ideal outdoor boots.




Hardly any shoe is quicker to put on and take off. Mules, also known as mules, are simple slip-on shoes that are open at the back and are therefore the ideal summer shoes. They are available in countless variations, from sandals with and without heels to models with closed fronts or peep toes.


Overknee boots have been timeless classics since the 1960s. Back then, the boots with the extra-long shaft appeared at the same time as the miniskirt - a real dream team, so to speak. And no wonder, the combination of overknees and miniskirt is like no other, particularly sexy and feminine.


Just like derbies, oxford shoes are classic men's shoes that are more likely to be worn in a business context. The contrasting cap is typical of Oxfords.


Peep toes

They became a trend, especially in the 1950s: Peeptoes are a charming mix of pointy pumps and sandals: the point is missing, so that the first two toes come out.




The name is derived from "Pantoufle", the French word for slipper, and they are used as such. Typical of slippers is the lack of the heel part - this makes them relatives of the mules, or mules.


Another form of mules are the sabots, which differ from mules only in their heel shape. While these are usually flat, sabots have a higher, chunky heel.

Sailing shoes (also docksiders or boat shoes)

Just like penny loafers, sailing shoes are also characteristic of the so-called preppy or college look. Students from Ivy League universities such as Harvard or Yale once made the comfortable sailing shoes known as casual shoes. The functional design is reminiscent of moccasins, but the lacing on the edge is typical for sailing shoes.


Anyone who can run in it is a real high-heel professional. Skyscrapers are extremely high heels that are even higher due to their plateau at the front.





When mules have a strap on the heel, they are no longer mules, but slingbacks. The strap is more comfortable to wear, because it gives the foot a better hold than in the open-back mules. Slingbacks are often elegant pumps with or without heels.