The 9 Best Shoes to Wear With Cocktail Dresses

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When you’re picking out a dress to wear to a party, it’s important to make sure you accessorize well. Check out our guide on the best shoes to wear with a cocktail dress to make sure you look your best.

When going to a cocktail event, chances are you’re most likely going to show up in a cocktail dress. These types of dresses are usually knee-length or above, and they’re not considered as formal as full-length gowns or other black tie dresses.

Cocktail dresses are also synonymous with party dresses, and they can be loaded with sequins, embellishments, and all the pizzazz you want. However, if you want to go for a simple look, you can never go wrong with a classic little black dress.


When dressing up for cocktail parties, you don’t want anything that will take away from your dress or make you uncomfortable in your skin.

The right kinds of shoes can definitely help you achieve the ultimate party look, and we will help you find your perfect pair. Whether you’re looking for heels, flats, or sandals, we have you covered with all the best choices.

The Best Shoes To Wear With Cocktail Dresses

1. Pumps

White cutout midi dress with blush pumps
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The Best Shoes To Wear With Cocktail Dresses: Blush pumps
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Let’s start with a classic shoes – pumps. Pumps are one of the best options to wear with your cocktail attire, hands down.

Pumps can come in different heel heights, and they are typically a little fancier than other types of shoes. Plus, if you opt for nude pumps or pointed-toe pumps, they can also create the illusion of longer legs, making them the ideal evening shoes.

When it comes to color, you can choose whatever you want as long as it’s a good match with your dress – when it doubt, go for classic black or neutral shoes!

2. Stilettos

Blue halter bodycon dress with high slit
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The Best Shoes To Wear With Cocktail Dresses: Nude ankle strap stilettos
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Stiletto heels are another great option to wear especially during formal occasions. They are similar to pumps, but they tend to be even more dressy. If you choose to wear stilettos, make sure you can walk in them! You don’t want to be stumbling around all night with these gorgeous high heels.

They’re especially great to wear with long dresses, but if you want to show off your shoes, wear them with short dresses instead. Make sure to accessorize with a classy clutch!

3. Block Heels

Light blush satin midi dress with black block heels
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The Best Shoes To Wear With Cocktail Dresses: Black suede platform block heels
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Block heels are a great option if you’re looking for something dressy but also comfortable for a special occasion.

They tend to be more stable than other types of heels, so you won’t have to worry about wobbling around. So, if you are going to do tons of walking on your night out, block heels are ideal.

Pro tip: for added comfort and stability, go for platform block heels! Platforms are designed to support the ball of your foot, so they’re much more comfortable than pumps and stilettos.

4. Strappy Heels

The Best Shoes To Wear With Cocktail Dresses: Nude strappy heels
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Strappy heels are a great option if you are comfortable walking in heels and prefer the look of an open-toe shoe. Strappy sandals come in all forms from minimalist nude heels to more striking colorful options, so there’s something for every dress.

If you choose to wear strappy heels, make sure the straps are adjustable. You don’t want them to be too loose or too tight.

5. Metallic Heels

Blush pink high low cocktail dress
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The Best Shoes To Wear With Cocktail Dresses: Gold heels
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Metallic heels are a great way to add a bit of sparkle to your outfit. They look best with dresses that are solid colors.

If you choose to wear metallic heels, make sure they don’t clash with your jewelry! So if you’re wearing silver shoes, make sure to wear silver jewelry too. Be sure to accessorize with a statement piece like a matching metallic clutch.

6. Ankle Boots

The Best Shoes To Wear With Cocktail Dresses: Black suede ankle booties
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Ankle boots are a great option if you want to add a little edge to your black dresses. They look best with dresses that have shorter hemlines and they’re ideal to wear during colder months.

7. Animal Print Heels

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Animal print heels are a great way to add a small statement piece to your outfit. These shoes look best with dresses that are solid colors, so that the two don’t clash.

In addition to this, make sure that your other accessories complement the wild print on your shoes. For example, don’t pair a different print bag with your snakeskin heels – metallic accessories, as well as accessories in a complementary color family to your dress are your best options!

8. Lace-Up Heels

Black floral jacquard midi dress
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The Best Shoes To Wear With Cocktail Dresses: Rose gold lace up heeled sandals
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Lace-up heels are a great way to add some intrigue to your outfit, and they’re great statement pieces. Plus, lace-up heels give off the illusion of long legs. They look best with all types of cocktail dresses.

If you choose to wear lace-up heels, make sure the laces are adjustable. You don’t want them to be too loose or too tight, or else your calves will look like sausages!

9. Slide Sandals

Light sage green cutout dress with slit
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The Best Shoes To Wear With Cocktail Dresses: White heeled sandals
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Slide sandals are a great way to show off your pedicure. They are the best choice if you want something simple and nothing too grand.

Slide sandals come with different heel heights, but if you’re not a fan of high heels, go for sandals with kitten or block heels instead. These sandals are great for casual wear too!

Commonly Asked Questions

Do cocktail dresses need to be worn with heels?

Previously, we would have answered with a resounding yes to this question, but Covid has changed the rules a little – wear whatever shoes you’re comfortable with, whether that means rocking heels or opting for flats instead. Dressy ballerina flats with a pointed toe or dressy flat sandals would be the best options if you do decide to only wear flats.

With this said, we still think that heels are the most stylish option to go with. If you absolutely can’t handle high heels, opt for kitten or block heels instead.

What is the best color shoe to wear with a black cocktail dress?

The best color shoe to wear with a black cocktail dress is typically nude or black, because these colors work with every dress color there is. However, you can really choose any color shoe that you feel comfortable in, and that matches your dress.

Can I wear sneakers with my cocktail dress?

While sneakers can be trendy in their own right, we would not recommend wearing sneakers with your cocktail dress for a night out. Cocktail dresses are usually reserved for formal and semi-formal events, and at these types of events, sneakers will typically look out of place.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the best shoes to wear with cocktail dresses! No matter what type of shoe you choose, make sure it fits well and is comfortable to wear. You don’t want to be stuck in uncomfortable shoes all night!

Do you have any favorite shoes that you like to wear with cocktail dresses? Let us know in the comments section! And if you’re looking for more fashion advice, don’t forget to check the posts down below.

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