If you’re like most guys (including me), women’s shoes are a completely foreign concept. When women get together and talk about shoes — or, heaven forbid, ask you about them — it probably sounds like they’re talking a completely different language.

Her: “Honey, I love these two shoes, but should only buy one pair. Which do you like better, the Mary Janes or the Slingbacks? And do you think the metallic detail on the ankle strap is too dressy for the McGurty’s wedding shower? Does the Taupe pair make my legs look longer? Is the Peep Toe too risque?

You: “Uh . . . What?”

Almost nothing in the world gets women as excited as shoes. Unfortunately, few other subjects in the world are as mystifying to men. However, there is hope! With a few easy tips, you many not only be able to converse with her about her shoes, but even buy a pair for her!

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Knowing A Few Shoe Terms

Learning about women’s shoes is just like any other subject, say auto mechanics, or sports. It helps to have a basic understanding of the jargon. So here are some basic terms.

slingback shoes

Flats: Shoes with no heel (or a very low heel).

Mary Jane: The style of a shoe with a strap across the instep. The strap can be attached with elastic or a buckle, making it easy to slip on and off.

Mules: Backless, closed-toe slippers or shoes.

Wedge shoes

Platform: A style of shoe featuring a thicker sole at the front; the heel is typically high to accommodate the higher height of the sole.

Pump: A low-cut women’s shoe, typically moderate in heel height. A classic.

Pump shoes

Slingback: Any shoe with an open back and a strap around the heel.

Slip-On: easily put on or taken off, as shoes without laces.

Thong: A backless sandal held to the foot at the big toe by means of a thong.

Wedge: A heel that is as wide as the shoe itself and follows the shoe’s contour from the ball of the foot to the heel. The heel may be of any height.

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Now you’re ready to dive in and try to figure out which shoes to buy her. Start by looking in her closet to see what sizes her current shoes are. Women’s shoes are typically measured in width (letters), and length (numbers).

Common widths are:

AA – Very Narrow
A  – Narrow
M  – Medium
W  – Wide

If your lady’s shoes are any width other than Medium, you won’t be able to by her Carlos by Carlos Santana shoes, as that’s all they come in. Luckily, most women are Medium width, so that’s likely what you’ll encounter.

Carlos by Carlos shoes are offered in lengths anywhere from 5 to 11. And shoes come in “half lengths” as well, so for example you could get 5.5, 6, 6.5, etc. Make sure to check several different pairs of her current shoes, as there may be a variance. To be safe, if you’re buying a pair of Santana shoes for her, you should match the measurement of the longest shoe in her closet.

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