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What is a Stack Heel?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
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A stack heel is a specific type of women's shoe. Like many women's shoes, this type has a protruding design element at the back of the shoe which causes the wearer to look taller. In addition to increasing height, heels also change the way that the wearer moves and walks, sometimes in an aesthetically pleasing way. Stack heels are distinguished by their typically more chunky look, and their greater degree of comfort when compared to some other heeled shoes. Like other heeled shoes, learning to walk on a stack heel takes time and patience.

Heeled shoes have been around for centuries. A moderate heel tends to make a shoe more comfortable to wear, offering ankle support and making walking long distances much easier. The idea of increasing the heel dramatically was adopted by both men and women as long ago as Ancient Egypt. Heeled shoes can make the wearer look more distinguished, forcing him or her to move gracefully and also adding height. Most modern heeled shoes are designed for women only, and they have come to be associated with women's formal wear.

Modern heeled shoes run a gamut from wedges to stilettos. Wedges are made with extremely large, very chunky heels which sometimes take up almost the whole shoe. These shoes are also sometimes known as platform heels, and they may feature elevating wedges under the toe area as well. Stilettos, on the other hand, have very slender heels, making them difficult to balance on and walk with.

The stack heel strikes a happy medium between the two styles. It is a chunky shoe when compared to stilettos, often with a flared base which makes the heel even more supportive. However, the stack-style heel is not nearly as chunky as a pair of wedges. The shoe has curvy lines and elegance, while also offering support to the feet and ankles of the wearer. As a result, a stack heel is reasonably comfortable to wear, even for prolonged periods of time.

The height of the stack heel can vary quite widely. Unlike stilettos, which are usually associated with very tall heels, stack heels can provide relatively little lift. They can also feature extraordinarily long heels, although the longer the heel, the more potential discomfort. Unlike platform heels, stacked ones do not have elevating platforms under the frontal region of the foot. The stack heel design can be found on boots as well as typical dress shoes.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a BeautyAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By orangey03 — On Sep 04, 2011

Stack heel shoes are great footwear for the office. I bought some that look like slippers on top, but they have that chunky heel on the bottom. I wear them with everything, because they are dressy yet comfortable.

They are soft black suede with a small ribbon tied in a bow across the top. The ribbon loops through several slits on the sides of the shoes.

The stack heel is black and thick. It is slightly narrower at the bottom than at the top, but it’s a pretty substantial block of wood. It would be hard to tip over wearing these shoes.

By wavy58 — On Sep 04, 2011

Lots of online shoe stores label these as “stacked heel” instead of “stack heel.” I bought some last month, and this is how they were categorized.

They do affect the way that I walk. While they are a lot more sturdy than stilettos, they bend my feet in such a way that I have to walk more like a lady than I normally do. I usually reserve my stack heels for special occasions that require a dress and a formal gait.

Surprisingly, I can stand around and talk for hours in these shoes and not feel pain. I am amazed at the way they spread out the pressure that normally would be focused in one point on the back of my feet.

By seag47 — On Sep 03, 2011

I have some brown leather stack heel boots that I wear all during fall and winter. Since it doesn’t hurt to walk in them, they have quickly become my favorite footwear.

The heel is slightly flared up from the bottom to the base of the boot. The part of the heel that touches the ground is thick enough to provide sturdy support.

I am about two inches taller when I wear these boots. The stack heels give me enough of a lift to be almost the same height as my boyfriend. Though they are long, they are also thick, so I don’t wobble around and walk funny.

By cloudel — On Sep 02, 2011

I have a pair of stack heel loafers. The heel is brown, and it looks like several layers of wood have been stacked on top of each other and fused together to form the heel.

The heel is rounded in back and flat on the inner side. It is pretty short when compared with most heels, and I can wear these shoes on days when I have to do lots of walking, because they are quite comfortable.

When I’m shoe shopping, I actually seek out stack heels now. I am always looking for comfort and style together in a pair of shoes.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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