Heel to Toe
Shoe Brands That Give Back

As women, we work hard and we play hard. And we care about how our feet look and feel while doing it. Our shoe fetish feels a lot more "right" knowing that many top shoe designers are highly regarded in the philanthropic world. Many of them raise awareness and donate millions to diverse causes from agricultural scholarships to rape centers. Here are just a few examples of shoe brands that give back. 


Miuccia Prada, granddaughter to the fashion empire’s founder Mario Prada, started a nonprofit organization in 1993 called Prada Arte Milano to support contemporary art and industrial building in Milan. It has been renamed to the Prada Foundation and has broadened focus to include photography, cinema, design and architecture.

Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo’s philanthropic efforts seem to be as dynamic and diverse as his shoe designs. He has partnered with The Elton John Foundation and has raised millions for a South African Rape Centre. He designed a one-of-a-kind line of shoes to raise funds and awareness for the disaster in Fukushima, Japan. He used local fabrics and silks as well as shoe making techniques with all proceeds donated to local organizations. Co-Founder Tamara Mellon has recently launched the Jimmy Choo Foundation which is focused on women’s empowerment.

Donna Karen

Donna Karen has been a distinguished philanthropist her entire career. She uses her company’s visibility and resources for a number of social causes including AIDS awareness and education, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and - along with her husband - formed the Karan Weiss Foundation in 1999. In 2007, she began the Urban Zen Initiative, which works to advance wellness, preserve culture and empower children. She also works closely with the Clinton Global Initiative to support and develop Haitian Artists.

Manolo Blahnik

When sample shoes build up to a sizable supply for Manolo Blahnik, they are taken to a sample sale at Litchfield, Connecticut’s Arethusa Farm. The sale benefits the Arethusa Farm Scholarship Fund, which helps agriculture students pay for their education.

BCBG Max Azria

One of the most philanthropic couples in Las Angeles, Max Azria and Lubov Azria support an array of compelling causes. The American Cancer Society as well as Susan G. Koman for the Cure are just two. Their interests span into the art world and include NYC’s Whitney Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, or MOCA, Los Angeles.

This short list is really just the tip of the fashion iceberg as to what socially conscious designers do with their time and resources. As a consumer, we have the opportunity to make informed choices and choose where our money goes... right down to the shoes that we buy. It's just another way to feel good while looking good.

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What to Wear to the Office During the Summer

Our Top 5 Trends Keep you Professionally Cool When Temperatures Rise

Warmer weather is a perfect excuse to jazz up the work wear wardrobe. Now is the opportune time to mix in colors, prints and accessories that might look less than appropriate during the winter months. 

Look for inspiration everywhere. Allow music and art festivals to inspire your professional fashion spirit. Don’t forget that farmer's markets, outdoor concerts and other venues can be a wealth of outfit inspiration, and a treasure trove for that hard-to-find accessory you’ve been searching for.

1. Fitted, Detailed Dresses

These can be a fun day-to-night work option for the summer. Feel free to mix up the textures: leather and mesh, silk and metal, and a throw on a jacket and some accessories for an extra polished look.

2. Bright, Vintage-Inspired Prints

Who doesn’t feel lovely wearing bright floral patterns? Are fruits and flowers too much for the cubicle? Try a small purse or hand bag in a fun print.

3. Slick Jacket

A slick jacket is the working girl's go-to piece. Again, texture is fun, especially in the summer. Look for linens, soft suede and and juxtapositions in style/print like this floral bomber jacket or a sequined tuxedo.

4. Sequins

A few sparkles can really jazz up an outfit, but a word of caution; when incorporating sequins, a little goes a long way. Keep it to one sequined piece or accessory and pair with neutral tones.

5. Pencil Skirt

Look and feel pretty, and powerful! The pencil skirt is timeless, flattering and feminine, and can hold its own during a power lunch. Look for lightweight fabrics that offer some stretch and pair with a blouse.  

As a fashion conscious professional, use the summer to experiment with your professional look. Dabble in sequins and prints and, when in doubt, don a slick jacket. And don't forget some foxy shades. You're feeling cooler already!

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Top 20 Designer High Heel Brands

A few times a year, we tune in to watch as our favorite stars and celebrities hit the red carpet for their night of showcase and honor. A night where we watch them accept awards and nominations for the best of the best in entertainment. We ooh and ahhh over what designer they’re wearing as they hit the red carpet, and in our head (or perhaps out loud) give our thumbs up or down of approval.

A big part of that 'yay' or 'nay' vote is the shoes. At least, it is for us. So, we've compiled a list of nominees for Top 20 Designer High Heel Brands. We've chosen one shoe that exemplifies each brand. Here goes.

Top Designer High Heel Shoe Brands

20. Burberry www.burberry.com | Founded in the mid 1800's, Burberry is one of the oldest designer fashion brands still hot on the market. These riveted check pumps are a pointed toe pump with classic Burberry check print, embellished by a brass buckle at the toe. Anyone with any shoe sense would be able to match up this shoe with its iconic brand. 

19. Alexander Wang www.alexanderwang.com | One of the youngest designers on our list, Alexander Wang is an American-born rising star whose downtown style draws inspiration from the 1990's grunge scene. These high heeled boots have 90's written all over them. A high heel doesn’t just have to stop at the heel. These black leather boots by Alexander Wang travel up your fashion forward legs, end with back knee cutouts, and accented with gold knee snaps. It’s a great high heel boot for all occasion; speaking success and style to all who watch.

18. Sophia Webster www.sophiawebster.com | A relatively new shoe designer, Sophia Webster has already seen tremendous success. These high heels embody all the gorgeous aspects of a fabulous shoe: glitter, glam, black, and a bow tie in front. Highlights your ankles perfectly. 

17. Sergio Rossi www.sergiorossi.com Sergio Rossi's philosophy was simple: "Think of a shoe, not as a superimposed ornament, but as the continuation of the body". This turquose, geometric patterned pump with a pink patent leather toe and a red patent leather heel embodies that statement.


16. River Island www.riverisland.com | Rihanna may have just announced she will launch a fashion line through River Island, but it's been a global fashion icon for years. This sophisticated ankle high heel looks fabulous all year long. It’s covered ankle boot style with a high heel is a combo made in heaven. The rich blue color shocks and awes, and will turn heads everywhere you go.


15. Yves Saint Laurent www.ysl.com | He started his career working under Christian Dior, and ended up one of the most iconic fashion designers in history. This ankle strap sandal, featuring black suede and gold metallic leather, exemplifies Saint Laurent's style, which Catherine Deneuve once said was for "women who lead double lives.” 

14. Prada www.prada.com | For the bold and the beautiful,. Prada’s silk beaded purple high heel has intricate beading, height, and glam. With an ankle strap that secures your heel’s sexiness, it can be worn at a fab event, a night out on the town, or down the red carpet. 

13. Dolce & Gabbana www.dolcegabbana.com | Shoe Gods Dolce & Gabbana are an Italian fashion house with a highly recognizable name by most fashionistas. With this heel, they incorporate the historic art for of baroque into a black high heel. The gold scripted art with font strap provides a beautiful, elegant shoe for the most elegant of occasions. 

12. Manolo Blahnik www.manoloblahnik.com | Manolo Blahnik was already an international, award-winning fashion brand before Sex and the City made it a household name. Putting 50 Shades of Grey to shame, this shoe’s sexy grey style, cutouts, heights, and sophistication make this heel our choice for the list. Great to wear to the workplace, in the board room, or a day out shopping for the top trends in high fashion.

11. Jimmy Choo www.jimmychoo.com | Jimmy Choo is known for his eye-catching dramatic designs, loved by all, worn by only the bold. These purple feathered high heels have double ankle straps for extra drama; just leading your eyes to the exotic feather tassels in the front of this stunning shoe. The photo doesn’t do this regal purple shoe justice.

10. DKNY www.dkny.com | Once in a while we need to step away from the glitz and glam of our favorite designer heels and wear something a bit more, low key? If you’re looking to do this; then the more simple, yet just as fabulous high heel by DKNY will do that for you. A great neutral brown for all seasons, this heel acts as a default when you still want to be stylish but keep a low profile.

9. Miu Miu www.miumiu.com | Born out of the Prada family, Miu Miu is a high fashion brand this list should not overlook. This shoe highlights neutral glam just the way we like it: mauve colored suede shoes with front straps and peep toes. The glittery gold back and heels steal the show as you strut your stuff to your red carpet event.

8. Valentino www.valentino.com | Valentino Garavani is a historic fashion icon who definitely makes our list with his black ankle high heeled boots. This shoe can take a cute little black dress in a completely different direction. Wrapped from ankle to tow with studded straps, this modern shoe turns heads and takes names.

7. Alexander McQueen www.alexandermcqueen.com | McQueen is known for his ability to mix strength with fragility. This white high heel exemplifies this, with elegance and a clean, sleek fashion statement. A white high heel that can be worn again and again at an array of occasions.

6. BCBGMAXAZRIA www.bcbgmaxazria.com | Elegance and femininity meets high fashion at BCBG. This shoe is stunning with an elegant lattice style, complete with gold heel stems. These little numbers would be beautiful for any spring event, including a wedding.

And the Top Five High Heel Shoe Designers...

5. Badgley Mischka www.badgleyandmischka.com | American fashion designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka have had great brand recognition through the years. In 2006, Sharon Stone replaced Mary Kate and Ashley Olesen as the spokesmodel. Then, their dress was worn by Charlotte York on Sex and the City. These shoes are one of our favorite styles most recently seen amongst brides and bridesmaids alike. Fun and frilly, this shoe speaks beauty, elegance, and chic perfection.

4. Aperlai www.aperlai.com | Alessandra Lanvin (married to a descendant of the famed Lanvin fashion house) is the creator of Aperlai, a red-carpet favorite. Aperlai is known for providing us with the freshest of high fashion, and this in-season mint heel is no exception. This shoe has the classiness of a sleek black high heel, the trendy mint color, and professional style, allowing you to wear this high heel anytime, anywhere.

3. Brian Atwood www.brianatwood.com | Nude high heels can get boring quite easily. But not this style by shoe legend Brian Atwood. Atwood is known for his playful and even flashy style, with heels that strike the perfect balance of "too much" and high fashion. Nude and black sophistication go hand in hand with these heels, creating a bold and daring high heel that everyone loves. Destined to continually top the shoe charts year after year.

2. Kate Spade www.katespade.com | Kate Spade is a New York based designer who started her career with handbags and now is a fashion staple for a multitude of items. Every woman needs a pair of basic black high heels. Kate Spade (as usual) goes the extra high heeled mile and brings us a classic black heel that can be worn anytime, anywhere and will never lose it’s timeless, fashionable elegance. A staple for every woman who has a love of shoes and fashion.

1. Christian Louboutin www.christianlouboutin.com | Are you seeing red more frequently on the soles of your favorite red carpet heels? That's Christian Louboutin's signature style jumping out at you. Louboutin is a favorite Parisian designer whose shoes top all sorts of lists. Louboutin’s “ Cinderella” high heel brought tears to many when this style was released. It was designed with love, inspiration, and the hope that every woman would feel like a princess in these. Intricately decorated with crystals, beading, and butterflies, this shoe is one that will never lose it’s place in fashion history. It surpasses all standards and is fit for a princess. We’re obsessed. 

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Our Favorite (Big) Places to Shop for Stilettos Online

Shopping online for stilettos definitely has its benefits. You can look at a much wider array of shoes than in any store, and often times, shoe stores have easy or free return policies. Here is a list of our top ten places to buy stilettos online. We know there are many more out there, but we're talking about the big superstore shoe places.

 Top Five (Big) Places to Buy Stilettos Online

1. Heels.com

Heels.com has a bit more of a small company feel than some of the other sites we mention here. They still have great brand variety and amazing customer service, but their design and marketing message is a little more playful than your average corporate store, which we like. We also like that they have a charity shopping feature (shop for the cure)

  • Free Shipping
  • Free Returns
  • Over 140 brands
  • Founded in 2007
  • Based in Charlotte, NC

2. DSW
Definitely one of the behemoths in the world of shoe shopping, DSW stands for Designer Shoe Warehouse. What you'll get is a huge variety, streamlined service, and nice shopping features. A huge benefit of shopping online at DSW is that you can always return and exchange at any nearby store location.

  • Free Shipping
  • Free Exchanges
  • Nearly 350 brands in the Women's department
  • Founded in 1991
  • Based in Columbus, OH

3. Zappos

We all know and love Zappos for their culture and wit, but when it comes to shoes, the most important thing is the bottom line: looking good and not breaking the bank. Zappos isn't exactly the cheapest shoe store on the market, but they have a great variety of really good shoes, and the fact that you can return them for up to a year just can't be beat. 

  • Free Shipping
  • Free Returns (365 Days)
  • 250 brands in Women's heels
  • Founded in 1999
  • Based in Hendersonville, NV

4. Shoes.com

While Shoes.com is another one of those well-rounded, "we have it all" shoe stores, that's not necessarily a bad thing. They have a wonderful search and filter functionality on the site for you to narrow down exactly what you want. Have a vision for your next big fashion statement, but can't find the right shoes to pair? Try Shoes.com.

  • Free Shipping
  • 60 Day Returns (shipping not included)
  • About 100 brands in "very high" heels category
  • Owned by Brown Shoe Co.
  • Based in St. Louis, MO 

5. eBay

The reason we love eBay for shoes might be obvi, but we'll say it anyway: deals. How many times have you bought a pair of shoes and had them sit in your closet for a year before you realized, "I'm never going to wear these"? That's what hundreds of women worldwide are doing right now on eBay Fashion... and you can capitalize on it! 

  • Shipping & Returns depend on seller
  • 50+ brands in high heels
  • Founded in 1995
  • Based in San Jose, CA 

*Bonus* - We also really like Shoedazzle.com. Take a personalized styling quiz, view your showroom, and go shopping!


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