The ankle strap, be it on a pump, sandal bootie or sandal is the footwear style of the season, and seasons to follow. The straps are positioned on or above the ankle bone and make a statement. 

I adore the style. It’s a tad more interesting than a regular pump or sandal. And the sleeker versions look modern and pretty. 

I’ve had lots of practice helping clients find ankle strap footwear to suit their ankle width, leg shape, and comfort levels this year, and learned two important things along the way: 

  1. You do not need to have dainty ankles and long legs to sport ankle strap footwear. We can all wear ankle straps if we choose the style that works best on us. 
  2. Soft leather is very important. It makes the ankle strap a lot more comfortable and less likely to rub your skin raw.

Here are some characteristics to look for in an ankle strap shoe or sandal. Many of them are about offsetting the horizontal line created by the ankle strap. There is no need to adhere to all of them at once.

Low Colour Contrast

Choose a colour that creates a low contrast against the skin tone of your bare legs, even if it’s just the ankle strap portion of the shoe. A nude-for-you shade is one option, but so is any colour that blends into the colour of your skin, like metallics, shades of tan and browns, or snakeskin. If you’re really pale like me, you’ll find that white ankle straps are low contrast against your skin tone. And darker colours are low contrast against dark skin tones. 

Rachel Zoe GladysMarvin K Ideal

Broad Strap Width

Ankle straps come in all widths. Broader straps tend to be more comfortable, whereas narrow straps can cut into the skin as you stride. Broad ankle straps are generally best for larger ankles, although they look just as good on smaller ankles when the rest of the shoe is refined.

Nine West CallenNine West Vilta

Crisscross Styles

I’d never have guessed that ankle straps with a crisscross effect are flattering on larger ankles but they work like a charm! The V-shape that is created in front breaks up the horizontal line of the strap and wraps around the ankle much like a lower vamped shoe.

Diba Dec A Dent 4875Splendid Evanston Wedge Sandal

Loose Strap Fit

A looser ankle strap looks more flattering to my eye. It gives you ample room for motion, AND it creates less of a horizontal line across the leg. Tight ankle straps look and feel more cutting. Some come with adjustable ankle straps and others don’t. Either way, make sure you have enough strap length to create a looser strap fit across the ankle. 

Vince Camuto RykerAetrex Marissa Adjustable Ankle Strap


If you are at all in doubt that ankle strap footwear is flattering because it cuts the leg line — choose heels rather than flats. A low heel counts so don’t think you have to wear extra high heels. Larger ankles look great in wedged ankle strap shoes, or chunkier heel styles. 

KORS Michael Kors ShayUGG Nyssa

Pointy Toes

Pointy toe shoes elongate the leg line, offsetting the cutting horizontal line of the ankle strap, especially when the shoe is low contrast and has a heel. Remember that pointy toes come in all shapes of point, from almond toes to extra long and pointy.

B Brian Atwood MercadaSam Edelman Okala Pump

It’s amazing how the higher position of a broad ankle strap above the ankle bone draws attention to and away from the ankle. That’s why they can work for all shapes of ankle. It sounds counterintuitive but you’ll get what I mean once you start trying on the style. 

I have wanted a pair of pointy toed pumps with broad ankle straps and low heels for over a year. Their refined and elegant silhouette really appeals to the ladylike aspect of my style persona. If I did not have fussy feet, I would wear these white darlings with skirts, dresses, long shorts, harem pants, cropped pants and boyfriend jeans. 

Over to you. Have I dispelled the myth that you can’t wear ankle strap footwear, and are there further concerns with the style? Do you already wear statement ankle straps?