How do you feel about kitten heels for women over 40?

by Sylvia

kitten heels

Last week I spoke about my personal dressing policy to wear my newest and nicest items as often as possible.

That is exactly why I wore my golden silk top again, which you also voted as the most popular of my fashion week outfits.

This week I remixed the top with my red Donna Karan skirt. I love the combination of red and gold/brown which you can also see in a more casual combination here and combined with an animal print belt.


This time I’m wearing a belt with beads and stones in red and brown (unfortunately not clearly pictured here) but I still wanted to add that nice texture of animal print.

Although these kitten heels are not strictly animal print shoes, they do feature a nice textured leather which adds an extra dimension to the outfit. More on the topic of kitten heels later!

The golden girls

The occasion was the 20th anniversary party of The Finder Magazine here in Singapore, which was held at the Ion Art Gallery.

Totally by coincidence both Anja and me showed up in golden outfits with similarly themed shoes. Anja had jazzed up her shoes with the amazing shoe accessories from Heels Diva.

I love her outfit!


Burton Morris

The gallery displayed work from the very talented pop art artist Burton Morris. I loved many of his paintings but the price tag of $25,000+ far exceeded my budget.


The open sandals with a kitten heel

However, what I would like to talk to you about in more detail today is the kitten heel. Specifically a kitten heel on a open sandal like the one I wore.


I believe the kitten heel is loathed by many and truth be told, I have never been a great fan myself. Whenever I bought heels in the past, they tended to be straight and usually blocky although I succumbed to black lacquered kitten heels about 1 year ago. In general I find straighter heels more modern looking and edgier and I have always found kitten heels a bit too lady like and perhaps even a bit aging and old-lady.

However, I was attracted to the print and texture of these shoes and initially tried on a pair of wedges in the same print. Unfortunately, I could not get those to fit properly so when I spotted these open kitten heels, I decided to try them instead.

They immediately felt very comfortable. The fact that this shoe was open in the front as well as the back, meant that they were easy to wear and nice and breezy for the humid Singapore weather. Since I had been looking for some brown / animal print heels to combine with some of my outfits, I decided to buy them.

In the heat of the moment I forgot that open shoes with kitten heels are not exactly very modern and can have an aging effect for women over 40. An opinion shared by a stylist I met recently who felt that women over 40 are better off with shoes that have closed fronts and backs and either a pump or straight heel. As you know, I feel very strongly that hip shoes can greatly contribute to a young-and-hip look, so I started wondering if I had made a mistake with these kitten heels.

When I look back at these pictures, I can see that a closed front would indeed have looked hipper. Still, comfort is a very important factor for me also, and sandals are simply a lot more comfortable to wear here in Singapore. I also feel that the great pattern and texture of the shoe overcomes the aging aspect of the open kitten heeled sandals while the kitten heel itself means that the shoes are almost as comfortable as flats.

So even though these may not be the best young & hip shoes I could get, I still feel that they will become a favourite. They are very versatile, can be worn with many outfits and did I mention they are comfortable…

How do you feel about kitten heels though? Are they a good choice for women over 40? Do you feel that open toes and heels are more aging? Or can you wear kitten heels depending on the design and print of a shoe? I’d love to hear your feedback!


{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jill Pontiere

Love these! As we age our balance makes those gorgeous stilettos a bit challenging! I think the Kitten Heel is very feminine!


2 Rebecca

I happen to like the kitten heel maybe because I never wear heels and wear mainly booties or ballet flats. I don’t really like the trend of wearing heavy, closed shoes with dresses or skirts. Although it is a modern look, I find it unflattering for many (other than the very young) and cuts the length of the leg a lot.
By the way Sylvia, your hair looks great!


3 Anne-Marie

Kitten heels are a wonderful compromise to uncomfortable high heels. They give us a little lift, elongate the legs and are not painful within 7 minutes of putting them on. Love.


4 Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

I wear almost no heels at all, but I would definitely wear these kitten heels for a dressier event. I don’t find them aging, but rather elegant.


5 traceyliz65

These are beautiful and I love kitten heels. There are just some days where they are the perfect shoe. I am so glad they are coming back.


6 Wendy

As a previous commenter said – the skyhigh stilettos start to take some effort – so I’m one who is slowly reducing the height of my heels, although I’ve never been a huge fan of kitten heels, I bought a pair ages ago and love them, I think it may be the leopard print part I love the most though.

Love your gold top Sylvia.



7 Covered Pefectly

I love them! It’s a way to wear cute shoes without the agony of those high, high heels. We need more styles in them!


8 Suzanne

Personally I love kitten heels. They still elongate my legs without making it impossible to walk for long periods of time. I don’t see why they would be considered aging just because they have a smaller heel. If the design itself is still well done the size of the heel shouldn’t matter.



9 Catia

I like kitten heels and I think they are wearable. I don’t think that they have an ageing effect. I wear them a lot but mostly as slingbacks to a maximum of 8 cm. Personally I have never been a fan of an open shoe or sandal even when I was younger. You look great!


10 Annette

I love all sorts of heels up to a certain height which I can still comfortably walk on. Kitten heels are gorgeous, especially with sling pumps I think.

Annette | Lady of Style


11 lissy

I really like a kitten heel. I spent a long part of my adult life wearing sky high heels which is especially treacherous when one lives in a city with brick and cobble streets. I’ve made more of an effort to wear shoes that I think are cool or chic but still easy to walk in so the kitten heel has been a great addition for me. I love the ones you are wearing too!


12 Koko

I love kitten heels. They’re elegant and feminine, and perfect for us aged 40+! I don’t think they are aging at all!


13 Rachel

I love these kitten heels, they look lovely with your outfit. I don’t own a pair as I am either in flats or heels but there is no particular reason why I haven’t got any. If I saw a pair like this I would definitely buy them. 🙂


14 kay kerns

I don’t wear any heels at all any more but I like the kitten heels. I never thought of them as aging or ‘old lady’.


15 Ann

I like kitten heels and these are cute and youthful. Excellent texture to add to many outfits. I wouldn’t think twice about wearing these attractive shoes. I do wonder about pumps. I have them in some great colors and textures but I do think they look old sometimes on me. Shoe choices are so personal and seemingly controversial. I didn’t know this until I started blogging.

blue hue wonderland


16 Antionette Blake

Kitten heels are cute but personally are too low for me. I usually wear higher heels everyday and will continue to do so until I can no longer – lol. At 52, I’ve earned that right.


17 Betti

I don’t think kitten heels are aging. Actually I think of them as cute and fun. I favor slingbacks over sandals or pumps, mainly because of the ability to tighten them around the heel. I have a narrow foot and my heel is actually AA, slingbacks or slides fit me the best. I can see how in Singapore you would want the open toe or sandal option. I actually think it can be aging for a 40+ woman to be teetering around in 5+ inch stiletto heels.


18 Deborah

Firstly I really like your kitten heels. They look delicate and feminine:) I don’t fully comprehend why an over 40 should wear closed toe, closed heel shoes and I would love you to share the stylist’s thinking behind that. I, like many 40+ women, look after my feet, paint my toe nails and consider my feet to be reasonably attractive:) So in the warm weather I love open toe footwear and a sling back or ankle strap that reveals my heel. I agree with you that interesting and modern shoe can make or break an outfit and can even turn a more classic outfit into something a little more chic / avant garde. Something that I feel ‘ages’ women is wearing clothing that doesn’t fit properly and shoes that are difficult to walk in. The kitten heel has a retro vibe, and is feminine and elegant… I don’t have any but I would try them.


19 Sylvia

I’m not quite sure to be honest. I think that a closed classic shoe just looks a bit more polished and modern. I tend to agree with that, but my need for comfort still wins anyway!


20 Sylvia

Thanks to all ladies for your feedback. It seems like the kitten heel is a lot more popular than I initially thought! I agree, we need a lot more shoes with this comfortable heel length!


21 Lorraine

I have taken an instant dislike to the stylist you met (and, in fact, anybody who says that once you get to a certain age you have to dress a certain way or chop your hair off).
I like kitten heels, sling-backs and open toes etc. I have never thought of them as ‘old’; I think they are sexy!
Clearly they don’t suit everybody’s style, their shape or their feet and not all of these shoes are attractive but most of us have some intuition about what we can or can’t wear in our old age!


22 Sylvia

Still, it’s a topic that I will probably revisit. Just to compare what the ‘experts’ say and what we as 40+ women think ourselves. Shoes can make or break an outfit so it’s important to get it right. I agree with you though that for most of us our own intuition will serve us best.


23 Lorraine

Please publish a picture of the stylist!


24 Greetje

Hahaha Lorraine, are you going to use his or her portrait to throw darts at??? LOL


25 Lorraine

I am far too nice to do something like that…ha ha!!


26 Lisa

I also would like to hear what the stylist’s reasonings are. The always and nevers always annoy me. We’re all different. We have different style goals, different personalities, different body types, different distances we need to walk and surfaces that we need to walk on. Why shouldn’t some of us wear kitten heels?

But a deeper question is the concern about aging. I for one intend to get old. The alternative is dying young and that just doesn’t seem appealing. So I’m going to age. I don’t care so much about looking my age as I do looking good for my age. I’m not trying to pass for someone 10 years younger. So I’m not sure why a shoe that makes me look like I’m in my 40s is such a bad thing.

I have a pair of close toed black heels that are a little higher than yours, but I think still qualify as kitten heels. I’ll admit they are not the cutting edge of fashion. But neither are they going to go out of style next month. I look at them as a staple with my black pencil skirt and gray trousers and when they wear out I’ll try and replace them with something very similar.


27 Sylvia

Hi Lisa, I think he wasn’t so much against the kitten heels for women over 40, but more against open fronts and backs. He felt that shoes with closed fronts and backs look hipper/younger I believe and advised his older clients to buy those.
I think most of us prefer to go for a young&hip look rather than an aging look, not so much to look younger but just to look current and modern. I think shoes can play an important part. That is why I opened the discussion here to see how others feel about certain shoes and whether or not they feel certain shoes age you. I’m happy to see that open kitten heels pass this test.

I agree that kitten heels and pumps are important staples in your closet that will never go out of style!


28 Poppy Buxom

I don’t like kitten heels because they tend to be paired with a pointed toe, which I find horribly uncomfortable.

I think kitten heels look dowdy … but it’s mostly they were last in style about 10 years ago. But that just means like long, full skirts and flared pants, that they are poised for a huge comeback.


29 Ral

Male perspective here: Perfect description to call kitten heels “dowdy”. Personally when I see a lady in kitten heels, it seems a dead giveaway that she is putting comfort first. There could also be some orthopedic reason she is not able to wear a 3” heel. But usually, I suspect the choice for kitten heels is an age thing, almost seems like a norm. It does seem to be appropriate for the 60-65+ age group, again largely due to convention. On the other hand, one can peruse red-carpet looks from celebrities and see that some women can wear higher heels, if it actually enhances their look. My wife, age 54, 5’7”, doesnt own kitten heels nor does she like them, but has many 2.5”-3” wedges, and closed toe dressier 3.5” pumps. She has tried the new platform pumps, as often their “net” lift is actually a better angle (more comfort) than true 4” Louboutins, which wife would find uncomfortable, despite being a sz9. It’s interesting that in the 80s, platform pumps were so stereotypical of the x-rated world, but now the younger girls wear them, our 31yr old daughter does. Open toe shoes seem unflattering, especially when coupled with kitten heels: could there be a combination that makes the foot look any longer? This does not apply to a 3” peep toe pump or wedge, which are cute, and have existed since the ‘40s. Stacey London on that show “What Not to Wear” gave a great description on how to choose comfortable higher heels, if in the mkt, and that was when the pointier-toe pumps first came out.


30 lasallepal

Although I have tried to love kitten heels, I find they are not for me. They certainly look great on you and I have seen them look marvelous on many women. However, I gave away all my kitten heel shoes except one pair of Miu Miu’s that I adore and wish were a higher heel.

I find kitten heels more trouble than their worth. Oddly enough, I have more difficulty walking in them than a 3 inch heel. The real issue is that my silhouette needs lengthening and my calves and ankles do not look as good in kitten heels. So, between the balancing (so use to a 3-3 1/2 inch heel) and the not-quite-as-flattering feature of the kitten heel, I usually pass on them. I love a little (1/2 inch platform pump with a 3 1/2 inch heel).


31 Nanne

Hi Sylvia,

It’s been a long time so I decided to “pop by” to see how you were doing and leave a comment 🙂 Congratulations on the 2 year anniversary of the blog, by the way!

While kitten heels are not my preferred choice, I can certainly appreciate the look on others. It depends more on your personal style than anything else. I do however think that kitten heels look better on women with slim legs. Otherwise it can actually look old fashioned and matronly.


32 Sylvia

Hi Nanne, Great to see you back here! Yes, I think your personal style is the important factor. They are not my preferred style, but I do like these ones. I will keep the amount of kitten heels to a minimum though.


33 une femme d'un certain âge

I love my kitten heels! I don’t think they’re inherently aging; it’s really all about how you style them. And shoes that are appropriate for and comfortable in your climate get two thumbs up from me. 🙂


34 Heidi // Frantic But Fabulous

Count me in as a member of the Kitten Heel Fan Club! My grumpy feet have never taken to particularly tall heels, so I’ve been wearing lower heels for ages, long before I ever hit 40. Yes, they’re more demure than sexy, but I don’t think that makes them aging. Chacun a son gout!


35 Suzanne

I have a pair of gray suede, pointy toed, kitten heeled, knee high boots and they are fabulous. They look great with skirts, dresses, and even under some wide leg trousers. I feel stylish and happy whenever I wear them. I do not believe in items being age inappropriate. If it fits your aesthetic and makes you feel pretty – wear it. 🙂 I really like what Lisa said above and 100% agree with her.


36 Greetje

Great outfit, great heels.
As for myself… with flat feet not such a good idea to have low heels. Otherwise.. sod the rules. Pardon my French.


37 The Style Crone

I think kitten heels are great. I wear them when they work with my outfit. The animal print heels look great on you Sylvia. Keepers!


38 Heather

I think you look great in your kitten heels as comfort is the main reason for the shoes you wear in a tough humid climate. It is a good compromise between a flat and a stiletto, so very elegant.


39 33

your outfit is OUTSTANDING! I wish I can pull off something like this, too. I can never seem to pull off belted look, always tugging and readjusting, way too self-conscious.

the kitten heels. i do have a pair for a very long time. a dark brown tiny croc embossed bruno magli, closed toe (kind of pointy toe box). they are so perfect with pencil skirt. the heel height is less than 1″ therefore a very safe kitten. I have found a black faux leather pair but the kitten heel is so unstable i had to return them.

although i don’t have outsized calves but i still prefer other heels than kitten. they are, in general, just not stable enough. As short as I am (5’4″) i don’t care for the platform front shoes. Over the weekend I was browsing quite a bit of fashion bloggers’ photos (the ones I have never visited) and most of them wore sky high shoes enabled with platform front. No wonder I never like them because they only serve to emphasize the shortness of a person.


40 Bella Q, The Citizen Rosebud

Like you I’m not a kitten heel fan per se- they hurt my back! But I do like the ones you’ve picked- and think they look sophisticated and modern. I love the print- and the fact that they look like you can walk comfortably in there for hours.

Loving the “Golden Girls!” You look divine amongst the work of art. Thank you for linking up with Shoe Shine- you are a star!


41 theresa

at 70, I feel that no shoe can really age me,…however, I have never liked the kitten heel.
and I feel like I should have an old lady type handbag,black straw hat with veil, and a black coat buttoned to the neck, to wear with them. kitten heels are right up there with spelling “cute” Kute.


42 Sylvia

Thanks for the honest feedback Theresa!


43 Debi

I have always loved the kitten heel, specially as I have aged. Being 5’10” I prefer not to wear sky high heels, not that I don’t want to stand out, but because the pant length and proportions of dresses and skirts change with these high heels. I don’t care for the current (actual past now) trend of shoes. The huge covered platform in the front makes feet look big, and something like Frankenstein’s monster. And I have noticed that most women do not walk well in them. While I understand pain for fashion, I think walking like your drunk can take away from your look.
For my taste, which is more along the lines of a classic look, think Grace Kelly, I prefer the classic pump in a great color, or for pants a lower heel enclosed toe. The problem with open toes is most of us don’t have great looking feet as we age, not everyone, but most of us.
So in a nut shell, yes I like kitten heels with closed toes.


44 Sylvia

Thanks for your feedback Debi!


45 Petra

Sylvia I love the sandals – they somehow remind me of Audrey Hepburn 🙂 The heels are so cute but I understand about the open toe thing – a closed toe would have looked better with the open back and heels, however finding this combination can be difficult. I think as long as you have outfits that go with them that are feminine (which you do!), they are perfect. And I think an older woman can wear these types of shoes as long as her feet are pedicured – I think that’s very important for open shoe wearers like us in the hotter climates.


46 Sylvia

I agree Petra, but these are more comfortable. And more often than not, comfort wins!


47 Delphinium

I like kitten heels. Infact, I have two identical pairs in ostrich skin (one pair in black and one pair in cream) with pointy toes, which I love. They go well with jeans, pants and knee length skirt. I find that sling back, low heel and open toe combination is unattractive and make me think of a little old lady (in her 80s). So, yes to kitten heels but it depends on the whole style of the shoe as well.


48 Sylvia

Thanks for your feedback Delphinium!


49 Julia

Kitten heels are great for work and those who are interested in a more modest heel. Comfortable and classic, they provide a traditional flair for any fashion occasion. Wearing them with an open toe and a print is a fantastic way to show off your own unique style with a more modern twist.


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