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9 Vogue Editors Share Their Favorite Formal Shoes, Ahead of the Met Gala 2021

Vogue | September 2021

By Alexis Bennett

The joys of getting dressed up for a fundraiser like the Met gala, which supports the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are undeniable. This year’s dress code calls for a celebration of American independence. And while the theme leaves room for a variety of interpretations (I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some star-spangled looks or red, white, and blue moments), one thing is for certain: Formal shoes are just as important as the garments.

In some cases, they’re the finishing touch that takes an outfit to the next level. In other scenarios, shoes might not even be seen underneath a floor-sweeping gown. However, that doesn’t take away from their importance. An ill-fitting pair could instantly ruin the night. While a comfortable option has the power to help its wearer stand tall and confidently conquer the dance floor and those iconic steps leading up to the museum’s entrance.

In celebration of the black-tie gathering, we asked Vogue editors to share their go-to formal shoes for glamorous evenings like the 2021 Met gala. Ahead, you’ll discover some comfortable and—above all—beautifully made designs perfect for an enchanting occasion.

Virginia Smith, fashion director

I’m going for the glamorous comfort at the Met this year—love these SJP slides!

Lilah Ramzi, features and commerce editor

Two words: Kitten heel. I actually stopped wearing full-on stilettos years ago, but if any girl or gal asks me about what shoe has all-night wearability, it’s a pointed toe, baby heel. The low altitude prevents sore arches, and the lack of straps means no blisters. Plus, the pointed toe means your foot is covered, and isn’t that most elegant for black tie?

Emily Farra, senior fashion news writer

Marion Parke makes the most comfortable heels I’ve ever tried, hands-down. The podiatrist-turned-designer uses a patented “intelligent” insole that somehow doesn’t alter the look or silhouette of her (very chic) shoes in the slightest. I’ve walked miles in her chic ankle boots during New York Fashion Week and have stood for hours in her heels at weddings. This strappy pair would have been perfect for working on the Met Gala red carpet tonight!

Rickie De Sole, executive fashion director,

The Manolo Blahnik Hangisi is my go-to red carpet shoe. The heel height is just right, and the crystal buckle is like jewelry on my feet! Mai Morsch, associate market editor With the Met gala, or any party for that matter, I’ve reached a level of acceptance that my feet will eventually suffer in the name of fashion. Nonetheless, Brother Vellies and Tory Burch make some of the more comfortable pumps, in my opinion. Either of these pairs would look gorgeous for the night’s festivities.

Alexis Bennett, Commerce Writer

The older I get, the more I look for sneaky ways to bring comfort into my shoe collection. My trick for formal evenings is to look for options with wider, curved heels—like this Amina Muaddi pair. The extra width on the stiletto makes it easier to walk and maintain my balance throughout the night.

Charlotte Diamond, Associate Fashion Editor

For the 2019 Camp-themed Met gala, I went on a weeks-long hunt to find the perfect pair of statement, punchy heels that I could stand in all night. The RealReal came through with an amazing pair of Saint Laurent platforms that I still wear to this day. While the exact shoe isn’t available anymore, these gold and black striped platforms are sure to be just as fun!

Irene Kim, production and editorial coordinator

I’ve only ever really worn a proper stiletto type of high heel three times in my life—two being at my high school prom and then on the eve of my 21st birthday party, and two out of those three times, I immediately switched over to flats. I magically scored these beautiful gladiator heels from Tom Ford at an insane fashion closet clearout right before my 21st birthday and wore them for a majority of the night, only unwillingly removing them right before heading to the bars for the sake of not destroying them. And due to the fact that it is a sandal-type of heel, they left me with zero blisters, which in my book makes for the best footwear for all-night partying.

Laird Borrelli-Persson, archive editor

Cinderella shoes for a dream ball. These are hand-crafted of paper by the Danish artist Violise Lunn and belong in a museum collection.


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