Many teens are spending as much money on their shoes as they are on their prom dresses, if not more. That's how important a shoe is to completing a look. A great pair of shoes complements the dress and makes the girl look pretty or glam from head to toe, while a boring shoe can ruin her look.
Cassandra Morris, the About.com guide to prom and formal dances, shares some of the top trends in prom shoes for this year:
--Jeweled. Sparkly shoes add drama, and they also serve to catch and reflect prom lights for an extra wow factor. Shoes might be fully accented with clear or colored rhinestones, or the sparkle might be in the straps, toe accents or heel, borrowing from high-fashion runway looks and designer collections. The current colors for shoes dazzle, including red, purple, blue and multi-color. Morris adds, "If your dress is full of jewels, skip the jeweled shoes and all jeweled accessories" so that there's not too much sparkle in your look.
--Metallics. Different from jeweled shoes covered in stones, the metallic shimmer is in the shoe's fabric itself and could be a glittery bronze, silver, gold or copper or also a bright color such as red, purple, blue and fuchsia. Metallic shine can be an all-over look or an accent to the heel or toe.
--Bright colors. Choose brightly colored shoes in a vibrant shade that complements the dress without matching it. Morris says shoe-dress matching is a "prom disaster waiting to happen," but at the very least, it isn't a standout choice like a stylishly surprising contrast color. Some prom shoes are even floral-patterned to accent a solid-colored dress.
--Cutouts. Because cutouts are a top trend for prom dresses -- at the waist, on the back or in the neckline -- it makes sense that complementary shoes with cutouts would be a big trend this year. Morris suggests trying a shoe that shows a little skin, such as cutouts on the sides of the shoes or over the toe.
--Strappy. A single strap can look boring if the dress has a lot of drama, so choose a shoe with multiple straps -- either a collection of small straps lined up together or a few wider straps. A collection of straps hold the foot in place, which could make it easier for a teen to walk and dance in heels, and the straps add an extra opportunity for jewels, shimmer and sparkle.
--Platform toes. This shoe style has an extra-thick platform under the toes, which looks ultra-stylish and is right on trend for this spring and also adds a few inches to a girl's height. Morris says that platform-toe shoes are often easier to walk and dance in, so this style may be a better choice than just a platform heel.
--Animal prints. According to Morris, leopard, alligator and snakeskin prints are on trend, and cheetah and zebra prints also join in the possibilities. These prints are all the more modern in bright colors for added flair.
--Bows. A simple bow at the toe, especially one embellished with sparkle, adds a pretty touch to a prom shoe, especially if the gown is elegant and in a solid color with a touch of sparkle at the neckline.
It doesn't matter whether a prom dress is long and flowing or short and flirty; those shoes are going to be on display. Many teens say that one of their must-get photos from prom night is the "shoe shot," in which they and their friends put their feet forward in a circle and a photo is taken from above. Everyone wants to have the best shoe in the circle and to wear it again and again at other events, such as a graduation party or a summer wedding. This is the point at which some teens discover a love of shoes, beginning a fashion passion that they'll carry forward into their futures.