Difference Between Pumps and Heels (With Table)

Footwear is an essential part of an individual’s attire. Footwear is clothing of the foot to protect from any ground texture and also temperature. Putting on good footwear creates a good impression among people. There are a variety of footwear. Pumps and heels are one of the most used varieties among women.

Pumps vs Heels

The difference between pumps and heels is that pumps are comparatively more comfortable than heels. Pumps may or may not look elegant while heels provide more of an elegance and gracious look. Pumps come under the casual dressing category i.e., they can be used regularly; whereas heels are preferred at any parties or special occasions.

Pumps are closed to the toe and are slightly low heeled. Pumps are often called court shoes. Pumps have no straps, laces and buckles which makes them stylish cum comfortably easier to wear. Pumps can be worn on any occasion, may it be formal or informal, these shoes never fail to give a sober look to the entire attire.

While, heels are also closed to the toe but are significantly very higher than the ground. Heels have straps, laces and buckles which gives them a very elegant look. Due to the straps, laces and buckles, heels can be very uncomfortable to wear for a longer time.

Comparison Table Between Pumps and Heels

Parameters of ComparisonPumpsHeels
Heel height Pumps are low to slightly heeled.Heels are significantly high heeled.
Preference It can be worn in any occasion. It can be worn only in parties and special occasions.
ComfortPumps are very comfortable to wear. Heels are very painful and uncomfortable to wear.
Risks InvolvedHave no risks. Are prone to injury and foot or ankle cramps.
Affect on healthDoes not affect the health at all. Affects the body balance & posture, and also increases back pain on consistent wearing.

What are Pumps?

A pump, also known as a court shoe, as it has a low cut in the front of the shoe or near the toe. Pumps can have a shoe buckle or a bow for making them look more attractive. Pump shoes have a vamp shape and they first emerged at the end of the 18th century.

Earlier pump shoes had buckles but were replaced by bows in the middle of the 19th century. These shoes are generally made up of leather and since then are counted as a part of formal dressing. Women wear slightly heeled pump shoes.

The shape of the shoe varies from place to place but in some parts of the United Kingdom women wear pump shoes with a slight cut near the toe with a medium height of the heel. While in some parts women prefer wearing fully covered toes i.e., with no cut in the front.

Pumps are generally made from leather but these can be made by using any material. Pumps can be worn with every type of dress or clothing. Wearing a pump shoe with a skirt gives a very sober look. Models to wear the stiletto or the front cut pump shoes with swimsuits to attain an attractive look and as well as walk comfortably due to its medium heel height.

What are Heels?

Heels or high-heeled shoes are tall and raised significantly higher from the ground. The history of high heels dates back to the 10th century when the Persian cavalry used to wear boot heels to order to look taller in the stirrups. Riders, who were into arrow shooting and horse-riding used to wear heels for sitting safely on the horse.

There were many other reasons for which heels were worn in ancient times. Heels do provide a very elegant look but it is prone to injury and pain to the leg. Wearing heels regularly can result in severe lower back pain, it was found from a survey done on 200 women by the Pennsylvania State University in 2001.

Heels can also affect the posture of the body, the higher the heel is the higher are the chances of an increase in the cervical and lumbar muscle of the spinal cord. Heels have a variety in themselves. There are stacked heels, Cuban heels, continental heels, angle heels, pinet heels, wedges, stiletto, bar style, pantaloon heel, etc.

Heels are generally made up of silk and leather but various other materials were also used in the past. Wooden cork and steel wrapped in some materials were used in making heels during World War 2. The use of steel enabled show-makers or designers to make heels taller. In the 10th century leather with cowhide were used as materials to make heels.

Main Differences Between Pumps and Heels

  1. Pumps are flat to low or slightly heeled shoes; whereas heels are taller and significantly higher than the ground.
  2. Pumps do not have any buckles or laces; whereas heels are laced and have buckles.
  3. Pumps can be worn formally as well as informally; whereas heels are meant for parties and special occasions.
  4. Pumps are comfortable footwear; whereas heels are very uncomfortable and hard to balance for a longer period.
  5. Pumps do not have any risk of injury; whereas heels are prone to pain and injury and affect the body posture adversely.


Pumps and heels both are unique in their way. Pumps are adaptable to any occasion and that’s what makes pumps versatile among women footwear compared to heels. The most important point to remember is pumps are not harmful as heels are and at the same time are stylish.

Heels are always very higher than the ground but pumps are available in all shapes and heights. Pumps with covered toes give a sober and front cut at the same time can provide an alluring look to the attire. Pumps are not prone to any foot & ankle injury but wearing a heel is a matter of concern. Therefore, heels are unique but not versatile.


  1. https://www.bos.gov.ls/oknejifegf/rfb-strass-flower-5096253.html
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=MGpqDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=pumps+and+heels&ots=KZa4IASZUr&sig=jyqqz0GFL4o6ozrJYVNFk7w02eo
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