What is a Peep Toe Shoe?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

A peep toe shoe is a hybrid of the closed toe shoe and the open toe shoe, with a small opening at the toe. Normally, part of the big toe and the second toe are visible in this type of shoe. This is a fashion trend particular to women's shoes and is common in shoes that are worn in warm or mild weather. Many footwear designers include at least one peep toe shoe in their spring and summer collections.

Peep toe shoes show only a few toes.
Peep toe shoes show only a few toes.

A key feature to this kind of footwear is the exposure of the toes. While only a small opening must show the toes, the rest of the foot may be covered or not. A boot that happens to have the correct kind of opening at the toe could be considered a peep toe shoe. A sandal that covers very little more than the required amount of the toe area could also be called a peep toe shoe.

Wearing flesh-toned pantyhose with peep toe shoes is considered to be unfashionable.
Wearing flesh-toned pantyhose with peep toe shoes is considered to be unfashionable.

Peep toe shoes come in many shapes and sizes. There are high heels, kitten heels, flats, stilettos, and platforms with toe openings. There are peep toe shoes that are designed to be worn with casual clothing, others that are designed to be worn with suits, and still others that are intended to be worn with formal clothing. In general, these kinds of shoes are designed to look both sophisticated and slightly flirty.

The most common kind of peep toe shoe, however, is a high heel. High heels with this feature may or may not have straps. Because peep toe shoes show off part of the toes, it is common for women who wear them to keep their feet looking nice. Some women even coordinate the shade of the polish on their toenails with their favorite pair of peep toe shoes.

Usually peep toe shoes are worn without stockings or socks. In spring and fall months where the temperatures are still a bit chilly, some women wear peep toe shoes with opaque stockings. This is a rather new style trend. While this fashion can be seen in women's fashion magazines and on runways, wearing translucent or flesh-toned pantyhose with peep toe shoes is generally considered to be unfashionable. The rules of fashion are always being broken, however, so it is impossible to predict what the next season will bring.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


Peep toe shoes look nice with socks.


It's so nice and lovely.


The big toe, second and third toes are usually visible in peep toe shoes. Just saying. In any event, these shoes are flattering for many different shapes of feet, which is probably what makes them so popular.

I like a peep toe slingback, myself, which keeps me from getting blistered heels. I prefer a 2-inch heel height at most, since I have no interest in breaking an ankle in a platform or stiletto shoe.

Women should make sure their shoes are wide enough, since compressing the toes can cause nasty conditions like bunions and hammer toe.

Post your comments
Forgot password?