Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Tortoise-shell Heels for Fall

Dear Belle,

What are your thoughts on tortoiseshell pumps and/or flats? I am not a fan of leopard, and recently I’ve been feeling that I need to put some umph in my shoe game (because black on black on black gets old afterawhile). Do you have any good recommendations?

Love the blog! TM

I adore tortoise-shell shoes.  Love’ em, can’t get enough of ’em.  They’re difficult to find, but so worth it, especially if you want to bring in an animal-print and hate leopard.

Tortoise looks good with shades or brown or black.  I also like it with red pieces.  And you can use it with navy and other shades of blue in place of nude pumps or brown ones.


Ann Taylor Tortoiseshell Flats ($88) and Pumps ($128)

Ann Taylor brought back tortoiseshell shoes in a big way this year.  The pumps are only available in one size online; I suggest calling the stores if you are desperate for a pair.  AT shoes are fairly comfortable.  I bought the flats, and they felt great on.  (Though, I did not keep them because I need to cut back on my shopping in preparation for my next tuition payment.)

Flats. These ASOS pointed-toe flats are a great entry-level tortoise shoe for $26.  These Sole Diva shoes are another great option.  If you want to splurge, Ferragamo makes a tortoise flat with a bow and Manolo makes a great basic.

Pumps. Vaneli makes a great slingback pump.  I would need to see these Pilner kitten heels in person to make a definitive recommendation, but they could work with black trousers.  For a bit of a splurge, try L.K. Bennett.

If anyone knows of another source for tortoise footwear, leave it in the comments.  Like I said, they’re hard to find.  So if you see a pair you like, snap ’em up before they’re gone.



  1. sherry @ save. spend. splurge. says:

    OMG!! TORTOISESHELL!! Why have I not thought of this instead of leopard!?

    Thank you

    October 13, 2015/Reply
  2. s says:

    i have a pair of tortoiseshell j. crew martina wedges from a few years ago and i LOVE them!

    October 13, 2015/Reply
  3. LeslieJeannene says:

    I just got the ann taylor pumps in the mail yesterday, they are great.

    October 13, 2015/Reply
  4. LL2328 says:

    I bought the Ann Taylor flats – super painful. At least a half size too small. Just as an FYI.

    October 13, 2015/Reply
  5. L says:

    I returned the tortoiseshell Ann Taylor flats. They were Target/Payless quality.

    October 13, 2015/Reply
  6. SM says:

    I bought the $26 ASOS flats and had to return them. They were very narrow and constricting!

    October 13, 2015/Reply
  7. KC says:

    I have been searching for a pair with 3″ heels and a closed toe everywhere with no luck. I learned too late that Nine West was selling a pair in my favorite ‘Elise’ style at DSW, but now they’re sold out.

    October 13, 2015/Reply
  8. Rachael says:

    Stewart Weitzman at least used to make the Poco kitten heel in tortoise. Mine are by far my most versatile heels.

    October 13, 2015/Reply
  9. Sara says:


    October 13, 2015/Reply
  10. TM says:

    Ahhh just got the last pair of size 8 in Northern California on hold! Thank god I’m going to be there for a wedding this weekend. Thanks Belle.

    October 13, 2015/Reply
  11. Molly says:

    Union Station AT had the pumps in at least some sizes yesterday, and they looked to be pretty good quality. If only they’d make them in their “kitten” heel height (since when is 2.5 inches a kitten heel??)

    October 14, 2015/Reply
  12. Rebecca says:

    Belle, I know this post is old, but I thought of you when I saw some tortoise pumps in the Talbots catalog this fall. Both kitten heel and 3.5″ pumps:

    July 30, 2016/Reply
  13. Peg says:

    Brown tortoise shoes are at Nine West

    October 22, 2022/Reply