After co-founding a little brand called Nine West (perhaps you’ve heard of it?), Vince Camuto teamed up with Tory Burch to create the ever-popular Reva flat and then launched his own company. The footwear magnate discloses his intel on finding killer heels (the look, not the feel!) and keeping your shoes in top shape.

What inspires your design process?
Women’s complaints. I started my career as a ladies-shoe salesman and would continually ask customers what they hated about high heels. It was always the same response: Her foot was pitched forward, her toes were hurting, and her heel was slipping.

How do you know that a shoe is the best fit for you?
The most important thing to do is make sure your heel sits firmly against the back of the shoe and that the front part of your foot, from the ball to the toes, is lying flat. Otherwise, you’ll look as if you’re walking downhill. That is not only unattractive but also really bad for your back.

How can you tell whether a shoe that fits well in the store will continue to be comfy?
Do this test before you buy: Push down on the insole with your index finger. If the material takes the imprint of your finger and lifts back up as you remove pressure, it’s made with memory foam—a good comfort indicator.

How can I keep shoe leather looking fresh year-round?
Use Kiwi’s clear polish on the leather instead of black or brown—it will add shine without altering the original color. Apply with a microfiber sunglasses cloth or a jewelry-cleaning cloth since these are designed to be used on the most delicate of materials.

Vince CamutoWireImage

Bonus! Camuto shares what styles should be in your closet this season:

1. Embellished sandals transition from day to night because they work with pants or a skirt. Wear gold jewelry to complement the hardware. Mitzy suede sandals, Vince Camuto, $110; vincecamuto.com.

2. Pumps are great office shoes—they pair well with pencil skirts or cropped pants. The low-cut vamp (hello, toe cleavage!) exposes more of your foot, making legs appear longer. Westin calf-hair pumps, Vince Camuto, $118; vincecamuto.com.

3. Booties are perfect for late summer. Wear them as you would pumps; they just offer more coverage. Geena leather booties, Vince Camuto, $149; vincecamuto.com.

For more pros’ tips, tricks, and best-kept secrets, pick up a copy of InStyle’s July issue, on sale and available for digital download now.

Want more shoes? Shop 25 must-have pairs of espadrilles in our gallery!