Coffin Nails, Stiletto Nails, & The Other 8 Nail Shapes You Should Definitely Know Before Your Next Mani

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 17: Actress Jamie Chung, nail detail, attends the Sally Beauty Nail Studio tour at Bryant Park on June 17, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Sally Beauty)
Source: Cindy Ord/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Thinking of changing up your nail shape but don't know which direction to go? With so many options these days, it can be hard to choose the best nail shape. I've always been kind of intrigued by the more elaborate shapes like almond or coffin nails. And if I were bold enough to try acrylic nails, I would be all over the aquarium nail trend (because who doesn't want glitter floating around on her fingers??). But, alas, as a nearsighted writer, my concern with typing efficiently and inserting contact lenses has always led me to shy away from venturing outside my short, round-nailed comfort-zone. Maybe one day...

But if you can wield a nail-file like nobody's business or you have your nail technician on speed dial (or you're just plain curious; I'm not leaving anyone behind in this journey to nail-enlightenment), there are some nail shapes you should consider for your next manicure sesh. Especially now that bubble nails have finally caught on, stilettos aren't the only extreme shape to rock. So whether you're ready for something new or just want to know what the heck duck feet nails look like, here are the 10 nail shapes you need to know.

1. Round

[Embed]

Round nails are the most basic and easiest shape to achieve. Clipping and filing nails to the natural shape of the quick should result in a round shape. 

2. Oval

[Embed]

Oval nails also have a rounded tip, but the shape is slightly more severe than round nails. Instead of the tip gently sloping into the sides of the nail, the angle is steeper without being a straight edge. 

3. Square

[Embed]

For square nails, the tip should be cut and filed straight across so that there are almost corners where the top edge meets the side edges. 

4. Squoval

[Embed]

Squoval nails combine the best of both square and oval nails. By rounding out the corners of a square shape, nails get the sophistication of square nails with the natural appeal of rounded or oval nails. 

5. Almond

[Embed]

If oval nails are a little too tame, try an almond shape which has a tapered tip without being pointy. 

6. Stiletto

[Embed]

If pointy is what you're going for though, try a stiletto nail, which tapers to an extreme tip. Just be careful with this style, as it makes the nail more prone to breaking. 

7. Coffin/Ballerina 

[Embed]

If you're worried about poking your eye out, your stiletto nail does break, or you just want a slightly less fragile yet still extreme nail shape, try coffin or ballerina nails. This shape is basically like stiletto nails but with a squared-off tip to mimic the appearance of a coffin or pointe shoes.

8. Bubble

[Embed]

Although many of these shapes are more easily achieved through acrylics, bubble nails can really only be achieved through acrylics. This style is essentially building up balls of acrylic on the nails for a thicker shape. 

9. Hump

[Embed]

Hump nails are very similar to bubble nails. But where bubble nails are shorter and round, hump nails are longer and generally have a square, squoval, or almond shape.

10. Duck Feet

[Embed]

Another shape that can only be achieved through acrylics is duck feet nails. These flared-out nails, which are inspired by the appearance of webbing, are particularly useful for providing more surface area for nail art. 

Ready to try something new with your tips?

Must Reads