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What Is The Strongest Nail Shape? [The Options To Consider]

One of the worst things is going to the salon and paying for an expensive manicure, only to find that your new nails have broken in a matter of days. Its highly frustrating and can make us question why this happens and what we can do about it. It often doesn’t help that the technician at the salon will often ask the question of what nail shape you would like. We usually panic, or choose an option that we think will go with our hands, never taking into account their strength or how practical they are for our day to day lives. I spent some time researching the different nail shapes and which ones are least susceptible to breaking. This way you will know exactly what to ask for next time that question comes.

So, what is the strongest nail shape? The strongest and most stable nail shape is oval. This is the most balanced, well-shaped and popular form for nails. It also comes across as the most natural one. The original shape of the human nail is closest to oval. Unlike square, for example, there are no rough edges that you can accidentally damage. The tips are softly shaped, while stiletto or ballerinas have needle-sharp and square tips, respectively. An important advantage of this shape is also the fact that you can engage in all kinds of activities without any risk of breaking them.

Usually people head to the salon, hoping the technician will tell them what shape goes best with their hands. However, this rarely happens and you are end up having to choose the shape yourself.

There are generally seven nail shapes that you can choose from – round, almond, oval, square, squoval, stiletto and ballerina (aka coffin shape). While you should always take into consideration which one of these shapes goes best with your hands, sometimes a shape may not be entirely suitable.

At the same time, you therefore need to bear in mind that all seven possess different properties – some are less breakable than others, for example.

With stiletto you are not able to put contact lenses on. Square nails often tend to “catch” hard surfaces, usually accompanied by a simultaneous breaking and the ever annoying accidental scratches of silky fabrics.

It all comes down to how you want to wear your nails, how you live your life, how long you expect them to last and how able are you to visit a salon (both in terms of time and cost).

Nevertheless, its useful information to know ahead of time the strongest shapes, the ones that last the longest and the weakest. Knowing how to achieve a strong nail shape at home is also great to know. So let us know take a closer look at these questions and topics so that you have all the information you need for strong nails!

What Are The Strongest Nail Shapes?

The oval shape is the strongest nail shape, followed by round and almond. In fact, oval and round are almost the same.

The only difference is that oval is a bit longer, while round is just round.

They elongate the nail, the edges are eliminated (which makes them less susceptible to breaking) and provide a balanced and healthy look.

Oval and round nail shapes are also preferred for the catwalk and photoshoots because of their sturdiness.

These shapes ensure stability of the nail together with an elegant appearance. 

You do not necessarily have to keep your nails long to enjoy them – both shapes go very well with any length of the manicure.   

Which Nail Shape Lasts The Longest?

Out of the seven nail shapes, again, oval and round shapes typically will last the longest.

By longest, it is meant not only breakability but how long the shape remains in its original form during nail growth.

However, all seven of them have their pros and cons.  Let’s explore:


The shape is nothing but round. No edges and no tips. Closer to the natural shape of the nail.

It is usually used for filing short nails as there is not too much material to work on. Round is similar to oval shape but…rounder.

If your nails are short and in this shape, they are very unlikely to break. The shape is practical and reliable, but far less attractive and glamorous. Remains the same during nail growth.


Ranking first in terms of popularity, little breakability proness and length of the shape as it is. This is the strongest and most practical shape, together with round.

The difference is that oval is a lot more elegant, sophisticated and provides a very classy look of your hands and manicure.

It gives an elongating effect and creates the impression of elegant fingers. As the nails grow, oval shape remains pretty much the same because the nails are not filed to be so ‘slim’. No downsides, all activities are possible.


They have borrowed the name from the nut almond. And they look exactly like one. The shape is slim, with tapered sides and round tips.

It is a good shape if you have thicker fingers or wider nail beds. Almond shape delicately gives the impression of elegance.

It has always been very popular among the fans of well-touched nails. Almond shape does require length or it is simply not noticeable.

After oval and round, the nut-inspired nail forming comes as the next least breakable shape.

On a more negative note, you have difficulties opening cans and packages, unbuttoning clothes quickly or picking up stuff from the floor.

This shape makes the tips very delicate and sensitive to surfaces. Also, when the nail grows, the form disappears eventually due to the appearance of edges.  


The nails look like a square and have no soft and rounded point or edges. No significant length is required to file into a square.

If the nails are short, this shape provides resistance and strength and it is a good option for people who work a lot with their hands.

However, the more the nail grows, the more you are likely to break those edges. Also, they tend to get stuck in fabrics, even leaving holes sometimes.

It is especially irritating when you put your silky socks on or stockings. You have to be really careful. One distraction and a hole is guaranteed.


A mix between square and oval as the name suggests. There are still edges but this time softer, reminding of oval shape.

The shape works with long and short nails and gives a classic look. The edges don’t catch on things as they are not so evidently expressed like the pure square shape.

However, the likelihood of breakage remains from medium to high because edges are still there.


Very sharp, very narrow. The name refers to knife. The nails are filed to extremes and length is required. Prone to breaking and vulnerable to surfaces tips when touched.

Leaves the impression for aggression decisiveness. The more the nails grow the less stable they become and break even more easily.

Pretty much any activity becomes challenging.

Ballerina, aka Coffin Nails

This shape has been very popular the last several years. The tips remind of the end of a ballerina’s point shoe. It is also trendy to call them “coffin”, however sinister that sounds.

It elongates the fingers and as well as the nail plate, which gives elegant and sophisticated look to your hands.

It is recommendable to have your nails longer than shorter before shaping. Otherwise, the effect is not the same.

Ballerina or coffin shape is attractive and definitely does not remain unnoticed.

On the downside, however, it is really difficult to play sports, open packages and type comfortably on your computer keyboard or phone.

Also, the longer your nails are in this shape, the more easily it is to break the tips. The more your nails grow, the narrower the tips are when ballerina-shaped. 

What Nail Shape Breaks The Most?

The nail shape that breaks the most is stiletto. The nails are filed too much and they are too thin.

The tips are way too sharp and contact with pretty much any surface leaves a traces of damages.

How To Achieve A Strong Nail Shape At Home

If you decide to shape your nails at home, it is advisable to take it step by step and analyze a few things at first.

In this way, you will be able to achieve a strong and reliable shape.

Here is a good process to follow:

  1. Take a good look at your fingers. How do they look? Are they longer and slimmer or shorter and chunkier?
  2. How would you like your fingers to look?
  3. Take a look at your nails. Are they longer or shorter? Are they healthy?
  4. What kind of a manicure do you need? Everyday-easy-to-maintain or you are preparing for a special occasion?
  5. Now take a look at your skin. Is it healthy and hydrated?

If you want to achieve a strong and attractive nail shape at home, you have to look at your fingers first. Choosing the wrong shape for your fingers can result in visually less pleasing effect and more breakability.

After that, make up your mind what appearance you want to achieve. If you have fingers that you find short or chunky you can opt for oval and almond shapes.

They elongate the fingers and at the same time are not in a sharp contrast with them. If you choose stiletto or ballerinas you risk creating a very unnatural look. If you go for a round shape, your fingers will look even shorter.

The strength of the shape depends also on the health of your nails. It is difficult to keep them long (and shape them in stiletto, ballerinas or almond as they require length) if they are weak, thin and brittle.

If this is how they are, then first apply proper care for a couple of days – cut them short, smoothen gently the edges, moisturize and rethink your diet. Round shape is the easiest for unhealthy nails.

Nevertheless, its imperative that you build up the strength of your natural nails. To do so, it is recommended that you use a nourishing and enriching, all-natural cuticle oil like this best seller from Amazon.

If you are a aiming at an everyday-easy-to-maintain manicure, your easiest options for shaping and care are oval and round, followed by almond and maybe square in some cases.

Squaval, stiletto and ballerina shapes are more suitable for special occasions and one-time events. They are more demanding to protect and take care of on daily basis.

Besides, you need to be a bit more skillful in shaping, if you want to achieve that picture-perfect look!

Whichever style you select, shape your nails with a paper file. Professional technicians always use paper files because they are a lot gentler to the nail and its nail bed.

Paper files are also much bigger and easier to hold, and provide a wide span for shaping.

They have different ‘levels’ – one side is usually rougher, meant for basic shaping and the other one is more delicate, allowing for fine filing and smoothing the edges.

Finally, no shape looks strong and healthy if you don’t take care of your skin. Make sure you moisturize your cuticles, cut unnecessary skin and eat well!

If you want a strong and long-lasting shape go for oval. Round and almond are the second best options. Each shape has its pros and cons and it is good to consider things such as the shape of your fingers and the state of your nails before shaping.

In Summary

The strongest nail shape is oval, followed by round and then in third place almond.

Ultimately, achieving a strong nail is all about eliminating the chance of breaking; so you want a nail without edges, is shorter, sturdier and less likely to get caught.

However, what you choose will depend on your preferences, style, lifestyle among other factors.

At least now you know what to order if you are looking for a stronger nail, and what to say when that question comes from the technician at the salon.