Workplace Appropriate Footwear: What’s Okay and What’s a Nay

Shoes are an impressive and powerful way to send a message, especially in the workplace. Many times, we will see someone donning a pair of shoes that just doesn’t seem to fit a professional work zone. There are shoes that combine stylish and professional, and then there are certain styles that should probably just stay out of the work wear mix completely.


Though to many of us who work in an office setting a decent and modest pair of shoes is the norm, there are other people who totally missed the memo when it comes to what’s appropriate. Even if you are a beautiful person, there is a time and place for shoes that could be considered risqué. For example, if you are hitting the club with your girlfriends on a Saturday night and want to look sexy, strap on your 4-inch pumps and enjoy the attention. However, if you decide to rock a pair of shoes like that in your office place, expect stares of disapproval and negative chitchat about you among your coworkers.


Part of being a mature, responsible adult includes knowing when and where to wear certain clothing and shoes—what’s okay to chill on the couch in is probably not okay for your job, unless you’re one of the lucky few who work for a very lax company. Although it may seem obvious, wearing shoes to the office that you would normally wear with a short cocktail dress is not appropriate. The real problem is that this look is distracting in a negative way for you as the wearer. This negative attention will not help your chances of fitting in, and even if your aim is not to fit in like a cog in a machine, you still don’t want to run that “sore thumb look.” Many bosses and business owners will see you as a person who does not have much regard for the respectful boundaries that exist within an office when you make inappropriate wardrobe choices.


There are so many ways to maintain a unique and beautiful look without looking tacky, and this is one of the keys of feminine beauty! Instead of wearing disturbingly loud footwear to your next office meeting, try a classy yet cute pair of short black pumps. This way, you get the “dressed up” feel, while still keeping it PG-rated for the office atmosphere. Keep in mind that when in doubt, work shoes should lean toward the more conservative side. Even if conservative is not your style, look for the ways to combine professional with appealing. You can always hide a pair of insane looking socks to shake things up every so often.


Depending on how strict the dress code is in your office environment, the types of shoes you can and cannot wear will vary. Be sure you pick shoes that are durable, comfortable, and professional. Then feel free to add your own unique sense of fashion into the mix. Don’t hesitate too long to purchase high quality professional footwear. You depend on those tootsies to get the job done, and getting it done in style is going to depend completely upon you.

July 31st, 2014
Filed Under: Fashion & Style, How to, Lifestyle
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41 Comments to Workplace Appropriate Footwear: What’s Okay and What’s a Nay

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    I always wore flats when I worked outside of the home. I liked my tootsies to be comfortable.

  2. I wore flat shoes to work mainly because I worked with animals so I could not wear heels,I love the second pair on the pics.

  3. Amanda Love - Growing Up Madison

    I’ve always like closed toes pumps or even flats and thought those were very work appropriate unless it was Casual Friday of course.

  4. Seriously in love with all those shoes, but none of them would have been ok in my workplace when I worked in an office. We had to wear flats and very drab shoes. Now..working at home…slippers are my footware. lol.

  5. I think it depends on the occasion and what’s comfortable for you.

  6. I Can’t wear heals boo :( but oh my they are beautiful! x

  7. There’s always a way to wear your best shoes when it comes to working and attending events. Nice tips

  8. I think it all depends on the job. I usually wear sneakers although on some very rare occasion, I will put on a flat.

  9. I love smaller platform shoes with a cover over the toe for work I find it’s more comfortable and it gives me the hight I need unless of course I wasn’t working in a office I’d just throw on black tennis shoes. If I was in a office flat’s are the way to go or with a very very low pump. I really love those red pumps though

  10. Those are such cute outfits to wear. You are gorgeous.

  11. I guess it depends on what I am doing and where I am going for each day with what kind of shoes I will wear. I like all of the ones pictured above though.

  12. Wow, these are sexy shoes! I prefer flats for comfort, but these are really pretty.

  13. I totally agree with this. Like Robin, I always wore flats at work. I was on my feet all day making the rounds to patient’s rooms so I was more concerned with comfort than style.

  14. I love shoes. I use to wear heels all of the time but now I am all about the cute flats.

  15. I love the different outfits you have here, so cute. I think anything open toed is dangerous to wear in a workplace environment. Lots of cute styles though!

  16. I’ve always thought nothing too flashy works, but sometimes it could be pulled off. I’m more of a flats kinda gal, too much walking for heels.

  17. I want them all. I think if you can handle the pain. Go for it. Why not :)

  18. Not so sure about the maja photos bec altho they are work shoesn the outfit isnt (shes wearing shorts). But again it all depends on your office’s policy

    • I do feel it depends on your work environment. If you work in Summit (for example) – they do accept these type of attire especially if you are in a fashion type of department. Like I said on my blog post – it depends on the office environment allowed. It doesn’t necessarily mean, one should follow the attire of Maja in this photo. It’s just a sample that one can express what style she wants as long its allowed to. :)

  19. I don’t like wearing shoes that are peep toes or heels. I like wearing flats!!

  20. I’m with Robin. Flats were the only shoes I was comfortable in when I was working in an office.

  21. More often than not, I went with closed toe shoes in a professional environment. I was also very careful about length of skirts and dresses.

  22. I suppose the office’s dress code will really make a huge difference. Like, I know of bosses who want their female employees to always be in heels while within office premises. There are some, on the other hand, who are okay with flats.

  23. I always wear comfortable shoes to work. I’m done with high heels.

  24. I could barely make it through the day with heels on when I worked at an office. I had to have flats on standby!

  25. I agree! It really depends on the office environment. Just be careful on the pieces you put on.

  26. Pam

    Those are really beautiful shoes and I would have loved to wear some of them to work but I am a nurse and so heels are not really a great choice. Maybe in my next life, LOL.

  27. On my first three weeks of work, I wear heels daily! But now I have come to love flats and waterproof shoes. It really is more practical. You only have to find the best looking pair out there

  28. I prefer flat shoes whenever I’m on work or in rush.

  29. A nice pair of shoes will come handy even for mens

  30. Wow great advice. I have not gotten back into wearing cute shoes since having a child but a lot of these options would pass in my office!

  31. I love those shoes- but I guess I would wear something less… sexy? Maybe it is because I am a married 30 year old. *I feel like such a old fart after writing that!

  32. Amanda McMahon

    High heals are not my thing, even though I’m super short (like under 5′). Some shoes are a bit unprofessional, in my opinion, but everyone has their own guide.

  33. Great tips! And all great shoes. Love them.

  34. When I was still working an office job, we were not allowed to wear an open toe shoes.

  35. Well, it depends on the job of every women in a workplace. Some are strict and some are not. Flat shoes..more comfortable.

  36. When I worked as a legal assistant, we were required to wear closed toe shoes. I love high heels and wedges, but I’ve been wearing flats just to be safe when I’m holding the baby.

  37. Mara’s outfits are super cute although I don’t know if it’s work appropriate. But then again, it all depends on the company you are working for.

  38. Women wear shoes, sandals and others, just because of its comfortable and affordable.

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