If your work attire normally requires pumps, most flats will be inappropriate for anything beyond casual Fridays. Two exceptions are the classic cap-toe flat, which always looks professional, and the solid color slip-on (it looks like a pump but doesn’t have a heel).
If your job’s dress code is less restrictive (and fortunately for most of us, that’s more likely than not these days), you can select from the trendiest styles–slippers, slides, mules–which run the gamut from sporty to sexy.
More casual dress codes give women a lot more options than the traditional close-toed business pump…but there are still guidelines for what is and isn’t appropriate in the office.
The Rules for Flats at Work
Just keep these guidelines in mind when you choose shoes for work:
- Choose leather or suede (or fabric) instead of canvas, which is much sportier.
- Opt for a closed toe, which eliminates the suggestion of bare feet.
- Choose a slight heel–even a half-inch is better than a totally flat skimmer. (Mules especially need a bit of a heel, or else they tend to look like slippers–a look to avoid at work!)
- On that same note, avoid anything that looks too much like a slipper. You don’t want to look like you’re padding around the house while you’re at work. Unless, of course, you work at home. In which case, why are you even reading this?
When choosing flats to wear to the office, it’s important to consider both style and comfort. Here are some tips and recommendations from various sources:
- Consider both material and construction when shopping for flats. A more structured, rubberized sole might be better for a long commute or being on your feet all day.
- Know which conservative work looks do not look good with flats, and just avoid those.
- Byrdie editors reviewed and ranked dozens of the best work flats out there, and the top 12 are listed on their website.
- Rothy’s suggests that ballet flats are a great choice for women who sport a more feminine style at the office, while women’s loafers are perfect for those who prefer a more classic look.
- Insider tested various flats for work, travel, and walking and recommends the top 8 pairs for their all-around comfort and versatility.
- Corporette.com suggests owning flats with a reasonable platform and avoiding flats that involve soles curling onto the side.
- TODAY selected 15 pairs of comfortable work flats for women to wear in 2023 based on reviews and top ratings.
- Forbes tested more than a dozen highly-reviewed flats to find which are truly the most supportive and stylish and recommends the best pairs.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.