Work Shoes for Women: An Executive Style Guide

pair black high heels

When you’re an upwardly mobile professional, your choice in office attire is no longer just about your preferences and personal style. It’s also about sending the message to bosses, colleagues and clients that you’re reliable, responsible and a serious force to be taken seriously. It’s about exuding professionalism and unshakeable confidence at all times.

Dressing for success doesn’t just mean wearing a suit to work or choosing the right blouse either. Your choice in professional footwear speaks volumes, so you’ll definitely want to select it with care. Luckily, we’ve got some excellent options that every professional woman should own.

1. Professional Pumps

While specific dress codes can vary from office to office, a classic pump is always a good pick. Pumps are considered a solid professional choice in any executive setting. Plus, they look fantastic with a wide variety of clothing options from suits to skirts to slacks.

When in doubt, start with pumps that feature closed toes and mid-height heels. They should be comfortable as well, like this beautiful black leather pumps from LifeStride. Opt for neutral tones -— like black, grey or beige — that coordinate well with your entire wardrobe. As you build your workwear collection and get a better feel for what’s acceptable at your place of business, you can always experiment with different heel heights or even the occasional pop of bright color.

2. Kitten Heels

Naturally, not every job position keeps you comfortably seated at a desk all day. Sometimes you find yourself rushing from place to place, hurrying to hail a cab or spending a lot of time standing on your feet. Of course, you want to look professional, but you don’t want to be screaming in pain at the end of the day as a result.

Kitten heels are a fantastic alternative to classic pumps for women that spend a lot of their work time on the move. They look fantastic with just as many professional staples and make just as solid an impression, but they’ll keep your feet much happier. 

isolated black wedge

3. Ankle Boots

Of course, not all offices and professional settings are created equally. Occasionally, you’ll need footwear with a little more of an edge than your average pair of black pumps, but you still want to look perfectly professional. Keep a sleek pair of ankle boots on hand, and you’ll never be at a loss for options.

Ankle boots look amazing with a wide variety of professional clothing choices. You can wear them with pants or skirts, with tights or bare-legged. Go for leather or suede options in versatile neutrals like black, chocolate or taupe. We personally love the Garda from Pierre Dumas for its style and versatility. Choose low or mid-height heels for comfort and practicality.

4. Loafers

Even the most serious working woman will occasionally want a footwear look that’s totally comfortable in addition to being professional and distinguished. A great pair of good-quality loafers is a must-have for that very reason. They’re definitely a great way to rock a flat shoe at the office without looking too girlish or overly casual.

Choose a sleek, polished loafer in patent leather or a high-shine alternative, and save those soft, buttery penny loafers you love for casual Fridays. Selecting a loafer with a pointier toe in a no-nonsense color like black will ensure you’re still boardroom-ready and perfectly on-point from a professional standpoint. 

isolated black flat

5. Commuting Shoes

Not all of us are lucky enough to live just a short car ride away from our place of business. You may be one of the millions that walk to work, ride the subway — sometimes standing the whole way — or has to get through a long daily commute before you can start your work day. If that’s the case, you’ll definitely want to score a pair of comfortable shoes to wear on your trips to the office.

Stowable ballet flats like the Minna from Vionic are a terrific option. Not only will they be easy to slip into a purse or messenger bag, but they’ll keep you looking put together while you’re in transit. You’ll always have an emergency option on hand in case you need to dash out of the office on a quick errand at a moment’s notice as well.

To make your mornings easier, stock up on stylish, hard-working shoes that are as appropriate as they are comfortable. Shop our footwear collection and explore the possibilities today!