You know that thing of when you get dressed for work in the morning and see your favorite, most topply pair of heels in your closet, and you think, “I’m an awesome, strong, independent woman, and I will wear these heels to work,” and then by the end of the day your feet are like, “Um, excuse me, but what are these medieval torture devices you decided to put on today?” Yeah, that’s pretty much what wearing heels to work on a daily basis is like. While I understand the whole “beauty is pain” thing, I have a pretty low tolerance for any sort of discomfort, be it high heels or hot weather, and even though I love high heels, I very rarely want to put myself through the inevitable pain.
And, as it turns out, my thinking is pretty much spot on (cue a congratulatory self-five): The Journal of Foot and Ankle Injuries recently published a study conducted by the University at Alabama at Birmingham that found that an estimated 123,355 emergency room visits between 2002 and 2012 were related to high heels, with more than 19,000 of those injuries occurring in 2011 alone. As if hundreds of thousands of stiletto-based injuries weren’t disturbing enough, the study also found that most patients were in their 20s and 30s. I mean, do I even need to tell you how bad this is? If we’re injuring ourselves so much now, how can we expect to maintain our health and be fabulous, Samantha Jones-style, in our 50s and 60s?
That’s why I’m putting my foot down (pun absolutely intended and GLORIOUS): It’s time to break away from high heels in the workplace. Ladies, there are ways to keep your footwear work-appropriate without wreaking havoc on your feet and ankles each and every day. Now, I work in a more casual office where sandals are allowed, and I know not every office is like this, so I’ve included a little something for everyone (and, okay, there are some lower heels on this list, but nothing sky-high, I promise!).
Here are 13 cute and totally work-appropriate shoes that won’t destroy your body:
These sandals are understated enough that you can get away with wearing them to the office (assuming you work in an office where open-toed shoes are allowed) without looking like you’re just stopping by on your way to the beach.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone complaining that their office wouldn’t allow them to wear flats. I mean, most workplaces aren’t the Cannes Film Festival, after all. These bright flats are the perfect way to liven up an otherwise neutral work outfit. And, best of all, the shape of the toe covers up any toe cleavage (yes, that’s a thing).
Every girl should own a pair of basic black flats, and a pointed toe is always a great option for anyone who thinks that their feet look “stumpy” in flats (i.e. me). The point also gives you more room in the toes, so they’re generally more comfortable to wear around.
A pair of black patent Oxfords is just as versatile as a pair of neutral ballet flats or sneakers. Seriously, you can wear them with pants, skirts, dresses, rompers—throw them on with literally anything, and you’ll be the coolest person in your office without even trying.
The only thing cooler than wearing a pair of Oxfords it wearing a pair of Oxfords whose laces don’t need tying, am I right? #Laziness for the win!
Click to the next page for flats, oxfords, sandals, and more!
Definitely gauge your office scenery with these. The closed-toe makes them more appropriate than sandals, but if you don’t think you’d want to be walking around with strappy, closed-toe heels, then these might not be the best option.
I just love these. Personally, I don’t see how these could be inappropriate in any office setting, but than again I don’t work in a law firm.
The slingback keeps it classy, the shape keeps it simple and office-friendly, and the color keeps it unique.
I know, I know, these aren’t technically flats, but I’m sure there are people out there who don’t feel comfortable walking into work wearing flat shoes. The heel on these is low and stacked enough that you can walk around without risking any real damage, and high enough that you get the subtle lift you want in a work shoe.
It’s summer. I’d hate myself if I didn’t include at least one white shoe in this guide.
The color on these is to die for, and they’re made of vegan leather! What’s not to love?
This is a funkier twist on a classic Oxford, but the cutouts are small enough that you shouldn’t have a problem going into the office with these. Plus, the color goes with just about anything.
These are just awesome, right? Word to the wise on these, though: Make sure you have blister block or band-aids on you whenever you wear them, because I have a sneaking suspicion that the cutout could leave you with a nasty blister on the top of you feet. And no one wants that.