When you think of flip flops, what comes to mind? Fun in the sun, most likely.
Flip flops are a popular footwear choice for hitting the beach or pool. But what about the office?
Flip flops and sandals are making an appearance in the workforce like never before. When done right, you can pull off a professional look while rocking your favorite pair of sandals.
Ready to learn the dos and don’ts of wearing sandals for work?
Grab your briefcase and let’s get into it!
What Qualifies as a Sandal?
Before we start talking style choices, let’s first define what a sandal is. There are many misconceptions about what qualifies as a sandal.
Some people think the shoe has to be flat, but that’s not entirely true.
Sandals are any type of open footwear where the sole is held to your foot using straps. The straps can either go over the instep or around the ankle. Some sandals even have heels!
Put a Professional Spin On It
One of the best ways to wear sandals for work is to dress it up by adding a heel. There’s something professional and classy about a shoe with a heel – even if it does have an open toe.
Pumps are a classic heeled sandal that adds a polished look to any outfit. These sandals are similar to high heels but offer a wider base and can easily be slipped off.
Pumps don’t always have straps. Peep-toe pumps let you show off your pedicure (more on this later), while slingbacks are a closed-toe variety.
When in doubt, pair your pumps or sandals with a more formal outfit. Dresses and skirts go perfectly with either footwear option and show your boss and coworkers that you mean business.
Wedges for the Win
Wedges are another popular sandal choice. Wedges come in a range of styles and colors and are designed exactly how they sound – with a solid wedge base.
Wedge sandals are slightly more casual than pumps but still have a place in a less formal work environment. When in doubt, look to your superiors or coworkers for guidance.
If they’re wearing wedges with dress pants or dresses, it’s probably a safe bet that you can too!
Wedges come in a few different styles including:
The cork-bottom variety definitely screams “beach” and should only be worn in casual work environments or on “dress down” days.
Flats Are All That
If heels bother your feet or back, never fear! There are plenty of flat sandal options perfect for the office.
Add a bit of flair to your outfit by choosing beaded sandals. Gold or silver footwear adds a certain element of class and elegance to your ensemble.
Braided sandals are slightly more casual but praised for their comfort. If you’re looking for a more secure flat sandal, choose one with an ankle strap.
Strappy sandals are an all-time favorite and a staple in most wardrobes. Opt for neutral colors that compliment any outfit and adhere to your office dress code.
Outside of style, it’s important to consider the functionality of your footwear. There are obviously some professions where flip flops and sandals just won’t cut it.
You can’t perform work on a job site or in a kitchen safely with open-toe shoes. But there are plenty of workspaces where these dangers aren’t an issue. For these professions, it’s all about comfort and practicality.
If you’re constantly on your feet, opt for either a flat, secure sandal or one with a wide, sturdy heel. Wedges also offer plenty of support for a job that requires standing for long periods of time.
Do you work in a school or daycare where you may need to move quickly at a moment’s notice? A secure sandal is key here. Choose something with secure straps – preferably an ankle strap.
The last thing you want is to run out of your shoes in the middle of your workday!
Your footwear shouldn’t be your only concern when choosing appropriate sandals for work. You also need to consider the appearance of your feet! This is especially true if you opt for open-toe sandals, wedges, or flip flops.
Ladies should have well-manicured feet and toenails. Make sure that your office allows painted toenails. If so, choose a muted, natural-looking polish that helps add a professional element to your style.
Getting regular pedicures are the best way to keep your toes and feet presentable for work.
Guys, while you don’t need a pedicure, you do need to keep your toenails well-manicured if you plan to wear flip flops. Keep your toenails clipped and shaped.
While people may not notice your pampering routine, they’ll definitely notice if you don’t have one!
Take Notes from Others
Above all else, look at the office environment when choosing sandals for work.
In recent years, more casual workspaces are growing in popularity. Even big businesses are adopting a more laidback approach to their office structure.
With that being said, what types of sandals do your coworkers wear? More importantly, what are the boss, supervisors, and managers wearing?
If you see strappy sandals and wedges on the elevator every morning and underneath the desks beside you, chances are they’re considered an approved form of footwear.
When it doubt, choose your accessories carefully. Pairing any type of sandal with a more formal wardrobe helps put a professional spin on your appearance that’s sure to keep you on your boss’ good side.
Put Your Best Foot Forward When Wearing Sandals for Work
It can be difficult to craft the perfect outfit for work. It’s a struggle to balance comfort and class.
When choosing the best sandals for work, take cues from your coworkers. Remember to always err on the side of caution and pair your sandals with a professional outfit.
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