As our lives return to a degree of normalcy, morning commutes no longer mean a walk to and from the bedroom. We’re slipping on our summer work shoes and headed to the office—even if it’s just two days a week. And while some of us may miss our pajama pant Zoom meetings, some are excited to step foot in the office finally.
Here at Vogue, footwear plays a big part in this carefree hot-weather attitude. One does not want to be confined to a cubicle, constrained in stuffy, dark-hued, teetering pumps. (Call them foot anvils!) For those with less laissez-faire dress codes, though, it isn’t always permissible to strut into an office wearing a pair of casual-but-chic rubber Havaianas sandals.
How to find the happy medium? Look to Vogue staffers, who all have very different opinions on comfortable and stylish summer work shoes. Block heels in sandal form seem to be the most popular by far. (They are sturdy and walkable, according to several colleagues.) Other pieces to consider include mules, both pointed-toe and open-toe, as well as loafers and the elevated sneaker.
Below, a roundup of the best summer work shoe from those who study them closely.
Rickie De Sole, Executive Fashion Director
I’ve been walking to work lately, which means I need a shoe that is both office-worthy and comfy enough for the commute. I’ve been loving the Larroudé Lee flat as it goes with everything and has been my summer go-to. I often bring heels with the intent to change into them at the office, but end up wearing these flats all day!
Lilah Ramzi, Features and Commerce Editor
In the summer, I’m often clad in ’50s vintage day-dresses—think Betty Draper-esque nipped waists and full skirts. The shoes that seem to work unconditionally with this silhouette are espadrilles, and Castañer, the historic Barcelona-based shoemakers, make the best ones. They’re more comfortable than Nike Flyknits! And I love how seasonal they are, like wearable reminders that it’s summer.
Alexis Bennett, Commerce Writer
Usually, I’m a sky-high heel kind of girl, but after spending a year barely wearing any shoes at all, I feel like I need training wheels again. These pretty kittens are perfect for working my way back up to stilettos. The triangle heels make them easy to walk in, and they’re versatile enough to wear with just about any outfit.
Arden Fanning, Contributing Writer
One time on a press trip to Germany, they said we were going to ‘the spa,’ so I wore hotel slippers downstairs and everyone laughed at me when it turned out to be an off-site drive. No one would have been laughing if I’d shown up in these, though. They’re laptop-by-day, tub-by-evening, chill-walk-anytime transitional slides for working luxuriously from home.
Julie Tong, Senior Commerce Editor
When Proenza Schouler debuted their collaboration with Birkenstocks in their Spring/Summer 2020 show, I knew I had to have them. And ever since, they’ve been my go-to shoes for all occasions—work, play, and beyond. Despite being exceptionally comfortable, I still feel polished wearing them to the office in a midi dress or a matching top and skirt.
Willow Lindley, Accessories Director
I am all about flats and these two summer shoes are the comfiest of all my thin-soled favorites. I’ve been switching off between the two and they are both so soft and much more cushiony than they look at first glance.
Liana Satenstein, Senior Fashion Writer
This black Labucq slide with a slight heel is symbolic of me attempting to ease myself back into the fluorescent-lit, perpetually AC-ified office. The shoe is very cubicle-minded but, at the same time, still clings to the open-toe freedom of summer and flat-soled WFH life. Plus, it’s super comfy and goes with anything.
Madeline Fass, Market Editor
I am absolutely obsessed with everything and anything from Hereu Studio. Their cutout and slingback loafers are the ultimate summer shoe—they somehow master both a relaxed “I’m on vacation in the Mediterranean” look while also being polished for the office. I already wear my pair almost every day during the summertime—out to dinner, to the beach, running errands around the city—so it will certainly be an easy transition. Though, there might just be a little trail of sand near my desk.
Chloe Malle, Contributing Editor
After a winter spent quarantined in shearling Birkenstocks, I like this office-appropriate version from Ulla Johnson to ease my transition back into normal footwear.
Christian Allaire, Fashion and Style Writer
I just picked up some square-toe Bottega Veneta loafers (on sale!) and they are my new go-to summer shoe. They’re super comfortable—my version of a commuter shoe—and go with every outfit. I’ve never been a huge loafer person, but I love the clunkier,’ 90s-style shape.
Lauren Sanchez, Business Manager
My pain tolerance for heels has become nonexistent after unapologetically spending the past year or so living in fuzzy slippers. As a result, I crave the coziness of a pillowy Birdie slip-on. The pompom Songbird lets you bring the slipper outside, to the office, and beyond.
Clarissa Schmidt, Commerce Producer
I love an easy, neutral slip-on mule all year round, but in the summer, they’re the perfect shoe to complement my favorite dresses and skirts. These are super comfortable and chic enough to go from the office to dinner.
Ian Malone, Experiences Manager
In a classic loafer— for men or women, day or night, beach or boardroom—you will always put the best foot forward. Since I’m tough on mine (and have worn through too many Gucci and Ferragamo versions to justify replacing them), I opt for a more affordable option. Handmade in Italy, Scarosso offers the best craftsmanship and style at a more reasonable price than other designer alternatives. The warm brown suede grounds pale summer colors and eye-catching prints.
Emily Farra, Senior Fashion News Writer
I’m partial to a flat gladiator sandal, but no one does it better than Emme Parsons. In addition to being super comfortable, sturdy, and well-made, hers are elegant enough for the office (I even wore them to a cocktail event in Venice once!). The cushioned footbed and budge-proof straps are game-changers. I have my eye on so many of Emme’s other styles for summer; the Folded Slide is like a fancier Birkenstock!
Eliseé Browchuk, Production & Marketing Manager, Vogue100
Nothing feels more effortless than slipping on a pair of simple, black slides. I purchased the most comfortable (and affordable!) pair from Pêche, a Brooklyn-based boutique, before the pandemic and continue to work them into my everyday wardrobe. The kitten heel offers the perfect lift and the unique design is definitely office-debut ready.