Workplace Footwear Gets an Upgrade.
Workplace Footwear Gets an Upgrade.
Office style is-a-changing. Some days call for a dressed-up look, while others are cooler and more casual. Bottom line, the shoes you choose for work are about comfort and that is non-negotiable. A heel is pretty much always office-appropriate and a laid-back loafer can work well too.
Sneakers with elevated style are suitable in the right setting, too. Work footwear reflects the look that you wish to portray to bosses, clients and coworkers; so make it count. We have asked brands to give us their best, new in-office options. As consumers purchase new footwear for going back into the office, what are they asking for and how are you responding?
“We’re finding that people are still in an in-between phase, between office and home. However, most people are looking forward to dressing up again. You see dresses for women and sports jackets for men selling. However, they want to keep the comfort they had at home so all-day multi-purpose footwear seems to be what they are looking for.”
— Ayelet Lax Levy, president of US operations, Naot
“While athletics remain on top in the workwear market, we are seeing a movement towards dressier, higher silhouettes. In response to this, we have expanded our Career Fashion wedge program. These new styles feature our cork, memory foam, and polyurethane footbeds that mold to the foot and are on our wedge outsole that is dressy, but not too high, for all-day comfort.”
— Megan Gold, design director, Alegria
“As people transition back to the office, customer demand for Xelero technology in casual styles has increased. Because Xelero shoes help people walk easier, with less pain, and stay on their feet longer, customers who may have first tried Xelero athletic shoes want shoes that not only look good but also provide exceptional comfort and stability under the foot.”
— Dan Werremeyer, CEO, Instride Footwear (Xelero)
“With the rise of WFH, people have become accustomed to more comfy and casual shoes. In shopping for footwear for the office, consumers will be looking for styles that bridge the gap between business and casual with an emphasis on comfort, versatility and, of course, quality and style. Footwear with which they can transition from office settings to after-work activities.”
— Andrew Agati, director of merchandising, Ara
“The days of suffering for style are long gone. While more casual attire is now acceptable in some workplaces, women still want to look put-together and express their style. From two-inch heels that you can stand at your desk all day, to ballet flats that cushion, cradle and support — it’s our mission to make sure our customer doesn’t have to sacrifice her style to knock through her to-do list in comfort.”
— Gabrielle Thompson, director of footwear, Frankie4
“At SAS, we are ‘all about fit’ and this means the most comfortable, correct-fitting and well-made shoes for your busy life. Whether you are back in the office and need to dress a little less relaxed and a little more polished, or you just want a style refresh, we have you covered.”
— Kelly Dumpson, head of sales – wholesale, San Antonio Shoemakers (SAS)
“The new normal is comfort with versatility. Incorporating fashion with comfortable, clean, lifestyle outsoles. Customers can wear our styles to the office and straight to dinner without sacrificing style or comfort. Dressed-up sneakers and loafers are where we are having success in this category.”
— Rich Rask, president, Rieker Shoe Corp.
“We know that the option to dress up a little at work is back and we are excited! Ballet flats are THE versatile option for work and play, flexibility in occasion of wear is paramount. Our much-loved Nairobi has been a seasonal staple in the line for several seasons now. It offers an everyday alternative to heels, making it perfect for a contemporary workwear look that can be dressed up or down.”
— Annie Truscott, product director, Revere Shoes
“Over the last few years many offices have adopted a more relaxed dress code, allowing for employees to embrace comfort — our favorite noun. We’ve noticed that although many people are migrating back to the workplace, they still have multiple obligations to home and family life.”
— Victoria Feldman, marketing director, Latitudes Inc. (mōshn)
“Dansko benefitted in FW22 from the return to office trend because we had several strong items that met that consumer’s needs. We saw that dress styles that had a more casual feel were spot on. Dansko’s all-day comfort and support paired with lower heel heights and classic silhouettes resonated with the back to office consumer.”
— Kitty Bolinger, EVP sales and marketing, Dansko
“I think transitional styles are key for the workplace when it comes to footwear. Consumers aren’t willing to compromise comfort for fashion, they want a combination of both. We are seeing more relaxed trends, and dressy styles aren’t as important as they used to be.”
— Sydney Simas, VP, Simco Imported Shoes (Arcopedico)
Naot’s Fantasy collection is selling well and things only seem to be on the upswing. To meet demand, the popular Dynasty is coming out in three new colors for 2024. This day-to-night wedge is comfortable and fun with multi-colored straps and a hook and loop closure for adjustability. Naot’s anatomic cork & latex footbed is wrapped in suede and molds to the shape of the foot with wear. MSRP $169.95.
Leap by mōshn strikes a balance between dress and casual, working equally well with wide-legged pants or dark denim, for a sophisticated, yet relaxed, look. Mōshn features durable polyurethane insoles and midsoles, with cushion and support that lasts seven times longer than traditional sneakers employing EVA foam. Machine washable smartknit uppers keep shoes fresh and clean. MSRP $170.
New for Spring 2024 from the Xelero Suisse Collection, the Heidi works hard in the office and outside, and is suitable for a brisk lunchbreak walk. The shoe is available in wide widths and is built on an oblique last with a roomy toe box. A muti density cork EVA footbed and Xelero Technology make the Heidi a comfortable, casual option. MSRP $179.99.
A casual athlketic crossover. This smart, dressed-up men’s sneaker for Spring 2024 is designed to be a winner in the office and outdoors. It features leather uppers in mint, blue or light brown that make a subtle style statement. And a soft, removable insole provides comfort in this lifestyle offering from Rieker’s sporty yet stylish R-Evolution line. MSRP $160.
There is more than meets the eye in the Nairobi from Revere. The neat front vamp detail adds a little oomph and a soft textile topline provides ease of fit, but what makes this ballet flat special is the removable orthotic support footbed. Neutrals are important for their versatility, so for ’24 the brand created a Nairobi style in a fresh leather to elevate the shoe. For the first time, Nairobi is available in medium and wide. MSRP $139.95
For Spring 2024, Dansko is introducing a new sandal collection, Tuscany, that is ideal for office to evening. The collection features a 2.3-inch wood stacked heel, along with a contoured EVA foot bed with arch support and added under foot cushioning. The uppers feature full grain leather and are leather lined, as well. The Tansy style allows the wearer to feel confident that she has office-appropriate sandals that can also be worn for out of office occasions. MSRP $140.
Mary Janes have matured in this two-inch heel featuring a featherweight slip-resistant wood-look wedge bottom. She’s dressed up with an adjustable hook-and-loop close strap and decorative metal ornament. A printed microsuede-lined footbed made of polyurethane, cork, and memory foam brings comfort to the forefront. MSRP $140.
Thy by Arcopedico is a fine fit for multiple industry settings.
A casual yet professional style, Thy is built to offer all-day comfort and support. This style can be worn with skirts or pants, and is lightweight and breathable. The vegan Thy features Arcopedico’s patented Twin Arch Support design. Plus, the shoe is machine washable. MSRP $145.
All Frankie4 shoes feature an award-winning, Podiatrist-designed Sole Hero footbed, where the contours and padding are constructed to give maximum foot support and all-day comfort. The design aims to help create better alignment (or movement) in the foot and leg. The back-heel counter of the brand’s flats mold to the feet and are neither too hard, nor too soft. The Frankie4 Saint also offers classic style. MSRP $209.
Available in black or brown bison, the Penny Signature is a men’s wardrobe staple that is a solid investment in dressing to impress. The leather upper is handsewn and a genuine leather sole adds cushioned durability. A cushioned forepart built into the leather sole adds extra comfort under the ball of the foot. A steel shank fitted underneath the midsole offers support and long-lasting quality in this loafer. MSRP $305.
Offering comfort and elegance for the office, the Ophelia is available in a wide variety of colors and materials. The brand’s HighSoft technology makes it feel like a comfortable sneaker or casual shoe. Super soft leather uppers, a highly flexible outsole, padded insole and special foam insert hidden under the ball of the foot combine to create a pleasurable walking experience. MSRP $189.95-$199.95.
Elevated comfort and classic style combine in this shoe that is set on a heel with a cushioning effect and a comfortable design. Designed in a subtle nude shade to lengthen the leg and go with everything, Walk Pleasure is timelessly chic. A soft, elegant suede upper makes it ideal for urban outfits and special occasions alike. MSRP $170.