Sure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.
We haven’t gone on a hunt for basic pumps for work in far too long — so let’s see what are in stores right now.
Over the years, the toes have changed (almond, pointy, square), heels have changed (block, kitten, stiletto, architectural), and even how much foot is exposed (higher or lower vamp) is something that changes with trends.
If you’re back in the office and pondering which heels to buy to refresh or build your working wardrobe, these are some of the latest styles we’re seeing. Note that after a lot of hunting it seems like the reader-favorite heels are still in style right now:
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These are some of our favorite heels as of 2021, but check out our entire Guide to Comfortable Heels!
- Hall of Famers: Sam Edelman, Vionic, Marc Fisher LTD, Rockport, Cole Haan, Calvin Klein (3.25″ and 1.5″), M.M.LaFleur
- Under $100: Sam Edelman, Vionic, Marc Fisher LTD, Rockport, Cole Haan, Calvin Klein (3.25″ and 1.5″), Naturalizer, Comfort Plus by Predictions
- Worthy Splurges: Christian Louboutin, Ferragamo, Manolo Blahnik, Prada
- Extended widths (AA, C, W): Sam Edelman, Vionic, Trotters, Walking Cradles
- Extended sizes (4–13): Sam Edelman (4–14), Calvin Klein (5–12), Calvin Klein (5–12), Prada (4–12), Manolo (4–12), Naturalizer (4–12), Rockport (5–13)
- 2″ or Under: Vionic, M.M.LaFleur, Ferragamo, Cole Haan, Sam Edelman, Calvin Klein
- Comfort: Ferragamo, Naturalizer, Comfort Plus by Predictions (don’t forget to check out our entire guide to comfortable heels!)
(Curious for our previous roundups of black heels for the office? In addition to the several specific shoes mentioned in our Guide to Comfortable Heels, here are our roundups from 2021, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2016, 2015, 2013 (interview pumps AND our low heel roundup), 2012 (under $250) and 2008, as well as our comfort-focused roundups of 2016 and 2010 and our posts on extended sizes for professional women’s shoes.)
Trendy Pieces: The Best Black Heels for the Office in 2021
These suede pumps are bestsellers at Ann Taylor, and I like the very wide vamp and pointy toe. They’re $128 full price, available in multiple colors in half-sizes 5–11 — but as always, watch Ann Taylor for sales.
The affordable Marc Fisher LTD “Zala” style is STILL one of the bestselling heels for the office at Bloomingdale’s — and it’s still highly ranked at Nordstrom and Zappos also. (It’s been in our Workwear Hall of Fame for years now!)
The shoe is $168 full price, but you can frequently find it on sale for well under that. (Also check DSW and other discount stores for this verrrrrry similar style around $60.)
At a slightly higher price point are the lovely Elsie shoes at J.Crew — they’re available in suede, leopard, and napa for $248 in sizes 5-12.
Net-a-Porter is featuring these Gianvito Rossi heels, and they look classically sleek and beautiful. They’re just under $700, available in 15 colors — some of which are on sale for 50% off ($347). Nice.
Stay tuned for a roundup of our favorite designer heels!
Readers, have you recently been on a hunt for the best black heels for the office? What did you end up buying, or what are you happy to wear again this year?
Like this feature? Check out other recent installments!