2018 Update: We still like a lot of these booties for work, but you may also want to check out our most recent discussion on what boots to wear with tights to work, as well as stylish high-heeled boots for work.
Sure, we all know what basics 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.
Booties: they’re in one season, out the next — but right now they’re hot. They’re inherently a more casual look than, say, pumps — boots become more and more casual the blockier the heels get, and the more Western-y the details get; a seam or two is on one end of the spectrum, while fringe, buckles, and belts are on the other end. For casual days at the office they can be great with ankle pants (worn with low, hidden socks so your ankles are still exposed), tights and skirts for casual days, or — if hemmed appropriately — trousers or flares. (The bottom of the hem should graze the top of your foot, leaving only about 1/2″ of heel exposed in the back.) On the weekends, of course, they’re great with all sorts of denim, and the bare-leg-plus-bootie look continues to go strong (but to me that really looks like a weekend look!). I thought I’d round up a few that look great to me — readers, which are your favorite booties this season? Which are your favorite styles of booties (e.g., pump-booties, stiletto booties, rugged booties, wedge booties) to wear to work — or do you primarily wear them on the weekends?
(Another fun question: we haven’t talked about peep-toe booties in AGES — what’s your feeling about them now? Yea or nay?)
First, some roundups of special interest shoes (unless noted, most links go to Nordstrom, or Zappos):
- Hall of Fame: Sam Edelman, Rag & Bone,
- Under $100: B.P., Mossimo booties @ Target, Payless, Lucky, Report, Bella Vita
- Waterproof: Sam Edelman (super cute rain bootie!), Aquatalia by Marvin K, Hunter, Cole Haan
- Extended/narrowed widths: (come in sizes like AA, N, C, W, etc): Bella Vita, Trotters, SoftWalk, Naturalizer, Munro, Sam Edelman (wide)
- Extended sizes: Munro (4-14!), B.P. (4-13), Sam Edelman (4-13), Aquatalia (4-12)
- Flat or nearly flat: Sam Edelman, Lucky, Munro, SoftWalk,
- Comfort: Payless, Arche, Anyi Lu, Clarks, Ecco, Dansko, Munro, SoftWalk, Vionic (don’t forget to check out our entire guide to comfortable heels)
|I’m putting this well-reviewed bootie from Bella Vita first for a number of reasons (although it’s also one of our lowest priced options; for more see the category above for “Under $100”). But it’s worth noting that the closer a bootie is to a classic pump, the more acceptable it’s likely to be at your workplace. Here, note the skinny heel, the pointed toe, and even the cutouts on the vamp that make it feel like a lighter shoe. I also like that the top of the shoe is lower in the front than the back — it’s a much more flattering, leg-lengthening look. The pictured bootie is $99 (and available in wide and narrow sizes), but here are a few similar options from Tahari, Nine West, Donald J. Pliner, M.Gemi, and Stuart Weitzman (kinda sorta). Pictured: Bella Vita Cutout Bootie|
|Another sleeker version of the ankle boot (but kinda old school): these Clarks. (A few similar but pricier versions of stiletto booties: Cole Haan, Jimmy Choo, Manolo…) These are harder to wear with ankle pants or skirts, IMHO, but if you’re a trouser girl, these are great. The pictured boots are $130. Clarks Sage Aria|
|I noted them in our “Hall of Fame” category above, but these Petty boots from Sam Edelman continue to be wild bestsellers. The numbers testify: 530 mostly positive reviews at Zappos (selling 12 colors), 354 reviews at Nordstrom (selling 9 colors, including a new shearling-lined option I haven’t seen before) — wow. This is a great example of a walkable bootie that I would try at work, particularly with outfits where, in years past, I may have worn a flat knee-high boot. The Petty boot is priced from $135-$160 in sizes 4-13 (some wides, too). Sam Edelman Petty Boot|
|These Vince Camutos, at $158, are a much more affordable option than the Rag & Bone booties that have been dominating the streets since 2012 or so, but they also seem like they might be better for both work and play because they’re less rugged (and the black is blacker). I also like the dip in the shaft, the pointyish toe, and the price: they’re $159 at Nordstrom and Zappos, available in four colors, sizes 5.5-11. Vince Camuto ‘Franell’ Bootie|
|These Kate Spade look like a great mix of the sleeker and the rugged booties — comfortable block heel, but with glam accents like the gold details on the heel, a flattering dip in the vamp, and dark black suede. Lovely. They’re $398 at Zappos Couture, available in sizes 5-11. Kate Spade New York Darota|
|These Margot booties are the newer version (I believe) of the much-loved Harrow booties, and I like them better for work — they still have the flattering dip in the shaft, but with less hardware. Rag & Bone boots are legendary for their comfort, too, so if you’re on the hunt for great 4″ boots (and have $525 to spend on boots), do consider these. Rag & Bone Margot|
Like this feature? Check out other recent installments!