The Hunt: Cute Flats for the Office

cute flats for the officeSure, 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.

This isn’t a typical Hunt for us — I started doing a roundup of classic pointy toe flats, but then decided to branch out — so each category includes several options. Readers, how often do you wear flats to work? Are they a commuting shoe for you or an all-day shoe? Have you bought any comfortable, cute flats for the office lately?

Looking for comfortable heels for work? Don’t miss our Guide to Comfortable Heels for a roundup of readers’ favorite brands!


This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!

Pictured at top, clockwise: bow / loafer / strap

The Classic Pointy Toe Flat. These are the sleekest and easiest to style — but can be the most unforgiving on your feet. We’ve pictured reader favorite Rothy’s here, but other best-sellers include EverlaneFrench Sole, Rockport, and Valentino (yes, still). (Looking for a $20 off code for Rothy’s? Try this one.)
The Round Toe Flat. Less sleek but better for your feet, the round toe (sometimes with a cap toe flat) is a classic for the office. Best-selling shoes with a rounder toe include Rothy’sBørn, Sam Edelman, Cole HaanAGLPaul MayerFerragamo. Note that when we last discussed the best commuting shoes in 2018, readers loved the Puma ballet flat — and they seem to be down to lucky sizes only (at least in the ones without white soles). Pictured.
The Loafer. The Everlane loafer is hugely popular; as is Nisolo’s loafer; Rothy’s has a softer version; some of the best-rated loafers at Nordstrom include brands like Paul Green, Sperry, Via Spiga, and Børn. The crisper a loafer is the more appropriate for work it’ll be, in my opinion — the driving moccasin or slippers veer a bit further away. Penny loafers also seem to be style, for what it’s worth — and of course, all of these option comes as mules as well.  Pictured.
The Oxford. The flat Oxford style can be a bit harder to style, but can really be worth it. Comfort brands like Hush Puppies, Rieker, and Earth are some of the best-sellers at Zappos; meanwhile Cole Haan and Clarks are highly rated at Nordstrom. If you’re looking for a slightly more feminine take on the shoe, look for one with cutouts, like this pair from Loeffler Randall.
The Strappy Flat. In my humble opinion, these are both the most comfortable to wear and among the easiest to style — but the hardest to find the right one for you and your office. I’ve yet to see a Mary Jane strap where I thought “sophisticated and sleek!” — so I would encourage you to stick with ankle straps, although those can often go off the rails as well. Ghillie, gladiator, and T-strap styles can all quickly veer into the “not appropriate for work” range. (They often look cutest as sandals rather than closed toe shoes, so it’s probably worth noting — know your office before you wear open toed shoes or sandals to work.) Some examples in this category that I like: Rockport, Paul Green, Calvin Klein, Dr. Scholl’s, Franco Sarto, and Sam EdelmanPictured. (Click here to see other recently featured strappy flats!)

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Social media images: Deposit Photos / Corepics.

If you're hunting for cute flats for the office, look no further -- we've done a roundup of all the major styles for 2018, including stylish loafers, sleek oxfords, classic ballet flats and pointed-toe flats, and my favorite, the strappy, closed-toe flat (with some GREAT options this year). Comfortable flats for work are a must - here are our favorites for all your work outfits!

Comments

  1. High achieving women and love threadjack! :

    How to fix feelings of resentment with a partner that doesn’t bring nearly as much as you do to the table?

    I am late 30s with an MBA and a large nest egg. I’ve basically had no life for the last 17 years because I’ve been grinding at 3 different companies with notorious reputations for burning out their people. That was my choice.

    I’ve met a nice guy who says he loves me. We have been together 1.5 years. He is an architect and former builder who works for himself (works when he wants, for the people he wants, on his terms – he has no qualms about firing clients who don’t get back to him or treat him with the level of respect he demands…sounds great, right?). He wants to “partner” with me in buying and renovating homes…using my savings, because he has none to speak of. I renovated and flipped 2 homes before I got my MBA so this is something I enjoy and would love to do too. If all goes well the business could let me leave my job. But I’m feeling kinda burned and resentful that he has gotten a much ‘better deal’ than I have.

    I’m sitting here like “well how nice for you, you lived an easy life for 20 years, you took vacations and nurtured friendships and enjoyed hobbies and took only work you wanted, and now you met this attractive millionaire who has sacrificed her whole life to earn funds to enable YOUR dream.” On top of paying for everything I will be taking all the financial risk, even if that risk is pretty low (he is excellent at what he does).

    I WANT to not care about all this, and move forward and maybe this will turn into a dream partnership that enables me to finally leave my soulless corporate job. But even if that were the case…I worry that I will still be jealous of him. Because he didn’t have to do ANY of the hard stuff; he basically had to just show up at the right time to leverage the fruits of MY hard labor and anguish. He got to live his twenties and thirties. He gets to have his cake and eat it too. I didn’t…but ironically I may never get to unless I do something like this. I also realize that “has made the same superhuman sacrifices as me” is not realistic criteria for a life partner.

    Help?

    • Honestly, I’d stay away from this venture, or at a minimum define the terms contractually. It sounds like you’re going into a handshake business deal with someone you’re dating. If you weren’t dating the guy you wouldn’t enter into such an inequitable deal. Could you approach him about formalizing the business end of the relationship? It can actually protect you both if, in 6 months, you decide you’re romantically incompatible.

    • This is three entirely different issues. The first is whether it is a good idea to go into business with this guy. Would you enter into this specific business deal if the two of you were not dating? If no, then don’t do it. Seriously – just don’t. If you were married then calculus might be different, but dating someone for 18 months is not a basis for entering into that type of arrangement. If you WOULD do this deal even if you were not dating, then you have no basis to be resentful. You are presumably getting a return on your investment that justifies your risk. He is getting a return that justifies the amount of work he is prepared to put into it.

      The second question is whether going into business with your boyfriend of 18 months is a good idea regardless of whether it is sound business. My only advice would be to document the hell out of it and ask yourself if your personal involvement would be problematic to finish out the contract if you find him in bed with someone else. I would not do it – but that does not mean you should not.

      The last issue is resenting someone who benefits from your hard work. Honestly, I think you need to work on getting over that aside from this specific guy, especially if you want to get married someday. Otherwise you are limiting yourself to people who are as driven as you are, which will seriously limit your dating pool aside from any concerns about compatibility. You worked crazy hard to meet your goals. Those goals (reaping the rewards in terms of lifestyle, travel, early retirement, etc.) are your reward. Sharing those benefits with someone you love is ALSO a benefit of that hard work.

      • I agree with this response! And great point in your last sentence. The ability to be generous with those you love should make you happy.

        I would also like to point out that I have never, at any point, described my husband as “a nice guy who says he loves me.” Maybe you were just saying that offhand. But if you weren’t…you may need to reexamine this romantic relationship. You should not have to rely on someone telling you he loves you in order to know it. You should feel it. And, equally important, you should love him! Do you?

      • +1 All of the same thoughts I immediately had, but much better articulated.

      • +1 if I could star this response, I would. so well put.

      • Anonymous :

        +1000

      • Been there too :

        I don’t think you have to share all the benefits of your hard work. If you marry him, you might want to put all your assets in a trust first and get a prenup, and then your hard work from before your marriage remains your own, and anything you make and do going forward can be shared. At that point, why not move into a new job or business doing something that fills you up and maybe isn’t so financially rewarding, which would lessen the resentment because you would feel like you’re married to an equal, and you’re both contributing and doing things you love. I’ve been in a relationship and a job very similar to your position, and I really could not get passed the resentment. Kudos to those who think it’s easy to sacrifice for 20 years and then want to share it with someone who has no basis to understand your sacrifice. I say, you sound ready for a life change, so protect what you’ve earned so that you’ll always have a safety net, and move on with life – find a career you or start a business that brings you joy, and if you find love, row together on a go-forward basis.

    • Anonymous :

      You know the answer: don’t do it.

      I thought you’d ask if you should marry this guy (and my answer is always “maybe; it depends”).

      But I 100% full stop thing you don’t go into business with anyone where you take 100% of the risk. The fact that you are involved with him is . . . in the worst case, him trying to scam you and in the best case, him not looking out for you. Maybe he is clueless about potential harm to you, but in that case, you don’t want to be in business with him, do you?

      He can get a fix&flip loan from someone who can run his credit and that his assets are exposed to. It is pricey (10%?) but legit. Don’t be his bank and his girlfriend. I advise banks for a living. You are not a bank.

    • If he had made the same choices as you had, you probably never would have met?? Do you really want to leave your “soulless corporate job” or do you like the perks and status of it?

      I think that level of resentment/jealousy/ perceived inequality is going to doom the relationship in the end. In other ways, is the relationship equal? its not his fault you chose to work all those years/ hours, and you certainly do not have to finance his flips. You could both borrow the money, for example, and you could split the profits.

      I think the real question is if your relationship is equal, if he is your equal, in other ways. I was married to a guy and I did all the work and made all the money. (and he was an addict and he slept with other women.) That was not equal. I am now dating a guy who is an electrician. I am a lawyer. I make more money than he does. We both like to be active, and he (before me) would always camp for races and activities. I prefer to stay at hotels, so I book them and pay for them. But he brings me Spindrift waters when he shops at Costco. He frequently does other sweet little things to make my life better. I don’t feel that our relationship is unequal. I also recognize that I am SO MUCH happier with an active happy guy than dating some other lawyer who has the corporate lifestyle.

      Good luck.

    • Anonymous :

      In moderation with a longer reply.

      TL;DR: no

    • Anonymous :

      I think you should tell him to borrow the money from someone else, and then quit and start living it up. It’s not too late to enjoy your life.

      • AnonInfinity :

        Amen to this.

      • Anonymous :

        I had a long reply that disappeared, but it basically said this.

        You’re defining your life as if this venture with him, or your crappy current life, are you only options. They’re not.

        Whether he stays in your life or not, work on making changes.

      • Anonymous :

        Yup.

    • Why is a commercial lender not an option for him? If you do decide to invest in this as a joint venture, approach it as you would any other investment in structure and risk analysis. As is the general rule with family and friends and money, don’t loan more than you can afford to lose if it’s never paid back. If you want to give him slightly more favorable terms than he would get off the street, ok.
      And I know this gets said a lot, but if you see a future with this guy, you maybe should consider therapy. There is a lot of resentment about his life choices in your post and that can be the death knell for a relationship.

      • A commercial lender is not an option for him because he is leveraged to his teeth. He has two mortgages that barely fit within his current income to pay (back to that “works when he wants” above). When I point this out, he indignantly replies that he has never asked me to borrow money (me: yet).

        • Anonymous :

          Why haven’t you just said no?

          • Anonymous :

            +1. Tell him you aren’t interested in partnering on the terms he’s offered.

            He needs to figure out his income streams without hitting up his girlfriend. You know, if he wants to keep having a girlfriend.

        • Anonymous :

          I think he essentially is asking you to borrow money since he wouldn’t be bringing any to the “partnership”. He could work more to match your investment or create some savings, he could sell a property to get rid of a mortgage and possibly generate some investment money, he could work as a contractor for your joint venture until he earns enough to buy into the partnership, etc. Obviously he would prefer it if you would just give him the money though. Are you really supposed to fund a company for him because he doesn’t want to work to hard at his own company (since he’s already in business for himself)? WEIRD AND BAD, RUN AWAY

        • Anonymous :

          NOPE. Just nope. This ia a terrible business idea for you.

        • So, I think there are two issues here:

          1. Going into business with someone you are romantically involved with. I wouldn’t, personally.

          2. Fairness. Would you feel the same way about him coasting on your hard work if he agreed to a deal where you were making most of the money, in exchange for taking most of the risk? Or is your resentment coming from him wanting a better deal than he deserves in this venture?

          I’d also think about a backup plan — what if he loses interest or you break up while in the middle of house-flipping?

          If you’re interested in doing this, you could consider finding a different business partner.

    • You need to unpack your feeling of resentment that your SO has had an “easier” life than you from the business venture. I’m sure you know it’s not healthy for your relationship. I posted something similar about my husband here several years ago when I was feeling really burnt out. The solution was for me to quit my job and choose one that allowed me time to have fun and relax and spend time with family and friends.

      On the business side, there are ways for you two to work together without him getting all the upside and none of the risk. For example, you could put up your money, contract with him for some reasonable price for him to handle the renovation, and you keep the profits. But don’t go into a business venture with your SO when you’re feeling resentful about money before you even start.

      • I have already offered exactly what you proposed: I put up my money and contract with him for a reasonable price to do the reno. He says he “doesn’t want to be my contractor.” He wants to be “partners.” Equity stake, etc., in addition to being paid for his services – because he can’t afford not to be paid; he has two mortgages to carry.

        • Anonymous :

          Lolz. That’s nice. Tell him no.

          • +1. Uh, a big fat no to this then. The more you risk the more you get to gain, what he’s proposing isn’t equitable and wouldn’t swing in business, so why would you do it?

          • Anonymous :

            +1,000,000

        • Just Say No, But Continue to Be Fabulous! :

          He obviously thinks he can afford not to be paid if he has chosen this lifestyle where he doesn’t work much.

          “Doesn’t want to be a contractor” — hmm, sounds like he’s not interested in working for you either. Please do not give him any $$$.

          You could totally do this project without him by hiring a contractor with a good work ethic. You do not need this guy. You especially do not need to “partner” with him so that he can pay his bills. He can … DO WORK to pay his bills. He already has his own company, I guess, so why doesn’t he work to make that a success without burdening you? Is he courting other investors? Think like a business person. You have the insider knowledge that his lifestyle is his priority over working and earning.

        • Yeah, equity + contractor fee is completely unreasonable. That’s a hard pass. Honestly, I think this may be a case of “When he tells you who he is, believe him.” I’d break up with this dude.

          I’ve been married for 8 years. My marriage is far from perfect. I would never ask my husband to enter a business deal like this, and he wouldn’t ask me to either. (We both have separate property from before our marriage, which we’ve never commingled.)

          • Anonymous :

            You presumably have stronger feelings for your husband than “he’s a nice guy who says he loves me.”

    • Just Say No, But Continue to Be Fabulous! :

      I feel like there are some separate issues at play. First, you say you made your choice to put in the hard work to get where you are. It sounds like now could be the time to revisit that decision and try to make room in your life for the other things that you feel like you’ve missed out on. (Maybe you already are.) You can only move forward from here. Congrats on achieving a certain level of success for yourself! Consider using this security as a jumping off point for a new adventure for yourself … regardless of the guy.

      I mean the above in general, not necessarily about renovating homes. However, you’ve done house flipping before … and know what it takes to make it work. Would this “partner” truly bring assets to the table? He doesn’t have the same motivation/drive as you do and that could make this venture go south. His “works when he wants, for the people he wants, on his terms” attitude is going to carry over to this new venture. And you might be the “difficult client/investor” that he doesn’t want to deal with because of the professional expectations you have developed in a different work environment, etc. You go all in to make a profit … he only goes all in when he’s in the mood. And he can’t be bothered to earn enough to have any savings!!

      I’m not sure from your post if he is generally successful with limitations, or if he’s irresponsibly treating work as a hobby, or just not as successful as you. BUT Work is clearly an area where your values don’t align with his, so I wouldn’t join him on a work venture.

      Maybe he brings value to the relationship in other ways by being a caring partner and good company and whatnot, but you shouldn’t expect his work habits to change. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. I would firmly decline to “partner” in a business venture with him.

    • As others said above, these are three separate issues. But what stood out to me the most here is that you met a “nice guy” who “says he loves” you (your words, just quoting here). No mention of you being madly in love with him or how great he is. That, to me, is telling.

      I totally get where you’re coming from and I don’t want to diminish your feelings. But those feelings of resentment and frustration and regret are going to surface in any relationship you have in the future, whether with this guy or another, because you aren’t happy with yourself and your choices. Now is the time to try to separate those feelings from what he did before he met you.

      And definitely don’t go into business with him, given the way you’ve outlined it here. I think it would only inflame your resentment. Plus, you’d assume all the risk. No way. Protect yourself.

    • Tell him you value your relationship and don’t want to ruin it by going into this project as unequal partners. Figure out a fair split of the financial burden (maybe not 50/50 if you account for the value of his work) and ask him to get a loan or an investor. That’s how business is done by folks who choose that kind of life/work balance over saving. Make sure everything is contractually outlined and that he intends to take this project just as seriously as he would any other. Consider whether you’ll both be able to work together civilly if you break up.

      Personally, I probably wouldn’t do it, but I wouldn’t even *consider* it without all of the above in place.

    • Don’t do it. You have strong feelings about this, and when any issues come up in this partnership, they will burst to the surface and lead to terrible fights. It’s not worth it. Let your relationship be a positive thing in your life if it can be. Don’t mix your career with your relationship.

      I can relate to your frustration and anger. I made sacrifices for my partner after working some very tough jobs, and it took a long time for me to see him in a different light and not as a moocher. For me, it changed with time as he stepped up to the plate and made more sacrifices for us. But you’re not there yet. Don’t put yourself in a position to feel like you’ve been giving way too much. Your feelings do matter, and you don’t have to do this.

    • Anonymous :

      If you think it will risk your relationship to say no to this (ack — more Hamilton):

      — say no to this
      — you don’t have a relationship worth saving

    • Anonymous :

      I think what you need to do above all else is work on the extreme amount of resentment you feel. Possibly with a professional.

      • Agree. You sound really bitter. It’s not his fault you chose a difficult path. It also sounds like you really don’t respect him at all. Nowhere in your post did you mention how he had to learn the (physically demanding) skills, build the client relationships, and handle all of the things that come with being self-employed.

        • +1000

          OP, what are his redeeming qualities? Something must have kept you in the relationship for 15 years, right? There’s so much bitterness in your post about your choices compared to his. He sounds happy and you sound miserable. Time to close the chapter because this relationship isn’t for you.

        • This exact issue sticks out to me. If he is incredibly good at what he does, he is actually as successful as you, unless you only define success as what is in your bank account. He did work hard and develop valuable skills according to you. He just doesn’t require that they make him X money. He sounds happy and at peace with the path he has taken and enjoys professional flexibility and achieving. It really sounds to me like you are actually bitter at yourself as you realize there is more to life and the bank balance doesn’t make you happy. You can continue to be bitter about this previously poor decision or decide to take a page from his book. (I agree, otherwise with the advice of not going into business with him)

    • Anonymous :

      Why not just say no? It’s fine to want to be Romantic partners but not Want to be business partners.

    • Um…are you dating Howard Roark?

      Seriously, read The Fountainhead if you haven’t already. I agree with the others, this proposal doesn’t sound equitable.

  2. I wear flats or a low heel most days. I only pull out real heels for important meetings, and even then, it’s not more than 2.5″. My feet cannot take the stress. Also, I’ve noticed that I move around/walk SO MUCH LESS on the days when I wear heels, which causes plenty of other issues.

    On another note, I went to a mini-workshop this morning and a dad had his preschooler there. (Higher ed, here, and not unusual for faculty to keep different schedules in the summer.) Kiddo was pretty quiet and colored on a large coloring pad in the corner of the room. It made me so happy to see a male in the workplace being so demonstrative about juggling work and family obligations. Sadly, I’ve come to the conclusion that if we’re truly going to make progress in this area, we need men to set an example for others, too.

  3. Honestly, you sound jealous of choiced and regretful of your decisions. Also, what makes you think you bring more to the table in your relationship? Money? This guy managed to figure out a way to live a life he loves early on. That’s bringing something to the table. Maybe concentrating on learning something from him.

    • Anonymous :

      So she should be looking for Mr. UltraMegaBucks and get him to take on the risk of the . . . blog / lifestyle brand / random project / houseflipping business they will have together? B/c that is what I learned from him so far.

      • Anonymous :

        Lol. I bet the dude is an awesome blogger. Dear Diary, today I did not feel like working because having savings is for suckers. I only work when I want, for who I want, soon my lady be financing my lifestyle.

        • Anonymous :

          They’ve only been together a year and a half. Sounds like the guy was pretty successful before he met OP. She just sounds resentful and bitter about her own life choices.

          • She’s bitter that she made the CHOICE to be miserable the last 2 decades. But she’s mad at her boyfriend instead of herself.

          • Anonymous :

            Um, he’s so successful that lenders won’t lend to him? That’s exactly why she shouldn’t be involved financially with him, either. She can flip houses just fine ON HER OWN.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve seen this go the other way where i-bankers get involved with someone in-the-scene who wants to open a gallery. Galleries are AWESOME!!! And then you need fab gallery-owner clothes. BUT galleries never make money (not all galleries, obvs, but this sort of gallery). How do I know? The i-bankers never fight for them in the divorce and once the financial ties are severed, the galleries quickly close. And the ex becomes an “art consultant.”

  4. Anonymous :

    I’m really into my M. Gemi flats.
    Something I’ve noticed is that flats can be just as brutal on my feet as heels, if not more so, especially if they’re cheap. I’m 30 now and years of being hard on my feet is really catching up with me.

  5. I love my AGL ballerina flats more than words can say. I am up to five pairs and just got myself a pair of AGL loafer mules for casual Friday and weekends. I wear the flats all day for almost everything; the recent trend for skinnier pants and ankle pants has only encouraged me to wear them more. The worst thing about the reversion to higher waists and wide pant legs will be that the flats will not look right with them to me.

    That said, I wear heels to court and important meetings. It is hard enough to get my point across to judges and potential clients without being hidden behind a podium or being the shortest person in the room.

  6. Has anyone tried the Everlane Editor Slingbacks? I’m obsessed with how they look, but I’m concerned about how practical these are. Like would I be able to walk a few blocks to lunch in them?

    • A word of warning about Everlane shoes: I deeply regret the amount of money I spent on the block heel. It is a beautiful shoe, and well made, but it’s not comfortable at all. I sized way up and they still pinch my feet. That’s a remarkable feat for any shoe, considering that my feet are on the narrow side of normal and I usually have the exact opposite problem. They’re basically my “pretty shoes” for sitting-only occasions, not the everyday workhorse I thought I was buying.

      • Anonymous :

        Any recs for flats with decent arch support?

      • Agreed. I bought the Everlane modern loafers and sized up a half size as suggested, and while they fit fine and look pretty, my feet couldn’t last the whole day in them. They hurt and I was hobbling all over the office. I had to switch to my backup flats at the office in order to make my commute home. I have been lusting over the Gucci loafers and thought this would be a more economical alternative, but I did not anticipate the pain based on all of the reviews online.

      • I agree on the Block Heel–the stiff elastic back pushes my foot so far forward, the shoe feels small even though I sized up too. Just not comfortable. I find myself slipping them off at my desk. Everlane does lots of things very well but not these shoes.

  7. Anonymous :

    Plug for my favorite pointy-toe flat – the Frye Regina. Soft leather, classic shape and they hold up fairly well.

  8. All about my Rothy’s. I have two pairs of the round-toe and a pair of the loafers. I buy the 7 & 1/2 because I go back and forth between 7 and 7 & 1/2 in most shoes; they fit perfectly for me. I wear them all day every day to work and I walk all over the place. I’m excited for a trip to San Francisco later this year so I can go to the flagship store as apparently they are carrying in-store *exclusive* patterns/colors.

    I’ve raved about them so much that 3 of my girlfriends, 2 of my coworkers on my team, my manager, random friends I only connect with on Facebook, my stepmother, and my mother-in-law have all bought pairs. Bonus that their referral program now allows you to stack referral codes for major discounts if your friends buy pairs using your code!

  9. I love my everlane loafers – I get so many compliments on them. Most of their shoes take a while to break in. So they’re super uncomfortable for a while then magically turn perfect. Shoes are true to size but leather needs time to soften up, mood to your foot.

  10. sherri herrick :

    My Rothy’s flats are a lifesaver! Comfortable, chic and eco-friendly. There’s no break-in required and they feel like heaven straight out of the box

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