The Hunt: Nude Flats

nude flatsSure, 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.

Almost since this blog was born, we’ve done roundups of nude-for-you heels — beige heels, brown heels, pink heels and more. But I don’t think we’ve ever done a roundup of nude flats — so I thought we’d do one today. Ladies, do you wear nude-for-you flats as often as you wear nude-for-you heels? Which outfits are your favorite to pair with nude-for-you flats? Any favorite brands of flats, either for comfort or the perfect match to your skin?  

Update: Check out three work outfit ideas with nude flats

(Psst: check out our recent roundup of comfortable ballet flats, and of course our recently updated guide to comfortable heels.)

First up, some of our “Workwear Hall of Fame” styles — these are the best sellers and classics that have been around for years:

nude flats - classic styles

Pictured: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 


Before we get into today’s recommendations, some specialty categories:

pointy toed ballet flatsYes, we’ve featured these bad boys before — but c’mon, they’re $50, available in champagne and some lucky sizes left of a beautiful dark brown “cognac”, and they win a zillion rave reviews. BP. ‘Moveover’ Pointed Toe Flat
comfortable flats for workThese Julianne flats from comfort brand Børn are best sellers at Zappos with 652 positive reviews, and they come in a ton of possibly nude-for-you colors such as castagno (pictured), mid brown, noche, and taupe. They’re $85, and available in sizes 5-12. Børn Julianne
pointy toe lace up flat for workThese flats are pictured at the very top, and there are a number of great things about them — the pointy toe makes them look more sleek and sophisticated than round-toe flats, which always look a bit like slippers to me. I like that the straps make them more comfortable for walking longer distances, and I think give the shoes an “intentional” look — and I always think whenever straps get involved, that’s when the “nude-for-you” has the biggest, leg-lengthening impact. There are a number of shoes in this style right now (Topshop, BP., Bella Vita, Kendall & Kylie), but the pictured shoe has tons of sizes in stock as well as good reviews, and is available in blush and bone snake (which for some reason I keep typing as “bone snack”). They’re $89 at Nordstrom. Halogen® ‘Owen’ Pointy Toe Ghillie Flat
tan ballet shoesSam Edelman’s Felicia style continues to rack up positive reviews, and they have a ton of possibly nude-for-you colors to select from, including saddle (pictured), bronze shimmer leopard, seashell pink, pink mauve, new putty, and “classic nude.”  They’re available for $70-$120 at Nordstrom, in M and W sizes 4-13; Zappos has them in 20 colors for $100. Sam Edelman ‘Felicia’ Flat
lightweight ballet flatsCole Haan Tali’s are amazingly lightweight, and they continue to be bestsellers in both their flat and wedge forms.  These beige versions are on sale for $119 over at Nordstrom in beige and black, and they also have a few other colors that might be leg-lengthening colors as well, like rose gold and natural snake print, for $85-$180.  (New to me: a loafer version of the Tali!) Pictured: Cole Haan Tali Ballet Flat
perforated nude flatsFrench Sole almost has cult favorite status right now, and these dark tan perforated suede flats look lovely. (Oooh: so do these woven flats, and the classic Passport style does come in a lovely dark brown metallic.) They’re $180, available in sizes 6-10 at Zappos. French Sole Quartz

Like this feature? Check out other recent installments!



  1. Anonymous :

    I recently bought the Halogen “Owen” flats featured above (the lace-ups). They’re super comfy and cute, but I’m a little surprised to see them featured here along with what are all otherwise work appropriate flats. I don’t think of anything that laces up my leg as the least bit work appropriate–these are firmly in the evening/weekend category.

    • Shopaholic :

      I think tie-up flats are more work appropriate than heels. That said, I have tie-up heels that I wear to work occasionally because you can adjust the ties so it looks more like ankle straps.

    • I have the Bella Vita ghillie flats but in the champagne color. They are super comfortable. Because they’re kind of metallic, I feel a little weird wearing them to work, but they don’t lace up my leg. They have a back zip.

  2. I avoid true nude-for-me flats, because every time I see someone wearing them from down the hall, they look barefoot. For my pale skin, I prefer a medium brown.

    Also, I don’t think flats with laces, like the third pair down, are office appropriate. Too trendy/strappy/complicated.

  3. SuziStockbroker :

    I also worry that nude for me flats are not office appropriate as it can look like you are barefoot from a distance.

    • Anonymous :

      Ha! I have a pair of low-heeled (2″) nude pumps, and the guys on my team absolutely have asked me if I’m barefoot.

  4. Is it really worth getting shoes repaired rather than replacing them? Pretty much all of my shoes are in the $200-300 range full price (although I paid more like 30-60% of that), and I’m wondering if shoe maintenance is really worth it or if I should just get new shoes and ditch the old.

    • lucy stone :

      I usually take mine to the cobbler and he’ll give me an estimate on what it costs to fix. For shoes that can be easily resoled or retapped, I’d rather spend $25 to fix it than get a new pair. For shoes that need more work, I tend to just get new ones unless it’s a favorite pair. I tend to wear $100-150 shoes.

    • I think it depends on the repairs and how much you love the shoes. I’ve had my favorite green flats resoled twice even though they were about $50 on sale from Ann Taylor. I’ve also had my favorite Cole Haans resoled twice. I get the heel cap thing replaced on a variety of shoes too. The repairs are not expensive. I just go to the Hakky store in the mall though. I think a heel cap is under $10 and resole is around $15? I would absolutely get $200-300 shoes repaired. I hate throwing perfectly good things away.

      • It’s absolutely worth it. I tend to wear $150-250 shoes (for work, mainly Cole Haan and M.Gemi) and am a fanatic about maintenance. I probably spend $15-40 per season per pair and can typically get at least 3 or 4 years of life out of each pair of heels and flats that I buy, sometimes more (I have a pair of oxfords going strong at age 7), rather than replacing. For boots, I expect a minimum of 5+ years at Cole Haan/J.Crew/Madewell level of quality. Totally worth it and keeps my shoe budget WAY lower than it otherwise would be for the quality. I cannot imagine replacing 4-5 pairs of shoes per year at those prices–not realistic for my budget. A good cobbler can take care of purses and luggage too.

  5. Marhsmallow :

    I have the French Sole “Passport” in both plain black and beige with a black toe cap, and I wear the beige/black all the time. They’re perfect for looking polished with skirts when I don’t want to wear heels, and the black toe cap helps them look intentional and avoids the barefoot look. I’ve had the beige ones for almost 10 years now, resoled them twice, and they still look great.

  6. I really appreciate the nude-for-everyone options but we all know that none of these are nude for MOI

  7. For work, I really hate the look of all flats that have elastic detail. Regardless of quality / price point, they just do not look polished.

    • True that elastic is more suited for business casual or casual, but for those of us with narrow heels and a medium or wide toe box, it is sometimes the only way to keep flats from flopping off.

    • I can NEVER wear flat’s execpt when I am guaranteed to stay INSIDE the office all day with NO cleint meetings, and NO meeting’s with inside council. The manageing partner think’s FLATS of all types are NOT profesional so I onley wear them on Friday’s when I come in knoweing that I will NOT have to see anyone from the outside.

      The manageing partner let’s me wear flat’s on the subway, but MUST put them into my bag and put on pump’s before I come out of the subway. FOOEY!

  8. After being out of work since last winter due to a long term temp to perm gig that did not pan out, I finally recieved a job offer for an in-house position last Friday!! I will be starting it mid-July and am over the moon!!!

  9. Gail the Goldfish :

    I’ve got the Julianne flats from Born in a nude-for-me color. The little tab on the back of the heel that sticks up slightly more than the rest of the shoe rubbed my heel pretty badly, but once I put in a heel pad, they are in fact quite comfortable. I wear them to work, but they do look ever so slightly too casual somehow.

  10. My AGLs in blush with a patent blush toe cap qualify as “nude for me”. They have a chain detail over the toe to avoid that “barefoot” look. When I bought them, the hubs asked what they went with and my response was “what do they NOT go with”???

    Those perforated French Sole flats above are supercute, but I have a pair of light tan Ivanka Trump flats with perforations and they really bother my feet after about an hour. Anyone with actual experience on those French Soles?

    • I don’t have those French Soles, but I did have a pair of their regular ballet flats and they were awful. They were as thick as a piece of cardboard, which would be ok if you never walk outside, and the insole kept peeling up and scrunching under my toes while I was walking. I do not understand the love for them. I threw them away after two months.

  11. Also a fan of M.Gemi pointed-toe flats, though if I remember correctly, they don’t have a huge range of nude colors (I’m super pale, so if that describes you, you might be in luck).

  12. I have three pairs of the Fitzwell Carmene (wine, cognac, and black (2 pairs of these actual) and I LOVE THEM! They are great for walking around all day. They’re just a basic round toe flat with no bows or other accents to them. They go casual or business and, just, yes. Highly recommend.

  13. I love the Cole Haan flats–both Tali and Monica.

    Related Question–how long do your shoes usually last? I tend to wear the same 5 pairs of flats and wedges to work (I have a standing desk) and cycle through them on a 6-9 month average–the sole wears out, they look kind of peaky, they start to smell, or something else. It seems short to me, but I guess I walk a lot and stand a lot. Anyone care to share?

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