The Hunt: Sleek Strappy Pumps for the Office

Sleek Strappy Pumps 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.

When the weather starts to get brisk, I’m always on the hunt for great strappy pumps to wear with tights to work, whether they’re ankle strap, T-strap, Mary Jane, crisscross, or other styles with straps. (Particularly as someone with narrow heels but a wide forefoot, I swear by these for comfort and stability!) Strappy pumps like these are great for days where boots may feel too soon — and they can also be great as shoes that “live in your office” to change into if you do your commute in rainboots. This year, there are more heeled oxfords on the market than in previous years (like these nice ones from Isolá and Calvin Klein) — and of course wearing booties to the office is so trendy right now that we’ll do a separate roundup for booties (stay tuned!). We’ve included some of our favorite strappy office pumps this year — which are your favorites, ladies? In general, what shoes are your favorites to wear with tights to work — pumps, strappy pumps, booties, or something else? 

Psst: here are our favorite tights for work (just updated the post!).

Pictured at top, clockwise from top: one / two / three

Curious about roundups from previous years? Here are our favorites from 201620152014, and 2012.

BP. strappy pumpThese $70 pumps are great if you’re looking for an affordable option — and they’re super trendy with the block heel. They’re also highly rated, and it looks like they sold out of the other colors they used to have — but these are still available in sizes 5.5-10.  Ankle Strap Block Heel Pump
OK: If you’re not a fan of the “envelope pumps” that are everywhere, you probably won’t like these either. I’m not usually a fan of those pumps either — but something about these suede pumps strike me as cute rather than hideous. Or maybe they’re so hideous they’re cute? Hmmn. They’re available in eight colors over at Amazon, Macy’s, and Nordstrom, $79-$99. They come in four widths (N-WW), sizes 5-12.  Bella Vita Neve Pump
minimal strappy pumps to wear to workI like that these strappy pumps are a) affordable, b) low heels, and c) very minimal on the strap — I could see this being a very elegant line whether with tights or without. They’ve got lots of good reviews at Nordstrom, where they’re $109. Page Pointy Toe Pump
strappy pumps to wear with tights to workI swear that we’ve featured these before, but the only place I can find them was in our last roundup of nude-for-you heels (in addition to black they also come in a “darker than light beige but not brown” shade). LOVE the look of these shoes, from the crisscross details to the zipper up the back to the nice range of colors to the affordability ($139). I haven’t had good luck myself with Corso Como heels, but many (many) people swear by these $99 Corso Como heels for comfort. Pictured: ‘Colette’ Crisscross Pointy Toe Pump
Another ankle strap/block heel style for you: these lovely suede Stuart Weitzmans. At $425, they’re definitely an investment piece, but I love the architectural vibes to the flared block heel, the thickness of the ankle cuff, and the square toe. Nice. They’re available in several colors, sizes 4.5-11, at Nordstrom (in suede) and Saks (in leather). Clara Pump
scalloped trim strappy pumps for workI think it’s Chloe’s flats with the scalloped details that are suddenly everywhere — but I like the look of the scalloped trim here, too. Note that because these are patent leather, it means a) they’re going to be more waterproof, b) they’re going to add a nice element of texture and polish to your regular looks with black tights, c) they’re going to be easier to pair with navy tights (black patent is great with navy tights), and d) they may need a bit of upkeep to look their best, which shouldn’t be surprising to you if you’re the type of woman to spend $695 on heels. They’re at Saks and Nordstrom.

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One of my favorite office looks for fall/winter/spring is black tights and strappy heels like ankle straps, Mary Jane styles, crisscross styles, and more. We rounded up some of our favorites of 2017 -- which are your favorites to wear to work in the fall?


  1. The Sam Edelman Lara is clearly a knock-off of the Chloe scalloped ankle strap pump. They are black suede and really comfortable but stylish enough for a dress

  2. KateMiddletown :

    Shoes of Prey – Nordstrom’s has a ton of styles on sale right now. I thought they were custom only. Does anyone have experience with their quality?

    • I have several pairs of the custom ones and have been really happy with the quality and comfort. I would guess the Nordstrom line would be of comparable quality, but I love the custom options too much to buy a regular pair.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a pair of their flats and wear them all the time. They are very nice-looking. They really tore up my heels on the first couple of wears, but are now very comfortable.

    • I’ve tried them – they are very nice quality, but had limited styles in my wide size and I found the pumps had an unfortunate cut around the front of the foot (it was wide enough, but the opening hit at an uncomfortable spot). Customer service was very helpful and you can send them foot measurements.

  3. Bella Vita Fit? :

    I haven’t ordered Bella Vita before but I do like those. Has anyone ordered their wide width shoes before?

  4. LOVE the Page ones, but refuse to wear heels. Has anyone seen something similar in flats?

    • Anonymous :

      you never wear heels?

    • If you don’t like heels or can’t wear them comfortably try Aquazurra shoes. They manufacture most of their gorgeous high heels in comparably fashionable low heel styles that are just as gorgeous. They make a point of making high heels that are comfortable by including a soft leather lining inside the shoes so that the lining grips the foot around the ‘waist’ (the area of the foot that includes the arch and the area under the vamp of a shoe). High heels that are designed to keep the foot stable and in place so it does not slide forward are the best style of heels. The comment by Kat is actually typical of a woman’s foot. She wrote , “Particularly as someone with narrow heels but a wide forefoot, I swear by these for comfort and stability!” Some shoe manufacturers apparently use a last for their women’s shoes that is the same as for a man’s shoe, just in smaller sizes. However the best way to manufacture women’s shoes, which many good shoe manufacturers do, is to use a shoe last that is proportioned to a woman’s foot – narrower at the heel than at the ball of the foot.

  5. pugsnbourbon :

    Adrienne Vittadini Nancele – I got them in gray on Amazon. The gray’s no longer available, but there’s a few left in a pretty burgundy. Comfy and I find them easy to walk in.

  6. Anonymous :

    I thought bootcuts and flats were a no-no but I like this look:

    Or will I be dated?

    • I do this ALL THE TIME. I cannot wear heels currently so am stuck in flats. If I want to dress them up a bit, I go with a pointy toe flat. If I am just running errands it is birks or running shoes.

      I think it really is up to you and what you want.

  7. I have the Corso Como ones in green suede and they’re amazing. Wearing them today, oddly. And you’re right, you have featured them before because that’s why I bought them. Maybe they were an alternative to the main shoe?

  8. Am I just totally off? I think of strappy sandals as either eveningwear or summer shoes, but not to wear with tights. Am I just interpreting this wrong? Thoughts?

    • Baconpancakes :

      Kay uses the term “strappy” differently than most people. In this case, it seems to mean any pump with a strap somewhere on it. Not a single one of the featured shoes are sandals.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I think the idea is not that they are “strappy” in that there are multiple straps, but often just that there is a strap or something to keep them on your feet better, which is a big issue for some with hose/tights and heels.

    • No, Kat uses “strappy” when most people wouldn’t (I’m with you, “strappy” is only used in the context of evening sandals).

      I would refer to these heels as “ankle strapped” or “mary jane” or “t strap” etc.

      • I have to agree with you all. Kat – people use strappy to refer to shoes with thin, delicate straps, such as those worn on dressy occasions, typically with heels. People don’t use strappy to refer to these kinds of thick straps at all. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone in the shoe business.

  9. Face Makeup :

    Looking for recommendations for a BB Cream or similar one-stop face makeup for day-to-day wear. I’ve previously worn Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer, which I loved, but am looking for something hopefully cheaper and with a little more long-lasting. I’ve recently been using Glossier’s Skin Tint, but coverage is very minimal, and I feel like any coverage is gone by mid-day.

    My skin feels pretty normal – not too oily – but it does not retain makeup well, which may indicate otherwise.

    Any favorites/recommendations appreciated!

    • Anonymous :

      Aveeno has one, also Cetaphil. The Cetaphil stays put for me better as I seem to have an oily nose.
      Aveeno is 30 spf and Cetaphil 20 I believe.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I wear the Garnier BB cream and like the coverage. When I remove it at the end of the day, there’s some on the remover wipe, so I know it’s still “there”. That said, I cannot use without some moisturizer underneath. I use an oil of olay serum first.

    • Well my rec is definitely not cheaper, but I liked the feel and performance of the NARS BB cream. I now instead use a medium-coverage foundation (Clinique Even Better, which I love).

    • givemyregards :

      I have a nivea one I really like – it’s their british version, so you can only get it on amazon unfortunately but it’s still pretty cheap and stays on for a while (and I also have a face that doesn’t retain makeup well).

    • Try E.L.F Available at Walmart, therefore super inexpensive. Goes on really smooth and has good coverage. Very limited in colour choices though. It is considered a ‘sun screen’, on the label.

  10. I think that a well-placed and well-scaled strap on a pump, somewhere, is good and fun and useful, and works.

    The strappier the pump, to me, the more they veer into evening shoes from the 1990’s, a la Mootsies Tootsies. Nope. Those satin or microfiber pumps with an elastic-y t-strap and a flared heel scream “wear me with a mid-calf column dress and a shoulder padded fully beaded jacket! and a bedazzled headband!”

  11. Does anybody have any recs for a pair of T-strap heels? I love the look of Boden’s Jennifer T-Bar Heel Pumps but would love a pair in black, which Boden doesn’t offer. TIA.

    • I bought these recently, and am very pleased.

  12. Love the look of the Calvin Klein Page heels. Have tried two pairs (much cheaper from Amazon) and have found they just don’t work on me. Either too big or too small. I must be between sizes. It is sad. They’re so adorable.

    • J, if you are between sizes always go up in size and put in foam inserts to hold your foot in place so it won’t slide forward and squish the toes. With regard to shoe sizes, since a foot never stops growing you will never be as small in shoe size as you are today – you will in future always wear a larger size so don’t worry that you have a shoe that is too big. Too big is an easy fix, too small is never fixable.

  13. I love that Mary Jane’s are back for a while. I have always been a fan of a great t-strap pump, but I often find that the t-strap shifts on top of the foot and ultimately ends up looking sloppy. I would definitely go for the Christian Louboutin or Manolo Blahniks as a splurge, but particularly for the Louboutins, I’m never convinced that I could last all day in the office.

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