The Hunt: Strappy Pumps

strappy pumps to wear with tights to work

2017 Update: We still love these strappy pumps to wear with tights to work, but you may want to check out our new roundup of sleek strappy pumps for the office!

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.

If you’ve got narrow heels like I do, tights can be a problem with classic pumps — shoes I was fine with while barefoot always seem extra hard to walk in while wearing pantyhose or tights.  Still, after a certain point in autumn, bare legs just look silly, no matter how warm your body runs. My solution for a conservative office has always been to wear pumps with straps for most of the winter.  Now, of course, booties are so popular you may be able to wear those instead for all but your biggest days (know your office!) — we’ve rounded up some of the sleeker bootie/pump hybrids in bullet points below. Still, for those of you who prefer the sleeker look of strappy pumps, I thought we’d feature a few best selling styles and some current picks.  Readers, what shoes do you wear with tights in the winter? Are you on Team Bootie or Team Strappy Pump (or both? or neither?) Bought any great ones recently?

Some special interest categories (and those bootie/pump hybrids we mentioned):

Some of the best selling styles (we mentioned above include):


Bestsellers row 1: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
Bestsellers row 2: 56 / 7 /

* If you have wide feet, check out our roundup of workwear brands making heels for wide feet. Curious about previous roundups for strappy flats? Here are our favorites from 2015, 2014, and 2012.

In addition to the best-selling styles pictured above, some of our favorites that are new to shelves include:

lifestride-strappy-pumpsOoh: these black heels are only $59, have no buckles or straps (great for slipping on quickly), have a ton of great reviews, and come in seven colors, sizes 5-11, regular, narrow, and wide sizes. LifeStride Seamless
rockport-sharna-strappy-pumpThese shoes are best sellers at Zappos, and I can see why — they’re walkable, sleek, and affordable.  (These $99 Naturalizer pumps look very similar but in a leather instead of a “velvety microfiber upper.”) They’re available in sizes 5-11, in regular and side sizes. Rockport Sharna Cross Strap
louise-et-cie-jaydeThese Louise et Cie heels were a big hit in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and they’re still going strong, with 79 positive reviews.  The block heel makes them a bit more modern, but if the strap placement is more what you like, do check out these longtime best sellers from Naturalizer. The pictured heels come in three colors, sizes 4-12.  Louise et Cie ‘Jayde’ Mary Jane Block Heel Pump (Nordstrom Exclusive)
kate-spade-davieI love these kinds of hybrids of oxfords/booties/pumps, and these Kate Spade shoes are the perfect example (we’ve rounded up more in the bullet points at top; if you really prefer more of an oxford style these Clarks look great for only $105). The shoe is $328, available in three colors, sizes 5-11. Kate Spade New York Davie
manolo-campyOK, velvet isn’t great for running around in the rain or slush — but these are perfect shoes to keep at your office. The pros: velvet is H-O-T this fall, with velvet touches popping up everywhere. We all know I have a thing for purple pumps for work. And the Campy Mary Jane heel has been around for years now; it’s a classic Manolo style.  The cons: it’s $745, and if you like matching your tights to your shoes, you may have issues with this one. (Also in this price range — the Valentino Tango pump is gorgeous (also pictured in collage at very top); this Nine West pump is a pretty good dupe.) Pictured: Manolo Blahnik ‘Campy’ Velvet Pump (Nordstrom Exclusive Color)

Like this feature? Check out other recent installments!



The Best Strappy Pumps to Wear To Work


  1. I think the shoes that are more like slingbacks are more appropriate for bare legs and warm weather- if it’s cold enough for me to be wearing tights, it’s cold enough that I’ll want my heel to be covered. The Sam Edelman shoes, in particular, would strike me as strange if worn with tights.

  2. Wedding Planning :

    Is there anything you regret doing / not doing at your wedding? Pinterest is making me go crazy.

    • I hated wedding planning so much that we finally eloped. Occasionally I regretted the decision, but mostly I was very, very happy about it. In the end, of course, it didn’t really matter, since we divorced 10 years later.

      If you have the people you love the most there, a photographer to capture the moments and not just the staged stuff, what’s really to regret?

    • I really wish I had a videographer or at least asked a friend to take a video of the ceremony. I was focused on the pictures and didn’t think we would have any use for a video, but I wish I had the ceremony and our first dance recorded. As for the rest of it, the details and ideas you see on pinterest are great and helpful, but when you look back, the special napkins or cutesy signs aren’t what you really remember. Commit to a date to stop looking at Pinterest because otherwise you can get overloaded with ideas at the last minute and you want to be able to enjoy the day.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1, I wish we had had video of the ceremony (at the time I thought it was super tacky). We do have audio though.

        • +1 Had a friend video our ceremony and you can barely hear it. I really regret not having a video of our first dance

      • +1 We asked a high schooler to video for us, and unbeknownst to us, he did not show up. It makes me so sad that we do not have a video, especially because we had some wonderful friends sing at the ceremony, including songs before I walked down the aisle so I didn’t get to see them.

        Similarly, I had a friend try to save some money on a photographer, and she regrets it to this day. The pictures and video are the one piece of your wedding you have forever – don’t skimp!

    • Best thing I did by far is choose what to care about. Pinterest/wedding mags will make you crazy, and it’s okay to pick certain details and say “I don’t care.” Or give your vendor (say flowers) a budget, a color scheme, and not care how it happens.

      Regret: Not planning timelines better, including week-of as friends and family were flying in, leading me to yelling “WHYYYYY” into the phone like a crazy person while standing outside my hairdresser’s in Manhattan about to get my hair done for my bachelorette and finding out my mother is still in NJ with all my makeup. That was my crazy person moment. It will happen to you. Godspeed.

    • Miz Swizz :

      I loved making our invitations. I bought a kit at Michaels and designed and embellished them myself. It was time-consuming but also soothing to do assembly line work for a bit to ease my mind. I’m really glad I didn’t have a wedding party or concern myself with favors.

      I spent far too much time and effort on making welcome bags for guests. Guests appreciated them (I think?) but the wedding was in a medium-sized college town and there are many walkable places near the hotels so I would’ve skipped those.

    • Anonymous :

      Not taking enough time off to actual enjoy the whole thing. I took the day before and a one week honeymoon based on advice from my private law practice dad. I was articling with the government and it totally would have been fine to take more time – 3 weeks would not have been an issue. I wish I took the week before and two weeks after. Time before to not be stressed day of and a ten day honeymoon plus a couple days to settle in at home after the honeymoon.

    • Best thing I did (1 year ago last month!) was to hire a day-of coordinator. She kept us on schedule and made everything run smoothly. (One of my best friends had a tough wedding day because they ended up being 80 minutes behind schedule and many of her guests were hungry and cranky.)

      Things I would do differently: I would have had a much shorter (and cheaper) photography package. The posed (pre-wedding) photos and ceremony photos were my absolute favorite. About half way into the evening the photos started to look more like informal party shots that I might take myself – and a bit repetitious.

      I’m also really glad we stuck to our flower budget, which meant that our centerpieces were also used in the ceremony (marking the front and back of the aisle, etc). Flowers are pretty, and I’m glad we had them at our wedding, but once you have some flowers doubling the price doesn’t double the prettiness (in my opinion).

    • Anonymous :

      I hated looking at Pinterest! Here is my advice:
      (1) a wedding is an awesome and very special party. Nothing more. Plan to have fun!
      (2) have a wedding that is true to you and your partner. Whatever is authentic to who you are will be the most fun. Do what feels right and natural to you.
      (3) delegate and organize in advance! you should have nothing on your to do list as of the rehearsal dinner the night before. I was anal and had typed instructions. Gave select guests one discrete task each (tip x vendor, here is the envelope, give bus driver directions, etc.)
      (4) favorite parts:
      candy bar at the end (and that served as our favor. who needs tchotchkes).
      DIY photobooth we created (polaroid plus book for guests to sign)
      kick-a** music

      Congrats and just enjoy. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I promise that people will not notice the things that are currently keeping you up at night (be it decorations, napkins, colors, flowers). Guests are there to celebrate you.

    • anon-oh-no :

      I regret not spending more money and getting a better photographer. ours was cheep, and terrible. really, really terrible. if I could do it all over again, I would have devoted more money in the budget to photography and I would have interviewed a bunch of them (instead of going with the first guy that called me back).

      On the flip side, I don’t regret at all not having a videographer.

      • I agree with all of this! We never even ordered an album bc the proofs were so meh. Total waste of money and would’ve been better served if I’d gone with the more expensive photographer.

    • I had the beautiful backyard outdoor wedding that was everything I wanted from Pinterest – except that it rained the entire day (seriously, it rained continuously for 36 hours, including the 24 of my wedding day).

      However, when most people talk about my wedding, they all say, “You know, it rained, but the food was great, and we had a great time…”

      I really believe the best thing we did (aside from renting the tent) was splurging on the food. Good food puts people in a good mood.

    • I regret getting professional hair and make-up done, at least the way we did it. Two pros came to my suite about 5 hours before the ceremony, so while my husband got to hang out with guests and friends who were staying in our hotel (and relax, and go out to lunch), I felt chained to my suite. I also regret not doing a make-up trial run, because I was spackled far more than I have ever been before and will ever be again.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I had a blast at my wedding and the only thing I regret is that we ran out of time to actually write down our toasts/speeches to each other and our guests at the reception. I wish I’d done a better job because I left out some people and didn’t do justice to Lovely Husband when I toasted him, I don’t think.

      Other than that, I am super happy we only had a six-month engagement, which turned out to be plenty of time to plan a huge wedding given that I had a professional planner, without whom the whole thing would have been impossible. It was definitely the best money we spent.

    • Only a few regrets from my wedding – most of which can be mitigated with some good research :)

      -Didn’t hire a great photographer. Not that these pictures are all over, but it would be nice to not cringe when seeing some of the shots.
      -Wouldn’t have had my hair in an updo – I normally always wear my hair down and curled and would have had it that way (except for more glam). I did an updo because I was worried about wind…but oh well.
      -Finally, I would have had a better person be the MC of the evening – originally I wanted some short games and jokes to keep everything light hearted, but our MC didn’t really own the evening at all and much of it was left in silence or with background music playing.

      Things I’m so glad I did:
      -Had great food at the reception! And great cake too :)
      -Had my makeup professionally done – including fake eyelashes. In pics, I love seeing how great my skin looked and how open my eyes were.
      -Didn’t stress out about decorations – no one will likely remember what was on your tables. They will remember the great food, good drinks, and fun music!

  3. I regret looking at Pinterest during my planning, and thereby coming to feel inadequate about my wedding plans/decor.

  4. Curiouser and curiouser :

    TJ. I wonder if I can ask for a little moral support?

    I was up at 5:30 this morning crying in the bathroom. This follows a couple of weeks of just generally feeling exhausted and down. I was on an antidepressant and in therapy for most of last year, then weaned off and had four months without either and was so proud of doing all the hard work to feel better. I know that depression is an illness, and it’s silly to be ashamed if it comes back, but I am so mad at myself. Not to mention that in general depression makes me irritable so I’m fighting frustration with job, boyfriend, and a painful knee.

    I know I need to just make an appointment with my (wonderful, understanding) GP and talk it through. But I’m sad that I have to do it again.

    • Anonymous :


      Try to think of it as a speed bump on your road to recovery – slow down and take the time to deal with it by going to your GP but it’s not like snakes and ladders – the last 4 months have not been a write off.

    • Anonymous :

      Hear ya sister!

      The weather is also starting to turn where I am, and with it the days are shortening. This also makes it worse.

      All I have to say is THANK GOODNESS for meds.

      Sorry you are going through a rough spell.

      Start turning on your happy light each morning while you drink your coffee, get outside for a walk during a short work break, and call your wonderful GP. She can call in your medicine right now to the pharmacy, and get a quick appointment in the books.

      It will be better. Promise.

      • Curiouser and curiouser :

        THANK GOODNESS for meds is right. Thanks for saying it. It’s so affirming.

        And you’re right, it’s partially the days getting shorter. Happy light and Vitamin D, here I come.

    • Pep talk: mental health is like physical health. Some people have an easier time maintaining it than others, and sometimes, you need a professional to get you back to good health.

      Think of it as routine maintenance, not a setback.

    • Anonymous :

      Good idea to make an appointment. Its rough right now, but it’ll get better. There’s nothing wrong with taking meds as needed. I’ve also been on and off meds to get through tough times. Its a tool to help you move forward. Hugs!

    • Wildkitten :

      I plan to just stay on anti-depressants for the rest of my life, rather than deal with going on and off when I feel terrible. I’ll just avoid the deep lows by keeping my symptoms in check. That’s another option.

    • Anonymous :

      In case you’re still reading I just had a similar experience except I haven’t (yet?) been off my meds and instead needed to acknowledge today that I needed to up the dose, I sympathize with how horrible it feels. In case it helps you also, my friend who convinced me to go to the doctor reminded me that feeling sad and ashamed about needing medical help (therapy, pills, lifestyle choices I’m lucky to be able to make because of family and monetary privilege) is often a symptom of depression itself – similar to pain from a broken bone, feeling unable to talk about my depression is actually a sign for me that I desperately need to. Wishing you the best as you handle this, you’ve done it before and I imagine that means you can do it again – even if it takes some help.

  5. It’s possible I suck at Bumble…any tips? What do you write to someone when their profile doesn’t give an easy opening? How much do you say in your profile?

    I feel like I get very few matches compared to how many I right-swipe (and usually not the ones I was most excited about)…and even fewer respond when I actually do get a match and message them.

    In NYC (Brooklyn), so there are plenty of faces to flip through…just few results.

    I seem to do better on OKC (which is supposedly dying) than on Bumble. Are there any others out there worth trying right now? Is Tindr worth it?

    • Anonymous :

      I thought Bumble was a complete waste of time. It sounds good in theory but if the guys don’t bother to message you back, the matches expire and you’re back at square one. It was a total flop for me.

      I’m having pretty good success on OKC these days but it varies by area I’m sure. Tinder was also useless for me, I don’t think anyone here actually takes it seriously.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I don’t usually get too creative with my openings on bumble… if someone hasn’t given me something in their profiles to catch onto, I tend to say hey [name] with either an ! or a ;)

      Sometimes I’ll ask them how their day is going or say happy [day of the week], especially if they’re cute or their profile makes them seem charming.

      my profile only has about one or two sentences on it but it generally seems to work – I said something about loving the city and patio drinks, and watching sports.

      I tried to keep it light and fun and generally tend to get matches/responses so I think it’s working. How are your pictures? I think that’s the most important part

      • Do people respond to the generic Hey Name! ? I do that but feel like I don’t get replies (though of course that may not be the problem).

        A male friend checked out my pictures and told me they were good.

        • Unless I’m super interested, I usually don’t. Saying Hey Name!? shifts all the responsibility for starting a meaningful exchange onto the other person. I also sort of hate “how’s your day going?”

          • Also, anecdata here, but my experience has been that when the online chatting feels like a chore, so too does the in-person conversation (if there ever is one). I’ve been surprised by the extent to which I predict how good of a conversationalist someone is in real life based on their online messages. Sometimes I can just tell that someone is enthusiastic or happy or laidback based on what they write and it often translates into our in-person meeting. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by this at all, but I am because messages are often seen as a bad way to judge tone.

          • I’ve had the same experience regarding how I feel corresponding with the person online translating to how I feel interacting with them in person.

        • TO Lawyer :

          I would say it probably works 60-75% of the time? I think the winky face makes it a bit flirtier?

          I really believe it’s a numbers game, and quite frankly, I don’t have the time and energy to craft a better opening, unless someone has really piqued my interest. It works fairly well for the little effort I’m putting in…

    • Anon Midwest :

      Happy relationship as a result of Tindr, and I’m not the only one I know of. Unless it’s changed you can see the mutual likes on facebook you have in common (maybe all of their likes?) it helped give me things to talk about an a sense of the person’s social media use.

  6. I’m wearing black Via Spiga Mary Jane pumps right now, and they’re soooooo comfortable. Highly recommend.

    In general, I find heels with a strap easier to handle than without, but I have a wide foot, so not everything works on me. I have the SJP ones in Taupe, which are super-cute, but narrow on me.

    Style question: I’m rocking the Mary Janes today, but have wondered about wearing them with more feminine outfits in the past for fear of looking too “girly.” I work with mostly middle-aged men. Thoughts?


    Might have been too late to post on the morning thread, but I really want people to know that I really, really, really hate him. I was in angry tears in my office this morning reading this, after spending a solid portion of my weekend trying to figure out how to keep one of my clients with combat-related PTSD from committing suicide if a decision comes back on his case that’s negative. I work with veterans. This makes me all sorts of miserably furious.

    • Another Nordstrom question :

      I can’t stand the man but reading the article, I do think this comment was taken a little out of context.

  8. New Tampanian :

    Again, thank you to the person who posted about the Nordstrom pricing adjustment policy! I am getting about $100 credited to my card as the Classiques dresses I bought are down SUBSTANTIALLY from NAS. They were even out of the one color but are crediting me anyway. WAHOO!!

    • Nordstrom junkie :

      Ha, that was me. :) I’m so glad! What I do is after I buy an item, I transfer it to my Wish List and check it every day. That way I can keep track of when items go down and use the Live Chat feature to get the adjustment right away.

      What shocked me (in a good way) this morning is when they gave me the price adjustment even after the item had been sold out.

      I love Nordies.

  9. Another Nordstrom question :

    I have a Nordstrom card and I went to the store to get some alterations done. They charged me $60, even though I have a $100 in alterations credit. Do I later get a refund of this money or does it come in the form of a Nordstrom note?

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