The Hunt: Strappy Pumps

The Best Strappy Pumps | Corporette

2017 Update: We still think these strappy pumps are cute, but you may want to check out our recent 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.

As the weather turns/stays nasty, I’m often reminded of a trick I’ve employed for years: wearing a skirt and tights to work with commuting boots (either snow boots or rain boots — I’ve always preferred a skirt in truly nasty weather since my pants seemed to always get yucky from the knee down) — and then switching into regular heels at the office.  Personally, I vastly prefer strappy pumps for wear with tights — styles such as the Mary Jane, a T-strap, and ankle strap have always been much more comfortable.  We haven’t rounded up strappy pumps in a while, so I thought I’d hunt down a few.  (Check out our roundup of strappy flats as well as regular pumps if you’re on the hunt for those.) Readers, do you share my preference for strappy pumps with tights?  Have you bought any great strappy heels lately?

Clarks Loyal PeonyThese suede/patent leather Clarks pumps have 17 glowing reviews at Zappos.  Although they look high to me, they’re only 2.75″, and I like the rubber outsole, cushioned footbed, and little details, like the black buckle on the strap.  They were $120, but are now marked to $85. (Also in this price range: the Sofft Obella and the Miz Mooz Petula.) Clarks Loyal Peony
Gentle Souls Rem Emberme BlackI’ve posted these before, but since I own them myself (and find them comfortable) I thought I’d repost.  I like the 2.5″ heel mixed with the hidden .75″ platform — they’re very walkable.  6pm has them in black, brown and slate for $129-$142 (originally $235); Amazon has very lucky sizes but some marked as low as $78.  Gentle Souls Rem Emberme Black
Carolinna Espinosa Lilou PumpI am totally unfamiliar with the brand Carolinna Espinosa, but these are GORGEOUS heels, with good reviews, on sale.  Hello, lover! I prefer the more sedate black/gray combo (pictured at the very top of the post), but the teal/purple combo is quite fun as well.  They were $255, but are now marked to $171. Carolinna Espinosa Lilou Pump
Kate Spade New York NouvoI like the feminine, quirky details on this Mary Jane style from Kate Spade — the bow detail on the strap, the gold-lined heel.  Fun.  These are high ones (3.75″) but the one reviewer gave them 5 stars.  They were $328, but are now marked to $198. (Also in this price range: the Via Spiga Ballard and the Gentle Souls Funtastic.) Kate Spade New York Nouvo
Michael Kors Sahar T-StrapOoh: I love the delicate straps (and cutouts) on these T-straps from Michael Kors. (They actually remind me a lot of the Kors flats we posted last week.)  They’re $350 at Neiman Marcus. Michael Kors Sahar T-Strap
Valentino Noir Rockstud T-StrapI am still smitten with the Valentino rockstud pump, but usually what I like about it is that the straps are available in a light beige, which (if you’re very pale) leaves a nude-floating-rockstud look.  Still: any roundup of strappy pumps would not be complete without Valentino, and I do think the black-on-black look will look far better with tights, so I suppose we’ll all just have to get two pairs.  They’re only $1,045.  (Oh, you’re on a budget? Manolo Blahnik’s two Mary Jane styles look downright affordable in comparison: Campari and Campy.)  Valentino Noir Rockstud T-Strap

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  1. Senior Attorney :

    I am so in love with the Rockstuds, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to pull the trigger at that price. And also, I know it’s crazy but the heel isn’t quite high enough for me.

    I got a pair of Calvin Klein Baisha pumps in silver for the holidays and I love them to pieces. The finish is kind of textured/crackly and I really like it. They also come in black, which would be good for work:

    • Senior Attorney :

      Okay, just clicked through and did a little poking around, and there’s a higher-heeled version.

      I may have to put them on my list as a special treat when my divorce is final…

      • Do it! Rockstuds also show up on Rue La La fairly frequently (once a month or so), so you can find a deal.

  2. Just bought the Carolinna Espinosa pumps in charcoal/black.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I LOVE those! I am totally living vicariously through you. Also love the Michael Kors ones but I am on a shopping ban until March 31…

  3. Siigggh, the gentle souls are so adorbs and I’ve been really wanting a t-strap, but that brand just hasn’t worked on my foot in the past. :o( It’s so not fair.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I like the Gentle Soles, except there’s a weird tiny with peeptoe thing going on? Whaa?

      • oh yeah! I didn’t notice in this pic, but that is another reason why I didn’t order these when I saw them before. That is weird, and I don’t like it ;oP

        But it has been SO HARD To find simple but comfortable t-straps! I am sadface.

        • I saw a pair of gorgeous purple ones on sale at Ecco (in Scotland but maybe worth a look)

  4. Diana Barry :

    Dude, I totally had almost identical heels to those Clarks! They were Franco Sarto and I had them in the late 90s and wore them into the GROUND.

    • What goes around, comes around!

    • I have the Clarks in the red and I love them. So comfortable with a substantial heel. It’s funny – I get so many compliments on them when they’re really out of my usual style (round toe, comfort shoe) but they look great. I have a pic on my tumblr.

  5. Case of the Mondays :

    Career TJ (perhaps thread-rant will be a more accurate description) –
    I am nearly three years out of law school. I work for the government in a law-related position but I am not a government lawyer (if that makes any sense). This job was the only job I could get coming out of law school and I am lucky because it is in the area of law I wanted to practice. However, I am bored out of my mind. It was interesting for the first year but now it is routine. I ask for new assignments weekly but my manager won’t go outside my group to get me new work. I’m not even going to get started on that problem. What’s more, all signs indicate that my job function may change drastically in the very near future. Right now I do a lot of legal research and analysis, but it looks like there will be less and less law related work.

    I have tried to get out of government in the past but my current practice area is very niche and positions in it just don’t open up very often. Also, while I thought that this job would make me more attractive to private employers, it seems that there is some sort of stigma attached to non-attorney government employees. Therefore, I just don’t seem able to get any firms interested in me. I even spoke with a recruiter and she was less than impressed even though I have an LL.M. in my practice area from one of the top two programs in the country and did very well is that program. I haven’t heard anything from her in probably six months. I have had a couple of interviews for positions in my practice area but not in my niche. One position was a terrible fit and the other position wanted someone with a different area of expertise. I am willing to switch my specific practice area but don’t have any experience outside the LL.M. classes.

    I applied for a government attorney position but I have been waiting to hear something for months. The budget mess keeps interfering in the hiring process. I have told that office that I will accept the job if they give me an offer so I don’t even feel like I can seriously ramp up the job search process until I hear something.

    I am just so frustrated because I have six figures of debt but do not appear to be in any better position for it. I also don’t feel like I have any control over my career at the moment. Not sure whether I am looking for advice or commiseration but both are appreciated. At least the sun is out today while I twiddle my thumbs at my desk.

    • First, for what it’s worth, many attorneys feel this way, so you are (unfortunately) in good company. The first item in our 1/21/14 coverage this past week was on the topic of “Career Transition,” and there are a few articles there that will hopefully get the wheels turning on some fresh ideas for moving on. In the meantime, the last article in that bullet talks about how to cope until you do! Keep in mind also that National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) has a mentoring program, so you may benefit from some more direct advice on next steps in your niche. Hang in there!

    • Hug’s to you, but think of the bright side! You have a job that is probabley secure, and you are not killing yourself, but lookeing for something better. It is not great that you have 6 figure’s of debt and a goverment job, which probabley does NOT pay to much. FOOEY!

      I recomend that you continue doeing what you are doieng (in the job market), and at the same time, if you are ONLEY 3 year’s out of law school, look for a guy with a good job and money in the bank to date and mabye MARRY who will be abel to help you pay the rent and these large bill’s in exchange for youbeing his wife, and being there for him and having a family with CHILDREN! YAY!

  6. hoola hoopa :

    Those Carolinna Espinosa pumps in the black/gray combo are incredible. I see others do the tights+strappy pumps and it usually looks good, but I have a hard time wearing strappy shoes to the office because I feel like I am dressed for prom.

    What are the “rules” for strappy shoes at work? It used to be more foot covered than bare and no toes. Toe cleavage was controversial. Is that still current?

  7. FedTaxAtty :

    I love the look of t-straps. However, I’ve always been told the people with short legs shouldn’t wear them because they yptend to make short legs look shorter. Thoughts?

    • I simply don’t have a choice. I have very narrow heels, and the only way I can wear heels is if they have a strap or a really high vamp (lace-ups) that hold my foot in, or I would be falling out of my shoes.

      Honestly, I just don’t think it’s worth worrying about so much. There are other ways you can make sure your clothes make you feel confident in how you work, but if you have short legs, you just do, and I think people put too much effort into trying to make us all look exactly like a runway model by clothing choices. That is never going to happen, so I just wear what I like.

      • Agree 100%, no hard and fast rules; although my mother told me exactly the same thing about short legs and ankle straps. If it looks good, don’t stress about “rules” like that.

        • exactly! I bought the Adrienne Vittadini t-straps that TCFKAG recommended awhile back (in the red patent). Wore them yesterday and got so many compliments even though I felt weird wearing red patent with charcoal heather tights. But they are so comfortable.

      • So much yes to this! At 5″2 I already don’t have much leg height to begin with. But with two feet at almost half a size apart from each other, one foot always is too tight or wants to slip out unless it has a high vamp or a strap. I’ve given up and decided slacks/jeans and Mary Janes are the way to go instead of tripping and falling out of my shoes all the time.

        I wish more companies would put out shoes with real buckle straps. So many companies are turning the strap that you can’t adjust which annoys me to no end!

    • The ankle strap shortens the legs, because it introduces a line around your ankle and foot, so the line of your legs is “cut” and therefore shortened. However, this is not a case if the shoe colour is nude-for you or the tights are matching it. So black opaque tights+black T-strap is perfectly fine, according to those rules. Putting black shoes against light-colored skin may create such unfavourable look, but if you think it looks good and you’re not striving for loong legs… Why not?

  8. Snif! I miss wearing heels. It’s been 3 months since I sprained my ankle, and it still bothers me too much to risk it.