2019 Update: We still love these interview pumps — but you may want to check out our most recent roundup of the best black heels for business attire instead.
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.
It feels like we just talked about black interview pumps — the simple, closed-toe, walkable pump — but in fact it’s been a full year since I’ve done a round-up of basic black pumps (see here for our roundup of black pumps under $250, our 2010 roundup of black pumps under $100, and our original 2008 roundup of classic black pumps. A lot of these pumps are true classics, and are still available — the Naturalizer Lennox, the Franco Sarto Cicero pump (on sale at Amazon as low as $32 depending on the color), the Cole Haan Air Talia pump, the Stuart Weitzman Platswoon and Blog pumps — and of course our recent discovery, the $20 Payless pump that a number of readers swear by, is still available. Readers, what is your favorite, basic black pump? What shoes do you wear for interviewing?
|The Artisan line by Clarks always wins rave reviews from readers for comfort, and this simple 2.5″ heel looks like a great basic. Zappos has a few sizes on sale for $75, while Amazon has even more sizes and colors marked around $99-$110. Clarks Tempt Appeal|
|This Avoca pump is by Tsubo, another brand that ladies swear by for comfort. While I’m not a fan of how it looks in the static picture, if you watch the Zappos video it looks pretty great. Zappos has it in a few sizes for $85.99; Amazon has a wider selection of colors and sizes for $120-$135 (was $230 originally). Tsubo Avoca|
|I’m a fan of Geox shoes — they’re known for “breathability,” and in general I think of them as comfortable, yet classic shoes. Yoox has these closed-toe slip-ons for $118. GEOX Closed-toe slip-ons(Note this slightly less classic black pump by Geox at Nordstrom for $150.)|
|I’ve featured the Karolina pump before, but never in the basic black — it’s been around for so long that I think it deserves to be in a Hunt! Love the almond toe, the 3.5″ heel, and the price — I think it’s a great value for the money. It’s $298 at Nordstrom (Amazon also has a number of colors and sizes marked as low as $142.) kate spade new york ‘karolina’ pump|
|I’m not a huge fan of platforms for interview shoes, but these are only .5″ high, giving you a bit of an edge with a 4″ heel. And, as Kate Middleton’s favorite (in a nude-for-her beige) they’re very popular right now. They’re $345 at Nordstrom. L.K. Bennett ‘Sledge’ Pump|
|We’ve talked about whether Louboutins are appropriate for the office — are they appropriate for interviewing? This is one of those “know your audience” kind of situations, I think — these are not shoes that you wear to the nonprofit interview. But I think the “simple” pumps are tasteful and classic, and they will signal to an interviewer (if he or she recognizes them at all) that you’re making an investment in your work attire, which can be a positive. The Simple 85 pumps are $625 at Saks. Christian Louboutin Simple 85 Leather Pumps|