It’s summer—meaning that people go to work but always want to leave. (There is a great outdoors outside of those skyscraper buildings!) Here at Vogue, footwear plays a big part in this carefree hot-weather attitude. One does not want to be confined to a cubicle, constrained in stuffy, dark-hued, teetering pumps. (Call them foot anvils!) For those with less laissez-faire dress codes, though, it isn’t always permissible to strut into an office wearing a pair of casual-but-chic rubber Havaianas sandals.
How to find the happy medium? Look to Vogue staffers, who all have very different opinions on comfortable and stylish summer shoes. Block heels in sandal form seem to be the most popular by far. (They are sturdy and walkable, according to several colleagues.) Other pieces to consider include mules, both pointed-toeand open-toe, as well as loafers and the elevated sneaker. Still want to bring the ugly shoe trend into the workplace? Take a note from Vogue Fashion News and Emerging Platforms Editor Steff Yotka and Vogue Fashion Director Virginia Smith, who both favor clunky flat slides in fun, bold prints. Now, back to work—but first, a roundup of the best summer footwear from those who study it closely.
Virginia Smith, Vogue fashion director
It will be hard to beat my beloved Rick Owens Birkenstocks from last season, but these Dries Van Noten sandals may have a fighting chance…. They’re a far cry from my typical neutrals, but I was so taken with the plaid that I bought the matching pants!
Chioma Nnadi, Vogue fashion news director
I have really big feet, so finding shoes is always a struggle. When I find a pair that works, I tend to buy in multiples. Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s strappy sandals are pretty much a no-brainer for me. The midi-heel is super comfortable and the ankle strap is great for support—I can walk all day in these, no problem. Plus, they’re simple and polished enough to wear for work and just about any occasion. This style is one of her signatures, so I’ve managed to snag them in a few colors over the years.
Celia Ellenberg, Vogue beauty director
Not that this is news to anyone, but Chloé shoes are consistently good, season after season. I have been making choice selections from each collection for years—long before the ubiquitous Susanna boot was ripped off by every major fast-fashion retailer (mine are currently in a dust bag, awaiting the day they can resurface in anonymity). My latest obsession is Spring's croc-effect sandals. There are a variety of styles: a chunky platform, an oversized buckle slide, a crisscrossed ankle-strap flat with toe loop. But they all hold the same appeal for everyday workwear: They’re low enough to be comfortable, but they skirt the line between utilitarian and high design, which makes them perfect for a cropped jean or an easy office dress. Also: Select styles are currently on sale, so that’s a huge plus.
Anny Choi, Vogue market editor
I recently bought these minimal loafers from The Row in a dark brown and white and plan on rotating between the two all summer. Not only are they super comfortable, they make me feel polished for the office, even with a pair of jeans.
Ella Riley-Adams, Vogue senior living and beauty editor
Sneakers are my favorite year-round, but I find them especially appealing during summer months, when all I want to do is walk outside in a dress. I pair my Nike Air Max 720s with a flowy Ganni number for work.
Alexandra Michler, Vogue director, fashion development
These little Prada sandals are perfect with a summer frock—and just as nice with denim and a crisp white button-down. Prepare to see me in these multiple times a week!
Jenna Rennert, Vogue beauty editor
I keep a ton of shoes under my desk at work, but during the summer, there's nothing easier than slipping on one of these slides. Both seriously comfortable and not that high—I swear!
Chloe Malle, Vogue contributing editor
I love these striped raffia sandals from Ocelot Market; they go from beach to cubicle and back again.
Sophie Kemp, Vogue editorial assistantLet me be honest for second: I am pretty short and have no hand-eye coordination. (What can I say, I fell out of a lot of trees as a kid.) This basically means traditional heels aren't really an option for me, unless I'm jonesing to wipe out on my walk to my above-ground subway stop in the morning. To get a little height in the warmer months, I stick to clogs. They're a lot easier to walk in for me, and they give me the aura of a gardener or an extra in The Sound of Music. My go-to pair for work is a pair of sky-high clogs by Rachel Comey, in wood and black leather. Surprisingly comfortable and extremely walkable, these were a great purchase. I'm looking forward to wearing them without socks and sporting them while walking around lower Manhattan on my lunch break en route to get some iced tea.
Steff Yotka, Vogue fashion news and emerging platforms editor
It's zebra print, shearling lined, and actually comfortable. With a black summer suit—it's perfect!
Madeline Fass, Vogue associate market editor
As much as I love what an open-toe mule, a barely there, or tourist-style sandal does for my summer look, I never second guess choosing a loafer when it comes to the office commute. Nothing withstands the streets, trains, and whatever else New York City can throw your way in the summertime like a pair of sturdy closed-toe slip-ons. This isn't the beach, after all!
Monica Kim, Vogue senior fashion news editor
In my opinion, no one does comfortable statement shoes better than Koreans. I love Reike Nen designer Rei Yoon Hongmi’s collection of sculptural sandals and satin slingbacks for summer. There’s a nice padded sole and modest heel to keep them comfortable, but little details make them pop. Worth revisiting her line in the fall: Her ankle boots and slides are perfect for the working woman as well.
Liana Satenstein, Vogue senior fashion news writer
For years I’ve been a saucy thong-sandal girl. Really minimalist. Really New York. But I’ve been feeling like I need to get away and escape. Wicker or straw usually feeds into that pipe dream. So this summer I’m going to wear these raffia kitten heels by the Moroccan label Zyne to pretend I am anywhere but in the concrete jungle.
Negar Mohammadi, Vogue director of brand marketing
These are the best summer sandals! They’re fun, flirty, and pair perfectly with tan legs. I plan to wear them with everything from floral dresses to vintage Levi’s. Love, love, love.
Grace Givens, Vogue editor
A great neutral-color sandal with a small heel to pair with my summer wardrobe. I love this white Jacquemus sandal. Simple with a twist!
Madeline Swanson, Vogue associate market editor
Last spring, I fell back into love with the classic Teva sandals. You know, the one with the webbing and Velcro straps that you wore at summer camp with a stack of hand-braided friendship anklets (which, come to think of it, should also be reincorporated into my NYC summer repertoire). This sandal season, I am upping the ante with the brand’s monochrome Hurricane Drift model, which is completely rubberized and looks amazing with socks.
Naomi Elizee, Vogue assistant market editor
My go-to for the office are always bright-color summer sandals, and these from Reike Nen are a dream! Both comfortable and interesting to look at, these sandals go with absolutely everything and are definitely a conversation starter. These will be in heavy rotation for my summer shoewear.
Emily Farra, Vogue senior fashion news writer
The only thing I bought on my last trip to Paris was this pair of Rivecour sandals at Le Bon Marché—neutral, a little '70s, and eminently walkable. They're the kind of do-it-all shoes that will dress up a pair of jeans or dress down a long skirt, which means I'll be wearing them nonstop to the office! The brand is well-priced, too, so I’m tempted to pick up these mustard suede mules as well.
Lilah Ramzi, Vogue features editor
I flip-flop on whether or not I think open-toe shoes are office-appropriate. So here's a pair for either of my two moods.
These bepearled block-heel sandals by Tory Burch provide the polish I'm looking for in a summertime-office sandal. Plus, they are incredibly comfortable. I slipped them on for the first time as a tourist in Vienna on a full walking day (a risky shoe-move, I know) and I had no regrets.
In the summer, I'm often clad in ’50s vintage day-dresses—think Betty Draper-esque nipped waists and full skirts. The shoes that seem to work unconditionally with this silhouette are espadrilles, and Casta?er, the historic Barcelona-based shoemakers, make the best ones. They're more comfortable than Nike Flyknits! And I love how seasonal they are, like wearable reminders that it's summer.
Brooke Bobb, Vogue senior fashion news writer
During the summer, the Marais Jane mules are one of my favorite shoes to wear to work and everywhere in between. Not only are they among the most comfortable mules I've ever owned (I've had the same pair for more than two years now and they've held up so well), they go with just about everything I own and are perfect to wear with jeans and a tee or a proper summer dress. Plus, they're vegan!
Elise Taylor, Vogue living writer
Most people associate Cult Gaia with its trendy, influencer-beloved bags. My favorite product from the brand, however? Its shoes—especially these dainty mules. The low-heel is perfect for day-to-day wear, and the sculptural shape adds a pop of intrigue to any outfit. Plus, they come in an array of colors that scream summer, like peach, marigold, and sand.
Willow Lindley, Vogue Accessories Director
Loving a white sandal for this beginning of summer shoe refresh. And to balance out my not the most practical color choice, I always opt for comfort and a low or block heel.