Posted on May 27 2020
Despite what some books about dressing for business may say, selecting your shoes is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. What shoes are best for the office greatly depends upon your professional image and how that aligns with your company’s unique brand. So first pinpoint your business role and the professional image you want to project to bosses, colleagues, and customers. Then find footwear that reinforces that identity.
Reflect Your Professional Identity
If you work in a rather conservative industry like banking, accounting, or law, consider an understated dress shoe that expresses a classic, traditional style. You might wear wingtips or monk strap shoes. But if you are a graphic designer or software developer, your clients may expect you to exhibit a bolder fashion sense with more creative flair. In that case you can go for bolder colors and styles, like eye-catching exotic leathers. A musician conducting a metropolitan symphony might wear classic cap toe dress shoes, whereas one working as a DJ will find leather sneakers more appropriate.
Identify Exemplary Role Models
To help you apply that concept with ease and confidence, just find your ideal role models and observe what shoes they wear. In the corporate world, keep an eye on those above you in the company hierarchy. How they put together their wardrobes will provide a great template to apply to yourself.
Check out the type of footwear that is preferred by the icons and thought leaders of your profession or industry. Pay attention to the person who interviewed you for your job. You won’t go wrong by emulating their style.
Consider Your Clientele
You can also take cues from your own clients. That’s especially true if you work in sales and marketing, where developing rapport and being able to relate to customers is so vital. If you were selling camping gear, you probably would not wear a suit and tie. Customers would expect something more casual and outdoorsy, and you might wear a handsome pair of ankle boots.
One of the best rules to follow is to dress similar to─but just a level higher than─your clients. That establishes you as a success figure and authority. If they wear ordinary sneakers, you wear leather sneakers. If they’re in loafers, consider dressier loafers or lace-ups. When they’re in wingtips, make sure yours are of outstanding artisanal quality and are immaculately polished.
Comfort Boosts Productivity
Just keep in mind that if your feet are tired, your productivity is going to suffer. When shoes hurt your feet, it is harder for you to concentrate. Shoes should support you and raise your energy level with both internal confidence and physical comfort. So always choose the style of shoe that resonates best for you, but also invest in footwear that that is well made, for a superior fit and feel. That’s how you recognize which pair of shoes is the best for you to wear to the office.