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Is It OK to Wear Open Toe Shoes to an Interview? Everything You Need to Know

Get this: 55% of first impressions are based on someone’s appearance. So if you want to make a good first impression in your job interview, you need to have a professional look. Sure, you probably know to skip the T-shirts and jeans. But what about footwear? 

Is it OK to wear open toe shoes to an interview? If not, what are the appropriate shoes to wear? I’m here to answer all these questions and more. This way, you can pick out an interview attire that will impress the interviewer. 

Read More: 7 Tips To Impress an Interviewer in 30 Seconds

Can I Wear Open Toed Shoes to a Job Interview?

The quick answer: It all depends on the hiring manager and company. However, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and avoid the open-toed shoes. Remember, for a job interview, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. 

One recruiter from Reddit gave their inside knowledge, saying:

I could not care less. However, I have had colleagues who will nitpick on every little thing, how clean and neat someone looks, how professional someone appears, etc. You never know what type you’d get as an interviewer, so I’d air on the conservative side.

One thing is for sure. It’s NOT appropriate to wear casual or party open-toed shoes. So skip the flip-flops, sandals, flats, espadrilles, strappy shoes, and party high heels. You don’t want to look like you’re going to the beach, picnic, or club. 

If you have no choice but to wear open-toed shoes to an interview, make sure the design is sleek and classy. For women’s open toe shoes in an interview, make sure it’s colored black and isn’t too fancy. Wear the kind of high heels, pumps, or flats you see women wear with a business suit. 

What about men’s open toe shoes for an interview? You might be asking, “Can I wear sandals to an interview?” No, men are not exempt from this. And since it’s harder to find appropriate open-toed interview shoes for men, I’d say just skip it altogether. 

Read More: What To Wear To A Career Fair On Campus – Tips To Stand Out

Why are open-toed shoes unprofessional?

“Hold up! Why don’t open-toed shoes cut when dressing for an interview?” The main reason is that these shoes are advertised to be casual shoes. And because of that, many see it as something to wear for a casual setting – not in an interview setting where there needs to be professionalism. 

Someone on Reddit gave another take:

Some think it’s less hygienic to have toes out in the open.

Another person says:

It originated as a matter of safety. And most safety codes originate from lawsuits. Having open toes is a huge safety hazard, no matter what work setting you are in. Things can spill, be dropped, or you can stub your toes.

📌Hint: While we’re on the topic of unprofessional shoes, sneakers are also considered casual and aren’t appropriate for an interview. 

What Shoes Should I Wear to an Interview?

OK, open-toed shoes are generally not acceptable for an interview. So what shoes are appropriate for an interview? Here is what you can wear to a job interview instead:

  • Dress shoes. If you want professional-looking shoes, go for dress shoes. Particularly one that matches your outfit and has great polish. You can’t go wrong with shoes specifically designed for formal settings. 
  • Closed-toe high heels. Wearing high heels can give the impression that you’re a confident person. But again, keep it formal and classy. No fashionable, flashy heels with lots of decorative.
  • Dressy flats. If you’re not comfortable wearing heels, then dressy flats will do just fine. If you want it to look more professional, choose a flat in colors like black or dark wash. It should also be sleek and not sloppy. 
  • Loafers. Wearing loafers is another choice for both men and women. Just a side warning – there are a few people on Quora who are debating whether this shoe is formal enough for a job interview. Someone made a good comment about this, “That depends on which loafer you’re wearing. If you are wearing leather loafers, Moccasins, or leather dress loafers then you can wear them to a job interview. But if you are wearing casual slip-on loafers then there might be an issue wearing them to an interview.”
  • Nice boots. If your interview takes place during winter, then you can pick out a pair of nice boots. I emphasized ‘NICE’. This is because some boots can look too rugged or too sexy. Black, leather boots that hit just above the ankle are the smartest choice for an interview dress code. 

Read More: “I Only Have Jeans for an Interview!”: Here’s What You Need to Know

Other things to consider

When choosing shoes for a job interview, keep these other considerations in mind:

  • Match your shoes to your outfit. No matter how formal your shoes are, they will look out of place if it doesn’t complement your overall fit. You need to steer clear of colors that contrast each other. 
  • Black is always best. The color black is associated with formality and sophistication. What’s more, you can pair black with anything. Remember, you want your shoes to complete your whole outfit. 
  • Go for solid colors. Shoes with patterns may look a bit too playful and not smart enough. If you want to complete your professional look, go for shoes with a solid color. 
  • Keep it simple. Yes, there are many fancy dress shoes, heels, and flats that have a lot of decoration. But in a job interview, it’s best to keep it simple. So avoid the sparkles and ribbons and straps. 
  • Leather is the most elegant. If you want to look both professional and elegant, go for leathered shoes. The polish and shine of leather can enhance your button-down shirt, blouse, blazer, slacks, skirt, you name it. 
  • Your socks are important. If you wear shoes that need socks, then don’t just grab the first pair in the pile. You have to make sure that it matches your shoe, as well as the complete attire. What’s more, it should be clean socks. And of course, no holes or crazy designs!
  • Pick a comfortable shoe. At a job interview, you’re probably already very nervous. You don’t want to add to that by wearing a shoe that isn’t comfortable or one that makes you walk awkwardly. No, choose a pair of shoes that are comfortable for you. This way, you have one less thing to worry about. 
  • Your shoe should be clean and in good condition. Coming into a job interview with dirty shoes can give a bad impression to the hiring manager. The same is true if your shoes are falling apart. So always take time to clean or polish it up. If you need to, you can bring your chosen pair to a shoe repair shop to get it in good condition before the big day. 

Final Words

Whether open toe shoes to an interview are OK or not will depend on the company you’re applying for, as well as the individual recruiter. To keep it safe, avoid these types of shoes. Instead, you can go for the classy, closed-toed shoes that I listed here. Also, don’t forget to keep in mind the other shoe considerations that I mentioned. 

Wearing the right shoes might not guarantee you the job, but it will certainly help give you a good first impression. 

About Author

Founder of Eggcellentwork.com. With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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