On Friday, I was walking through the law school on on-campus interview day, and I saw things. Things that changed me. Things that I cannot un-see. Most of the job seekers were wearing matronly, clunky shoes, others were wearing sickeningly inappropriate heels in sky-high heights. (The ratio was probably 6:1.)
After attending interview day, I realized that there are generally three types of professional women:
- The kind who value comfort over style, and reach for the matronly but comfy shoe first;
- Those who try to strike a balance between comfort and style, with style just edging out comfort;
- And women who would watch their toes break into pieces before they’d give up their stylish heels.
But fear not, whichever category you belong to, there is an interview-appropriate shoe to fill your needs.
Comfortable. The shoes in this section all have a sub-3″ heel. They’re all made by companies with a commitment to comfort. The difference between these shoes and most of the comfortable heels I see women wear is three-fold: 1) simple shapes, 2) sleeker styles (no clunk), and 3) no hardware.
Still not sold? There is nothing wrong with wearing a pointed-toe flat ($23 and every penny is gorgeous) or a sliver-wedge dress shoe instead of a heel. Because the worst thing a woman can do is shove her foot into a shoe she’s not comfortable walking in. You won’t feel confident in the wrong shoe, and you run the risk of doing the baby-giraffe walk into your interview.
Chic and Comfy. The shoes in this section are the bridge between style and comfort. They have 3″ with padded footbeds, arch support, and other extras to give your feet a break. I’ve owned Rockports, Cole Haans, and Kors Flex and been happy with all of them.
A word of advice: The shape of your foot will determine which shoe works best for you. I have high arches, so the placement of the arch support determines whether I’m comfortable or covered in blisters. So if one brand fails you, give another a try.
Stylish Basics. These shoes have 3.5″ to 4″ heels. I recommend wearing a shoe no higher than 3″ for an interview, but I know some of you are petite or just love heels. These shoes are still interview-appropriate in their style, even if they push the envelope a bit with their height.
If, for some reason, you want an even higher heel, go with a hidden platform heel in a basic shape. If I can see the demarcation between the shoe and the platform, it makes it more obvious that you’re wearing sky-high stilettos. A hidden platform (unless it’s higher than 1″) creates an optical illusion that helps conceal the extra height.