Last updated on November 15th, 2023 at 09:37 am
First impressions matter. This is especially the case when you’re in a job interview. From the moment you walk in, your interviewer will be evaluating your overall appearance and building an impression of you before you’ve even introduced yourself.
Whether it’s a new outfit, fresh haircut or beautifully manicured nails, looking your best will also make you feel your best – and confidence is key in a job interview.
Let’s take a look at the best shoes for interviews for both men and women.
The best shoes for women to wear to interviews
Buying shoes for a job interview can be a difficult choice. To make it easier, we’ve selected some common styles to ensure you look your best:
- Court Shoes. A simple shoe with a low-cut front and no fastening, these are often made from soft structured leather with closed toe and wide heel. A mid or kitten height heel is a professional court shoe.
- Brogues. These are a decorative style with intricate patterning from toe and heel. Most women’s brogues have closed laces to provide a more feminine look. They’re also available in a variety of heel heights to suit your preferences – we’d recommend a smaller heel for a professional appearance.
- Ballerina flats. Simple and unassuming, this type of shoe is a safe choice for a job interview – a comfortable alternative to boots and shoes in the summer months.
- Top tip: Make sure your shoes are black, white, or a colour which matches your outfit.
The best shoes for men to wear to interviews
Put yourself on the front foot for success at a job interview with the following shoe options:
- Lace ups. Simple and classy, men’s lace-up shoes are available with either a round or square toe. Also known as an Oxford style, this shoe is usually made from smooth leather in shades of black and brown.
- Brogues. These are a decorative option, with punched patterning along the seams and a wingtip detailing at the toe. Brogues have open lacing, as opposed to the closed lacing of an Oxford shoe.
- Top tip: When choosing the colour and finish of your shoes, stick with neutral colours such as black, dark brown and grey. Light brown can be seen as informal – but may be permissible with navy trousers. If you’re wearing black shoes, find out how to maintain them.
Best shoes to wear for casual interviews
Not all interviews require you to wear your smartest outfit. In fact, some interviewers want to see some personality, especially if you’re trying for a job within a creative industry.
For a more laid-back interview, you need to choose shoes that strike a balance between professionalism and a relaxed style.
Men can opt for:
- Chukka Boots: A versatile choice that’s less formal than dress shoes but still smart.
- Loafers: Classic leather or suede loafers offer a sophisticated yet relaxed look.
- Clean Sneakers: Low-top, minimalistic trainers in solid colours can work for creative or tech industries.
- Desert Boots: Comfortable and stylish for a smart casual interview setting.
Women also have various options for smart-casual interviews:
- Ankle Boots: Sleek ankle boots in leather or suede are a stylish choice.
- Loafers: Leather or suede loafers convey a smart and polished look.
- Ballet Flats: Classic ballet flats in neutral colours can be both comfortable and professional.
- Oxford Shoes: For a slightly more formal touch, opt for women’s Oxford shoes.
In both cases, choose shoes that are well-maintained and complement your outfit while considering the company’s culture and dress code.
Best shoes to wear for smart interviews
On the other hand, some industries require you to look your absolute best, and that means choosing shoes that convey professionalism and sophistication.
In a formal interview setting, men should opt for classic and polished dress shoes. We suggest:
- Oxfords: Sleek, lace-up shoes are perfect for a sharp and professional look.
- Derby Shoes: Similar to Oxfords but with an open lacing system, offering both elegance and comfort.
- Brogues: These can be Oxfords or Derbies with decorative additions, adding a touch of sophistication.
- Monk Straps: A stylish alternative with a single or double strap and a buckle closure.
Women can choose from a variety of smart interview-appropriate shoes, such as:
- Closed-Toe Pumps: Classic, closed-toe, low-heeled pumps in neutral colours like black, navy, or beige.
- Ballet Flats: Comfortable and stylish, ballet flats in leather or suede are a great choice.
- Loafers: Women’s loafers in leather or patent finish can provide a polished and contemporary look.
- Block-Heeled Shoes: Closed-toe shoes with a moderate block heel offer both comfort and style.
Whatever you opt for, ensure the shoes are clean, well-maintained, and complement your outfit for a sharp, professional appearance.
Things to consider when choosing your interview shoes
When it comes to deciding which shoes to wear to a job interview, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution (pun intended).
There are additional factors to bear in mind when making your selection, including:
If you’re wearing a suit to your interview, the focus should be on the smart tailoring of the suit – your shoes should be the same. If you’re wearing a navy suit, opt for brown shoes, while a black or grey suit should be worn with black. Always match the colour of your belt with your shoes, too.
Knowing what is likely to be expected of you in terms of appearance largely comes down to the type of job you’ve applied for. A customer-facing sales role would likely have a much stricter dress code than, say, a mechanical engineer.
Always take the weather into account when selecting shoes for your interview. Cold, wet or snowy weather may call for a more substantial sole with a smaller heel and a full upper.
Try smart boots to avoid getting wet feet. Patent leather shoes or suede shoes should be avoided in wet weather as they will stain and mark easily.
This is just as important as the colour and style. If the tops, toes, heel or outsoles of your shoes appear noticeably worn, select a different pair. Ensure they’re also clean, with any dirt removed, and scuff free.
You might be wearing your best pair of shoes, but if your socks are damaged, mismatched or dirty, it can undermine your whole appearance. The best advice is to pick subtle, plain socks which won’t stand out too much – avoid patterns and bright colours – and make sure they’re in good condition.
Which shoes should I avoid for a job interview?
Whatever you do, make sure you avoid wearing these shoes to a job interview:
- Flip flops or sandals. While they may be comfortable in the summer months, and even smart-looking in some shades, flip flops and sandals are not considered business attire and should be avoided.
- High heels. Much like unstructured flats, high heels can affect how you walk. If you’re planning to wear heels for a prolonged time, they can become painful – and distracting in an interview setting. Consider a heel no higher than three inches to maintain comfort. A block heel or a wedge will be the most supportive for your feet. Find out how to make heels more comfortable.
- Sneakers. Too casual. Even if your sneakers are plain and match your outfit, they’re not appropriate for any job interview.
- Bright colours and patterns. Decorative touches such as buckles, rhinestones and sequins can be distracting – and in a job interview, you want all the attention to be on you. It’s a good idea to keep your colours as simple as possible.
Potential employers will expect interviewees to look their best. This is especially true of corporate positions or those that are customer-facing, such as sales roles.
It’s important to make the right decision when it comes to the footwear you choose – think smart, clean, simple and neutral enough to become part of a formal ensemble.