Dressing for an interview can be nerve-racking, but even more so during the summer months when you want to stay cool and comfortable but at the same time present a professional and polished image. Since it is important to make a good first impression during an interview and you almost always just have one chance to do so, you want to ensure that your entire outfit is appropriate, including your footwear. Sandals are one of the most popular types of footwear during the summer, but are they appropriate for an interview?
Can you wear sandals to an interview? Whether sandals are appropriate or not for an interview will entirely depend on the workplace as well as the job that you are going for in some cases.
In some workplaces, business casual is considered to be appropriate, so you can opt to wear sandals designs such as slingbacks, peep-toes and dress sandals to an interview. On the other hand, some workplaces have strict rules that require workers to wear closed shoes at all times. In such cases, you want to avoid wearing sandals as it might end up affecting your chances of getting the job. If sandals are acceptable, you want to go for neutral colors such as black, ash gray, and nude tones. They should also be comfortable, especially if you expect to spend a major part of the day on your feet. Durability is another important factor to take into consideration when choosing sandals – you want well-constructed sandals that will serve you well especially if you expect to do several interviews.
Aspects to keep in mind if you intend sandals to your next interview
1. The design
Here are sandal types that you may be able to get away within a business casual work environment:
- Dress sandals – Dress sandals come in a wide variety of designs, some fancier than others. For an interview, you want to go for a plain but elegant design that perfectly complements your outfit. They pair beautifully with chic wide-legged trousers worn with a chiffon top.
- Peep-toe sandals – As the name suggests, peep-toe sandals leave your toes exposed when you wear them. Select a pair that provides more coverage for the rest of your feet to wear to an interview. Wear your peep-toe sandals with an A-line dress or an elegant skirt.
- Mules – Heeled mules are a great option for a business casual interview as they are more elegant than their flat counterparts. They typically don’t feature straps, which makes it easy to slip them on and off. Opt to pair a pair of block-heeled mules effortlessly with either trousers or dresses.
- Slingback sandals – Slingbacks feature a strap that goes behind the heel or the ankle and is secured by a buckle system. Some designs have pointed fronts while others have more rounded ones. The heel is usually completely exposed when you wear a slingback sandal. For an interview, opt to go for a slingback sandal that has a more pointed heel for a more formal look.
- Wedge sandals – Wedge sandals are one of the most popular summer footwear, but they are usually more common in casual settings. However, there are designs which provide more foot coverage that are becoming increasingly more acceptable in workplace settings that allow business casual attire. Consider going for a plain, low wedge that does not feature any flashy decorations that will make them stand out.
- Flat sandals – Different flat sandal designs have varying levels of acceptance when it comes to formal settings. Bare flat sandals are great for showing off a manicure, but they are hardly appropriate for work, let alone an interview. Flat sandals that feature a well-designed buckle system and offer a bit more coverage for your feet are generally more acceptable.
- Tip toe sandals – Tip toe sandals can have a heel or lack one. They typically have a pointed toe and some designs have a buckle system that allows you to adjust how the sandals fit. Find a heeled pair that has a minimalistic design and a matte finish to pair with a pantsuit or an A-line skirt to wear to an interview.
2. The color
The color is almost just as important as the design of the sandal you opt to wear to an interview. Brightly colored sandals are ideal for casual settings as they help you stand out in a crowd, but it is precisely for this reason why they are inappropriate for an interview. Some of the colors to avoid include neon green, orange, bright yellow, and any other color that will be seen as too loud.
Muted colors are generally considered to be more appropriate for an interview as they are more subtle. You can never go wrong with black sandals as they pair perfectly with virtually any outfit regardless of the color. Other colors that are also suitable include ash greys, deep blue shades, taupe, and tan. Nude tones are also very versatile and great for accentuating your legs without being too obvious. Despite being subtle, earth tones can easily clash with your outfit and require careful coordination as a result. Consider pairing beige, brown, and darker earth tones with a similarly colored outfit. If you are wearing a pastel outfit, consider wearing white sandals.
3. The comfort
For an interview, you want to be as comfortable as possible to ensure that all your focus is channeled in impressing the interviewers. Therefore, you want to choose sandals that are comfortable even if you spend a lot of time on your feet during the interview. Several factors determine comfort:
- Heel height – Heel height is an important consideration when picking sandals to wear to an interview as it will impact on how comfortable you will be. Towering heels might make you feel tall and confident, but in case you end up standing for extended periods during the interview, high heels will be very hard on your feet and also affect your balance. Consequently, you might end up with joint pain, lower back pain, callouses, or even sprained ankles. Therefore, consider leaving your six-inch heels at home in favor of block heels or wedges which will ensure that your weight is more evenly distributed and subsequently reduce the risk of pain.
- Arch support – Arch support in any type of footwear is of utmost importance as it will not only help improve your posture but also ensure that you have more balance by ensuring that pressure is evenly distributed across your feet. This is important in reducing the risk of foot pain and other problems that are associated with imbalance and a lack of support.
The insole featured in a sandal will determine the amount of support that your feet will have. Memory foam insole inserts are a great option as they are very soft against the skin and comfortable to walk on. They also can adjust to the shape of your feet very fast. Ortholite insole inserts are similarly convenient in ensuring that the feet are cushioned, as well as absorbing moisture and preventing sweat from accumulating.
- Fit – It is important to wear the correct size sandals for an interview, or for any other occasion for that matter. Ensure that your sandals fit you without being too loose or tight on your feet. The straps of a loose sandal will not only rub uncomfortably against the skin on your feet and cause blisters to develop but also affect your balance if they keep slipping off. Tight sandals will also cause blisters as well as worsen any bunions that you may have. A well-fitting sandal will ensure that you are comfortable as well as alleviate these foot problems.
4. The durability
It is not uncommon to have to attend several interviews before finally landing the job you are seeking. Since this could take some time, you will need a pair of sandals that will last you as long as you will need them. The material used to make the sandal is a key determinant in how durable they will be. Leather is one of the toughest materials you will find, which makes quality leather sandals some of the most reliable you will find in terms of durability. There are many sandals made of synthetic materials that are also very durable, with most of them being stain- and water-resistant as well. Suede is another great option in terms of durability, but it requires a lot of care to maintain its quality.
The quality of construction will also affect the durability of a sandal. Glued designs are more likely to fall apart after a couple of wears, whereas stitched designs generally tend to last longer.
When dressing for an interview, you want to look as professional as possible to be taken seriously. Therefore, you want to avoid sandal options such as sliders, flip flops, heavily embellished sandals, and any other designs that are more suitable for casual occasions. The color is another important consideration, as well as the comfort that the sandals allow and how durable they will be in case you need them for several interviews.