Can You Wear Sandals To Work? A Handy Guide To Summer Office Footwear

The struggle of summer dressing for the office is one of the realest things in the world. Especially in NYC, when the subway commute becomes a sticky journey into a tunnel of suffocatingly sweaty doom, it's a complete nightmare to find an outfit that bares just enough skin so you don't fall over and die of heat exhaustion but not so much that people mistake you for a Rave Girl.

Luckily, with midi skirts replacing minis and muscle tanks shooing spaghetti straps to the back of your dresser, there are a lot of more conservative clothing options that are trendy and work-appropriate. Footwear, however, can still easily be a disaster.

I, too, was a naive intern once, and suffered my fair share of dirty looks from senior editors at my corporate magazine gig when I made the mistake of thinking that just because my flip flops were made of leather they totally passed as proper footwear.

So, my perfectly pedicured friends, I present you with the ultimate guide to summer sandals in the office. Of course, nothing is set in stone — you may work in a suuuuper casual start up that doesn't even require you wear shoes at all or a fancy law firm that would rather pretend toes didn't even exist — but in general, I stand by these open-toed rules when it comes to the workplace.

1. The Rubber Flip Flop

NO. STOP. GET OUTTA HERE. Rubber flip flops are for protecting your feet from weird fungus at a public pool/shower/equally disease ridden surfaces. Whether they're $2 Old Navy flips or $30 Havaiana flops, they are not for the office.

2. The Embellished Rubber Flip Flop

Kate Spade Flower Flip Flops, $24, Shopbop

NOPE. That giant flower doesn't make these plastic flip flops fancier. I don't care that these are Kate Spade — wear them to your next swaggy pool party instead.

3. The Leather Flip Flop

Leather Sandals, $17, American Eagle

Maybe. This is tricky. If you're in a more casual setting, yeah. You can probably get away with leather-strapped flip flops. Oh, and if you're a big-deal boss who's in charge of important stuff. But if you're an intern in a fancy corporate office, better just save this American Eagle pair for the weekend.

4. The Birkenstock

Arizona Soft Footbed Birkenstock, $105, Amazon

Again, maybe. These so-called ugly shoes are totally fashion right now. Plus, the thicker straps just feel more professionial somehow. Socks optional.

5. The Strappy Sandal

Embellished Sandals, $45, Topshop

It might not seem like these cover up a whole lot more than a flip flop, but the tiny heel and thick straps make them exponentially dressier. Definite yes. You can score this pair at Topshop.

6. The Heeled Sandal

Heels make everything feel more classy, so heeled sandals work in almost every style. Except...

7. The Prom Shoe

Look, I get it. You spent way too much on everything at prom and are trying to get the most out of this regrettable-yet-pricey footwear. I'm guilty of it too. But maybe save them for a theme party instead.

8. The Flatform Sandal

Colorblock Flatform Sandals, $65, ASOS

Again, super fashion, so yes. And I didn't want to tell all the high-heeled girls before, but you flatforming interns know what's good. No one wants to run around doing your higher up's bidding in stilettos. These colorblocked dreams will cost you less than $70 at ASOS.

9. The T-Strap Sandals

Yes! Definitely. Honestly, these pretty little vintage-inspired babies are the best way to go when it comes to letting your feet breath in the summertime office space.

10. The Jelly Sandal

With it's one inch heel and closed toe, the classic jelly silhouette is definitely workplace ready. If you're into '90s nostalgia-induced blisters, then knock yourself out.

11. The Barefoot Sandal

Get out of my office.

Image: Shawn Rossi/Flickr; starryeyedstatic.tumblr.com; promgirl.com; nitratediva.tumblr.com; americanapparel.tumblr.com; Etsy