The Secret Shoes Beneath Every Woman’s Desk
5 of 21
Back to the Intro

Office Style: Working Women and Their Shoe Piles

1 of 21

Molly, marketing associate

Photo: Leah Caroll

"On my first day about a year ago, I noticed these size 9 black slingbacks in my desk cubby and just assumed they belonged to my friend, whose has referred me to the job and whose old desk I was sitting at. When she came back to visit a year later, I tried to give 'her' shoes back to her but she said they had been at the desk even before she started three years earlier. I have decided they are 'good luck shoes' and keep them tucked in the same cubby they have probably been in for at least five years. Above them are my wedges, size 7, which I keep on-hand for surprise after-work happy hours!"

2 of 21

Sarah, works at Google

Photo: Leah Caroll

“Sadly because I work at Google I've become a total tech slob and I don't keep fancy shoes at my desk anymore... I'm flats all day every day, just like Liz Lemon.”

3 of 21

Laura, works in finance

Photo: Leah Caroll

“I don't even wear these shoes anymore. They lie under my desk completely forgotten until i drop a pen or something and have to crawl down there to retrieve it and then sometimes I remember I used to care about this job and 'looking my best' in the workplace and now I just wear flats and hope my skirt doesn't have a hole in it."

4 of 21

Samantha, works at NBC Universal

Photo: Leah Caroll

“My J. Crew wedges are my favorite -- I'm obsessed! They're so comfortable!”

5 of 21

Naomie, works in nonprofits

Photo: Leah Caroll

“I feel like as long as they are in a box, I’m organized."

6 of 21

Elizabeth, researcher

Photo: Leah Caroll
7 of 21

Christina, administrative assistant

Photo: Leah Caroll

 “I used to trade my street flip flops for heels every morning. I was wobblier on Monday than Friday -- I relearned how to walk in heels every week. The reasons were pure ego: image, sex appeal. And so I decided two weeks ago that I didn't want to wear heels anymore, something having to do with my body and its natural alignment, self-respect. I recently purchased my first and only pair of flats, also pictured here, and my heels have been on level with my toes since.”

8 of 21

Paige, corporate attorney

Photo: Leah Caroll

"I used to have a huge assortment at my last job but my long train commute makes this harder to accomplish. I’m like a pack mule most days!"

9 of 21

Maribeth, research assistant

Photo: Leah Caroll

"It took me one or two outings in heels after moving to the city to make me realize that only fools (or people with exceptional balance) wear high heels to walk around."

10 of 21

Liana, works in public relations

Photo: Leah Caroll

"The shoe rack was the suggestion of my office manager. I kept complaining that the office cleaner would not sweep under my desk.  He said having all my shoes on a rack might help. My desk still has dust and crumbs under it but now my shoes are organized. I prefer the chunky Columbia snow boots to Louboutin pumps any day, but I’ve got to be prepared to wear both and everything in between."

11 of 21

Michelle, works in marketing

Photo: Leah Caroll

“At any time I have between ten and twelve pairs of shoes under my desk. Every once in a while I get 'inspired' and try to organize them (a.k.a put them somewhere where others can't see them), but that never lasts long. I was moving offices a couple months ago and used that time to "clean out" my office shoes. Two ended up in the trash and I gave one pair to my assistant. I was still left with ten pairs."

12 of 21

Leah, writer

Photo: Leah Caroll
13 of 21

Macallan, administrative assistant

Photo: Leah Caroll

“Ha! Does it count if it is a drawer full of Crocs?”

14 of 21

Liz, administrative assistant

Photo: Leah Caroll

“It baffles me why women would wear heels during their commute. My goal is to get to the office as comfortably as possible and only then do I worry about looking cute. Hence, my office desk is also my shoe closet.”

15 of 21

Colleen, editor

Photo: Leah Caroll

"This is a constantly rotating collection, and inevitably, when I'm at work, the shoes I desperately need are at home and vice versa."

16 of 21

Arielle, literary agent

Photo: Leah Caroll

"I have two conflicting problems: I get stress fractures from walking the hard NYC pavement, and I'm also a very compact 5 feet tall. My solution is to commute in my comfortable and supportive shoes, and keep my incredibly unsupportive but stylish wedges and heels under my desk. I do a quick switch at the start and end of my day to keep both my feet and my fashion sense happy."

17 of 21

Kathryn, financial analyst

Photo: Leah Caroll

“I used to have a lot more shoes under here, but when I was pregnant my potato feet couldn't handle heels and when I had the baby I kind of stopped caring as much. I never would have worn flats at the office before.”

18 of 21

Eileen, associate director of brand marketing and content for MILLY

Photo: Leah Caroll

"I have always had a serious love for high heels, but I gave up on doing the street-switch (where you pull over on the street and change shoes before heading into your office) years ago. One pair is low enough to run around in, and another I can barely hobble across the office in but they look great through the clear conference room table! Depending on my schedule, sometimes I change them more than once a day. The only downfall: on more than one occasion I've found myself without heels on a Saturday night..."

19 of 21

Sarah, accountant

Photo: Leah Caroll

“These are all the shoes I came in with and left without.”

20 of 21

Ruth, assistant vice president, investor relations

Photo: Leah Caroll

"You truly never know what pair of shoes you're going to need so having a selection here is just more convenient."

21 of 21

Amanda, intellectual property coordinator

Photo: Leah Caroll

“Why they are there? Always ready for a rainstorm, an 'Oh no I wore flip flops to work and my heels are in a tote in my apartment' day, a pickup basketball game, a 'these shoes looked better in different lighting' day, city walking, the gym, or a day to night wardrobe transformation.”


The Cut’s Latest Fashion Features

Ciara's Wedding Dress Was Too Big for the Chapel

To be fair, it was a 13 foot-long dress.

You and Rihanna Will Both Want to Invest in Dior’s New Bag

It's got something for everyone.

Polo Shirts Have Turned Their Back on Ryan Lochte

Along with his other major sponsors.

Ryan Lochte Will No Longer Be Paid to Wear Tiny Bathing Suits

Speedo remains committed to transparency.

Laura Brown Is the New Editor-in-Chief of InStyle

After 11 years at Harper’s Bazaar.

Tyra Banks Is Going to Teach a Class on Smizing at Stanford

"If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them."

This Floating Pier Is the Most Zen Installation Ever

Walking on water in Italy.

Nation Is Appalled by Matt Lauer’s Nude Ankles During Ryan Lochte Interview

What’s the opposite of “Jeah”?

8 People at the Life of Pablo Pop-up Explain Why Kanye West Is a God

"I mean, Kanye West is just Kanye West. There's not more or less you can say about Kanye West. He's just Mr. West!"

A T-shirt Is Enough

Simplicity, versatility, and cool. What more could you want?