Can You Wear Sandals to an Interview?

can you wear sandals to an interview

Job interviews are a crucial step in the hiring process and making a positive first impression is essential. One aspect that contributes to the overall impression an interviewer has of a candidate is their attire, including footwear. Some candidates wonder if it’s acceptable to wear sandals to a job interview. While the answer to this may vary depending on the industry, company culture, and position at hand, it is important to remember that looking polished and professional should always be a priority.

Understanding the appropriate attire for a job interview depends on several factors. The type of organization, its culture, and the position being applied for can all have an influence on what is considered appropriate. In some cases, wearing sandals to an interview may be acceptable, but generally, it is safer for job seekers to opt for more conservative, closed-toe shoes instead. This helps ensure the candidate looks polished and professional, giving them the best chance at making a positive first impression.

Key Takeaways

  • First impressions play a crucial role in job interviews, and appropriate attire, including footwear, is important.
  • Depending on the industry, company culture, and position, wearing sandals to an interview may or may not be appropriate.
  • Generally, opting for conservative, closed-toe shoes ensures a polished and professional appearance.
Closeup shot of a woman's feet adorned with chic formal sandals. The sandals exhibit a polished finish, highlighting the arch and contours of the feet. The backdrop is neutral, ensuring the viewer's focus remains on the sandals.

Are Sandals Considered Appropriate?

When deciding whether sandals are considered appropriate for an interview, it’s crucial to consider the type of footwear and the specific workplace environment. Various categories of sandals exist, such as flip-flops, open-toed shoes, and more formal versions. It’s essential to know the differences and make an informed decision on which is suitable for your interview.

Flip-flops are generally not recommended for interviews. Their casual, informal style is incompatible with professional settings, creating a disinterested or lax impression upon potential employers. These types of sandals lack any sort of support or protection, which might pose safety concerns in specific work environments.

Closeup fashion photo of a woman's feet elegantly positioned, showcasing stylish flip-flops. The texture of the flip-flops contrasts with the smoothness of her skin, and the toenails are painted in a chic shade, enhancing the overall look.

Open-toed shoes can also be a tricky choice for interviews. Although they are somewhat more formal than flip-flops, they still convey a more casual appearance than closed-toe shoes. Often, open-toed shoes are considered acceptable in warm climates or industries like fashion, but might not be suitable for conservative or traditional work environments.

When it comes to more formal sandals, there may be some room for consideration. These types of sandals usually feature closed backs, supportive soles, and stylish designs. If the interview environment is genuinely casual and the sandals are high-quality and well-maintained, they might be deemed appropriate.

To assess whether sandals are suitable for your interview, it’s essential to research the company and its culture beforehand. Each organization has its unique standards and practices, which can impact the appropriateness of wearing sandals. Here’s a simple table to understand:

Type of SandalsGenerally Appropriate for Interviews?
Open-toed shoesDepends on the company and industry
Formal sandals (closed-back)Depends on the company and industry

Selecting appropriate footwear for an interview is critical when making a strong, positive first impression. It’s always a safe bet to opt for closed-toe, professional shoes if you are unsure about the organization’s culture or industry dress code.

Types of Acceptable Shoes for Interviews

While sandals are generally not the best choice for an interview, there are several types of shoes that can make a positive impression on potential employers. Finding the right footwear can help complete a professional appearance and will also make you feel more confident. Below are some common types of acceptable shoes for interviews.

Dress Shoes: Dress shoes are a classic option for interviews and include both oxfords and loafers. These shoes can complement a suit or dress pants, providing a polished look. Oxfords typically have closed lacing, while loafers are slip-on shoes without laces. Both styles come in various materials, such as leather and suede, and can be found in an assortment of colors to coordinate with your outfit.

brown oxford shoes
StyleLacingMaterial OptionsColor Options
OxfordsClosedLeather, SuedeBlack, Brown, Burgundy
LoafersNone (Slip-on)Leather, SuedeBlack, Brown, Navy, Tan

Boat Shoes: If you are interviewing for a more casual work environment or a job that requires a relaxed dress code, boat shoes could be a suitable option. These shoes are typically made of leather or canvas and feature a non-marking sole. While more casual than dress shoes, boat shoes can still convey a sense of professionalism and sophistication when paired with the appropriate attire, such as chinos or dress shorts.

brown boat shoes on a wooden floor

It is essential to consider both the formality of the position you are applying for and the company culture when selecting the appropriate shoes for an interview. Regardless of the type of shoe you choose, make sure they are clean and well-maintained to showcase attention to detail and respect for the interview process.

Male wearing boat shoes, white jeans and a navy colored shirt

How To Present Yourself Professionally

When attending an interview, it is important to focus on not only your skills and experience but also on presenting yourself professionally. Your appearance, personality, and grooming play a significant role in making a good impression on your potential employer.

Professional Appearance

The key to a professional appearance is dressing appropriately for the role. It is generally recommended to wear conservative, well-maintained clothing. It’s better to lean on the side of dressing too formally, rather than too casually. Avoid wearing sandals to an interview, as they are usually considered too informal.

Woman on her way to a job interview wearing a suit and black closed-toe shoes
Attire for MenAttire for Women
Suit with a tieSuit (with skirt or pants)
Polished dress shoesClosed-toe dress shoes
Conservative dress shirtConservative blouse
Dark or neutral colorsDark or neutral colors


Showcasing a positive and confident personality is equally important in a professional setting. Display enthusiasm and genuine interest in the company and role. Ensure that you maintain eye contact during the conversation, and listen actively to the interviewer’s questions. Remember to remain honest and authentic, showing your true personality.

  • Be punctual
  • Maintain a friendly and respectful attitude
  • Practice active listening skills
  • Express your ambitions and career goals
White collar woman showcasing a positive and confident personality


Lastly, proper grooming is an essential aspect of presenting yourself professionally. Personal hygiene and grooming habits speak volumes about your attention to detail and respect for the role.

  • Shower and wear clean, ironed clothes
  • Trim or style facial hair
  • Keep fingernails clean and trimmed
  • Avoid strong fragrances
  • Neat and tidy hairstyle

Choosing Colors and Patterns

When selecting sandals for an interview (if you have decided they are appropriate) you should consider both the color and the pattern of the footwear. In general, it is best to stick to black, brown, and neutral colors. These shades are universally accepted, professional, and will not distract the interviewer from your qualifications. Keep in mind, bright or flashy colors can be perceived as unprofessional and are best avoided. Before making a decision, it may be helpful to research What Color is Not Great for an Interview? to gain further understanding of which colors to avoid.

Color guide for sandals showing that neutral colors like black, brown, gray and white are fine but  flashy colors like yellow are best avoided.

Patterns should also be carefully considered when choosing sandals for an interview. Opt for subtle patterns that do not clash with your outfit or draw too much attention to your feet. Here’s a simple table to help guide your color and pattern choices:

Closeup fashion photo of a woman's feet elegantly positioned, showcasing black sandals. The skin is moisturized, giving a soft glow against the dark hue of the sandals. The toenails are painted in a subtle shade, complementing the sandals.
Footwear ColorsAcceptable Patterns
BlackMinimal, solid color
BrownMinimal, solid color
Neutral colorsMinimal, solid color

The ultimate goal is to present a polished and professional image during your interview. Making the right choice in color and pattern of your sandals plays a crucial role in achieving this objective.

Sneakers, High Heels, and Other Considerations

When considering whether to wear sandals to an interview, it’s essential to take other footwear options into account. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of various types of shoes in order to make the best impression.

Sneakers: Sports shoes, such as sneakers, are generally not recommended for interviews. Their casual appearance can give off an unprofessional vibe, regardless of the comfort they may provide. It is advisable to opt for a more formal style of footwear.

Fashion photo capturing the modern design of sneakers on a female's feet. The sneakers have a unique pattern, and the sole displays a contrasting color. The environment is slightly blurred, drawing attention to the shoes.

High Heels: High heels can be a suitable choice for interviews, especially within professional environments. However, one should be careful about the height and design of the heels. Extremely high or flashy heels may not convey the right message, and can even be uncomfortable during an extended interview. A modest height and a closed-toe design are usually the best options.

Closed-Toe Shoes: Closed-toe shoes are typically viewed as the best choice for interviews. They project a level of professionalism and sophistication that aligns with most workplace environments. The table below outlines some appropriate options for both men and women:

Men’s ShoesWomen’s Shoes
OxfordLow-Heeled Pump
DerbyClosed-Toe Wedge
BrogueKitten Heel
LoaferAnkle Boot
Fashion photo capturing the classic design of derby shoes on a male's feet. The shoes possess a deep hue, and the stitching details enhance their craftsmanship. The surrounding environment is slightly blurred, drawing attention to the footwear.

Regardless of the footwear one chooses, it is crucial to ensure the shoes are clean and well-maintained. This attention to detail can help send a positive message to the interviewer about the candidate’s level of seriousness and commitment. In conclusion, although there may sometimes be exceptions, sandals are generally not recommended as appropriate footwear for job interviews. It is best to put one’s best foot forward (literally) by choosing a more professional, closed-toe option.

Accessories and Additional Attire

When it comes to accessories and additional attire for an interview, it’s important to strike a balance between professional and personal style. Wearing a t-shirt is generally not recommended for interviews, as it is considered too casual. Instead, opt for a collared shirt or blouse, paired with a blazer for a more polished look.

Belts can play an important role in completing your outfit. A simple, clean belt in a color that matches your shoes is a safe choice. Avoid flashy or overly decorative belts, as they can be distracting and give an unprofessional impression.

Discussing earrings, it is generally acceptable to wear them during interviews, but it is essential to choose a pair that is not overly large or flashy. Studs or small hoops are acceptable options. The earrings should complement your overall look without drawing too much attention.

Closeup shot of a woman's ear showcasing delicate stud earrings. The design of the earrings is minimalist, emphasizing the sparkle of the gemstone. The setting is muted, ensuring that the focus remains solely on the earrings.

Though hats can be stylish and functional, they are typically not suitable for interviews. Wearing a hat indoors and during an interview may be perceived as disrespectful or casual, so it is best to avoid them altogether.


When deciding whether to wear sandals to an interview, it’s essential to consider the potential impact on one’s confidence and the perceived level of professionalism. In most cases, sandals may not be the best choice for an interview, as they could give the impression that the candidate is not taking the opportunity seriously.

Confidence can be affected by one’s choice of footwear. Wearing inappropriate shoes, such as sandals, might make a candidate feel self-conscious or less confident during the interview. It is crucial to choose footwear that helps boost self-assurance, increasing the chances of performing well during the interview.

Professionalism is another essential aspect to consider. Generally, sandals do not convey the professional image that most employers expect from job candidates. Wearing formal or business-appropriate shoes, even in more casual workplaces, indicates a level of respect for the company and the job opportunity.

However, if the company culture or specific job role explicitly allows for more casual attire such as sandals, then wearing them to an interview might be acceptable. In such cases, it’s still essential to ensure that the sandals are clean and in good condition, reflecting an overall tidy appearance.

In summary, it is generally best to avoid wearing sandals to an interview, opting for more formal or business-appropriate footwear to project confidence and professionalism.

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