The 6 Best Work Flats of 2023

The FitFlop Allegro Ballet Flat took top honors in our testing

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

work flats
People/Tara Donne

When it comes to work attire, it's important to have a look that is both comfortable and chic to last throughout the day and make you feel like a successful and confident professional. After all, it's hard to give a convincing presentation if you can't focus on anything besides how much your feet hurt.

Dr. Brad Schaeffer, board certified foot surgeon at Sole Podiatry NYC and star of TLC's My Feet Are Killing Me, puts arch protection at the forefront of any shoe search, but especially for flats. "Ultimately, the best flats would be something that has a little arch support, something that makes your foot feel comfortable," the Dr. Scholls ambassador says. "Flats aren't exactly known for this, but sometimes we need to wear them depending on the outfit or event. In that case, I would recommend wearing the flat with an insert to help support the foot."

Whether you're going for comfort or style, flats can serve many purposes — but they should be pleasant to walk in, above all. "I tell my mom and sister all the time that if your feet hurt, your whole body hurts. So, support them and make your feet a priority," Dr. Schaeffer adds.Whether you want to recreate Meghan Markle's flats-styled ensembles or freshen up your wardrobe with this staple, we've done the digging to find the best flats for you.

PEOPLE conducted research and testing to determine which work flats are must-haves to complete your professional wardrobe. Once our testing was finished, we had three clear standouts that can be worn all day and garner you endless compliments. The top pick is the FitFlop Allegro Ballet Flat because it's easy to slip on and off and comfortable to wear all day long.

The work flats below were considered the best that PEOPLE Tested.

Best Overall: FitFlop Allegro Ballet Flat

ballet flats

Pros: FitFlop Allegro Ballet Flat is easy to slip on and off thanks to its pull tab on the back, and our testers found it to be comfortable for all-day wear.

Cons: There's no cushion or arch support.

Though they have no padding or arch support, this flat was surprisingly comfortable. This flat, which comes in sizes 5-11 and in 19 different shades, is the happy medium between comfort and affordability.

This ballet flat received an overall rating of 4.75 out of 5, with a score of 5 in three of the four categories including comfort, fit, and durability in the tests we performed in our PEOPLE Tested lab. The only category this shoe didn't receive full points in was temperature control, as a tester mentioned her feet feeling warm throughout the day so docked it a point.

What really stood out to us during our PEOPLE Testing process was how comfortable these slips-on actually were; the soft faux leather material and elasticated vamp made them fit easily to the tester's foot to wear for hours.

Testers also raved about the user experience with this pair. Running late in the morning to get to work? This pair is an easy slip-on shoe with a pull tab on the back to help you put them on in a split second. And, when you get home from work dying to lay down on the couch, they're easy to slip off too.

All in all, if you want an easy-to-use, comfortable, and affordable option, this is a great way to go.

Size Women's 5 - 11
Fabric Faux Leather
Sole Rubber
best work flats
People/Tara Donne

Best Budget: Amazon Essentials Belice Ballet Flat

ballet flats

Pros: It's affordable and available in a wide range of sizes, including options for wide feet.

Cons: It's not very durable and the footbed can wear down quickly.

After the first day of testing, PEOPLE testers already understood why this pair was a best seller. They're affordable, are available in 37 different colors (from black and navy to pink and gold), and can be ordered in sizes 5 to 15, in either regular or wide versions.

Even though it's the most affordable of our top choices, this Amazon Essentials flat held up well after a full workday. One tester, who uses a standing desk and is on her feet all day, said that though sneakers are always her first choice, she never felt like the shoes needed a "breaking-in period" as they were comfortable right off the bat.

Our tester gave this shoe an overall final score of 4.25 with a maximum score of 5 out of 5 in the fit category. In the other categories — comfort, temperature, and durability — this shoe received a 4 out of 5.

Other testers dinged the flats further for temperature control. "My feet sweat quite easily, and that happened when wearing these flats. Though it wasn't uncomfortable, I noticed it!," said a PEOPLE tester.

In addition, the durability of this product is worth calling out. After the first day of use, the text on the footbed already started to wear off, which testers felt was not a great sign for how the shoe might hold up to more intense use.

Overall, if you're looking for affordable go-to flats, these are a great option. With a wide array of available colors and the promise of great fit, these shoes would do a great job, especially for the price point. "I'd recommend these for a classic look that you can get on a budget," the tester concluded.

Sizes Women's 5 - 15
Fabric Faux Leather
Sole Synthetic

Best Splurge: Sarah Flint Natalie

work flats
Sarah Flint

Pros: This shoe features a snug, yet comfortable fit that remains draft-free and sweat-wicking throughout the day.

Cons: The pointed toe may feel tight on people with wider feet.

Between its stunning textures and prints, chafe–free heel, and high-quality leather, this pair of flats is practically perfect all-around. Scoring an impressive 4.75 out of 5 across our testing categories, these flats were showstoppers across the board.

Hailed as one of the more elegant flats of the group, this pair from Sarah Flint features a svelte, pointed toe box, a miniscule heel, and a small leather bow that ties the whole look together. These flats earned a perfect 5-star rating in the comfort, temperature and durability categories, falling only a little short when it came to fit. Our testers found favor with the way that these flats both looked and felt while on their feet, appreciating the lack of chafing and elegant structure that the shoes held as the hours went by — even while being on their feet all day.

While our tester felt no discomfort, they did note that these may feel a bit tight for people with wider feet, as the pointed toe shape can cause the foot to feel squished. However, ordering a half size up could do the trick for you, if you think these may feel a little snug.

Another standout quality of these flats is weather wearability. Our tester made a note of the draftiness in their apartment, and yet while wearing these around the house, they never felt a chill, or alternatively, any sweat beginning to form within the shoe.

In the end, our testers loved the chic elements of this shoe and the cost, though on the higher end, matches the quality. For a flat that can be purchased in several colors and patterns to match any wardrobe, can be worn in (almost) any environment without overheating or getting too cool, and is as comfortable as it is sleek, this pick is well worth the investment.

Sizes Women's 4 - 13
Fabric Calf leather
Sole Leather outsole with rubber forepart

Best Fit: Everlane Italian Leather Day Glove

work flats

Pros: These flats are made from supple, high-quality leather that not only conform comfortably to the shape of your foot but also hold warmth for colder climates (without inducing sweat).

Cons: The form-fitting structure may not be ideal for someone with a wider foot.

Everlane wasn't kidding when they named this pair the "Day Glove," as these flats really do mold to the very shape of your foot. Our testers went so far as to say that they'll "only get better with wear" as they break in and become more accustomed to your anatomy. Scoring a 4.75 out of 5 stars overall, with perfect scores in terms of durability, fit, and comfort, these unique shoes were the talk of the PEOPLE Tested table.

You know the feel is going to be great when the fabric is Italian leather, so it's no surprise that our tester noted how "soft and supple" the exterior felt. Because of the rigidity of real leather (especially on a brand new shoe), it is going to take some breaking in — which our tester experienced after walking around in the shoe for a little bit and feeling the initial tightness of the shoe's edges relax. It's recommended to wear these flats with tights or thin socks, as these flats are like a "second skin" and meant to conform to your real foot shape.

Though many flats can feel unsupportive and leave your arches a bit sore after a day of wear, our tester was happy to report that they felt none of that at the end of the day. The firm material kept the arch lifted and supported without squeezing the foot too much — a trait that our tester loved, as they were shocked by how legitimately true to size they were.

And if you live in a climate where the weather is constantly changing, fear not. The tester appreciated the warmth that these flats provided, given their deceivingly thin appearance — calling them "practically a leather cocoon of warmth against the cold weather." We're sold!

Aside from the annoyances of breaking in a new pair of leather shoes, this easy-to-clean shoe (our tester just spot-treated with a little water and dish soap — worked like a charm) is ready to take on all of the seasons and any of your outfits, all while adding a professional flair with every wear.

Sizes Women's 5 - 11
Fabric 100% Italian leather
Sole Rubber

Best Loafer: Sam Edelman Loraine Bit Loafers

ballet flats
Sam Edelman

Pros: These flats are sturdy, durable, and great at temperature balancing to prevent sweaty feet.

Cons: Real leather is harder to clean.

If you're looking for something other than a simple ballet flat to wear to work, look no further than this sleek and comfortable loafer from Sam Edelman. This Loraine loafer comes in a variety of different colors and textures, from "purple croc" to "saddle leather," and has proven to be the best comfort a working girl could ask for.

This menswear-inspired flat with gold hardware scored a high rating of 4.75 overall in the PEOPLE-conducted tests. This shoe scored a full 5 out of 5 marks in comfort, temperature, and durability and a 4 out of 5 in fit.

What stood out the most when testing this product was how comfortable it was. "They're the type of shoe that makes you forget you're wearing shoes at all," says a tester. Due to the shoe's extra cushioning in the heel, this loafer provides a comfy bed for your feet to rest all day. And, despite it being leather, testers also confirmed that the temperature inside the shoe was comfortable throughout the day despite weather fluctuations.

In terms of durability, these loafers also score high points. One tester, who has owned a pair of these for over three years, says that they are still in "amazing shape" even after wearing them extensively.

As for the product's cons: real leather might become a hassle to clean if they ever face any major stains or scuffs. (The tester who has had hers for years would get them professionally repaired in the event of damage). In addition, the fit may be a bit off; many testers reported wanting the shoes in a half-size down from their usual size.

Overall, this product is a great option if you're in the market for a loafer, though ordering a half-size smaller might be ideal, comfort and durability are a guarantee!

Sizes Women's 4-12
Fabric Leather, velvet or fabric
Sole Padded leather

Best Ballet: Margaux The Demi

Pros: These classic ballerina flats only gets more comfortable with wear as it shapes to your foot and is complemented with padded insoles and lined edges for chafe-free wear.

Cons: The decorative bow comes untied from time to time.

By association, the first style you may think of when you hear "work flats" is likely "ballet flats," the typical, rounded-toe shoe that slips around the foot and (usually) ties off with a little bow. Well, this is exactly what your mind's eye might be picturing right now.

Available in a stunning array of metallic finishes, fun shades and eccentric patterns, the Demi from Margaux ballet flats are just as comfortable to wear as they are stunning to look at. Scoring a perfect 5-star rating on comfort, temperature, and durability (sizing got a 4), the classical shoe ended up with a 4.75-rating and rave reviews.

"My first impression was that these flats were buttery soft (both interior and exterior) and have a plushy footbed...especially for a ballet flat," our tester recalls. The 5-millimeter layer of plush foam padding supplies a decent cushion that keeps the foot both cool and comfortable during long days spent running around town. This easy-wearing sole allowed for the shoe to mold to the shape of our tester's foot when more hours had passed, making this a flat that only gets comfier with time.

Another standout about these flats are the fabric-lined edges, which prevent chafing and blisters, an all-too-common complaint when wearing flats for an extended period of time. Our tester also noted that the temperature control was optimal in these shoes, as there was no sweating or draftiness experienced after multiple days of wear. In fact, there was not even damage after walking outside in the winter in these shoes, and they were able to be cleaned effortlessly — suffering no water or detergent stains in the process.

Sizes Women's 3 - 14
Fabric Nappa leather
Sole Rubber
best work flats
People/Tara Donne

Things to Consider Before Buying Work Flats

Shoe Width

Beyond choosing your shoe size, many shoes can be available in either "regular" or "wide" widths. To determine which is ideal for you, think back to what complaints you've had when previously buying shoes. Have you ever complained that your shoes were too tight on the sides? Have you had blisters on the sides of your feet? Do you have any bunions that might require some extra space? If answers to any of these are "yes," ordering a wide width might be the best for you to find your perfect fit.

Fabric Choice

Out of all the shoe fabrics, leather is the hardest to clean but the most common one when it comes to work shoes. If you're not willing to go the extra mile to clean them if they stain, or to hire a leather specialist to clean them, it might be best to opt for other fabric options. Dr. Schaeffer urges you to look for comfortable fabric as well, especially when it comes to the insoles. "Look for flats that have gel cushioning, or you can put gel inserts in to provide the cushion and support that is needed," he says.


As work flats are the ideal shoe attire for work, it's safe to say you'll be wearing them many times a month, maybe even many times a week. Therefore, thinking of work flats as an investment and buying a pair that is durable and will not wear and tear in a short time is ideal.

How We Tested Work Flats

After conducting research online on the most recommended and reviewed flats, PEOPLE compiled a list of 19 products to test between all eight testers. Then, each pair of flats was tested and insights were collected from the testers for each product. Each flat was rated on a 1-5 scale for comfort, temperature, fit, and durability.

Tests to determine the scores included wearing them for a full day to understand how comfortable they were and how well they performed in terms of temperature, walking around the block to test the shoe's overall fit; and wearing them for three days and access their wear and tear to see how durable they are.


Are flats professional attire?

From business casual to business professional, flats are considered appropriate attire. For the most professional look, wear flats that have a more formal look with pointy toes and clean lines or classic loafers.

What are the different types of flats?

The most common types of flats are ballet styles, mules, loafers, pointed-toe flats, slingbacks, and moccasins.

What is the difference between a loafer and a flat?

Loafers are slip-on style shoes with elastic bands on each side to hold the shoes in place. While they come in different materials, they are mostly uniform in style. Flats, on the other hand, usually have closed toes, but come in a variety of styles from ballet to backless and side cut-out and range from dressy to casual.

Can you remove the insoles from flats and replace them with orthotics?

Some flats have removable insoles, but not all. If you'd like to add orthotics to your flat shoes, check to see if the existing insole is removable or permanently attached to the shoe.

What Is PEOPLE Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don't stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we've awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.

Want more product recommendations? Check out all of our People Tested content.

Related Articles