Home Polls More Nos Than Yeses on Open-Toed Shoes

More Nos Than Yeses on Open-Toed Shoes

images shows woman putting on strappy sandals with open toes - selecting those from a series of shoes
Getty Images

It’s time to pull those open-toed shoes out of winter storage. But maybe not for office wear!

Fifty-one percent of respondents to a recent WO Pop-up Poll, said open-toed shoes are not allowed anywhere in the office. In some practices, however, there are exceptions. Indeed, 73% of the respondents said that their office dress code policy includes specific statements on appropriate footwear. Another 18% said their dress code, either written or understood, does not address footwear. And 9% said they have no dress code policy.

Nearly 32% of the respondents said that open-toed heels and nice sandals are acceptable. Another 9% said their office allows peek-a-boo toes, where just the front tip of the shoe is open.

In some cases, people responded that it depends on the employee’s role, with open-toed footwear as an option for front-desk or back-office staff but not for clinical techs.


Fifty-three percent of respondents said that in their opinion, it was not OK for doctors to wear open-toed shoes. That’s twice as many as the 26%- who said that kind of footwear is appropriate. About 20% said they weren’t sure or answered “maybe.”

Poll results on doctors wearing open-toed shoes - 53% said it is not ok
WO Pop Up Poll, April 2024

Some of the respondents added to this idea, with one saying, “This is a medical environment and our appearance should reflect that.” Others noted that a good pedicure was the first essential step.


While 80% of respondents said that the COVID-19 pandemic had no impact on their footwear, others wrote that it made them prioritize comfort and convenience. For some, that still holds. About 16% of respondents said that they made a switch to washable/easy shoes and, for them, tennis shoes still rule the day.  Another 5% said they had made that kind of switch during COVID-19 but have since returned to dressier shoes.

One Arizona doctor wrote, “I think it is more important to be comfortable. My patients appreciate a relaxed atmosphere.”

Others noted that feet go through a lot during a day in the office. One said, “II have battled plantar fasciitis, and my dress shoes exacerbate the problem.” Scrubs and clean sneakers is this doctor’s solution.


WO asked this question of readers two years ago, when the pandemic was still front of mind for many. Notable differences between now and then include this:

In 2022, one-third of respondents said open-toed shoes were not appropriate in an optometric practice; this year, 51% said so.

In 2022, 46% said that it was not OK for doctors to wear open-toed shoes; this year, that’s at 53%.

In 2022, 58% of respondents said their office had a dress code policy that included statements about footwear; this year, 73% said they did.

In the 2024 WO Pop-up Poll, 56% of respondent said they were women ODs and another 35% said they were women, not ODs. Nine percent said they were male, with the majority of those being male ODs.


Have a poll idea? Curious about something? Email us here.

Check out past WO polls and responses here.

Are there OSHA guidelines on footwear? Read this blog.

Featured image: Getty Images

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