As a speaker, choosing the right outfit is critical to creating a powerful presence on stage. However, one of the most important pieces of your wardrobe is often overlooked – your shoes. For me, there is nothing more empowering than slipping into a pair of my superhero pumps before stepping onto the stage. The added height gives me a boost of confidence and the pointed toe adds a touch of sophistication to my look.

Here are a few things I recommend professional speakers keep in mind when it comes to the shoes you choose to wear when speaking:

My Favorite Shoes are My Comfortable Ones

More than anything, my favorite shoes are comfortable enough to wear for hours on end, allowing me to focus solely on my message and delivery. So the next time you step up to speak, consider the power of a great pair of shoes – they just might be your secret weapon to a successful presentation.

Recommended Shoes For Women Speakers

Women’s close-toed heels that are not too high are what I’ve found work best on stage for many reasons. Make sure they are no more than 2 inches high and have fatter heels. Stage floors often are put together in pieces with cracks between them, and it’s easy for spikey heels to get caught in them. I‘ve seen speakers walk right out of their shoes when they’ve walked across a pieced-together stage.

I also recommend close-toed shoes for women speakers and not sandals because some men have a foot fetish and it could be distracting. If you’re not speaking on an elevated stage it’s not as important. Also, sandals do not look as good or professional as close-toed shoes do.

Next, make sure your shoes fit you. I’ve seen speakers with a one inch gap behind their heels. No matter how cute the shoes are, it looks ridiculous.

In addition to a good-fitting shoe, ensure you know they are comfortable. Be sure they are already broken in. You don’t want to wear brand-new shoes on stage. You may be very uncomfortable and that can affect how you come across on stage. Also, never take your shoes off in the middle of your speech. It’s not a good look

Speaking Only Shoes

I have a pair of shoes that I reserve only for speaking. I don’t party or dance in them. I save them for my speaking events. This way I know they are always ready and they last longer.

Recommended Shoes for Men

Please polish your shoes no matter what color. People can tell if they are worn and dull shoes may unconsciously send the wrong signal.

Stay away from casual shoes and construction boots. Wear polished dress shoes. In other words, avoid Hush Puppies (and similar styles).

The Difference Your Shoes Make When Speaking

The more professional your shoes, the more professional you come across and the more people will pay attention to you. With the right fitting and professional-looking shoes, you are positioning yourself as the expert. Shoes will give you additional credibility and that helps reinforce your message.

Think about other professional speakers you’ve seen on stage. They likely had nice shoes. You’ll never see professionals like Les Brown or Patricia Fripp go on without shoes. It’s just not professional.

I want you to look your best on stage and captivate your audience. Start with your feet and work up from there. If you’ve got your shoes handled and want to refine your ability to captivate your audience, let’s talk. Schedule a strategy session with me here: