Apparently we’re all about shoes around here right now. My last post was about customizing shoes and this one is about different ballet flat brands.
For someone with no style whatsoever, I love shoes.
Okay, maybe I do have style. It’s like…if 80s Stevie Nicks had a low budget and wore yoga pants. Or something like that. Maybe it’s better not to discuss.
I do love shoes, but my feet are small, and a little on the wide side, and I prefer some support. I used to be a solid 6 but after two babies and fluctuations of almost 40 pounds during pregnancies I’m a wide-ish 6.25 now. Which of course, isn’t a size. And which leads to never ending battles with myself and all brands of shoes, trying to find something that fits and is comfortable.
In the past 2 years I’ve tried 4 popular flats brands, so I’m going to give my personal reviews here for your consideration.
I purchased a pair of Tieks by Gabrielle foldable flats in matte black while pregnant with baby Z. At $175 it was a gamble, but I’d heard great things about them.
Pros: foldable and easy to carry, low profile/sleek look
Cons: visible toe cleavage, no support, visible toe bump
I wore them a handful of times and then sold them. Up until that point, they were probably the most comfortable ballet flats I’d worn, but I’m not a fan of toe cleavage nor the toe bump, and as my foot grew with the pregnancy they started feeling snug and looking just a tad off, and didn’t get better after. The packaging (a cheerful blue box and faux flower band) is adorable, shipping was quick, and overall the shoe was nice, but it wound up not working for me.
I tried a pointed toe style, and truly wanted to love them. Unfortunately, I have Fred Flintstone feet and they just weren’t right.
I was surprised and impressed by how nice the shoes felt, and the removable insole allowed for some customization. Plus, they’re washable! And you can choose from a pointed toe, rounded toe, or loafer style. The point runs $145, but you can nearly always find someone’s referral code for $20 off.
Pros: cozy moldable fabric, elegant styling, removable insole, washable
Cons: no stretch, no support with original insole, a little narrow for a wider foot
I wound up returning them. I would however, recommend them for average widths. Shipping was fast and they were packaged nicely, and they were really very nice shoes. I tried them with multiple inserts/insoles and they would have been comfortable if I wasn’t between sizes. Additionally, on my wide-ish feet the pointed toe looked a little skewed.
This company is fairly new and launched in 2018 with Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns. They promised ballet flats with the comfort of sneakers. I’m not going to lie, there have been bumps in the road here between delays in production and shipping, and a skeleton crew on customer service. I have received two pairs out of my order of 3, and I am fairly pleased with them. They are not sneakers (but I didn’t really expect them to be), but they do come with an exceptionally cushy and moldable removable insole that provides an extreme level of support almost unheard of in a ballet flat.
I snagged mine for an early bird price of $125,
though full price is said to be about $250.
In the pros and cons I’ll speak to the shoes themselves, not the company or the process. For reference, I am wearing a size 37 (euro).
Pros: cushy removable insole, nearly orthotic level support in an attractive shoe, lots of colors available
Cons: less streamlined than other flats, some bagginess at sides
I am not disappointed in my shoes. That said, I’m unlikely to keep all 3 pairs. At first try on they were tight across the top of the toes, but the footbed began to compress almost immediately and by second casual wear they’re very comfortable. They are a little clunkier than other ballet flats, but the support is so above and beyond everything else that it’s a trade off well worth taking if you struggle with other flats. The packaging is lovely, a sturdy box, silver wristlet and silky white bags to protect each shoe.
There have been some complaints about quality, though my current two pairs are fine. For $125, yes. For $250, I’d want to see some improvements in quality control and customer service.
As of this writing Soto Massini is not yet fully up and running regularly so I can’t recommend them per se, but I’d keep an eye on the brand.
I’d heard of this brand but hadn’t seen them in person, then Facebook hit me with an ad for their mystery sale where you choose your size and they send you a mystery pair. For $19.99. Sigh, I can’t resist.
My mystery pair turned out to be the Samara 2.0 Beige Serpent Leather Ballet Flat, which retail for $108. Little Miss’ pair is a beautiful berry colored velvet and the 11C perfectly fits her little feet (usually a toddler size 10).
Pros: sleek styling, fold nicely, elastic edge doesn’t gap and fits well
Cons: no support to speak of
These shipped surprisingly quick, and come folded in a small sturdy box with a drawstring bag for storage. These are meant to be snug, but the 6 is a hair tight. Wearing thick socks and warming with a hair dryer is providing a little give. While I wouldn’t have chosen this pattern, I actually love them.
I doubt I’d pay full price for these, but they often offer sales and coupons, and some simpler designs are under $100 normally. If you’re not too fussy about color, the mystery sale is an outrageous deal.
Edit: two friends had issues with the color peeling on a pair each of their Yosi Samra mystery shoes. The company graciously sent a new pair, but be aware that this is a thing that can happen.
Ease of purchase, shipping speed: equal for Tieks, Rothy’s and Yosi Samra.
Returns: Tieks and Rothy’s offer free returns, Yosi Samra deducts cost of shipping from your refund (mystery sale items are not returnable).
Comfort: Soto Massini wins this one due to that insole, but the other three are very nice compared to most other flats I’ve tried.
I didn’t mention this previously, but if comfort is key, Sketchers has some very cute styles with a memory foam insole which provides nice support. The company has come a long way from the glittery platform sneakers I wore in high school.
Aesthetics: personal personal here. I loved the look of the pointed toe Rothy’s, it just didn’t work for me. I prefer the Yosi Samra to the Tieks due to toe cleavage and big toe bump. The Soto Massini are overall heavier shoes, but still attractive.
Price: Yosi Samra has adult options under $100, the others do not. Yosi Samra does run sales and offer coupons. Rothy’s can be purchased with a referral code for $20 off (many bloggers share theirs, and there are nearly always referral links posted in the comments on their Facebook posts). Tieks does not offer sales or coupons.
Do you have a favorite brand for ballet flats? Have you tried any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts!