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Compare/contrast on ballet flats

February 10, 2019

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.

ANYWAY.

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.

Tieks

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.

 

My Rothy’s points

Rothy’s

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.

Soto Massimo Terzetto in black snake, stylishly paired with pajama panta.

Soto Massini

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,

Shimmering vanilla Soto Massimo Terzetto with embroidered back, packaging visible

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.

My “mystery pair”, Yosi Samra

Yosi Samra

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.

Overall:

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!

Life Shopping

I love online shopping

July 19, 2016

I have something to confess. I love online shopping.

I love it more than I love in person shopping. No lines, no parking lots to deal with, no worrying about how my toddler will handle the shopping trip. It’s easy and I can find nearly anything. I love buying handmade items on various online marketplaces, and I admit, I sometimes treat myself to silly little items from a certain auction site.

There are some things, like fancy clothes or shoes that need to be bought (or at least tried on) in a store, but for many basics, I prefer buying online.

Here’s another confession, which most people can probably relate to: I like saving money. I’m totally that person comparison shopping and searching the internet for coupon codes. A deal is a deal, you know what I mean?

My credit card offers cash back, 1% on most purchases with 5% in certain categories; it’s not huge money, but it adds up and every few months I cash that in and get some extra money back in my account. So now I’m going to say something…double cash back.

I’m going to stop for a second. What am I talking about here? I have recently become a Shopping Consultant with SHOP.com/Independent Distributor with Market America. Let me tell you a little bit about SHOP.com.

SHOP.com is owned by Market America, and it is a powerful shopping engine and shopping portal.¬†There are three main ways to utilize this – and if you decide to follow along, be sure to start at SHOP.com/ilanaleah so I’ll be your Shopping Consultant!

  1. Shop: That’s right, just shop. Visit the shopping portal at SHOP.com/ilanaleah and search for your favorite online retailers. Your purchase is completed through the retailer’s secure site, and by visiting via the shopping portal, you get cash back from the retailer. Think of it as a referral bonus! Cash back can range from 1-50%, with 2-10% being the most common. For added savings, download ShopBuddy from your homepage (here’s a 1 minute video explaining how it works) and it will alert you when cash back is available, and automatically compile all the active coupon codes and deals available on participating sites.
  2. Compare: SHOP.com has a compare feature where you can search an item right from your homepage and it will show you where the item is available, the price, and if cash back is available from that retailer all on one screen. No more hopping from site to site to compare prices, you can easily see different options for purchasing a specific item all in one place.
  3. Buy exclusive items: Market America offers a selection of exclusive items that can be purchased on SHOP.com or from specific websites. These include high quality, natural cosmetics, skin care products, baby products, home cleaning products and isotonic vitamins.

Is there any risk or obligation?

No! Signing up for a SHOP.com account is completely free and there are no minimums to meet or requirements to fulfill. You sign up, you shop, you get cash. The only caveat is that you cannot cash out less than $10 at a time. Essentially, you earn free money for buying items you were buying already anyway. Plus, have a friend sign up using your referral link, or putting your email address as their reference and you get .5% cash back on his or her purchases, indefinitely!

What stores can I get cash back from?

The amounts and offers may change, but there are thousands of retailers to choose from. Just a handful are Macys, Aeropostale, American Apparel, Target, Sketchers, Ashley Furniture, Babies R Us, Barneys New York, Beauty.com, Drugstore.com, Boxed.com, Jet.com, Ancestry.com, Kohls, Kmart, Groupon and many, many more. Some stores offer cash back on online orders with in-store pick up, including Barnes and Noble, Ace Hardware and Apple, just to name a few.

How do I maximize this?

shopHow do you get the most cash back? How do you make this make you a little extra cash, and your life a little easier?

First off, pay with a credit card that rewards you so you get double cash back. Second, use the comparison tool and compare prices and cash back to find the best deals. Also, leverage your time by shopping online; there are things you always buy, that you know you’re going to buy, that you can order and have delivered.

I order diapers for Little Miss online. I go to Diapers.com from my portal (2% cash back right now) and order the diapers, wipes and diaper genie refills. They have good prices and they often have useful coupons, plus free 1-2 day shipping. I order, I get credit towards cash back, and in a day or two a big box with everything I need arrives at the door.

I’ve started ordering paper goods and pantry staples from Jet.com rather than trekking up to BJs. I start at my shopping portal and search Jet.com (also 2% cash back right now) then I order my garbage bags, paper plates, etc. The site has good prices and offers discounts if you forgo the right to free returns (lets face it, I’m going to use those paper plates even if I don’t like the design) plus coupons and low flat rate or free, quick shipping. No parking lots, no carts, no travel time. A box arrives and I have my products.

On some purchases, the cash back I earn is only a few cents, but it adds up. By the end of the year I’ll have a tidy little bonus I can cash out and put towards holiday shopping.

Also important, the SHOP.com customer support is very responsive, and I am available to answer questions about signing up, how the website works, and exclusive products.

Want to learn more about some of those exclusives? I’ll share more in the future, but for now feel free to visit two of my favorites:

Thanks for reading! I’ll be sharing more about these products periodically, but only periodically! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. There are business opportunities available as well, but I’ll only discuss those if you ask.