I bought 2 pairs of Frye Carson Ballet flats in two different colours about a year ago, and now it’s a year and a half later, so I figured I’d do an honest review on them.
I dropped about $300 in total for these flats, having bought them in-person at their Frye location in NYC.
This is what they pretty much looked like new:
I BOUGHT THEM HALF A SIZE SMALLER
As suggested by their salespeople, I bought them half a size smaller at 6.5. I’m normally a 7.
HOW I WEAR MY SHOES
I wear them TO DEATH. As long as it’s warm enough, I like to just slip on these ballet flats and go.
I wore them pretty much every day, 7 days a week for about 3-8 hours a day. I went EVERYWHERE in them, so trust me, when I say I wear these to death.. I WEAR THEM TO DEATH.
It’s the reason why I bought 2 pairs to begin with, because I wanted to alternate them so that they wouldn’t stink from my constant use of them (you need to let your shoes air out in between wearings).
THE FIRST FEW MONTHS WERE GOLDEN
The first few months were great. Super soft, super comfortable, great right out of the box.
They were a teensy bit tight because I bought them in a 6.5 but they stretched to a 7 pretty easily after 2 weeks or so.
I had to add on Dr. Scholl’s padding in the back because my heels tend to always chafe in ballet flats and never stay in them, but otherwise, they were fantastic.
..THEN THEY STARTED TO STRETCH EVEN MORE AFTER 3 MONTHS
Even though they were at 6.5, they started to stretch beyond a 7. I had to add ANOTHER Dr. Scholl’s padding at the back to keep them on my feet.
They were still wearable, but now my feet were starting to get pushed to the front, and the toe area started to stretch out even more than before.
They simply wouldn’t stay on my feet.
AFTER ABOUT A YEAR I HAD TO TAKE THEM IN TO BE RE-SOLED
Apparently, the heel on these things are a “base” heel, meaning there is a very THIN veneer of rubber on them, which wears out very quickly.
So when I took them into my favourite cobbler (Sole Survivor) in Kensington Market, they told me I should have come in months ago, because the heel had worn down so much that they had to rebuild the entire heel and put another rubber pad on there.
I kind of scratched my head because I hadn’t really worn them THAT long to need to have them resoled, but it kind of made sense now why they were slipping on my feet — there was NO rubber traction so my foot was compensating by pushing forward even more to try and dig my toes into the shoe to keep them on my feet.
You can kind of see that little tiny, THIN black piece of rubber in the top picture at the back. That wore out within a month or less.
…THEN IT JUST GOT RIDICULOUSLY LARGE
Even after I had them resoled, they were too stretched out to be comfortable any more. They would have fit a size 8, I’m sure.
I started putting Foot Petals on the front to try and get them to grip on my foot to stop sliding forward.
I was walking with a distinctive CLOP CLOP CLOP sound, and my mom remarked: Your shoes don’t even stay on your feet or look comfortable. Your heel comes out like it’s a slipper.
I added a THIRD layer of Dr. Scholl’s padding at the heel.
… but it just got to be too much.
Now the shoes are just going to be shoes I use to quickly run outside or around the building and back in.
I won’t be wearing them to walk outside at all.
You can see the indents of my toes pushing forward at the front, and the 3 layers of heel padding at the back.
The sole was not rubberized at the front, so you can see how much I wore it down after a year and a half.
The heel was pretty much done just 3 months ago, so it looks almost brand new. I regret wasting money on repairing them.
WHAT I THINK IS THE PROBLEM WITH THESE FRYE CARSON BALLET FLATS
- Vamp is not high enough — the toe area is not high enough to cover and really hold on to your foot
- Leather is way too soft — soft leather is great, but not in a ballet flat. You need a balance between hard/soft.
- The sole itself isn’t done well — I know they’re handmade, but a thin rubber veneer doesn’t do jack squat, you have to take them in to be properly soled by a cobbler right out of the box
VERDICT? I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THEIR CARSON BALLET FLATS.
However their boots rock.
That said, I REALLY like their Frye Melissa Back Zip Back Button boots.
I find the sole VERY comfortable (I don’t even need my Birkenstock supports), and they haven’t stretched out at the ankles, and still look and feel great.
I did however, take the boots in to be re-soled by my cobbler immediately after buying them because if I drop $300 on a pair of boots, I want them to last.
So far, they’re pretty awesome for the most part.
A few cons:
- The button flaps are a bit annoying sometimes (especially at the heel), but they snap on after a few tries.
- The back zipper is also slightly annoying on the right side to zip up, but the left side is perfectly easy to zip.