In Shopping, Style, Wardrobe Help, Women

Shopping: Where to find a pair of comfortable ballet flats

It can be hard to find a nice pair of ballet flats. The kind of flats I like, have the following:

  • Comfort
  • A higher vamp (the front part for the shoe more than covers the toes & stays on)
  • A constructed heel/bottom (Some flats are literally just fabric with a covering as the bottom)
  • A covered inside so that my feet don’t chafe and blister

I’m really NOT that picky because what I’ve described above shouldn’t be hard to find, but alas .. IS.

I’ve tried a nice range of bad ballet flats, so here are the memorable ones (I won’t mention the ones that were bought overseas or are very independent, small brands).

You should be able to find all of the following in North America:

J. CREW MILA BALLET FLATS – A WOMP WOMP MOMENT

j-crew-mila-cap-toe-leather-ballet-flats-review

They were comfortable in store, but they’ve recently started blistering my toes. I can’t wear these without socks, and that sucks because there are days I don’t want to wear socks or tights.

They’re still comfortable at the top because of the elastic (they don’t pinch like the other J. Crew flats), but the whole cut and style is rather poorly done.

These are definitely cheap Italian shoes, trying to be marketed as something nicer.

(And DAMN IT I still have a store credit to use up there!)

You can read about all the other horrible J. Crew flats here in this post from their “famously comfortable” Cece flat to their metallic plastic shoe prisons they’re trying to pass off as “leather”.


FRYE BALLET FLATS – GOOD BUT NOT GREAT

carson-frye-ballet-flats-dark-brown

I own two of these in the Carson style and just had them recently re-cobbled.

I am normally a size 7, so I sized down to 6.5 because the leather stretches like crazy. In about 2 weeks, the shoes went from a 6.5 to a 7, and then they kept stretching! O_o

Now they’re a bit loose on me, I’d wager about a 7.5 because I’ve been wearing them every single day, which is why they kept stretching.

I am thrilled that they used such a soft, comfortable leather, but as they’ve stretched out, they keep slipping off my foot when I walk, which is not cool.

If I do decide to drop more money on a new pair, I’m buying size 6 and waiting for them to stretch out.

They’re great flats, they’re just not staying on my feet any more.

REPETTO BALLET FLATS – ON MY WISH LIST

Repetto-Cendrillon-Flats-Paris

These are made in Paris and they are priiiicceeeeyyy!

I tried a few pairs on during my travels and liked them, but didn’t love them enough to splash out $500 on them, seeing as I wasn’t convinced of their durability and comfort.

They seem to run a little small depending on the fabric or leather used, so be careful. I saw a pair on consignment in 7.5, and they were TIGHT on my feet (I’d say they were 6’s).

BLOCH BALLET FLATS – ON MY WISH LIST

bloch-avya-ballet-flats

These were recommended by Bridget and AdinaJ. I haven’t personally tried them on but they looked nice and have lots of options.

They look a lot like Repettos actually, but are probably much cheaper 😉

TARYN ROSE BALLET FLATS – REALLY REALLY ON MY LIST!

taryn-rose-ruched-bryan-crisscross-ballerina-flat-bone

These were recommended by AdinaJ, and they look a little less conventional (more avant garde in my eye, or more modern) too. I’ll have to hunt down this brand to give it a shot.

They’re made by an orthopedic surgeon, so my bet is that they are EXTREMELY comfortable and great for your feet.

I really like this one because it looks like a real ballerina shoe and it looks shaped for your foot / toes and well formed.

SAM EDELMAN‘S BALLET FLATS — ON MY LIST TO TRY!

sam-edelman-milly-silver-ballet-flat

Recommended by Bridget, they sound and look comfortable (I’d have to try them on in person however).


They look great in that silver, and I’ll have to try them out.

CLARK‘S BALLET FLATS — THEY ARE COMFY

Recommended by Fab Frugirl.

They look comfortable, and I can attest to them BEING comfortable, having owned a pair of sandals before.

I will say that their styles are limited and you might find it hard to find some interesting pieces.

Update: From my experience, they’re all made in China but I haven’t actually searched for any from Clark’s, so I can’t say for certain.

clarks-carousel-ride-black-ballet-flat

COLE HAAN NIKE AIR FLAT – COULD GIVE IT A SHOT

cole-haan-manhatan-ballet-flat

Recommended by Marissa and a reader of mine, they look comfortable and use Nike Air technology.

I tend to avoid high-tech shoes because they always break first, but I’d be willing to give these a shot to see if they stay as comfortable as they look.

Update: From my experience, they’re all made in China but I haven’t actually searched for any from Cole Haan, so I can’t say for certain.

TIEKS BALLET FLATS

tieks-ballet-flats-Shoes

Recommended by Amy in the comments! They seem to cost around the $175 range, but they could be worth it if they are great flats.

They have an unusual shape and look to them at the toe, but I kind of like it!

MERRELL AVESSOS BALLET FLATS

merrell-avessos-ballet-flats

Recommended by Brittany in the comments! She has high arches and says these are great, comfortable flats.

That’s what I have so far on my list to try. What’s on yours for ballet flats?


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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22 Comments

  1. Ivan

    Some brand that are really comfortable flars and still affordable:
    Puma Zandy flats ($80) fits true size
    Puma Karlie flats( $70) fits a little bit small
    Camper Nina Right ( $130) choose 1 size up
    Sam Edelman Felicia( $ 100) I bought them half size up for extra room
    Lacoste Marthe ( $ 90) choose 1 full seiz down they run big
    Michael Kors Fulton ($90) fits to true size
    Lanvin (pricey $ 300 but can be get half price at eBay) choose 1 size up they run small
    Steve Madden Kwilted ( $70) fits true size comfortable made true leather
    I tried the Frye Crason I love how soft they are but too pricey for flats and as reading your review I won’t spend my $$ on these flats

    Cole Haan Nike air are great and confortable !!
    Tieks didn’t work for me 🙁

    Hope this quick reviews helps you and someonelse 🙂

    Reply
  2. Kristina

    I have a pair of the Cole Haan Nike Air flats (in a bright blue shade), and they are by far the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn! I got them deeply discounted at an outlet last year, and am kicking myself for not buying multiple pairs in different colors. I originally didn’t think I’d like them as much, because I have big feet and prefer a lower vamp.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I am going to have to look at those. I need shoes with a high vamp to wrap around my foot or else it’s really uncomfortable and pinch-y.

      Reply
  3. Kate

    I am a big fan of geox ballet flats. I have tried them in a bunch of colours and styles (they are my default work and casual shoe), and I love the quality, the fit (I have wide feet), and the durabillity. Their “breathability” is also great in the summer, if you tend to have hot/sweaty feet. The vent system they advertise actually works. The prices have gone up in the past few years ($120 to $140 per per pair), but I am a big girl and I really do find they last twice as long as cheaper versions.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Geox eh? I heard about their Respira flats but never tried them out. I get super sweaty feet too, which would be a bonus for me if I wear them. Thanks Kate!

      Reply
  4. Sasha

    For anyone who wants to try on all these flats and lives in Toronto, The Bay at the Eaton Centre carries many of these brands. I saw Repetto, Bloch and Sam Edelman there, as well as some Frye shoes. Could be a good place to start looking.

    If anyone else knows of any other shops in Toronto that carry comfy flats, please let me know!

    Btw Mochimac, my left foot is a half size bigger than my right! So annoying when I need to find comfy shoes, and I have wide feet too!

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Yes The Bay carries most of them although for my readers who are concerned, the Sam Edelman flats although super comfortable, are made in China.

      Repetto is made in Paris, and the size 7 felt really tight on me but I tried on another size 7 in a black and it felt more comfortable. My instinct says that it stretches out like crazy.

      It annoys me trying to find proper shoes, and it’s a hit and miss unfortunately.

      For really high end brands, the brand Chloe has ballet flats that are buttery soft over at David’s at Bay & Bloor but are $$$$$$$$$$$, like $400 a pair. O_o

      Reply
  5. Helen

    There was a similar discussion post on the Corporette blog recently, and someone raved about the flats offered by Casa Couture: http://casacouture.com/

    They manufacture in Italy, and the styles fulfill that tricky combination of stylish yet comfortable.

    They also use Italian sizing, so the guideline is to size up. I emailed Customer Service with sizing questions, and they were very prompt and friendly. Now that I know my size, I’m pondering which style to buy.

    Reply
  6. AdinaJ

    To add to my Twitter shout-out, I found both my Bloch and Taryn Rose flats at Winners, on sale for under $50 each (the Blochs were something like $18). I haven’t seen the brands there recently, but it’s worth keeping an eye out.

    Here is a photo of my old Taryn Rose pair (worn to death now) – just scroll to the bottom: http://www.shoeblog.com/blog/michelle-obama-first-lady-elect-of-style/
    I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can find a replacement pair one of these days. They were, hands down, the most comfortable shoes to walk long distances in.

    The other brand I adore is Ferragamo. It is very pricey, but you can find “vintage” pairs in excellent condition online for more reasonable prices ($100 and under) if you stalk eBay/Etsy enough. Their styles (I recommend Vara and Varina) haven’t changed in a long time, so the look is classic/timeless even on older pairs. One caveat: they tend to run narrow, especially the vintage ones. I have relatively narrow feet, and need a “B” (or medium) to feel comfortable; the shoes run as narrow as AAA.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I will DEFINITELY go and take a look at Winners now. I generally hate browsing through shelves (my size 7 is never available in what I want), but I’m willing to give it a shot.

      Ferragamo is on my list as well, although if you’re telling me they’re narrow it won’t fit my feet. I might have to size up… a lot.

      Reply
      1. AdinaJ

        If you end up looking for Ferragamos online, check the ball width; I’ve noticed that a lot of postings do list it. Compare with the width of a pair of flats you already own, and that should help in figuring out what size to look for.

        Reply
  7. Daisy @ Add Vodka

    After our Twitter conversation, I checked out the Taryn Rose and found that – at least the styles on the website – were not very age appropriate for me. I’m in my early (well.. now mid) 20s and the styles I was looking at looked a little older than the look I’m going for. I didn’t see the ones in the picture that you have, but I need a black, basic pair. I liked the Frye, Sam Edelman and Bloche options. I really want to actually try them on though; looking online just doesn’t do it for me. I need to feel it out. Sigh.. I guess that means I have to go shopping.

    Reply
  8. Michelle

    A friend of mine has the Tieks flats and LOVES them. I’m not sure where they are made. But, for the price I would be surprised if it was China.

    Reply
  9. Dee

    I’m looking for comfy flats as well and the Bloch ones look cute. Are none of these made in China?

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I cannot confirm that they’re not made in China except for the following:

      J. Crew — Made in Italy, but not comfy
      Frye — Made in Mexico or the U.S. (check the inside of the shoe depending on what style you get)
      Repetto — Made in Paris

      The rest, I have yet to do my research on and check them out.

      Reply
      1. Sara

        Be careful with Frye. Mine were from Nordstroms and were made in China.

        Reply
  10. amy

    I highly recommend Tieks. They had Friends and family sale in Dec and I got my most expensive flats ever but they’re so great.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Added to my post! 🙂 Thank you.

      Reply
  11. Brittany

    I had been searching for the perfect ballet flats for a long time, too. I have high arches and if I don’t find something that fits well my feet will be in agony. My right foot is also a tiny bit smaller than my left foot, which means sometimes a pair of shoes will fit one foot well but not the other. However, I bought some Merrell Avessos and I LOVE THEM. They are super comfortable and I can dress them up or down.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      My right foot is also a bit smaller than my left. They say this is normal in most people because the heart is on the left and pumps more blood down to the left foot, which makes it grow slightly bigger than the right. True or not, …. it seems to be the case for most people.

      Added to my post! 🙂 Thank you.

      Reply
  12. C.M.

    Thanks for this post! Like you, I’m picky about flats and I really need a new pair. I’ve been scoping them out online and reading reviews for months, but I haven’t really found anything I’m excited about. Living in NYC, I need something that will be comfortable to walk in and won’t break down after a couple of months. But, I don’t have tons of money to spend, either. I have a pair of Bandolino black leather flats I’ve been wearing for years that I got on sale for $30. They’ve held up well, but it’s about time to move on to a new pair that doesn’t look so beat up. If you find that perfect pair, you’ll have to do an update! 🙂

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I have yet to find the perfect pair. The Fryes stretched out too much to the point where I should have sized down a FULL size.. *sigh* But I don’t want to spend another $150 to test that theory 😐

      Reply

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