It can be hard to find a nice pair of ballet flats. The kind of flats I like, have the following:
- 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
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
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
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
They look a lot like Repettos actually, but are probably much cheaper 😉
TARYN ROSE BALLET FLATS – REALLY REALLY ON MY LIST!
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!
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.
COLE HAAN NIKE AIR FLAT – COULD GIVE IT A SHOT
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
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
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?