Tieks have become a sensation. Over the past few years, the chic ballet flats with the signature turquoise bottoms have dominated, even being featured as one of Oprah’s “favorite things”. I can’t say I disagree with that title.
I am an avid ballet flat wearer. Always have been (anyone remember the early 2010’s when the style was to wear those floral body-con skirts, with a t-shirt belted in the middle and ballet flats?). From my days working at Forever 21 exactly a decade ago, when I’d be posted at the fitting room for hours on end, to today in 2018, flats have been a staple in my wardrobe.
Ironically, most people, myself included, wear ballet flats for their purported higher level of comfort compared to heels. But I’m going to be radically honest here… Are they really that much more comfortable than an average pair of pumps? I’m going to say not. Very much not.
When I lived in Boston, back in my early 20’s, I gained a lot of practice walking on many different surfaces. Being a very old city, full of history, walking on one Boston street can see you treading on smooth pavement, to brick sidewalks from the 1800s, then on 18th-century cobblestone. For some reason 22-year-old me thought it was perfectly acceptable to attempt walking all throughout the city in everything from flats to sneakers to pumps, wedges and beyond. Somehow, I managed all of this without ever spraining an ankle.
And through all the years of “research”, I concluded that you know what? Flats didn’t leave my feet in any less pain than heels on some days.
We all know the usual suspects:
Culprit #1: The flat that has a way too rigid back. You know these flats. Every woman who has ever worn flats does. They’re usually the super cute ones… that leave you with a huge blister on the back of your heel. The super-blister. The one that you desperately try to heal & protect with a (usually) flimsy band-aid that inevitably ends up sliding around, exposing the frail skin underneath, thus causing more pain and heartache as you go throughout your day.
Culprit #2: The flat with the pointed/squared toe that looks incredibly stylish (you bought them after seeing a lookalike designer pair in a magazine). Along with looking great, they also came with a weird to box that either squeezes the crap out of your toes, or (if your feet are slender like mine), squeeze the crap out of the sides of your feet, causing the ever-dreaded side blisters.
Culprit #3: This pair has a myriad of flaws. The gist being that they are cheap and flimsy. These are the pair you picked up at Payless just because “they were ‘on sale on sale’ for $10!” This pair has a sole so thin you can feel the texture of the ground beneath your feet. It only takes a few days for your toes to create a permanent imprint on the top of the shoe. And the pleather is so worth the $10, because it starts to stretch, and stretch, and stretch… Leaving you with a pair of shoes that you have to throw out within a month. Maybe less.
All of these guilty parties are usually between $10 and $50. Typically, flats don’t get pricier than that unless you’re talking designer status (Tory Burch, Kate Spade, etc). But what is the real cost? That’s what I asked myself whenever I’d stumble upon yet another ad for Tieks. The super-shoe claiming to change my life forever. The perfect ballet flats that would go with anything, never go out of style, be fit for any occasion, show to end all shoes.
While the price seemed exorbitant, I couldn’t help but calculate how much money I had spent on cheaper flats that I had to stop wearing really quickly. I mean, if they were really all they’re cracked up to be, they’d last me years… In the long run, I’d save money, really. Right?
The ads, reviews, and blog posts all over Pinterest finally wore me down, and two years ago, I bought myself a classic matte black pair of Tieks for my 26th birthday. I was ecstatic and nervous all at once.
“They’d better be worth it,” I remember thinking, as I saw that the $15 shipping charge brought my total to $190 instead of the $175, I already had trouble parting with (emotionally) for a pair of ballet flats.
Well, was it worth it?
Are they really the shoes to end all shoes? The most perfect flats that transcend dress code, skirt length, and gathering type?
Yes, they are.
I have never gone more than 3 months without needing to replace a pair of flats. These Tieks have (so far) lasted a good 2 ½ years, and they are still going strong. They look great, and I have only recently started polishing and taking care of them properly.
I have worn them to brunch, out on the town, to weddings, to the airport, in Disney World (and Disneyland), on the cobblestone streets of Boston, the LA pavement, and beyond. They haven’t let me down yet.
The hand-sewn leather is of the highest quality, and it just takes a little polish to get rid of scuffs. The design is so clean and classic that I can wear them anywhere. The turquoise bottoms are a fun touch and get me noticed when other stylish ladies see I’m wearing them. And the sole. O.M.G. The sole. Whoever designed that sole has my eternal thanks. There is just something about that split sole (takes me back to my actual ballet days) that makes them infinitely more comfortable than any other flat. I never had to break them in, and they’ve never caused arch cramps (which always happen to me with flats that have a super stiff sole). And the soles are also super thick (in a good way), so you never feel the ground. Ah-mazing!
They really do work with any outfit, for any occasion. When I wear them, I always have really fun interactions with other women… “Are they really worth it?”, asked a guest at my good friend’s wedding when I sat down, breathless, at a pew, slightly late for the ceremony. I had worn them to the ceremony and I was switching them out for heels (for pictures) when she noticed me folding them into their little carrying case and plopping them into my purse for later (I knew I’d need them at the reception).
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention their extreme portability and ease of transport for travel? When I headed to Boston this year for a month-long stay, I packed in only a carry-on and had to wear my sneakers on the flight because shoes simply wouldn’t fit into my 21” roller. I had no such problem with my Tieks because folded in their little case, they fit perfectly into my in-flight bag, with plenty of room left for my magazines, electronics, and snacks!
I’ve been asked countless times since I took the plunge and spent nearly $200 on a pair of black flats. I’ve had plenty of people give me a hard time for doing so…
But after two years with my Tieks, (and many more to come), I can definitely say that they are, by far, the most “worth it” shoes I have ever purchased.
So, tell me, are you convinced? Will you be shelling out the dough?
Tell me in the comments! Let’s chat!