Ballet flats have come a long way since the 2000’s when brands such as Pretty Ballerina and French Sole were everywhere here in London and Chloè’s Lauren ballet with its sweet scalloped edging was a global sell out.
These shoes were (and still are) cute, but let’s be honest - they weren’t very comfortable... We all developed “ballet run” - which looked not dissimilar to “I need the toilet” or “my tights are about to fall down” run. A slightly weird walk-run designed to stop you from losing a shoe whilst running for the bus (or taxi as budget allowed).
Sore toes, blisters and heels were common. And if you had high arches, wider feet, narrow feet or bunions, there is a chance you suffered the worst.
Luckily the latest incarnation of ballet flats sees foot friendly versions, which will keep podiatrists to the most fashion forward stylist happy.
If you’ve ever had a bad experience with ballet pumps before, here’s what to look for this time round…..
Either over the foot or around the ankle, a strap will help your ballet flat stay on when you need to make a dash. This season we have everything from MiuMiu’s elastic straps through to a variety of ankle straps at Valentino Garavani. A strap also lets your toes relax, as they no longer have to grip to keep your shoes on. Important for all of us, but especially so if you have a narrow foot.
Keep it high up front
In the 2000’s we not only wore our jeans loooow (cue a Brazilian to make sure nothing was on show!), but also our shoes. Toe cleavage was a thing, which usually looked as bad as it sounds.
A higher cut on the front of the shoe is just more comfortable. Allows the shoe to hold onto your feet better and is less likely to dig in at any bend points, meaning fewer blisters. And if you’ve got wider feet, it makes it easier for the shoe to stretch to the width of your feet across the toe joint area. Jil Sander and Marsell are strong options here.
Add some texture
Ballets lend themselves to a variety of fabrics - classic satins to interesting textiles and leathers. This season mesh ballet pumps are a key trend, with Ala ïa, The Row and Le Monde Beryl being the leaders here. For party season soirees, velvet flats from Vibi Venezia are the go to. Enjoy the freedom of choice and use your shoes to add texture to your outfit.
Even if you don’t have plantar fasciitis, ballets can leave you with heel pain. For the secret to walking in comfort, pop in a pair of Alice Bow insoles - either our full length padding or our heel support, if you want an extra bit of under heel bounce.
Buy what you love
Buy less, buy better. The current styles are already showing good longevity and look set to endure for several seasons to come.
Whilst we might want to gradually inch away from our trainers, we may not be ready to return to heels like the old days. For now, it looks like the new structured ballet flats are here to fill the gap.