Monday, May 5, 2014

Must Have ::: Tieks Ballet Flats

All photos by {accordingtoame} unless otherwise noted

In the vast array of shoes one has at their disposal, there are very few pairs that actually make the cut in this "comfort trumps all" world of mine.  Sure, many are beautiful, and many catch my eye. Some even get purchased, only to languish in a discarded pile in the corner. But, most days you'll find me in a pair of men's no-fray navy low-top slip-on Chuck Taylor's from the huge stockpile I have amassed.

Ok, probably every day.

Photo via Tieks Facebook Page

About a year ago, probably more than that... I came across a pair of foldable leather ballet flats while poking around online. In fact, this the second time I've posted these as a Must Have! I didn't "need" such a thing. But the waves of lust came over me like a hotflash. I desperately wanted them. And I not only wanted them for their cuteness, I wanted them for their practicality of being able to fold down into a tiny little pouch that is utter perfection in a small bag or for travel. But above all: their teal soles and little teal patch on the back heel.  Y'know, really important reasons.  In light of those "really important reasons," I had them on a list of "buy these things" for at least a year before the trigger was finally pulled.

Images via and, collage via

Since that initial introduction, there were raves abound on other blogs, in magazines and on YouTube. Oh, and y'know, OPRAH LOVES THEM.  The more I saw them, the more often I hovered my mouse over the "buy" button in their "Boutiek". Seriously, their branding is the shit.

I've read several profiles about the family behind the company, and learned that aside from the amazingly well-crafted and truly adorable--and practical--product that Tieks puts out, the company itself is spectacularly well run and ranks highly in philanthropic efforts.  Of all the companies I've interacted with, or purchased from, Tieks has an unmatched social media presence. They're incredibly active on all of their channels, and are hugely supportive of bloggers and fashion outlets. The customer service is equally unmatched. Phenomenal.

Finally, right around the holidays, they had what, I believe, was their only coupon code of the year (I can be a pretty cheap bastard sometimes, and as much as I wanted them, I couldn't wrap my head around the price 'til now) and I used that as my opportunity to purchase my first pair, in California Navy, because I am boring as can be. Also, because navy goes with, like, everything. And I am absurdly practical about my neutrals/accessories.  I almost bought a pair of bronze/gold, too, but I had recently bought a pair of bronze Cole Haan flats which now lanquish in the aforementioned pile in the corner in the same color.  I have a suspicion if there's another code this year that I will be making a purchase in Bronze this time around, though I might not even wait for a code, frankly. Both are super neutral and I can see a use for both colors.

Since I know sizing often comes up when people are giving their reviews of these, I feel it worth noting that I ordered an 8. I normally wear an 8, and everything I read indicated that I should stick with that size. That was probably the right move. I did wonder if a 9 would help with the weird "toe" poking thing that some people complain about, which you can see in the image above and the lead in image, but I decided if I had that toe-outline situation and it bothered me, I would order the gel toe cap things that have been widely recommended.

I gave them their first wear to a funeral in November, the same funeral where I busted out the Keysocks for the first time. They were surprisingly comfortable for a first wear. Please consider for a moment that EVERY pair of shoes--even a pair of Reef Sandy flipflops--requires me to almost entirely cover my feet and toes in cloth medical tape for weeks on end til they're broken in or I will bleed out from the blisters that I get. This is quite seriously the very first (or maybe second, I can't remember if the Crocs espadrilles required bandaids/tape or not) pair that I did not require taping to wear.  The Tieks did require a break-in period though, as there was a little bit of stretching required and a small amount of rub in the heel and on one foot. But nothing like I've had with other pairs of shoes, and nothing that required tape or bandaids. That, to me, is pretty incredible.  I also think that wearing them the first two times with the Keysocks on helped with the stretching.

Photo via the Tieks Facebook Page

Regarding the price, since it is mentioned frequently by other bloggers, as well as in comments on the photos on Tieks' social media::: Considering the materials are incredibly top notch--seriously, the leather is incredible--and the shoes really are individually hand made, and it takes 3 days to make each pair, the price really is not bad at all. 

Has a company ever been more perfectly color-coded towards me?

Each pair comes in amazing packaging (it's a packaging lover's wet dream!), with a tiny pouch for the shoes and a really cute teal tote bag for your regular's a great value.  The Cole Haan's I don't even wear cost more than these, are less practical, in most, if not all, respects, and are far less comfortable despite being labeled "Nike Air."  For someone who regularly wears such a pair of flats, the cost per wear of a $165 pair of flats would seriously be nothing pretty quickly.  For me they're steep since I obviously wear Converse most days, but for the materials and craftsmanship, they're really unbeatable.  These would be a great bridesmaid gift, actually. Or a shower gift for the bride, or for a mom-to-be.

With the improving weather, I've found myself wearing my California Navy Tieks several times a week in alternation with the Crocs Espadrilles, and giving my Converse a break once in a while, hopefully looking somewhat less disheveled.  I delivered another order over the weekend before zipping up to the "fancy mall" for a few things, and the Bride's mother and sister-in-law were asking about my shoes, and I got asked by three people in the mall about them as well. So aptly timed post, I'd say. 

Are you a fan of Tieks, also? What was your first introduction to this brand?

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  1. Did the toe box stretch out so that the big toe didn't poke out anymore?

  2. Eventually yes, but I did put a cotton pad in the toe box to make it less of an issue. I know that some Tieks fans bought gel toe pads and put those in the toe box to prevent that from happening as well.


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