As many of you know, I have long been an ardent admirer from afar of the oh-so-lovely Tieks ballet flats. These shoes have been touted as some of the most comfortable, stylish, “mold to your exact foot shape so it feels like you’re wearing slippers during a long day” shoes you can buy. Not to mention they come in a rainbow of gorgeous colors and have been endorsed by celebrities like Oprah for their buttery, comfortable leather. They fold up into a tiny little pouch and can slip into your purse for a comfy alternative on days when your feet beg for a break from the heels. They come in an absolutely adorable package, and each pair comes with a handwritten note made out to you, personally, written by a Tieks employee.
But you’ll pay for all that cuteness– the price tag on these lovelies ranges from $200-$300 for a single pair. Yikes. I wanted to see whether these lovely leather flats, handmade in Italy, were worth the hype and the cost. My birthday is coming up in about a week. Well, scratch that. The ANNIVERSARY of the birthday I USED to have is coming up in about a week. I don’t have birthdays anymore. *throat clearing* Thankfully my hubby takes directions well, and he ordered me these beauties– in the newest color introduced by Tieks– the incomparably lovely Tortoiseshell. This is not a sponsored post– just my own honest thoughts on a product that I had been curious about for years.
To start with, you place an order on the Tieks website, and then 3 days later a cute little box is in your mailbox. Each tortoiseshell pair comes exquisitely packed in the classic Tiek blue box with a special limited edition tortoiseshell brown decorative flower headband. Like all other Tieks, each pair has the classic turquoise blue soles and color strip on the heel. Each pair also comes with a handwritten note from a Tieks employee thanking you, by name, for your purchase. In addition, you get a crazy cool carrying bag about the size of a walnut that unfolds and unfolds and unfolds until you think, “How the heck did they stuff all this in here???” Tieks is all about squeezing cool things into a tiny space, and it’s awesome.
Tortoiseshell is a deliriously beautiful color– the pictures truly don’t do it justice. Each pair is hand painted in Tuscany, Italy, on supple Italian leather. No two pairs are alike. This pattern is perfect for fall– in tones of honeyed browns and mahogany, rust, and chocolate hues.
No one outdoes Tieks on packaging or pretty. Total class. First impressions will blow you away.
Part of the reason that Tieks are so expensive and sought after is the fact that they are a beautiful, comfortable shoe that can fold down into a package the size of a fist and be tucked easily into your luggage or bag. Worried about making it through a whole day in new heels at the office? Noooo problemo. Fold up these beauties in that cool little parachute stretchy bag that comes with them, and tuck your Tieks into your purse. If your heels start to hurt, out comes the teeny package of adorable flats. And even better? The magic parachute thing has another bag that expands and expands and EXPANDS into a little matching turquoise carrier for your evil heels. It’s like the classic magician pulling yards of scarves out of his empty hand– that is, if magicians also had mad style. You’re welcome.
Tieks fold perfectly in half without buckling, due to their intriguing “separate sole” design. The cushy turquoise pads provide surprising support for a flat, and the buttery softness of the leather and rounded heel design keeps the shoes from rubbing your poor feet into blisters, like many flats do. Because of the breathability of the Italian leather, these shoes are also surprisingly cool during wear, as opposed to the sweaty torture chambers of other, cheaper, plastic/hybrid flats. They also mold to your foot shape after a few weeks, making them as comfortable as slippers.
If you’re debating getting your first pair of Tieks, or considering whether a shoe, ANY shoe, is worth that amount of money, here are some things to consider that I personally have found helpful when taking the plunge to purchase your first pair of Tieks.
- Tieks customer service is unparalleled. Any problem you have, contact customer service via phone, chat, email, or the actual website order form. I normally wear an 8 1/2 shoe size, and Tieks sent me both 8 and 9 to try (Tieks only come in full sizes). They sent a return address label to return the pair I didn’t keep. I have returned multiple pairs, and the Tieks customer service was always exceptional and top notch, no matter how many pairs I needed to try on to make my decision.
- All shipping is free both ways. This means that you can try on as many shoes as you like to find a perfect fit. As long as you just wear the shoes around the house (not outside), Tieks will exchange or refund them, no questions asked, if you decide you don’t like them. It’s nice having a risk free way to try these beauties, at that price point, in my opinion.
- The easiest Tieks to break in are the classics, which come in a wide range of matte colors. The patent shoes are shiny and also come in a nice variety of colors, but they are harder to break in. You may have to wear socks around the house with patents for a few weeks until they mold to the individual shape of your foot. I have heard some people say that they stuffed the patents full of barely damp socks overnight to stretch the leather, but since these shoes are so expensive I’ve always been afraid to try it (Tieks always recommends not wearing them in the rain or snow). As always, if you find that the patents drew your eye but were too “stiff” when you tried them on, Tieks will send you a replacement color/style or issue you a refund, provided the shoes return to them in new condition and have never been worn outside.
- Any Tiek shoe that is the right length will eventually “mold” to your foot shape. This means that painful bunions, oddly shaped toes– whatever you’ve got goin’ on down there, Tieks will mold to it, if given enough time. Wear heavy socks the first few weeks wearing your Tieks around the house and give the shoes a chance to learn your foot. Don’t get impatient. You’ll be glad you waited when they are the most comfortable pair of shoes you own. 🙂
Of course, this is an unsponsored review, so you will hear my true opinions. And although Tieks are lovely, they aren’t perfect. Many reviews online show only the good things about these shoes, and there are a lot of good things. But there are some bad things, too. Let’s talk about a few things that I personally found to be possible “red flags” about these shoes . . . of course, this is my opinion only, so you might not find these issues troublesome, but here you go:
- Tieks only come in full sizes. This one *almost* stopped me from getting a pair of these gems. I normally wear an 8.5 in shoes (but sometimes an 8 depending on the shoe), and I size up to 9 in boots. I kept going back and forth between different colors and flip flopping between sizes 8 and 9. The Tieks 8 was snug and stayed on while walking, but felt tight around the elastic band. True, this might have loosened in time, but I wasn’t about to take a chance on shoes that cost this much of their maybe never stretching out. The 9 was much more roomy– almost too roomy, and I felt as if the shoe were going to fall off as I walked. *HOWEVER* the next pair of 9 I tried (in another color) fit like a glove. So it goes to show– each of these shoes is handmade, and therefore even among the sizes there will be small sizing differences. If a pair doesn’t feel quite right, send it back. Tieks will take care of you and make sure you’re happy. If you want the “slipper” feeling sooner rather than later, start with the matte collection. The patents take longer to feel comfortable.
- The shape of your toes may show through a little bit on the top of the shoe, because the leather is so soft. If you do find that the toes are showing through so much that they are rubbing the pattern off or creating a “rub spot” inside the shoe, a simple moleskin patch will take care of it. Some people actually proactively place moleskin into the toe area prior to wearing, to avoid this.
- The turquoise soles. Personally, I adore this little pop of color hitting the light as I walk. But for some people, having to endure this accessory color with every pair is not something they enjoy. Be aware that every color of Tieks does come with a turquoise sole.
- Tieks currently come in matte, patent (shiny), and vegan options. The matte is more easily scuffed, but it also forms to your foot more quickly and gets that “soft as butter, I’m putting on my slippers” feeling sooner. The patents are a little stiffer and don’t stretch as much. The vegan pairs are almost made out of a stiff outdoor fabric. But again, a nice option for those who prefer no animal products.
- The “sweat stains.” You’ve all seen it– the nasty brown interiors of shoes that are worn with bare feet. I get it. Life happens and your feet sweat. I personally can’t stand hot, sweating feet OR the weird squeaky sounds or foot smells that happen as a result. *cringe* Enter these lovely washable terry shoe liners. These liners slip effortlessly (and without glue) into your shoe. They stay put with a rubbery type bottom that doesn’t leave sticky residue like glue does, when removed. You can wear them a few days, throw them in a washer, and back to work. These things save your shoes and the nasty sweating feet feeling. You paid hundreds of dollars for these shoes. Get the liners to protect them. However, if you do prefer not to line your shoes, know that the Italian leather of Tieks actually does allow your feet to breathe more than regular shoes, so you won’t be as hot in these as in, say, the plastic jellies of your childhood. But in my mind, any sweat is too much sweat. And your shoes deserve to stay PURDYYY.
- Quick note on the terry liners– they actually make the shoe *just* a squidge tighter, so this is something to consider. It worked in my favor because the 9 shoe was too large, and the liner made it fit nicely. But if you are a true full size shoe, the liner may make the fit feel a little tight.
At the end of the day, Tieks may or may not be right for you. The only way to tell is to order a pair and try them on. Walk around your house for a few days (Tieks allows a “consideration” process of up to 2 weeks, or more if you talk to them and request more time). Make sure you don’t wear the shoes outside if you are still considering returning or exchanging them, since Tieks will only accept returns on shoes that have not been worn outside.
If your top priority is immediate comfort, then I would suggest ordering one of the matte colors, first. If you prefer the most durability and don’t mind taking a little longer to break in the shoes, then I’d recommend the patents. If you prefer shoes without animal products, then obviously give the vegan line a try.
A good shoe, like a good relationship, must have both quality and time to work. Tieks have the quality, and if treated well and given time to mold to your specific foot shape, they will reward your feet with years of compact, cushy loveliness that will have even total strangers walking up to you on the street and asking, “Oh my gosh WHERE did you get those shoes? They are absolutely adorable!”
You foxy trend setter, you.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which just means that we get a few pennies if you purchase through our link. I never recommend products that I don't personally use and love. Thanks!