Best Ballet Flats Reviewed & Rated for Performance
Ballet flats are one of the most undeniably versatile options in shoes. They can easily be dressed down with jeans and a blouse for casual day wear or dressed up with a fancier dress option for evening events. One of the other great things about ballet flats – they are a fashionable and comfortable option for literally any occasion. They can be worn to work, on dates, to parties or even as bridal footwear for the bride who knows she wants to stay comfortable on her wedding day.
The options on our top ten list come in a number of different colors; from classics like black, white and gray to patterns like leopard print. The texture options are just as vast as the color choices, with items on our top ten list coming in suede, leather or velvet just to name a few. Between the numerous color and texture options, the flats on our top ten list will complement any outfit in virtually any woman’s closet.
- Crocs Isabella Jelly II
- Croslite Cushioning
- Crocs Kadee Leopard
- Shop Pretty Girl Chic
- Fits true to size
In addition to being a fashionable shoe choice, ballet flats are also very comfortable as well. They feature no (or a very minuscule) heel so women who struggle with high heels are often very drawn to the flat nature of these shoes. Many of the options on our top ten list also feature lined foot beds, memory foam insoles or soft inner linings for added comfort. No more blisters!
Whether you’re looking for comfort, for fashion, for something that won’t break the bank or all of the above, the flats on the top ten list we’ve compiled are sure to suit your needs.
10 Best Ballet Flats
1. Crocs Isabella Jelly II
Crocs’ thick patented Croslite foam cushioning offers comfort and shock absorption to maximize your comfort on any warm-weather outing. The Croslite foam makes up the footbed of this stylish shoe.
This shoe is built using synthetic materials, which means it doesn’t include animal products like leather. The synthetic upper boasts a stylish floral design to make a great first impression.
Cost and Value
This stylish Crocs ballet flat can be found in the middle-to-upper price range. Some careful shopping around should help you find this great shoe for an amazing price pretty easily.
- Croslite Foam Cushioning
- Synthetic Construction
- Peep Toe Design
- Translucent TPU Upper
- Available in a Variety of Colors
- Firm upper
- Inconsistent sizing
2. Crocs Kadee Leopard
The Kadee flat is made from Croslite material which is designed with a number of benefits in mind. The material is lightweight, form-fitting, ergonomic for extreme comfort, odor-resistant and anti-microbial.
The Kadee flat features circulation nubs along the footbed for added comfort, but this feature also will gift the wearer a massage with every footstep.
Cost & Value
The Crocs Kadee leopard flat is priced mid-range in comparison to others on our top ten list. The selling point is the versatility of the material and the comfort in the massage nubs.
- Inconsistent sizing
3. Shop Pretty Girl Chic
These ballet flats come in nearly 30 different style and color options. One can choose from a single strap flat, a double strap flat or, if straps aren’t your thing, you can opt for the no strap option. If bows are up your alley, these flats have a few options that include a cute bow tie on the toe box. Color choices range from red to denim to rose or basket weave.
One of the cheaper options on our top ten list, these Shop Pretty Girl flats are perfect for the woman on a budget. With the detachable ankle straps, these shoes can become a two-in-one for one low price kind of deal!
Cost & Value
One of the cheapest options on our top ten list, the Shop Pretty Girl brand flats are the perfect option for those on a budget who need versatile and stylish flats.
Sizing Runs Smaller
4. Sam Edelman Felicia
For the indecisive woman (or the one who realizes she needs more than one pair of these), the Felicia flat comes in 38 different color options. From metallic baroque to leopard print to snakeskin to gunmetal metallic leather or sterling blue velvet, there is a texture and color option available for every outfit.
The Felicia flat is made of soft leather that molds to your foot soon after putting it on, ensuring that there’s no uncomfortably long break-in period. The material is pliable and moves with the foot for a customized feeling fit.
Cost & Value
The price point for the Felicia flat ranges depending on the color and design chosen but you can expect to pay a bit more for the high-quality one comes to expect from Sam Edelman.
- Available in wide sizes
- Padded sole
- Variety of texture options
- Won’t slip off
- Runs small
- Inconsistent sizing
5. Jessica Simpson Mandalaye
These flats offer dance-inspired details like the criss-cross elastic strap and the squared toe box, making them more comfortable for women with wider feet. They come in 18 different colors and styles including leopard print, cashmere mauve, plumberry velvet and glitter.
These Mandalaye flats can attribute their high level of comfort to the cushioned and man-made footbed featured in these shoes. The sole and lining are also man-made making them extra comfortable for all day (or all night) wear!
Cost & Value
Priced a bit higher than some of the other options on our list, the Jessica Simpson Mandalaye is worth the higher price tag for women who want to have many designs to choose from in a comfortable and stylish shoe.
- Squared toe
- Won’t slip off
- Variety of foot widths
- Large number of designs
- Fits small
- Long break-in period
6. Dexflex Claire Scrunch
This ballet flat’s dual layer foam insole is made of memory foam and latex foam. These lightweight materials are soft and cushiony to provide you with comfort for your feet.
The topline of this ballet flat is stretchy for a comfortable, secure fit, as well as to provide more flexibility as it bends and flexes with your foot’s natural movements.
Cost and Value
This stylish ballet flat is available in the low-to-middle price range and that’s a great deal! The Scrunch flat is designed to give you optimum comfort and a great fit.
- Memory and Latex Foam Insole
- Stretchy Topline
- Fabric and Synthetic Construction
- Firm Toe Cap
- Fabric Lining
- Flexible Outsole
- Back may rub the Achilles tendon
- Rough fabric material
7. Hush Puppies Chaste
The HP02Flex is a cushioning technology used in this triangular-patterned footbed. The pattern allows more air circulation to keep your feet cooler and drier. It also offers flexibility and support.
Arch-Perforated Sock Lining
The sock linings in these shoes are made of suede, which is generally not a very breathable material. However, the arch section of these linings is perforated to allow airflow.
Cost and Value
The Hush Puppies Chaste Ballet Flat can be found in the low-to-high price range. If you shop around, you can get a really great deal for this amazing ballet flat!
- HP02Flex Footbed
- Arch-Perforated Sock Lining
- ¼ Inch Molded Rubber Outsole
- Lightweight Zero g Outsole
- Comes in Variations of Leather, Suede, and Textile Materials
- Stiff toe lining
- Leather may stretch
8. TOMS Diamond Jutti
Stinky shoes don’t have to be a fact of life. This flat sports an antimicrobial sock liner which kills fungi, which cause odors, before they can attach to your shoes.
Traction is so important. These ballet flats have a rubber outsole designed to help you keep your footing so you don’t slip and fall, which could lead to serious injuries.
Cost and Value
You can find the Diamond Jutti Pointed Toe flat in the middle-to-upper price range. It’s quite a stylish shoe from a big name brand with many different colors and textures.
- Cotton Twill Antimicrobial Sock Liner
- Rubber Outsole
- Pointed Toe
- Leather, Chambray, or Suede Upper
- Comes in Many Stylish Colors
- Small toebox
- May need to be broken in
9. Cole Haan Tali Bow
The Grand.os Cushioning Technology used in these flats is a footbed and outsole which mold to your foot to provide ample cushioning. This also makes the shoe more flexible.
Lightweight PU Midsole
This elegant ballet flat has a polyurethane midsole to provide cushioning and support for your feet. It’s also lightweight, so it won’t detract from these shoes’ lightweight ballet flat feel.
Cost and Value
These flats are available in the middle-to-high price range. It also has one of the highest price points on this list, but it offers more cushioning than most ballet flats.
- Grand.os Cushioning Technology
- Lightweight PU Midsole
- Padded Leather Sock Liner
- Elasticized Opening
- Flat Bow Accent
- Rounded Toe
- 100% Burmese Calf Leather
- Poor arch support
- Sizing runs small
10. Ollio Faux Suede
This entire ballet flat is made from synthetic, man-made materials. Thus, it is perfect for any vegan looking for ballet flats not made with animal products. They’re really stylish, too!
The rounded toe on these ballet flats gives your forefoot and toes more space to move and breathe. That adds to your overall comfort and prevents some serious medical problems.
Cost and Value
The Ollio Shoes Faux Suede Comfort Ballet Flat is reasonably priced and can be found in the low price range. It’s a great deal for a stylish, vegan-friendly ballet flat.
- Round Toe
- Synthetic Construction
- Elastic Topline
- Comes in 7 Gorgeous Colors
- Thin sole
- Poor support
Every woman needs an arsenal of ballet flats at her disposal. With a properly fitting shoe that’s as fashionable as it is comfortable, women can feel These shoes can take you to work, to the club, to a wedding or on a date while keeping you both fashion-forward and comfortable. Whether you’re looking for a loud print to jazz up your outfit, a quiet subdued color to complement your work wear, a soft velvety shoe that’ll keep you comfortable all day or an embellished design to stand out in a crowd, the flats on this top ten list are sure to suit all of your needs.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Ballet Flats
Cushioning & Comfort
By their very nature, ballet flats don’t have much to them. They are generally made of thin, flexible materials to accommodate ballet dancing. More modern versions of the ballet flat, however, tend to offer a little more in terms of cushioning and comfort. Gone are the days when you have to suffer to look nice.
Technological advancements by shoe manufacturers across the market have resulted in smaller, lighter weight materials to use in cushioning technologies for shoes. Ballet flat manufacturers have taken advantage of some of these advances to add in more cushioning and comfort to an old shoe concept.
Materials & Upper Construction
A variety of materials can be found in the upper construction of ballet flats these days. The most common are leather, suede, and cotton, but these are just a few of the materials used in the upper design of today’s ballet flats. Some of these materials are less comfortable because they are more rigid. More flexible materials can be hot and hold on to odors. It’s up to you to decide which material will work best for you.
Leather is the firmest material used in most ballet flats. It can be unforgiving and abrasive if the shoe doesn’t fit properly. It also doesn’t flex as well as other materials.
Suede is actually a type of leather. It’s not as firm as standard run-of-the-mill leather, but it’s also pretty unforgiving.
This material is more flexible, but it’s also warmer and has poor temperature management properties. Ballet flats with cotton uppers, however, can also be quite stylish.
Synthetic uppers are entirely man-made and include no animal products whatsoever. Depending on the materials used and the design of the upper, synthetic uppers can be the most flexible.
- Other Materials
Manufacturers like crocs also create their own materials that they use in the uppers of their shoes. Depending on the material and the company, these materials can increase the flexibility and comfort of the shoes. However, some manufacturers prefer stability over flexibility.
Some ballet flats also have padding included in the sides of their uppers, which adds another layer of comfort and protection to your vulnerable feet. Sometimes it’s padded leather, other times its lightweight foam and other materials. As mentioned earlier, leather is the least flexible.
The insole is of paramount importance when you are selecting a ballet flat. You must consider how much cushioning and support you need and which styles of ballet flat offer what you need. Classic ballet flats generally lack cushioning in their insoles or offer very little. More modern styled ballet flats have better insole cushioning than others. Some even have sport memory foam and latex foam insoles!
The purpose of cushioning, aside from feeling nice when you put your foot on it, is to absorb the shock generated from walking, running and dancing. Depending on how fast you are moving, how much you weigh, and the style of shoes you are wearing, that impact can be so intense that it leads to injury. The purpose of the outsole is to absorb as much of that shock as possible. As with the insole, classic ballet flats have thin, sometimes ineffective outsoles, but more modern versions have better outsoles. Generally, outsoles in ballet flats are made of leather, synthetic materials, or rubber.
Support & Stability
Support and stability are even more important in ballet flats than in some other shoes, because they are smaller and thinner. Ballet flats sometimes have a ribbon or strap to wrap around your ankles and offer support, but many modern ballet flats do not. The ribbons and straps serve more to keep the shoe on your foot than they are to support your ankles.
Some ballet flats have thicker insoles that offer both support and cushioning, but many don’t. It’s important that you try these shoes on or check the reviews to confirm the amount of support offered by these shoes. Similarly, the outsoles on classic ballet flats are designed to be flexible and almost nonexistent. Some modern ballet flats come with better outsoles, but many of them will not offer much by means of support.
Flexibility & Traction
Flexibility is one area that ballet flats seem to really thrive in. Ballet flats were designed to be flexible to allow the dancer to stretch and move their foot freely in proper ballet technique. However, some modern ballet flats have opted more for stability than flexibility, which is good for some people, but some flexibility is still needed. Some ballet flats come with elastic bands or elastic toplines to increase the flexibility of the shoe and to help it fit more comfortably.
For safety purposes, you need your shoes to have good traction. Slips and falls aren’t kind to our fragile human bodies and the older you are, the more likely you are to suffer a grievous injury. The outsole of some ballet shoes are so slick that they would be a safety hazard in some environments, but others come with enough traction built in that you could walk down an icy sidewalk with little difficulty in them.
No one wants stinky shoes. So, you have two options: grab any old shoe and hope they don’t get stinky and then waste your time trying to clean and deodorize them or you can buy a ballet flat that comes with odor preventing technologies built in.
- Breathability – Breathable materials in ballet flats are a little harder to find, as they are dress shoes, not athletic shoes, and are not designed to maximize breathability. However, some materials found in ballet flat uppers are more breathable and can help keep your feet cool. Cool feet don’t sweat as much and breathable materials let air slip through your shoes to dry your feet, cooling them down even more. With less stinky sweat filling up your ballet flats, the fewer odors that will develop and cling to your shoes.
- Antibacterial & Antimicrobial Properties – Instead of sacrificing durability and support for more breathable, flimsier materials, some ballet flat manufacturers opt to incorporate antibacterial and antimicrobial properties into their flats. Bacteria and fungi are what cause stinky shoe odors and shoes with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties naturally combat odors on their own.
- Waterproofing – Sometimes a shoe gets utterly ruined when it’s gotten wet. A little water usually won’t hurt any shoe, but some shoes are more vulnerable than others. This is generally due to the materials used in the design of the upper of the shoe. Shoe designers bear this in mind when designing and constructing a shoe. If they don’t use a naturally waterproofed material in the shoe, some manufacturers will waterproof the shoe. This isn’t a big deal if you’re not going hiking in the woods across a river- and let’s be real, you’re probably not doing that in your ballet flats- but if you live in a floodplain, a waterproof shoe would be best.
Fit & Sizing
A ballet flat that is too tight can hurt your feet, as with any shoe squeezes your feet because they are too small. You need to find a fit that is loose enough to wiggle and move your foot naturally but is tight enough to stay on your foot.
There are a plethora of medical conditions that are caused by wearing shoes that are too tight, such as hammertoes and Morton’s neuroma. That doesn’t mean, however, that a shoe that is too loose is better. A shoe that is too loose could slide off completely, which can result in injury depending on the environment you are in or rub against your Achilles’ tendons abrasively. Always make sure the shoe fits properly before you start wearing it regularly or for long periods of time.
Toe Box Size & Shape
Ballet flats will all look similar, but there is some variety in their shape and styles. Mainly these differences come in the toe box area and the upper design. A toe box that is too small will squish your feet and could cause serious medical conditions, including chronic back pain, so be sure to pick out a pair of flats with ample room for your toes to fit comfortably. Everyone’s feet will be different and some people will be fine with a narrow toe box. Others must have a wider toe box in their shoes. There are three toe box shapes which are commonly found in ballet flats.
A squared toe box offers the most room for your toes to spread out, but some people find this style dull and boring. If you have wide feet, though, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider investing in a pair of ballet flats with a squared toe.
A rounded toe box is a happy medium. It’s generally not too wide nor too narrow. For people who have average or somewhat narrow or somewhat wide feet, rounded toe boxes would be best. If it’s too tight, don’t wear it.
A pointed toe box is the narrowest and even some people with narrow feet may find this style too tight on their toes. It’s possible to find some that are wider, but this style makes it harder to find a comfortable forefoot fit for people who have wide feet. It’s a popular style, however, and worth looking into if you really like pointed shoes.
A ballet flat can be surprisingly versatile as mentioned earlier. To get the most bang for your buck, it’s better to get a ballet flat you can wear in more than one setting and with more than one or two outfits. Some ballet flats are appropriate for a night on the town and for a day at the office, depending on the color scheme and style of the flat.
Depending on your style and the environments you’re wearing these flats in, I would recommend that you try to wear solid colors that don’t make a big statement if you’re wearing these flats to work at least part of the time.
The simple design of most ballet flats isn’t dull, but rather elegant. Some manufacturers add more detail and decoration to make this type of shoe even lovelier. Some ballet flats come in patterns and vibrant colors. Others come with bows and gems as accents. Others still come with embossing and other stylish features. If you take your time and shop around, you can find a ballet flat that suits your feet and personal style for any occasion.
Ballet flats are generally more affordable than heels and running shoes, however, many ballet flats are also outrageously priced. Unless you have a lot of extra money laying around, you probably want to buy a ballet flat that looks nice but doesn’t cost the same as an iPhone. When shopping for a good pair of ballet flats, be sure to bargain shop! Sometimes big name shoe brands that cost a small fortune don’t have the best shoes and sometimes the good ones they offer can be found for less in other stores or websites. Always look through the reviews and research the model of ballet flat and the brand to ensure that they offer the best durability and thus value for the flat. Also, be sure to check out what others have said about the support and cushioning in the shoes, as these people have purchased said shoes and have worn them, so they know what these shoes feel like on their feet. They can be a great guide to help you find the best ballet flats and to know which ones to avoid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I wear my ballet flats to work?
A: It depends on your work environment. I wouldn’t recommend them for any career or occupation that requires hard hats or electrical safety equipment, but you could wear them to an office job or a career as a teacher or government official.
Q: Are my ballet flats good for sports?
A: This is a resounding no. Ballet flats were originally designed for dancing and even more, modern versions of the ballet flat would not offer enough protection, cushioning, and support in an athletic competition or game.
Q: Are ballet flats environmentally friendly?
A: Some of them are. It depends on the manufacturer. Always check with the manufacturer to confirm their sustainability plans and environmental impact.
Q: Are ballet flats made with vegan-friendly materials?
A: Some ballet flats are made entirely out of man-made, or synthetic, materials. You’ll have to check the product description and the manufacturer information to confirm, but a few shoe companies specialize in synthetic materials only, like Crocs.
Q: How do I clean my ballet flats?
A: Ultimately, it depends on the materials used in their construction. Always confirm what the shoes are made of before you start to clean them! It’s also a good idea to check with the manufacturer for cleaning instructions. I will list here a few cleaning procedures for common materials used in ballet flats.
For canvas or fabric flats, follow these steps:
- Place your flats in a lingerie bag or tie them in a pillowcase.
- Set the washer on delicate and put the detergent inside.
- Place the bundled flats in the machine.
- Once the cycle is finished, lay your flats out to dry, but don’t put them in direct sunlight.
- You’ll need to reshape them in the correct ballet flat shape.
- Always wait until they are completely dry before you wear them again. Never place them in the dryer.
For leather or suede leather flats- or flats with leather or suede accents, follow these steps:
- Mix up some warm water and mild dish detergent.
- Take a sponge and use the soapy water to gently wipe the entire shoe down to clean it.
- Rinse out the sponge and use it to carefully rinse the soap off your ballet flat, but be careful and don’t drench the shoes in water from the sponge.
- Use a towel to dry the flats. Never place them in the dryer.
For satin or other delicate fabric uppers, follow these steps:
- Fill a basin or sink with cold water and mix in a little laundry detergent- nothing harsh!
- Place your flats in the water, but don’t squish them or twist them. Just place them in the water and gently wash them. You could use a washcloth or just use your fingers to gently massage the shoes until they are clean.
- Empty the container and rinse it out to get rid of the soap. Then, refill the container with fresh water.
- Place the flats in the clean water and massage them to rinse the suds out. Don’t squish or twist them in this process.
- Once rinsed out, remove the flats one at a time and gently massage them to push the water out. Do not squish, twist, or wring the flats.
- To dry, place them on a dry towel in a warm place, but not directly in sunlight.
- Reshape them into appropriate ballet flat form and leave them to dry. Never place them in the dryer.
For synthetic flats, check with the manufacturer before doing anything to clean them. Shoes with fake leather or fake suede would probably be best cleaned with the leather or suede leather cleaning procedure. Synthetics that are more delicate should be cleaned with the satin and delicate fabric uppers procedure. Some ballet flats are waterproof, so you can just drop them in a bucket of soapy water, wash them with a washcloth, rinse them, and dry them with a towel.
Q: What can I wear with my ballet flats?
A: Just about anything, as long as it matches the color scheme of the flats. They probably wouldn’t go well with Bermuda or khaki shorts, but dress pants, nice blue jeans, a dress, or a skirt would do just fine.
Q: What kind of socks should I wear with my ballet flats?
A: It depends on the color scheme in the ballet flats in question. If it has any sort of pattern and isn’t a single color, you should wear no-show socks. The material used in the no-show socks doesn’t really matter; you can choose based on what kind of socks make you the most comfortable. If the ballet flats are a single color, then you can wear any other style of sock with them, as long as they are the same color or they are colors that go together without clashing.
Q: Will ballet flats stretch?
A: If you’re asking because your ballet flats are too narrow or otherwise too small for your feet, then I would recommend you purchase a new pair. There is some potential for stretching, but it would not be enough to increase a half or full size. Too tight shoes lead to toe deformities and medical conditions and it’s just not worth it.
Q: Where can I buy ballet flats?
A: Ballet flats can be a little harder to find, but you should be able to find them in your local shoe store or from online retailers. Just practice caution when you are purchasing them online and confirm your shoe size and the sizes that their shoes are available in before you buy.
Q: Are ballet flats bad for your feet?
A: They can be bad for your feet, but not all ballet flats are the same. As discussed earlier in this article, many ballet flats lack support and cushioning features, because they are naturally thinner and smaller than most shoes. Ballet flats are just like that. However, many technological advances in recent years have made ballet flats safer and healthier for your feet to wear. Look for a comfortable fit with enough cushioning and support to meet your needs. Most injuries and health problems that come up due to ballet flats occur because they are too tight in the toe box or otherwise don’t fit properly.
Q: How tight should my ballet flats be?
A: They should fit comfortably, being neither too tight nor too loose. Your toes should be able to spread out comfortably and the shoe should not slip off your heel in the back. Any flat that squishes or squeezes any part of your feet is too small and should not be worn.
Q: How do I prevent blisters from wearing my ballet flats?
A: First of all, confirm that your shoes fit properly. Loose fitting shoes slide and rub your feet, which can lead to blisters. Break your shoes in before you wear them outside and if any area of your foot feels like it’s getting rubbed or otherwise becomes sore, wear a band-aid on the area that is tender when you wear the shoes later.
It would be a good idea to invest in no-show socks that grip your feet, which provides an extra layer of protection between your feet and the flats. However, consider the moisture-wicking ability of the socks, as well. Cotton socks absorb more moisture and keep your feet warmer. Wet feet blister more easily than dry feet.
Q: How can I increase the longevity of my ballet flats?
A: Add a protective rubber outsole to the forefoot area of your flats. You can find these protective rubber soles online or in shoe stores.
However, the best thing you can do to protect the lifespan of your ballet flats is to only wear them in environments that are appropriate for them. For example, don’t go hiking in your ballet flats, which is dangerous, as well. Wearing them dancing, to the office, or on a walk around the city is fine, but bear in mind that leather shoes can be ruined if they are drenched. Wear leather or suede ballet flats in dry weather or when it’s lightly raining to protect them from damage. Don’t wear your ballet flats to play sports, either, because it can damage your flats and your feet and ankles.