Best Ballet Flats Reviewed & Rated for Performance
Ballet flats are one of the most undeniably versatile options in shoes. 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. 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.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 120 hrs of research
Croslite Foam Cushioning
Peep Toe Design
Translucent TPU Upper
Available in a Variety of Colors
- Crocs Isabella Jelly II
- Crocs Kadee Leopard
- Sam Edelman Felicia
- Minnetonka Anna
- Jessica Simpson Mandalaye
- Skechers Cleo Bewitch
- Dexflex Claire Scrunch
- Ollio Faux Suede
- Shop Pretty Girl Chic
- Cole Haan Tali Bow
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Ballet Flats
1. Crocs Isabella Jelly II
Croslite Foam Cushioning
Peep Toe Design
Translucent TPU Upper
Available in a Variety of Colors
The Crocs Isabella Jelly Flat comes in seven gorgeous colors and all boast the same dressy style: a peep toe with floral designs cut into the upper. These flats are also special because they are translucent, which gives the shoe an even fancier aura. This affordable flat can help you confidently stand out and you’ll be comfortable while it does!Read more
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.
2. Crocs Kadee Leopard
Though many people won’t automatically think of the Crocs brand when they’re searching for fashionable flats, Crocs have designed the Kadee leopard print flat to wow even the most fashion-forward woman. It’s made from that which made Crocs famous - their Croslite material to ensure all-day comfort and the leopard print design is sure to dress up (or down) any outfit.Read more
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.
3. Sam Edelman Felicia
Available in Wide Sizes
Variety of Texture Options
Won’t Slip Off
These classic style ballet flats from designer Sam Edelman are as versatile as they are deliciously feminine. They can be dressed down for casual office wear or easily dressed up for fancier evening attire. The Felicia ballet flat comes in 38 different color and style options so there is sure to be one design that will match every outfit in any woman’s closet.Read more
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.
4. Minnetonka Anna
Leather or Calf Hair
No Arch Support
The stylish Minnetonka Anna Ballet Flat comes in leather or genuine calf hair. This elegant flat also comes in color schemes, so you’re bound to find one to suit your needs and taste. This shoe type offers maximum thin and lightweight cushioning with a durable rubber outsole and a padded insole.Read more
The padded insole helps to make these ultra-thin and flat shoes more comfortable for long daily wear. The leather or calf hair material gives you a soft and durable upper that will, along with the many color options, match any style you're going for. The elasticized topline makes sure the shoe hugs your foot to keep your foot secure and your heel from popping out.
The durable rubber outsole helps to give you a secure footing to keep you on your feet. The additional inner lining that we're used to with Minnetonka shoes, helps to keep your feet warm and cozy while you're out and about.
5. Jessica Simpson Mandalaye
Won’t Slip Off
Variety of Foot Widths
Large Number of Designs
Long Break-In Period
These Jessica Simpson Mandalaye flats are as close as one can get to owning an actual ballet slipper without going to the dance studio. They feature a crisscross elastic strap that goes around the ankles. They come in a variety of colors and textures like snakeskin or leopard print.Read more
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!
6. Skechers Cleo Bewitch
Air-Cooled Memory Foam
The Skechers Clea Bewitch Ballet Flat is a stylish shoe with a slightly pointed toe. While the toe box is a little slimmer, it’s still an amazing shoe. It offers traction and support while giving you flair. It 100% Skech-knit textile with bio-dri to keep your feet cool all day long. It also comes in a range of colors.Read more
The air-cooled memory foam insole cushions your foot to help ease some of the discomfort that often comes with ballet flats. The bio-dri technology and Skech-Knit upper materials help to keep your foot cool and dry all day long.
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. You'll have plenty of grip on slippery surfaces, even when its a bit damp outside!
7. Dexflex Claire Scrunch
Memory & Latex Foam Insole
Fabric & Synthetic Construction
Firm Toe Cap
Back May Rub the Achilles Tendon
Rough Fabric Material
The Dexflex Comfort Claire Scrunch Flat is a stylish ballet flat that comes in a few popular colors. It’s made of stretchy and flexible materials. It boasts a firm, synthetic toe cap and it offers some protection for your vulnerable toes. This shiny synthetic toe cap is just part of the synthetic and fabric upper design of this shoe.Read more
This shoe's 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 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.
8. Ollio Faux Suede
Comes in 7 Gorgeous Colors
Ollio Shoes’ Faux Suede Comfort Ballet Flat comes in seven stunning colors to make anyone’s day a little brighter. This flat, however, comes with other great perks, such as an elastic topline to help give you a secure fit and more flexibility in your step. Its faux suede upper looks and feels nice. It also sports a rounded toe.Read more
This entire shoe 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 flats gives your forefoot and toes more space to move and breathe. That adds to your overall comfort and prevents some serious medical problems.
9. Shop Pretty Girl Chic
Fabric & Synthetic
Sizing Runs Smaller
These Shop Pretty Girl brand flats practically scream ‘chic’! They come in a huge variety of color and design options and are built for durability and comfort despite their incredibly low price tag. These flats are perfect for the woman who needs to have a number of shoe options as the straps are detachable and an outfit look can be changed entirely by just removing the strap!Read more
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!
10. Cole Haan Tali Bow
Grand.os Cushioning Technology
Lightweight PU Midsole
Padded Leather Sock Liner
Flat Bow Accent
100% Burmese Calf Leather
Poor Arch Support
Sizing Runs Small
Cole Haan’s Tali Bow Ballet Flat is a trendy, lightweight shoe that offers more cushioning, flexibility, and comfort than many similar flats. It sports a rounded toe, so your toes have more room to spread out naturally. The elasticized opening improves its flexibility and fit, while the flat bow accent gives it a little flair.Read more
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.
This elegant 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 feel.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
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.
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.
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.
Support and stability are even more critical 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 crucial 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.
Two areas to spend extra time investigating are the insole and outsole. Here is how they are relevant to finding a stable, supportive ballet flat.
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.
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.
Flexibility is also 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 top-lines to increase the flexibility of the shoe and to help it fit more comfortably.
By ensuring your ballet flats are both flexible and equipped with a solid grip and traction, you can be assured to perform at your best while not risking bodily injury.
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.
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 it's lightweight foam and other materials. As mentioned earlier, leather is the least flexible.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Ballet flats are one of the most versatile styles of footwear out there. Easily paired with skirts, dresses, jeans or leggings, they can be worn for both more formal occasions as well as casual settings.
Patterned or bright colored ballet flats can be used to add a pop of color or sophistication to your outfit, bringing together your own individual sense of style to the world. Ballet flats with some embellishment or textured elements can also give added appeal.
While ballet flats have a very low profile design, and can be worn without socks, there are socks available specifically for them. These socks hug the toes and heel without showing above the collar of the flat, and can help wick away moisture and keep shoes dry, as well as giving you a bit more cushion with each step.
Other Factors to Consider
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 know that any of these shoes can take you from work to the boardroom to a wedding and back. 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.
Our one last piece of advice is to delve deep into the criteria we used to rank each of the top choices on our list. You may just find that some criteria apply more to you than others. Feel free to drop the ones that don't matter to focus on the ones that do; that way, you can get an even better match between your needs and preferences and our top styles.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can I wear my ballet flats to work?
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?
This is a resounding no. Ballet flats were originally designed for dancing and even more, modern versions would not offer enough protection, cushioning, and support in an athletic competition or game.
q: Are ballet flats environmentally friendly?
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?
Some of them 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: What can I wear with my ballet flats?
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?
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?
If you’re asking because yours 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: Are ballet flats bad for your feet?
They can be bad for your feet, but not all models 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?
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?
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?
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.