There was a time in recent years when ballet flats were on everyone’s feet. They were either emblazoned with a gold flashy logo (a la Tory Burch) or donned with a simple bow. If you were one of them, then you probably matched your flats with layered tanks, colorful jeans, or leggings. Despite that cringe-inducing memory, ballet flats have more sartorial merit than we typically think. And for good reason.
Designed by Rose Repetto in 1956, the ballet flat was created for French actress and sex symbol Brigitte Bardot, who had wanted shoes that were as “lightweight and flexible” as ballet slippers. Soon after, ballet flats were worn by the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland, Lauren Bacall, and Diana Vreeland. Perhaps they were attracted to how comfortable and chic ballet flats were, often pairing them with simple jeans, leggings, a crisp white button-down or a bateau neck shirt. Easy elegance for every day. So really, ballet flats are a stylish staple. It’s only a matter of finding a pair that works for you.
What are the best ballet flats?
The best ballet flats are those with a timeless design so you could match it with virtually any outfit. Second, a great pair of ballet flats should also be comfortable. How could you enjoy them when they’re making your feet ache? Lastly, you should look for a pair of great quality, especially if you’re looking to invest in one that will last forever.
1. Chanel Flats
Lambskin & Patent Calfskin Ballerinas, $850 (approximately P41,247), CHANEL, chanel.com
Chanel’s classic two-tone ballet flats were designed by Karl Lagerfeld in 1984, just a year after he started working for the brand. According to Vogue, Lagerfeld designed them as an extension of the still-wildly-popular two-tone slingbacks launched by Gabrielle Chanel herself in 1957.
If you’re looking for a classic ballet flat, these classic Chanel ones are a good choice. Get them in neutral colors for versatility or in bold shapes for a great accent piece.
2. Prada Bow Ballerina Shoes
Bow Ballerina Shoes, $770 (approximately P37,305), PRADA, farfetch.com
Black ballet flats are almost like the LBD of shoes. They go with anything, and you can never go wrong with them. You can take it a step further though with a patent pair like this one from Prada—yup, they make great flats, in case you didn’t know. This simple pair is made with 100% patent leather for a sleek look that can upgrade your casual outfits.
3. Salvatore Ferragamo Viva Ballet Flat
Viva Ballet Flat, $657 (approximately P31,831), SALVATORE FERRAGAMO, ferragamo.com
We’re sure you’ve heard (or at least seen) the Vara flat, a low-heeled shoe decorated with a grosgrain bow and golden metal plate. Launched in 1979, the Vara has been reinterpreted throughout the years and even gave birth to other iterations like the Varina and the Viva flat. A fresh take on a classic, this Viva flat is made with soft nappa leather and features a universally flattering pointed toe. Great for those who want flats that can take them from uptown to downtown.
4. Celine Les Ballerines
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Les Ballerines Celine Ballerina With Laces in Lambskin, price unavailable, CELINE, celine.com
In case you didn’t know, ballet flats have always been part of the quintessential French girl wardrobe. The trick is to keep it real simple for that je ne sais quoi appeal. So what better brand to turn to than the ever so insouciant Celine? They’ve got pairs in classic red, nude, and black—great with mom jeans, a white tee, and perhaps a basket bag a la Jeanne Damas.
5. Tod’s T Timeless Ballerina Shoes
T Timeless Ballerina Shoes, $527 (approximately P27,718), TOD’S, farfetch.com
For those who love a good walking shoe but can’t stand orthopedic-looking ones, then ballet flats from Tod’s are the perfect solution for you. The Italian brand is known for their pebbled rubber soles that make every step so cushy and comfy. Consider these your new walking shoes/travel shoes/everyday work shoes. Plus, with its white, black, and marsala-capped colorway, they transition well into evening affairs.
6. Maison Margiela Tabi Ballerina Shoes
Tabi Ballerina Shoes, €590 (approximately P33,700), MAISON MARGIELA, maisonmargiela.com
Some fashion fans think that ballet flats are outdated, and, well, boring. However, these Margiela steppers will make anyone think twice about ballet flats. In the brand’s iconic toe design inspired by traditional Japanese tabi socks, these flats feature a slender, elongated shape—so different from the ballerinas your tita wears. And they’re very flattering, too. Crafted in leather from lining to sole, these unique shoes will add a touch of high fashion to your everyday.
7. Mansur Gavriel Dream Ballerina
Square Toe Ballerina, P23,700, MANSUR GAVRIEL, mansurgavriel.com
Cult famous designer brand Mansur Gavriel has a bevy of leather footwear to complement their roster of minimalist leather handbags. Their Dream Ballerina flats come in a variety of toe shapes and colors, so it’s easy to find the best pair for you. Aside from the usual black, white, and tan, they’ve got soft hues like blush, daisy, and powder blue for those who love a touch of color.
8. Gucci Leather Ballet Flats
Leather Ballet Flat with Half Moon GG, $786 (approximately P38,088), GUCCI, farfetch.com
Into timeless footwear but hate ordinary ballet flats? Well, this vintage-looking pair from Gucci might have you think otherwise. Featuring a classy two-tone colorway topped with the iconic GG emblem (updated with a half moon design), these flats embody the old world spirit of the quirky fashion house. Great for those who want a “borrowed from grandma’s wardrobe” vibe.
9. Miu Miu Velvet Ballerinas
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Crossover Strappy Ballerinas, $645 (approximately P31,255), MIU MIU, farfetch.com
Have you ever worn ballet flats that looked great but always seemed to slip off your feet? These gorgeous Miu Miu ones are the solution for you. Featuring a round toe design, they’re like a cross between ballet flats and mary janes. The crossover straps allow you to run around town without worrying about your shoes flopping around behind you. Finally.
10. Bottega Veneta Leather Ballet Flats
Leather Ballet Flats, $620, (approximately P30,050), BOTTEGA VENETA, net-a-porter.com
Not into the typical round toe shape of ballet flats? Bottega Veneta added their own twist with a subtle almond toe shape and leather upper that envelopes the foot. A slip-on version of the ballet flat, if you will. Great for those who aren’t into feminine flats and prefer minimalist ones instead.