I thought I might take some time to rank order some of the ballet flats that are out there and that I think make great options for men. If you are a guy who is considering trying out ballet flats for the first time or if you already wear flats but are looking for something different, hopefully this post will help. I own many of these flats and have at least tried on many others. This list includes a few that I think will also work but I have not yet had the chance to try them on.
My main criteria in developing this list, in order of priority, are as follows:
- Comfort – guys really are more about having shoes that are comfortable.
- Style – needs to have smooth, clean lines with a unisex look.
- Sizing – needs to be available in larger sizes for men.
- Price – when it comes to ballet flats, you usually get what you pay for, but it still needs to be reasonable.
This is by far my favorite shoe, let alone ballet flat. This is the only pair of flats that I have been able to wear right out of the box with no blisters or undue pressure on my feet. The leather is very soft and supple and after a few wearings completely molded to my feet. The Julianne flat also has more cushioning and arch support than most any other flat, other than some of the “sporty” styles. Some colors of this flat are offered up to size 12 women’s (roughly 11 men’s) and wide widths. At $85-$90 per pair, they are great value and comfort for the money.
Tieks flats are rapidly becoming another favorite of mine. They do not have the same amount of cushioning and arch support as the Julianne, but the soft leather makes up for that to some degree. I was initially disappointed when I tried my new pair on as they were uncomfortable around my toes, but after about a month of off and on wear they have become quite comfortable. Tieks are sized up to women’s 13 and the softness of the leather can easily handle wide widths. Beginning at $175 a pair, they are probably not the best value for the money, but they are worth it.
Because Skechers changes their style offerings every year or every season, I am not going to point out a particular style. I got my start wearing flats by trying some of the mary-jane styles. Skechers shoes are very comfortable all around and are offered up to women’s size 11 (occasionally 12). This is a great way to start wearing flats because the “sportier” look of Skechers makes them look more unisex.
4. SoftStar Shoes Adult Ballerine Flat
I wanted to get this shoe close to the top of my list, even though I have not had the chance to try them yet, because I am impressed that they are marketing it is a unisex shoe. I think the company is trying to compete with Tieks to some degree as at $150 the pricing is nearly as high and some of the construction seems similar. They do offer this in unisex sizing (with men’s sizing as the primary sizes) up to men’s 12, but I think you can custom order larger sizes if necessary. You can also customize the colors and design.
5. Tory Burch
Tory offers a range of ballet flat designs with the “Minnie” being one of the more popular styles. I have tried these on several times but have not yet made the purchase as I am personally not a fan of the ornament on the toe (but that is just me). Several other male ballet flat lovers, such as ToryBri, think this is a great shoe.
Repetto basically invented the ballet flat, so it only stands to reason that they would have a flat designed exclusively for men. I have not tried their shoes, mainly because the $500 price tag is a bit too much for me. I am encouraged though that they would continue to offer an alternative for men. 2020 UPDATE: It appears Repetto has discontinued their ballet flats for men.
7. Cole Haan
Cole Haan is another company that makes a wide range of flats, some of which I have tried on and found very comfortable. Unfortunately, their sizing usually only goes up to women’s 11.
8. Bass Lexi
I am including the Bass Lexi ballet flat because it is probably the best value for the money. I have tried on this flat in the outlet stores and it can be purchased for as little as $20, depending on the sale at the time. For the money, they are quite comfortable. Unfortunately, the sizing tops out at women’s 11. 2020 Update: Bass doesn’t make this particular style anymore, but still has a selection of ballet flats.
I need to include the designer Telfar because he has been showing ballet flats with his designs for several years now. I have never tried his shoes, but they have a good unisex look. 2020 UPDATE: I’m not sue if Telfar is commercially selling his flats anymore, or frankly if he ever did.
10. Any “Sporty” looking flat
My last pick is any “sporty” looking ballet flat. These are available from a number of companies, but they tend to change seasonally. I got a couple of great flats from Teva several years ago, but alas, they have been discontinued. This style of flat may pass off as unisex and Vibram has made a ballet flat-like shoe in its FiveFingers line for men for many years that makes a good unisex alternative for an open-vamp shoe.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of possible ballet flat options for men. In fact, I have several others in my closet that I have not even mentioned here. I welcome others to post their favorites in the remarks to this blog page. In the future, I will start writing more extensive reviews of some of the flats that I own.
Occasionally I come across a new company that is making ballet flats for men. I’ll use this space to highlight those as I discover them.