A Year in Tieks: a guy’s perspective

Tieks6
A collage of my Tieks collection

It was just one year ago that my first pair of matte black Tieks arrived. If you read my earlier review, you will note that I was initially a little skeptical. They were comfortable for sure, but initially were not as comfortable as my other favorite flats, Born Julianne. However, it only took a couple of months and my Born flats were relegated back to their boxes or the back of my closet. The Tieks were just that good!

Now that a year has passed, my collection of Tieks has grown to five pair; and I still want more! At first, I did not understand the obsession with Tieks, but I also don’t understand other obsessions with particular articles of clothing that my wife, other women and some men have. Wearing Tieks was in many ways an epiphany for me, as I now understand how it is possible to have an obsession with a particular brand of clothing.

I have been wearing my Tieks as a casual shoe almost exclusively for the past year. While I don’t wear then to work–they just don’t quite work with men’s suits (although I think they could work with the “skinny suit” look). When I get home, I immediately take off my dress shoes and reach for a pair of Tieks. After a year of wear, I have come to the conclusion that they are some of the best shoes on the market.

Comfort

My first and primary reason for wearing ballet flats is comfort. All five pair exceed just about all of my expectations for comfort. However, not all of them started out that way. Some were more comfortable initially that others; a trait I attribute to the fact that they are “hand-made,” according the Tieks website. All of them eventually broke in and are incredibly comfortable. The leather is buttery-soft and over time molded to my feet. I was also surprised that for such a flat shoe, the leather insole has a surprising amount of cushioning and it is still thick enough to provide protection for my feet on rocky surfaces.

I do have a couple of quibbles with Tieks comfort. First, I do have occasional issues with too much pressure on my big toes. This may be in part because I added moleskin to reduce the “toe bump” a little bit, but I also think it is a result of my foot sliding forward in the shoe. This is more pronounced if I wear footies, thin socks or other legwear that makes my foot slide around. The leather on these shoes is so supple, that it doesn’t do a very good job holding my feet stable. That said, when worn barefoot, the shoes mold to my feet and the toe issues mostly disappear. Second, the elastic around the opening pulls the heel padding tight against my Achilles tendon causing redness after a long day. While I would not really call it uncomfortable, it is annoying.

Quality and Durability

I can not say enough about how well these shoes have held up over the past year, wearing them everywhere and under all sorts of conditions. Even to soles on my oldest pair–mate black–show almost no wear whatsoever. I have had to polish this pair once as they did become pretty scuffed up, but a bit of Tarrago polish fixed that right up.

My only real complaint with the quality of my Tieks is that I have had to use the moleskin “hack” to reduce the toe bump and provide some additional protection from my toes wearing through the leather.

Appearance

The great thing about Tieks for us guys is that they are a very “classic” styled ballet flat without any ornamentation and they come an a number of neutral colors. I started out with neutral colors like black, taupe and navy. However, they also come in a wide range of colors if you want to be more “bold.” I have since added chestnut and burgundy to my collection. Some of my fellow Tieks-loving guys on Facebook have gone all out and embraced some of Tieks wilder colors, and they look great! As a fairly conservative guy in my dress, I was also a little hesitant about the signature blue sole of Tieks, but I have to say it has grown on me and I now wear it as a badge of honor in being part of the “Tieks club.”

Reactions

Surprisingly (or not), the sky did not fall and the world did not end because a “regular guy” broke through some footwear stereotypes and took to wearing Tieks ballet flats on a regular basis. In fact, I am probably more surprised at how little reaction I have observed. Most people just don’t seem to notice. Occasionally, I will notice people (usually women) doing a double-take or spending some extra time looking at my shoes, but I have never had a negative reaction. On the few occasions people have interacted with me about my Tieks, it has always been a positive experience. Usually it is just a brief compliment such as, “nice shoes.” I did have one occasion where a woman working in a shoe store stopped me and asked me about my Tieks. I described what I liked about them and I think I may have sold her on trying them out (still waiting for my commission though).

Conclusion

Tieks may not be for everyone, but I have found them to be a very versatile and comfortable brand of shoes. I realize the cost is high, but in a world where you generally get what you pay for, the value of these flats is commendable.

Postscript

I thought it might be worth pointing out that off all the ballet flats out there, it seems like Tieks are the most popular for men. There are now well over a half dozen men in the Facebook “Tieks Anonymous” group who wear Tieks regularly.

19 thoughts on “A Year in Tieks: a guy’s perspective

  1. Great Year in Tieks review post. Reading other reviews from Tieks fans the general consensus is women either love them or hate them. It’s nice to find a review that with help other women but also us Tieks wearing guys.

    You have a wonderful collection of “must have colors” that are perfect for any women or man. Of course Tieks also come in much bolder colors that will pull your eyeballs right out of there sockets. There’s a color for any fan of comfy, quality, cute flats.

    Great post my fellow Tieks Boy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have loved your reviews of Tieks. I’ve been scouring the net trying to find info on these fabulous shoes. I was out in Paso Robles a few weeks ago and a girlfriend of my wife was wearing a pair of Cardinal Red Tieks. She saw me looking at them and offered them to me to try on and wear the day. I instantly fell in love with them. I searched for reviews because I wanted to know if they felt like butter because she had already broken them in or because they were just fabulous shoes. I have concluded it’s a little of both. I just got my first pair in California Navy and they were amazing from the moment I pulled them out of the box. I wore them all day yesterday and no issues.

    I normally wear a size 9-10 in mens depending on the shoe. Most italian dress shoes run small so a size 9. Most of my other shoes are a size 9.5 with the occasional 10 for a couple pairs of Borns and some boots. I am curious, how true to size are Born Juliann’s that I often see you talk about? They don’t offer half size so would I go with a size 10 or would a size 11 be too big?

    Lastly, you commented that you would think after all this time that a manufacturer would market something like flats for men. I would submit that the closest thing to that is Tom’s. They are fairly unisex and the same styles are similar in both lines. However, they only make their ballet Tom’s in women’s line. I simply don’t understand either why the market has been so slow to tip its toe in the water and market a men’s line. I am actually very disappointed that on Tieks site, there is a barrage of social media marketing that is 100% women and not a single review by a man. Not a single social media image of a man wearing Tieks. For a company that wants to make money, you’d think they’d be open to grabbing $175 from both sides of the aisle. Have you ever submitted your info and images to Tieks site? If not, you should. My search of ballet flats for men comes up with your image pretty much exclusively. So kudos to you and thank you for the work you do. It is very much appreciated.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I too am between a 9.5 and 10 in men’s shoes. I would think a women’s 11 would work in either Born or Tieks. The great thing about Tieks is that you can try on and have them ship a different size if the first doesn’t work. Hope you have luck finding some nice flats!

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      1. I just got a couple emails telling me that there had been recent comments. So here we are a year later. I am happy to report that I’ve been getting size 10 and 11 without any issues. Tieks customer service has been wonderful in that respect and made it very easy to get the right shoe. I did try Borns as well as Lucky and Frye Carsons. At the end of the day, I ended up getting rid of all those and keeping my Tieks. They are pretty much everything you said they’d be. Thanks again.

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      1. Agreed. I now have more pairs than her…Haha. I currently have 12 pairs and about another 12 in my wish list. I’m actually wearing Cardinal Red today. They get quite a bit of use. I’ve found that Tieks Red is very rich in color and maintaining them is so easy since they are Italian Leather. Red is my favorite color.

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    2. That is great. I have always liked red myself. I think my first pair of flats were red. Does your wife wear them as well? I see you are about the same size as me. I usually take 9 1/2 or10. What size did you order.?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s nice to know you live in a place where people is kind

    Keep wearing the shoes you like my friend I hope one day I can do the same .

    Your flats looks great 😁

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nick,

      It sounds like you live in an area where you feel uncomfortable wearing ballet flats. I have been around the world wearing mine and have have no issues. I hope you get to wear yours too!

      Like

  4. This is a great review thank you. My boyfriend is reluctant to try tieks because of the “women’s shoe” mentality, although he can’t actually verbalize why. My size isn’t big enough for him to try, but I am forwarding this review! Would help if the Tieks website showed ☆☆any☆☆ men or gender neutral folx wearing the shoes.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lisa,
      I understand perfectly the hangup about wearing a “women’s shoe.” Having worn some form of ballet flat regularly for nearly two decades and Tieks for a couple of years, I can say with confidence, “It is no big deal.” They are just shoes. I was trying to focus the review on the shoes, but have been contemplating a “style” blog for ways men can wear ballet flats. If you are not a member, you should join “Tieks Anonymous” on Facebook. There are several fellow “Tieksboys” there who have a great sense of Tieks style.

      The link to the Facebook group is below:
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/tieksanonymous/

      Like

    2. Lisa: I would just say encourage him as much as possible. Maybe even offer to buy him a pair. You may have to start by having him wear them when he is with you just the 2 of you. Once he feels the comfort he will probably want to wear them all the time. If that is the case again encourage him to wear them with you when you are out together. He can start with a basic color. If he cares about you and knows that you are encouraging him he may try them. I know in my case most people notice my shirt or shorts before my flats even when I am wearing bright colors. Hope it works out for both of you.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Lisa: I would just say encourage him as much as possible. Maybe even offer to buy him a pair. You may have to start by having him wear them when he is with you just the 2 of you. Once he feels the comfort he will probably want to wear them all the time. If that is the case again encourage him to wear them with you when you are out together. He can start with a basic color. If he cares about you and knows that you are encouraging him he may try them. I know in my case most people notice my shirt or shorts before my flats even when I am wearing bright colors. Hope it works out for both of you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with almost everything you’ve written in your review. I have not had any problems with the shoes regarding the back of my heel, though. The elastic band keeps the shoes securely in place, at least on me, without being too tight. I started wearing Tieks in May, 2019, and my first pair was Chestnuts. I have acquired several more pairs since then and I love them all. I have become more fashion conscious, too, and try to coordinate what I wear with what color shoes I wear for a unified and cohesive appearance. That never worked with boring men’s shoes, which are either brown or black. I’m glad to have some color in my life, and my wife is happy about that, too! I recommend Tieks to every guy. They’re so comfortable, good looking, and well made, once you try them, $175 seems like a good deal!

    Thanks for doing this web site. It’s very good so far!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Great Article and comments by everyone. Tieks are a little to pricy for my budget but I do like the looks of them. I wear flats regularly all different colors. Like one of the other writers mentioned I like being able to match my flats to whatever color I am wearing that day. Today it is yellow. I always have liked Red also. By the way flats guy. I have worn flats with a suite on occasion. As others have mentioned most of the time people notice my shirt more than my shoes. I love the comfort of flats and always wear them barefoot.

    Liked by 1 person

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