Men’s Ballet Flats on the Fashion Runway Part 1

Designers have off and on tried promote the ballet flat or similar footwear with their annual fashion show menswear offerings. While this extremely comfortable fashion staple has not really caught on in mainstream fashion, the fact that it keeps resurfacing shows that it can be a very versatile style for men. I am including mary-jane-style shoes as well because they share a similar open vamp style.

Early 2000s

Unknown designer

One of the earliest designers I saw that had men wearing ballet flats was showing off a line of jeans, as I recall. The designer and jean company seem to have vanished off the internet, but the photo that they used still exists and shows a simple, classic style for men with slightly cropped jeans paired with ballet flats.



Dior Homme — Hedi Slimane

In 2006 designer Hedi Slimane introduced both ballet flats and mary-jane style shoes to Dior Homme’s Spring 2006 collection of menswear. The ballet flats went perfectly with the thin, yet masculine, silhouette of the designs.


Dior Homme — Hedi Slimane

Slimane continued his use of ballet flats, although this time with a little bit of a heel, in his Spring 2007 lineup, but this time with a more monochromatic look. This would be his last year with Dior.


Michael Bastian

Michael Bastian made effective use of the opera pump to give a ballet flat look to his formal attire line, including a version with shorts.

Tony Spackman – The Non -The Golden Dawn

Tony Spackman also made use of a version of the opera pump in his fall/winter 2010 lineup in his own company, “The Non.”


Tony Spackman – The Non – Alchemia Mysteria

Spackman went with a more surreal and monochromatic look in 2011, incorporating mary-janes into a flowy and billowy style.

The Non 2011 Mary Jane


Ballet flats for men had a resurgence in 2012, when multiple designers reintroduced the concept, and while some of these were just pairing men’s opera pumps with more casual wear or were more of a mary-jane-style, the concept of an open vamp shoe seemed to be catching on.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood introduced a ballet flat-look for men in her Spring 2012 collection by including the opera pump or court shoe, and a multi-strap mary-jane for men.

Agnes B.

Agnes B introduced the ballet flat in her Fall 2012 collection, but alas only appeared on one of her models.

agnesb 2012 42

Ixone Elzo

Spanish designer Ixone Elzo incorporated a ballet flat-like design into his Milan 2012 show. He effectively demonstrated how the look can work for men with shorts, cropped pants, tights and skinny pants.


The Korean fashion designer Zio Song incorporated ballet flats into his 2012 menswear offering as the Spring/summer Paris fashion show in 2012.

He also incorporated mary-janes in his 2012 fall lineup.


J.W. Anderson

In 2013, J.W. Anderson brought an open vamp loafer to menswear that is very similar to a ballet flat as well as a cross-strap version like a mary-jane. Aside from the strange oil-slicked hair, the fashions are a functional, casual style.

Marie Ryland

Marie Ryland paired ballet flats with a tunic look similar to men’s kaftans at her graduate show from Central Saint Martins in 2013. Unfortunately, she does not appear to have been heard from since.

We will continue with 2014 in PART 2…

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