Your Top Five Picks For Best Ballet Flat

Your ballet flat nominations could fill many a closet, but these five were the clear favorites, and now it’s time to find a winner. Try them on for size and cast your vote.

Reader geotekk_420_69_bad_idiot’s recommendation of Aldo’s Terry Cloth Insoles actually received more recommendations than any of the top five flats, so be sure to check those out as well:

I am a flats-wearer but I specifically like the barefoot look. I also happen to hate those little half-sock foot-condom things that are supposed to give the barefoot look while keeping your flats from becoming stinky like they would when worn with bare feet on the regular. These are the answer— the ultimate holy grail for people who like to wear bare feet in their flats (and also like their flats to last more than a few months): Aldo’s terry-cloth washable insoles. I go through a few pairs in the summer as eventually the foam on the bottom (that keeps them from sliding around in your shoes) starts to break up, but it’s better than the alternatives: stinky feet and shoes or wrangling sock-things that sometimes sorta cover the bottom of your foot (I really hate those things, and I have tried almost every variation— I think it’s just because I wear a 9-9.5 and they’re not really made for big girl feet). Anyway, the terry cloth insoles— they’re an important inclusion to the ‘flats’ convo, in my opinion! I wish they’d make them in a bigger range of sizes, but there you have it. Turns out they come in sizes 5-10 now instead of just S/M & M/L size, like they used to!


While not one of the top five nominees, also check out Dodai Stewart’s recommendation of the Cole Haan Women’s Air Bacara Ballet Flat.



DexFlex Comfort Claire Scrunch Flat (also at Payless)

Starting at $15, they’re cheap, simple and super comfy. Come in plenty of colours/patterns. - hummingbird

I have at least 10 pairs of these, ranging from plain black, to python, to navy/orange floral, to leopard... Most comfortable work shoes I have ever owned, with zero ‘break-in’ time. I wear a size 11 and it’s nice to finally have a reliable source of professional style shoes in cute options that are also affordable. - zatanna


Easy Spirit Gulia Flat (also at DSW)

This has become my go-to everyday shoe ever since I first found it a couple years back. They’re made of neoprene, and SO comfy. Really. So so comfy. They’ve wrecked me for every other ballet flat. They’re so good for your feet. They also look super cute, for what it’s worth.

One downside: While the shoe will stay functional pretty much indefinitely, they will wear out cosmetically if you’re going to wear them every day (which you will). The neoprene will get snags in it eventually. To keep them *looking* great, you probably need a new pair at least every year. Wearing them basically every day in NYC, I end up replacing them about every 6 months. I really wanted to decide this wasn’t worth it, but it absolutely is. Ballet flats are generally pretty shitty in terms of longevity anyway, and these at least are comfy as hell for as long as you deem them presentable. If you love your feet, treat them to these. - Rachel Feltman


Bloch Ballet Flat (also at Bloch and sometimes Gilt)

They were my preferred brand when I danced years ago, and I love the way the street shoes, too. They come in a zillion colors (I think I own fourteen) so I can always match my outfits. There’s just enough of a heel to keep them from making my legs hurt, but they’re flexible enough that it’s the closet I can come to barefoot. I usually buy them on sale through, but the basic black ones are available on Bloch’s website, too. - SparkleStars


Naturalizer Maude (also at Naturalizer)

I love these shoes. I currently own them in three colors: black, brown (pictured), and obnoxiously-named “Platina Leather” which is a shiny nude-on-my-pale-skin sort of color.

These shoes are comfy as hell (once they’re broken in, which takes a few days). Plus they’re dressy enough for work or look great with jeans. I’ve actually bought 7 (!!!) pair of these shoes over the last 3-4 years, and they’re what I wear every day until it gets too cold to go without socks (and then I still wear them sometimes. I still have a few old pair that I slip on to do things like walk the dogs or trek into the basement. And apparently Naturalizer is happy to keep on making these things, so you don’t have to find a new shoe to love when they end the season. - babyruthlvess


Born Julianne Flat (also at Zappos, 6pm, sometimes Nordstrom Rack)

I’ve never owned a bad pair of Born flats. - SaraEl

I agree, these are very comfy. They run true-to-size. I ordered a .5 size up b/c I bought a previous pair of Born flats that were too small for me. But the size I ordered in these were slightly too big (just put an insole in them). Order your true size, ladies! (Or gents as the case may be). - fufu


About the author

Shane Roberts

Editor Emeritus, The Inventory