Ballet flats are a popular shoe choice because they have so many different uses. They stay comfortable and stylish all year round and you can wear them for almost any occasion — including to work, to parties, on dates or even to just run errands. One issue that often does arise in ballet flats is the lack of support; because they are a thinner, lighter shoe they do not always cushion your foot the way we would like and you can be forced to choose between comfort and fashion when picking an outfit.
However, we have complied a buying guide and listed our top picks of the best ballet flats below, so you can find the right shoe for you that stays both comfortable and on trend no matter what you are wearing or where you are going.
Things To Look For In Ballet Flats
There are a few things you should look for in a ballet flat before purchasing so you can make sure they are going to be right for your feet and work for the occasion you are wearing them for.
We touched on this above — ballet flats don’t have a great track record of being that supportive. This is because they are a lighter and thinner shoe and often have a much smaller sole that does not offer as much support as a traditional shoe. While some ballet flats have a ribbon or strap to wrap around your ankle for support, this is often just to help keep your foot in place rather than actually support your foot where it needs to be supported.
There are two main areas of the shoe to look for when considering support — the insole and the outsole. The thickness of the insole will depend on what you are going to be wearing the shoe for and how much support you really need. Traditional ballet flats do normally lack cushioning, so if you are going to be wearing the shoe for long periods of time then a cushioned insole will be something to look out for.
The outsole of the shoe needs to be cushioned too, as this is the part of the shoe that absorbs the shock your foot felt when you touch the ground. If the outsole isn’t cushioned then your feet are going to end up hurting or it could result in injury. Similar to insoles, classic ballet shoes normally have thin outsoles, so this is something to pay attention to.
Material And Upper
Ballet shoes come in a range of different materials. The most common upper materials are leather, suede and cotton. The material will also affect how comfortable the shoe is, as some will be more rigid than others. Others will be more flexible, but these are more likely to hold onto odors so it will be up to you to decide which is going to be the best material for you.
Leather is a firm material and it can be uncomfortable and painful if the shoe doesn’t fit properly. This is due to the fact it doesn’t flex well, so it doesn’t necessarily move with your foot as well as other materials. Sometimes, ballet flats have extra pieces of leather included in their upper to add extra comfort and support to the shoe too, although this can also be foam or other materials. Read our guide here if you want some advice on how to break in leather for a more comfortable experience.
Suede is another type of leather. It’s not as firm as traditional leather but it can still be uncomfortable if the shoe doesn’t fit.
Cotton is much more of a flexible material compared to leather and suede. However, it is also warmer and holds onto temperature far more than other materials, which can make your feet hot and smelly.
Synthetic material used in ballet-flats are man-made. Depending on the type of material, they can be the most flexible and comfortable.
Of course, with different shoes come different shapes and sizes. One of the most important things to focus on in ballet flats is the toe box. If the toe box is too small or narrow, you are going to end up with both foot and back pain so you must make sure there is enough room for your toes to move around. Everyone is different and some people may be able to get away with a pointier toe box, while others need a wider one. There are three styles of toe boxes most commonly found in shoes.
A squared toe box gives the most amount of room for your feet to move. While some people don’t like the style of a squared toe box, those with wide feet could really benefit from the extra room.
A pointed toe box is best designed for those with narrow feet because there is only a small amount of space for your toes. However, they can sometimes be even too tight for those with narrow feet. A popular style, you may be able to find a shoe with a wider pointed toe box if you do have wider feet and you like the design.
A rounded toe box is the in-between choice for squared and pointed toe boxes. It is not too narrow and not too wide and is best for people with average width feet.
Your ballet flats will need to have good traction, as with any pair of shoes, otherwise you will be prone to slips and falls. Traction is something that is not always very present in ballet flats, so you will need to check the sole of the shoe before you buy to ensure it offers you that support. You can also take a look at the flexibility of the shoe. Some people like a more stable shoe, while others like their foot to be flexible. Whichever you prefer, you should make sure the shoe is going to stay on your foot, so you get both the traction and grip in your ballet flat.
There are a few extra features that you can look out for when shopping for a ballet flat that might make the shoe for comfortable for you. The first is breathability. Ballet flats are often a summer shoe, and there is nothing worse than your foot being hot and sweaty inside a shoe. It will not only feel uncomfortable but it may also start to smell, so you want to check that the shoe is breathable.
Some manufacturers decide to include anti-bacterial properties into their shoes so they don’t have to sacrifice a stable shoe for a flimsier, more breathable material. These anti-bacterial properties can deter bacteria and fungi that make the shoe smell.
You may also want to think about how waterproof your shoe is. While you’re not going to be trekking or walking through a river in your ballet flats, it’s never a bad idea to have waterproof shoes if you’re caught in a rain storm. Luckily, these days a lot of the materials used for ballet flats are waterproof and, even if the material isn’t originally waterproof, many manufacturers will waterproof the shoe themselves.
If you’re ready to find the ballet flat that is right for you and the occasion, take a look at the bestsellers we recommend below, all available on Amazon.
The Best Ballet Flats Reviews
The Bella Marie Dana-20B ballerina flats are made from faux-suede, yet still give that great classic suede look and feel. With padding in the insole these classic ballet flats are comfortable and, although the heel is low, they still give good support for short-periods of wear. There is a zip closure at the back to help you get the shoe on and off and two bands of elastic sit around your ankle to help secure your foot in place so you don’t slip. Customers have reported that these shoes do run a little big, so it is worth ordering a size down from your usual shoe size.
They come in a great range of colors including black, tan, gray and even leopard print, so you can find the perfect style for your outfit.
The stretch-knit upper of these Skechers Women’s Cleo Bewitch ballet shoes means that they fit snugly against your foot for the right fit without any rubbing or blisters. With an air-cooled memory foam insole, these shoes not only remember the shape of your feet for comfort but also keep the shoe breathable, ensuring your foot doesn’t get too hot even on a summer’s day. They have a pointed-toe design so are best for those with narrower feet, but still offer great support with every step. The sole is made from rubber and is durable, too. Available in five different colors, they are great as a work or everyday shoe.
Another shoe from Bella Marie, the Angie-53 ballet flats are also made of synthetic material for a faux-suede look. Perfect for formal events or for wearing to work, the suede look and pointy-toe design looks both stylish and sophisticated. With a pointy-toe, these shoes look as if they are designed for those with narrower feet, however many customers have reported that the shoes are quite wide and fit those who need a wider shoe.
There is a very limited heel on this shoe but they still offer comfort and support for those who don’t need to do much walking in their day to day life. Like the Dana-20B ballerina flats, these shoes also come in a number of colors.
This leather ballet flat from Xielong has a classic round toe, perfect for those with neutral and both wide and narrow feet. The shoe has an elasticized topline to give you an enhanced fit, stretching to the shape of your foot and ensuring your feet stay secure as you walk. There is a cushioned footbed to keep the shoes comfy all day long, and the sole works with the elasticized topline to give you flexible movement without compromising on the support.
Even better, there is a suede leather sock lining with a breathable perforated arch, ensuring your foot won’t get too hot and the shoe won’t begin to smell. This pair of leather flats comes in all the colors of the rainbow, so you can have a pair for every outfit!
Another shoe with an elasticized topline, the Ollio women’s ballet flat molds to the shape of your foot to give you not just a comfortable shoe but also a secure fit, so you know your foot won’t slip out of the shoe. The upper is made from a man-made suede-like material that gives a soft, comfortable feel to the shoe while also being flexible. The round toe and stretchy fit of the shoe accommodates all widths of feet, as well.
The heel is very thin and this shoe may not be supportive when worn for a long time, but the sole is rubber and durable so the comfort is still present. These shoes come in a few different colors, making them perfect for wearing at the office or to an event.
The Minnetonka Women’s Anna ballet flats are made from soft leather to provide comfort and durability to the shoes. With a stretchy, elasticized fit, these flats are designed to stretch to the contours of your feet and wear pattern over time, making sure they stay comfy over time and your foot does not slip inside of them. There is a padded insole to give you the support you need when walking and the sole is made from rubber.
The sole is not only durable but also has great traction on the bottom, again ensuring that you don’t slip when walking. The manufacturer states that these shoes run half a size small so this is something to take into consideration when purchasing. Available in a range of colors, these shoes are great for a number of occasions.
With a classic round-toe design, the DREAM PAIRS ballerina flats balance both style and comfort, making them perfect for both every day wear and occasion wear. Made from synthetic material, these shoes have an elasticized topline to ensure you get a snug fit with the shoe so they fit you correctly. This topline also works alongside the soft lining for extra comfort as you walk.
The sole is made from rubber and has markings on the bottom to give you excellent traction. There is also a premium latex cushioned footbed inside the shoe, protecting and supporting your whole foot as you go about your day. These ballet flats come in a variety of different colors, too.
Rolly Flats are shoes that are both foldable and flexible. More like slippers than shoes, these ballet flats are perfect fro events such as weddings or parties — when you have had enough of your heels, you can simply slip these on for a quick and comfortable flat. Their lightweight design means they are not the best for an all day shoe, but they do roll up and bend to fit inside a bag, so you can carry them wherever with you for a comfy shoe change. They have a cushioned footbed and soft lining for comfort, as well as a flexible rubber sole for ease.
The elasticized design means they mold to the shape fo your foot as well, giving you a secure fit. You can purchase these shoes in a range of colors, so you can find a pair perfect for the occasion!
The ISOTONER women’s ballet flats have a satin upper, offering exceptional coziness. Perfect for wearing at home or when you’re away on a trip, the foam cushioned suede leather sole surrounds your feet in the ultimate comfort. Although these lightweight shoes are not designed to be worn outside, the stretchy satin fabric means they are great for relaxing in and give a perfect fit for everyone, whether you have average, wide or narrow feet. These shoes are machine washable, and, with a cute satin bow to keep things stylish all the time. They come in six different colors.
Another pair of foldable and flexible shoes, these ballet flats from Silky Toes are perfect to take with you to weddings and parties. When your feet get tired of your heels, you can simply slip these on for a much more comfortable fit. The elastic at the back of the shoe ensure they stay on your feet and give a secure fit, and there is a design on the sole of the rubber shoe that gives great traction so you don’t slip on the dance floor!
The insole is soft and cushioned too, for further comfort. These ballet flats come in their own portable bag and are available in a large range of different colors, including metallic colors.
The Bloch ballet slippers are genuine ballet shoes, but we thought we would list them here because of their excellent comfort. Ideal for a student ballet shoe or just for wearing at home, there is elastic over the instep to keep your foot in place so your foot doesn’t fall out of the shoe. The upper is made from strong yet flexible leather and a cotton lining provides further comfort for your foot.
Even better, there is an elastic drawstring to adjust the shoe to hug the foot. These shoes are lightweight and perfect for those who like to walk around with some protection but without feeling like they have anything on their feet. The manufacturer recommends starting two sizes down from your regular shoe to ensure the best fit.
The STELLE ballet shoes are another pair of genuine ballet shoes, but they are also great for wearing around the house for some protection on your feet without the weight of a traditional slipper. The upper is made from polyurethane making these shoes both breathable, so your foot doesn’t get too hot and smelly, and easily washable with a damp cloth. The leather sole is durable and waterproof, while also being skid resistant so you won’t slip on the floor. There is an elastic band grip to hold your foot in place, too. These shoes come in three different colors – pink, ballet pink and black.
Ballet flats are such a versatile shoe because they can be worn with so many different outfits and for so many different occasions. While traditionally ballet flats are not very supportive, manufacturers are creating shoes with thicker insoles and outsoles to give you the support you need. You can choose the style of the toe box and the material of the upper to best fit your needs, so whether you are looking for a shoe to wear all day to work, one to party in or one to wear at your wedding, we know you’ll find a pair you love in our list of best flats above.