Mesh! Satin! Leather! 14 Ballet Flats That Simply Can't Escape My Brain


(Image credit: @saraloura)

It is no surprise that classic ballet flats have been around for nearly 70 years. The style was inadvertently created by iconic actress and pioneer of French style Brigitte Bardot, who requested a pair of shoes as "lightweight and flexible as true ballet slippers" from designer Rose Repetto back in 1956, according to Repetto's former CEO Jean-Marc Gaucher. Today, the style remains as enduring as ever. It offers a sense of ease and comfort that other trending shoes may not be able to provide. (I'm looking at you, sculptural heels!)

Despite being considered a classic to many, the shoe style goes through its own trend iterations just like every clothing item. Brands like Miu Miu and Alaïa have released their own takes on the style, the former sticking with the satin roots of ballet and the latter going in a more statement-making direction by using cutouts and embellishments. Whether you're interested in trend-forward pairs or would rather stick to the classics, there's a pair of ballet flats for everyone. Even our most heel-obsessed editor finally gave in and purchased the Miu Miu version.

I took it upon myself to source the best ballet flats on the market right now. These styles hail from legacy brands like Miu Miu and Chanel as well as affordable retailers like Zara and J.Crew. No matter your preferred price point, these picks are stylish enough to wear for years to come.

1. J.Crew Zoe Flats

J.Crew gets a lot of attention for its polished tops and prep-adjacent trends, but I think its shoe selection is highly underrated. Although a small selection, it is mighty. I own the Zoe ballet flats in two colorways (red and silver) and have raved about them to everyone I know. They fit snugly at first, but with enough wear, they stretch and really mold to your feet. Many J.Crew customers clearly agree, with five-star ratings filling up the pages of reviews. I walked (and biked!) all around Copenhagen with them and would gladly do it again. I usually opt for sneakers on vacation but am happy knowing I can trust these flats when I want to switch things up.

The Zoe flats come in classic leather options, but new offerings include cap-toe and canvas options as well.

2. Miu Miu Logo-Band Ballet Flats

While ballet flats themselves aren't new, Miu Miu deserves credit for rekindling the trend with its satin ballet slippers last fall. The brand has also introduced leather versions, reminiscent of its 2016 collection.

3. Margaux Demi Ballet Flats

The Demi Flats shot online shoe brand Margaux up to fame. It's an archetypal ballet-flat style, and two of our editors were quick to share their rave reviews on the shoes. "I've been a strict heel person for years, even wearing kitten-heel styles during the pandemic, so when the ballet-flat trend surfaced (thanks, Miu Miu), I admittedly wasn't all that interested for myself," said editor Eliza Huber of the style. These, however, quickly changed her mind. "It wasn't until I needed a pair of shoes that worked with some slightly too-short (and therefore calling for a pair of flats) trousers that my mind began to shift about them. Specifically, I brought out a pair of brown suede Margaux flats that I'd gotten about a year before that. I wore them that one time and genuinely have barely taken them off since. They're definitely my most-worn shoes of the summer, with something like 500,000 steps of use and by far the most comfortable dressed-up footwear option in my collection," she explained.

Senior market editor Judith Jones also became a big fan of the shoes after she bought them at a suggestion from Harling Ross. "I'm still shocked at just how beautiful the quality is. Not to mention they're super comfortable and ultra versatile. I own a tan pair but can't wait to get more in different colors," she said.

4. Zara Ruched Ballet Flats

Zara is probably the quickest to make an affordable version of the most-wanted items on the market, and things were no different when ballet flats became more prominent. Offered in pristine white, dusty pink, and classic black, Zara's style has got you covered if you're interested in testing out the trend on a budget. I've never had an issue of discomfort with Zara's flats, as the brand always exceeds my comfort expectations with its simpler silhouettes.

5. Mango Mesh Ballerinas

While Khaite's and Alaïa's mesh flats are currently out of stock everywhere (you may find some luck on secondhand sites), these Mango flats are your current shot at joining in on the fun. While they're definitely a statement, they still can easily be paired with casual items like jeans to spruce things up.

6. Tory Burch Runway Ballet Flats

We've all seen the iconic Tory Burch logo flats. When they were first released, it seemed like everyone wanted to get their hands on them. With the latest impeccable runway collections, it's no surprise Burch brought a newer approach to the brand's classic ballet flats. Customers were happy about the new style direction as well, with one reviewer posting on the Tory Burch website, "Not only are these ballet slippers fabulously comfortable, there are the first new look in the popular flat in many years. Putting the shoe-toe on slippers you and I can wear was sheer genius. It is a totally new look that is so welcome in the boring world of ballet flats that look the same every year. I wish they were not sold out. I would buy every color."

7. Jeffrey Campbell Arabesque Ballet Flats

When I first spotted these flats while visiting Nordstrom's NYC flagship, I was shocked at how luxe they looked in person. They mimic popular designer styles but also come in fun colorways like blue denim, hot pink, and fiery red. If you already own a staple pair of ballet flats, these would be an excellent way to purchase buzzier trends without spending a fortune.

8. The Row Elastic Ballet Flats

Although they come at a hefty price point, The Row's ballet flats don't have a single bad review (that I can find, at least). They feature a barely there sole and buttery-soft leather and come in a few muted shades. According to The Row expert Neelam Ahooja, they fit true to size. They are more delicate than the others in this roundup, so they shouldn't be the ones you reach for when you'll be walking miles.

9. Dear Frances Balla Mesh Flats

If your social media algorithm is in tune with mine, you might have been seeing these mesh ballet flats all over your feed recently. (The toes are out this summer!) Based on reviews, many customers did have some issues with sizing, with many suggesting that the sizing runs big, and those with wider feet have a better fit when going a size up. However, after finding the perfect size, they had nothing but glowing reviews. One reviewer posted on the brand's site, "I was afraid the edging of these would dig into my heels. Nope. I was afraid the soles would be too thin and hurt my legs walking around on concrete. Nope. These are comfortable and sexy. I generally would never buy shoes blind off the internet, and I did need to exchange them for a half-size smaller, but these shoes are amazing. So happy I bought them, and I have no remorse at all."

10. Vibi Venezia Mary Jane Ballerina Flats

When I first spotted these flats on my TikTok feed, I was intrigued by the slipper-like silhouette. Our associate director of fashion news, Erin Fitzpatrick, was quick to share her love for the shoes when she found out I was writing this story. "I absolutely love these comfortable flats. The fabric of my pair is super-soft terry cloth, and the shoes feel like walking on a cloud. I was able to wear these for an entire day right out of the box—no breaking in necessary and definitely no blisters," she raved.

11. Reformation Bethany Ballet Flats

We're big fans of Reformation's clothing here at Who What Wear, and its latest collection of shoes has been impressing us. My pick has to be the mesh option, as it brings a 2024 trend-forward element without being too much of a statement like other popular picks.

12. Chanel Ballet Flats

It's not possible to talk about ballet flats without bringing up Chanel. The cap-toe flats and slingbacks have almost become synonymous with the aesthetic surrounding the luxury brand. You can find dozens of reviews online, many complimenting the supple lambskin leather that has slightly more stretch than other leather shoes. Considering the flats are a derivative of the pumps that launched in 1957, you can be comfortable knowing these shoes will never go out of style.

13. H&M Ballet Flats

In my past H&M shopping experience, it's always been the pieces from the Premium collection that have impressed me the most. One H&M reviewer went so far as to say they were "literally and truthfully the most comfortable pair of flats [they've] ever tried on."

14. Loeffler Randall Leonie Flats

Made from Italian leather, Loeffler Randall's ballet flats remind me of the luxury-label options at a fraction of the price. Based on reviews, it's been recommended by customers with wide feet to go up half a size, and those with narrow feet should stick to their regular size. One Nordstrom reviewer called them "buttery soft, adorable, and so comfortable."

Associate Fashion Editor
Yusra Siddiqui is an editor who resides in New Jersey but bounces between the suburbs and NYC. (She's a Jersey girl at heart.) After interning at Who What Wear in 2019, she found her way to the team after graduating from LIM College in 2022 with a fashion media degree. She's also spent time writing and working for publications such as Fashionista, Coveteur, and Nylon, but she always knew that Who What Wear was where she was meant to be. When she's on the job, she's perusing runway shows, analyzing the latest thing fellow Gen Zers are up to on the internet, and sharing what she can about the modest-fashion market. You can also catch her dabbling in entertainment, talking about the costume choices of the latest Netflix series or diving deeper into how the plotline affects the viewers in a myriad of ways. Lastly, she likes to create content for Who What Wear's TikTok. Her personal time is spent doing similar but also different things—deep diving into almost every new TV show (Bridgerton, Gilmore Girls, and Stranger Things are favorites), planning her next local getaway (whenever that may be), and reading the latest Emily Henry or Sally Rooney novel in one sitting.