If you’re like me – you’ve seen a million posts on Pinterest about Tieks. In fact, until I came across them on Pinterest – I had never even heard of them. When I went to check them out online and saw that they were $175 per pair – I realized I must not run in the $175 for ballet flats kinds of circles and that’s why they were new to me.
Truth be told, I actually can really appreciate a good pair of shoes and I’m willing to pay alot for them (eh-em, I’m looking at you Uggs), so I’m not totally opposed to shoes with that price tag. But I did find it a little alarming for a pair of flats. I mean boots? Maybe. Probably. Booties? Possibly. Sneakers? Yeah I can see that. But ballet flats? Seems like you can find them at Old Navy for $12 – so I needed to find out more.
I’ll admit, when I was doing my due diligence and digging into these shoes, I was taken with the little teal stripe and the teal bottoms. Super cute and different. Then I started reading about the leather — yeah, I like leather. I’ve been known to be a purse snob and never carry anything that isn’t made of soft supple leather (settle down PETA) – and it usually comes with a price tag too. Then you find out that each pair is handmade, and it takes 3 full days to make one pair from start to finish… you get an adorable teal box (ala Tiffany’s) and a carry bag for your heels that you will surely be taking off mid-event… and I was thinking, ok – maybe $175 for a pair of ballet flats is reasonable. Maybe I should try them out…
I got my little tangerine Tieks folded inside a gorgeous teal box and my heart raced – these were going to be amazing! They looked amazing, they smelled amazing, they were packaged amazing – so I put them on — and they were NOT amazing! (Insert collective gasp here)
The front of my toes felt like they were in a straight jacket and the elastic over the top was cutting my skin. I wear a size 8 in every shoe, these were a size 8 – how could they be too small? I don’t have wide feet, I don’t have narrow feet, I don’t have bunions or corns or hammertoes or anything that would excuse the discomfort. I walked around – I vowed to wear them for 90 minutes to see if the leather just needed to relax. No dice.
So I sent them back and got a size 9. (BTW – their customer service is AMAZING – they made returning them a breeze – shipping back and forth was free, and my new Tieks arrived in just a few days). That day when I saw them on my front porch I quickly opened the box and slipped them on – AAAAAANNNNND – they were TOO BIG. I was so frustrated! They were slipping off and squeaking from my feet sleeping on the inside.
If you do a search online for reviews of Tieks you will find that most people really love them – but even the ones that do will talk about how they need to be broken in. Like a really nice leather baseball glove needs to be rolled over with your car about 50 times before it fits right and catches balls right. But who has time for that with shoes? That means I’d have to walk around for days in shoes that were suffocating my toes – with the hopes that they would break in and mold to my feet?
I’m a determined person – I wasn’t letting my hope of Italian leather die. I returned them again and asked for my 8’s back. This time I also purchase a $12 shoe stretcher from Amazon and decided to let it do the work of breaking them in for me. 24 hours of a moderate stretch and WOOOPPEEE – these shoes are AMAZING!
They feel like a second skin when you are wearing them. The leather is soft and flexible and hugs your feet. There is absolutely NO “toe butt”. (If you don’t know what I mean by toe butt – there’s a chance you’ve been wearing flats that show it, and that’s a massive fashion no-no. If you have on flats and can see the “butt-crack” of your big toe/second toe – the rim isn’t deep enough, your shoes are absolutely no good. Toss them, use them as kindling, take them apart and make a craft – but do not put them back on your feet. No one wants to see your toe-butt.) The little teal bottoms are not only adorable, but they are supportive and yet super flexible so it feels like you are walking on a yoga mat. The bottom sole leather is flexible and they can be folded and unfolded at will – great for tucking them in your purse or the handy little bag they supply. You should note – you CAN see the ridges of your toes in the shoe. I don’t know if this bothers anyone – at first I was a little uncertain about it. But its not off-putting, and frankly its soft leather that hugs your foot – it shouldn’t be expected otherwise.
I have heard alot of people say they take their Tieks out of the box and they fit like a glove at first step – and I’ve heard alot say they needed to break them in. I apparently have finicky feet – but I can tell you the little shoe stretchers did the trick and I wouldn’t look back! I’m ready to buy a gray pair and a camel pair. My sister in law has the cardinal red and they are cray-cray-adorbs (#yepIsaidthat). If you’re the “tisk tisk! I don’t wear leather!” kind of person – lucky you – they even have VEGAN Tieks! You win!
Bottom Line: 4 out of 5 stars… If it wasn’t for the fit issues I had, the shoes themselves get a 5+. I would definitely buy them again (I plan to) and I would recommend them to anyone and everyone. Simply know that you may not have the perfect fit right out of the box, and be prepared with a game plan. If you have the patience – get some shoe stretchers (like these) and that will take care of it.
If you own Tieks – or you’re thinking of getting them – leave a comment and lets discuss! Until then, if you see my little teal stripes running around, take note of how comfortable I look!