Tieks Travel Review: Are Tieks Ballet Flats Worth It?

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I originally wrote this Tieks ballet flats review in 2012 after Tieks sent me a free pair to try. I’m updating this as a Tieks travel review as I have been wearing them for 6 years.

I’ve been fortunate enough that they’ve sent me two more pairs, but I’ve also bought two pairs on my own.

Here’s why Tieks ballet flats are perfect for travel.

When it comes to travel clothing I’m a minimalist.

I prefer to travel in dresses, not because I’m formal but choosing one dress is easier than matching a top and bottom. I travel with less and I’m never underdressed.

Many times I also only travel with one pair of shoes and those are Tieks.

They need to be comfortable enough to trudge through the cobblestone streets of Cusco while also looking fashionable enough for nights out in Rome.
 
 

 
Tieks Travel Review: Are Tieks Ballet Flats worth the price? I've been traveling for the last eight years and here's why I always wear them
Enjoying the view in India

I haven’t always been this way. I wrote about post called Pack This, Not That, explaining what to pack for South America based on my mistakes.

I wrote ugly zip off pants a few times and hideous Chacos throughout Central America until I was robbed in Nicaragua.

After two years of traveling non-stop I was tired of looking like a slobby backpacker, or worse, a gringo.

When Tieks reached out in 2012 I was ready.

I’ve updated this post because I wanted to keep all of the comments people have written over the years. No shoe is perfect for everyone and some people have valid criticism.

So six years, five pairs and four continents later let me tell give you the skinny.

 
Tieks Reviews - here's an honest review of wearing the Italian leather ballet flats while traveling.
Yes I actually went caving with a sundress and my Tieks.

The Honest Tieks Ballet Flats Review

The Good

High quality Italian leather shoes. The thick teal base makes them great for walking on streets all day.

I haven’t found any other ballet flats that can withstand long hours on cobblestone streets.

Can I mention again they have great soles. When I showed up for a cave tour in a sundress and ballet flats the Cuban tour company thought I was crazy.

But I didn’t slip once, unlike other participants in sandals.

Diversity of colours. I tend to choose neutral golds because they go with everything.

I’ve had two pairs of Starstruck and most recently wild Copper but I’ve also worn ruby red.

Avoiding leather? There are vegan options. I’ve never worn them but I’ve heard good things.

They really do last. These are my go-to shoes when I travel. The soles are thick and don’t wear out.

I’ve only tossed them after I wore them so often for two years that the leather separated from the base. I could have taken them to be fixed but I was hankering for new shiny ones.

You don’t have to take them off for airport security. Minor point here but I like that they don’t set off the detector.

 
Tieks Ballet Flats: Are they worth the price? Here's an honest review with the pros and cons of traveling with Tieks
The gorgeous tilework in Merida, Mexico

The Not So Good

Tieks ballet flats are not cheap shoes. They range from $165 to $295. The Starstruck fall in the middle at $265.

I walk a lot so $200-300/year for comfortable shoes that I wear daily is worth it.

Previously in Rome, I have the painful memory of coming home with ridiculously sore feet because the cobblestone streets crushed my previous cheap flats.

I cannot go back to sore feet because I don’t want to spend the money for quality.

Durability. The Starstruck have a rough sandpaper like exterior that masks a lot of wear.

In January I opted for the more subtle Wild Copper which have a snakeskin like exterior. I’ve noticed more wear and tear on them after 6 months of daily wear.

I’ll probably get a year’s wear with them and need to buy another pair.

Some readers commented below that they were tough to break in. I did not notice that at all with my Starstruck Tieks but the Wild Copper did give a few blisters the first two weeks.

But I consider this normal while breaking in any kind of leather shoe. If these aren’t for you check out Practical Wanderlust’s thoughts on best women’s travel shoes.

 
Are Tieks ballet flats worth the price? Here's an honest Tieks travel review of the pros and cons of these Italian leather flats.
Practicing my best model pose with Miss Universe Barbados Lesley Chapman-Andrews

Do Tieks Ever Go on Sale?

It’s very rare but a Tieks sale has happened in the past. Sometimes you can find a discount code although I haven’t seen one in years.

When I originally wrote this post I offered a 20% off code for the holidays so never say never!

But I’ve paid full price without regret, I really do love them.

Also check out Veronika’s picks for best walking shoes for Europe.

I hope you enjoyed my honest Tieks ballet flats review. If you have a pair of these ballet flats I’d love to hear your thoughts or if you have a favourite travel shoe let me know in the comments below.

 

Join the Conversation

  1. Amber DeGrace says:

    SO ENVIOUS. I love Tieks but haven’t been able to convince myself to cough up the dough. They seem great for travel since they’re comfy and could be tucked in a weekend bag so easily. Nice review!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      They are a bit pricey but if you aren’t on a backpacker budget they are worth the investment. So many people commented on them, they really dress up an outfit.

      1. If you have a DSW in your area (Discount Shoe Warehouse)I found them there. Check the sale racks first!

        1. $265 for ballet flats??? I couldn’t breath for a few minutes! Thanks for the note about DSW, I may be able to do that! I’m looking for comfortable shoes for a formal, black tie event. I will be wearing a long gown and haven’t worn heels for about 15 years… don’t know if I can anymore. Any ideas? I need some elevation due to the length of the dress. Thanks everyone!

          1. DSW doesn’t carry Tieks.

          2. Ayngelina Author says:

            I’m afraid I think the only place you can get them is on Tieks.com – even Amazon doesn’t carry them.

          3. If you don’t want to take the big plunge on Tieks, try a Cole Haan outlet or …their Jenni ballet flat is VERY comfortable, and usually less than $100.

    2. Don’t do it… Ouch is all I have to say. I got them last night . I was so excited I put them on first thing this morning. Drove to work, takes me an hour, I had to stop and get some moleskin and bandaids my toes were seriously hurting. Got to work got some hand balls and put in to stretch out. Had a meeting. 2 hours later. Painful. At lunch I had to buy another pair of shoes. Relief. I called in and was told no returns once worn. To be fair they do have that written but to spend 200.00 on shoes that are that painful and have been worn a maximum of 4 hours, mostly sitting, this has to be workmanship. The leather runs straight across… anyway once you put them on your feet they are yours. Take warning. I’m very sad this was my birthday present.

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        I’m so surprised you had such an issue. Normally shoes take a bit to break in but this seems more than what someone would normally expect. Which ones did you get?

    3. Hopefuldope says:

      Big issue not covered here is that the price of these shoes tops $300 Canadian once you factor exchange and duties which works out to be $225US! So we end up paying quite the premium to bring this into canada. No longer finding it worth it especially now that I have to exchange and won’t recoup duty charges paid.

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        How much did you have to pay in total? I’ve had three pairs now and I remember paying a bit in duty but not a huge amount.
        But I do agree the US exchange rate is really hurting Canadians right now.

  2. I’ve been eyeing Tieks for a while but haven’t been able to get past the price tag…but maybe with a coupon I’ll treat myself this Christmas 🙂 Thanks Ayngelina!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      When I first spoke to Tieks I was hesitant to even try them out thinking they would be too expensive but after wearing them I’m willing to invest in a second pair.

  3. A Montrealer Abroad (@amontrealer) says:

    I just ordered my first pair recently, the leopard print! Very excited to get them 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I thought about the leopard print as well, they would be perfect with jeans.

  4. Honey! I have watched way too many episodes of “What Not To Wear” to assist you with this. Anthropologie is a great shop if you want to mix it up. Coal Miner’s Daughther, Bicyclette and Girl Friday are other good options for interesting pieces.And if you do revert back to black, use a fun scarf or accessory to mix things up! And for less expensive flats, I would recommend Damn Heels ($55) that come in a little clutch too.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks for the tips!

  5. These look great! And so many color choices–I think a pair or two are in my future.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I adore the sparkly ones. They are so small it would be difficult not to tuck them into luggage – just in case you go somewhere nice.

  6. Torre – Fearful Adventurer says:

    I love them.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Haha me too!

  7. This is the second time I’ve heard about Tieks and I have to say, I’d love a pair for when I get married. So chic and looks comfy. The price tag is a bit steep though, so maybe I’ll add to to my bridal registry. Lol. Love your pants your wore for the conference tho.. super cute!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      They would be perfect for a wedding. The lovestruck pair would be formal enough under a dress and so comfortable for the big day.

  8. Koren @ City Gal says:

    I love fashion (I’m a New Yorker, obviously I do!) and I think these are super cute! Love the gold for the holiday season too!
    Tips for looking good when traveling depend on the weather, but I find in cooler weather a scarf can add so much to your outfit. They pack super easily as well. A nice leather bag also adds a lot, and can double as an extra bag for storage/carry on. And, of course, a cute pair of flats like these don’t take up much space but can really dress up a casual outfit!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The next thing on my list to buy is a good day bag to travel with for shorter weekend trips. If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

      1. Kathleen Kennedy says:

        Sherpani bags are lightweight, durable, cute, not run-of-the-mill, and reasonably priced. Nice selection of tiny to carryon.

  9. I’ve had the Tieks site bookmarked for a few months now, but haven’t been able to afford a pair yet. I love them, though!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Keep saving, they are worth the investment!

  10. LOVE these, especially the glittery gold!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I knew I wanted this style after I saw your gold ones. Now we’re twinsies.

  11. A nice pair of earrings and a scarf! Always very very helpful. And I also like a pair of fashionable Havaianas. =)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      All great suggestions, thanks!

  12. I own a pair of Tieks too (in gold), and love them! I discovered them in 2010 by clicking on a FB ad… Probably the only ad I’ve ever clicked on!

    They were running an end of year sale, and I splurged. Definitely worth while. They fold down to small enough to fit in a purse (not a clutch though), which comes in handy living in San Francisco!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Now that I have a pair I do see the advertising everywhere. I love the gold ones, and now just need a pair for everyday…well once the snow leaves in Canada, until then I’m stuck in boots.

  13. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    OMG OMG OMG I want and need!!!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      They really are perfect for you.

  14. I keep seeing ads for these on Facebook and they sound wonderful, but they’re so expensive I haven’t taken the plunge. Happy to see a review from someone I trust! I think a pair of Tieks is in my future. 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      People are often suspicious of reviews when people get something for free but I’m willing to buy myself another pair and I can’t think of a better way to endorse something.

  15. I like. I really like.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Me too!

  16. I am SO investing in a glittery pair of ballet flats. Those look GORG.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I love them and they are so small to pack, which is good as I keep trying to travel with less and less but shoes take up so much room.

  17. Girl, your outfit looks amazing and look at these shoes! Pretty expensive though, but absolutely worth it!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Definitely pricey but also Italian leather so these things will last. I have bought so many cheap ballet flats that didn’t last more than a month or two.

  18. I’ve recently been looking at some foldable flats on Amazon and what stopped me from getting them is something these Tieks seem to have as well: the elastic band that runs through the shoe. I used to have ballerina’s that curled up at the back and I bought them because I have really slim feet and I thought that the elastic would help me keep them on, but it just kept pushing the heel of the ballerina ino my ancle: AUWCH!

    So I’m wondering: no pain at all?
    They also seem pretty tight around the toes?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      They didn’t bother me and I have wide feet and walked all day in them.

    2. Hello,

      I just bought a pair, and most likely will return them. The inside is not lined and the seam is very irritating to the skin. I am sure I would have blisters in not time when traveling.

      I was very disappointed as they are super cute! I would buy them in every color if they were more comfortable!

      😉

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Oh that’s too bad to hear, which ones did you get?

  19. Meg | One Love Meg says:

    I don’t think a woman can pay too much for comfort. My comfiest shoes to this day are my rainbow flip flops, and clearly those are not appropriate for every occasion. I may need some of these great flats!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      As I get older I see the value in comfortable shoes. In fact since I started traveling I haven’t worn heels once. I just can’t bring myself to do it.

  20. Ever since Angie at Angie Away posted about these I’ve been obsessed… unfortunately I’m on a spending diet at the moment, but I’ve got these filed away for the future. I would ideally like to always travel with a pair of trainers, a pair of flip flops, a pair of dress sandals, and a pair of flats.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That’s a lot of shoes lady!

  21. It seems you found some great shoes! Not sure they will help me, but my answer to your question is easy: I never do!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      well not unless you’re into women’s shoes 🙂

    2. Tieks are great for guys too, you just have to get over the stereotype that guys can’wear flats. I love my Tieks and can’t wait to travel with them because they are so lightweight and comfortable after a short break in period.

  22. Camels & Chocolate says:

    OK, I’ve seen other Tieks that I was just meh about, but the glitter ones? LOVE THEM. They are so perfect! (Though that said, the only time I would ever spend $165 on shoes would be for a really nice pair of boots.)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      When I was younger I always just bought the cheapest shoes possible but I’m starting to realize the price of quality means you don’t have to go buy a new pair of shoes in a month because your cheap ones fell apart.

  23. Emily in Chile says:

    I love that you’re buying your own pair – that’s the best review any company could hope for! And I think we need a picture of you in the outfits, please, because from what I’m seeing laid out on the floor, you looked great.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am getting soo bad at taking photos of myself when I travel now. Next trip I promise.

  24. I LOVE MY TIEKS!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      What style do you have?

      1. Leather leopard print – couldn’t help myself.

  25. Love the shoes, soo glittery! I used to have a pair like this a couple of years ago

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You can’t go wrong with a touch of glitter.

  26. Kae Lani | A Travel Broad says:

    I love this!! What a great idea. They’d be perfect for your purse or carryon… You’ll be the fanciest backpacker around!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Great flight shoes as well. I have to admit I’m a bit of a slouch when I fly and I’m always envious when I see other people so put together.

  27. It is hard to believe that such a small shoe could really be so comfortable, but it sounds like you really gave these the test. I am still looking for the perfect travel shoes but have been sticking with Merrell Mary Janes the last few times.

  28. I also have wide feet, and initially bought a pair of 11’s (which ended up being too big after wearing a couple times) even though I usually wear 10 wides, because the 10s felt a little snug in the toes and all of the photos on their website, you can’t see the models toes showing through–maybe they photoshop it out?! hehe But in your picture it looks like you can see your big toes pressing against the tops of the toe box…I’m wondering, how are they holding up? I was mainly worried that since they are snug against my toes that it would wear through the leather there. But I’ve never had a pair of elastic ballet flats, so what do I know… ; )

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So I have now had the shoes for nine months and I just finished traveling with them through Maui and South America. They continue to be the most comfortable shoes and I’ve been wearing them to work. No doubt they are expensive but everyone comments on them and my feet are never sore after wearing them. Definitely worth the investment.

  29. Hi! Am so torn between the starstruck and lovestruck tieks. Do you have any suggestion which one is better? Coz, I couldn’t find any decent pics of starstruck in day light 🙁

  30. Hi!
    Am torn between the startstruck and love struck tieks. Do you have any suggestion on which one is better? I couldn’t find any decent pics of both in day light (outside room). 🙁

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think the lovestruck are a bit more on the copper side where starstruck is gold.

  31. I love that your go to outfit in Europe is all black, or jeans and black – that’s my go to thing as well. Would be great, though, to have such fun shoes to jazz it up, that DON’T kill your feet!

  32. Did you have any wear an tear where your toes rub against the ground or each other? Like the sparkle rubbing off is specifically my concern. I’ve been eyeing these shoes for a while but have been afraid to take te plunge because of the price and I’m afraid they will get scuffed quickly…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      They don’t wear off at all, I’ve worn them trekking around dusty beach towns in Ecuador and cobblestones in Europe. They hold up really well, definitely not like cheap ballet flats.

  33. Hi Angelina,
    Hope you are fine. My name is Ivan and as a result of an accident on one of my feet (I hurt the top of my feet and broke the arch) I am unable to wear close shoes, so I started trying with sandals and flip flops but sometimes they don’t protect alot the feet. So one day my sister lent me a pair of her flats (we wear equivalent shoe size). I wore them for 2 weeks and I discovered that flats were comfortable for my feet. After that as you, I’ve been wearing flats for the past 8 years, hope you don’t mind a guy wear flats for comfort and health reason 😉
    I was looking for a pair of comfortable and good quality flats and your honest and good review about the Tieks flats and taking in count that you’re a girl that was looking for good quality flats, made me to decide to buy a pair, and honestly , despite they are expensive, (I paid full so I am not paid by Tieks 😉 I found that they are comfortable and good quality flats.I bought in black matte and that color looks great all my men clothes. Maybe in the future when my budget allow me to do it , I will buy and other pairs of Tieks on chesnut or navy blue. This flats had sturdy soles of a sneaker but they are comfy as slippers so it is a win combination. Just a question, I usually wear women shoes US 9 or 9.5 so I got size 10 to have extra room but does your big toes feel a little bit tight on this flats when you start to wear them? do they stretch out a bit?
    Thanks for your great review
    Ivan

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ivan

      Absolutely they are leather and so they will stretch out quite a bit. I have 2 pairs and the older one is considerably more loose.

  34. Elodie Ricard says:

    I’ve been reading up on tieks reviews because I’m eyeing the vegan Silver Lake pair, but I’m now hesitating on getting the leather Clover Green

    Did you receive your Silver Lake pair? How do they fit compared to your leather pair?

    Thanks for your feedback!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Elodie – I haven’t yet as they’ve been completely out of stock! I guess they are too popular. I have red leather as well as the starstruck right now and I swear by them. They’ve traveled with me from Europe to South America. Definitely worth the price.

  35. Terrible Chafing. I tried 3 sizes but kept irritating at rim on upper part of my foot where my big foot starts. The marks took days to go away. I wanted to like them but the pain they caused had me return all of them. Try them indoors first for a few days to make sure they work (if not can return if only wear indoors).

  36. I just tried them and sent them back. My feet are thick/wide with shorter toes and high arches (not fat) and the shoes put too much pressure around my toe area and toe joint (which is already painful if shoes hit that area). Also I was turned off because for such an expensive shoe, the quality control dropped the ball on my pair as the right shoe was smooth and the left shoe had a big crease in the leather about a half inch from the toe. I might have considered trying to break them in if both shoes had looked perfect, but with the defect and the tightness, I decided I could buy three pairs of nice shoes for the cost of the one pair…and sent them back. Currently waiting to try a pair of wide sized Lucky brand ballet flats next, for $50.

  37. Don’t believe it…if you get things for free there is an old saying…”don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” … what it truly means is if someone gives you a diamond don’t tell the world you got a lump of coal…of course Angylina will give good reviews or else no one else will endorse her anymore…nit just Tieks she is winning more endorsements free stuff by writing good things about tieks…to make you buys them…and when someone suggests something else above they are thanked and no mention of ever wanting to try damn heels….no !!!! read between the line ladies …that’s how the get you! My grandfather used to tell me! Well…its your $$$$

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Elle
      Sorry to hear that you doubt my review but I stand by it. Tieks aren’t for everyone and I’ve posted everyone’s comments, including those from people who didn’t enjoy them. I wrote this post in 2012 and since then so many of my photos from around the world have me wearing Tieks and if you come into Loka, our restaurant, you’ll find me wearing a pair that I bought myself.
      I agree some people only write good things but you lose credibility fast, which is why we only recommend things that we really love.

  38. Do Tiekshave very much arch support?…I love ballet flats but they usually end up hurting my feet after a 10 hour day due to lack of arch support.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well I think any shoes will hurt after 10 hours on your feet but they aren’t orthopedic so you’d probably have issues with the arches on these ones too.

  39. Audrey Holmes says:

    I love my Tieks and have recommended to all my friends and coworkers. I paid full price for a pair. I then bought another pair because I loved them so much. I have the leopard print. I am a nurse educator so, I spend many hours a day on my feet. Teiks are well worth the price.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That’s so great to hear someone else loves they as well!

  40. I received the cognac color for my birthday, but am flat footed and after an hour or two, these hurt in the arch area. They have thicker soles, so I’m sad it didn’t feel better. I’ve used here and there, but not worth the cost for me.

  41. I was a skeptic but saw them on so people people I decided to try them. Got the matte black so they would go with everything and they do. The 1st few times I wore them they left marks on my feet and didn’t feel good after after an hour or so. I friend convinced me to keep wearing them so I did. It took about 8- 10 wearings and now I wear them almost every day. I am on my feet 10-12 hours a day and they feel like comfy slippers. They look as great with jeans as they do with a dress or skirt. They are an investment but I wear them so much it is worth it. I really love them and plan to buy another color soon.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I just bought my fourth pair. I agree you do need to wear them in a bit as they are leather and can be a bit rigid at first.

  42. I bought a pair of Tieks for travelling in 2013. I wouldn’t say they’re the most comfortable shoe but they are the most comfortable ballet flat I’ve owned and will hold up to days worth of walking (although it’s nice to take them off at the end of the day). Tieks doesn’t carry half sizes so I went up a size due to the small size of the toe box (as my toe pokes up). After 5 years, this “toe poke” has started to show as the colour of the leather is wearing away in that spot. It’s also very difficult to find shoe cream/polish to fix up the colour (lilac) that has scuffed up close to the sole. I probably won’t buy another pair as there are no half sizes but if you’re looking for a ballet flat that you can walk in all day without too much discomfort and if they fit you right (my heel pops out of the back of mine…slightly too big), then they’re worth the splurge. Mine are 5 years + and I’m just now thinking of retiring them and only because of the scuffing.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I completely wore mine out as well. Actually all three of them but I was very tough on my Tieks wearing them every day in Italy and South America. I just picked up another pair for my next trip to Latin America.

  43. I am finding that buying them gently used saves a lot of money and if they don’t work out , I know i can resell theme easily. I loove the Obdisian Black I got and the classic navy have now started to feel so much better after wearing a few days ( they did hurt in the toe a lot at first. I also got some Classics in camel that are seeming to take longer to break in, so I have not decided fully about this. It sounds like this can be the case due to them being handmade. I just bought some vegans and I think I will have to sell because I have read they do not stretch at all . All i.n all the verdict seems to be it can take time.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Now that is a really great tip.

  44. Brian Davis says:

    Great review. I’ve been interested in Tieks for several years. I’ve spent several hours looking at the Tieks website but never bought a pair. In April I finally bought a pair of sapphire Tieks. After wearing them only a few minutes I realized why so many women love them. 4 days later I ordered a pair of lavender and mint green Tieks. Yes I guess I was “bitten” by the Tieks bug. The only difference between me and most other Tieks fans is I’m a guy. My friends call my a TiekerBoy, haha.
    Hope you’re still loving your Tieks

  45. Is the grip of the soles so good also on unpaved terrains?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      well certainly not like a hiking shoe would be, but I’ve worn mine all over while traveling and main times on dirt roads.

      1. is there any place where they did not have enough traction?

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