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The best flats for women
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- It’s surprisingly hard to find comfortable flats that actually look good with most outfits, but the Everlane Day Glove flats are the answer.
- They won’t give you blisters or create an awkward leg line when you wear dresses — what more could you want?
One of the most cliché but true pieces of fashion advice that every woman comes across at one point or another is this: Buy at least one good pair of flats. Heels are great and all, but flats are the shoes that you can really live your life in. They don’t hold you back — unless they give you massive blisters, of course.
To use another cliché, comfort is key here. Otherwise, what’s the point? Just wear those heeled booties that everyone pretends are comfortable but actually make your back ache by midday. Your flats should be cozy enough to wear morning and night, cute enough to elevate a basic outfit, but simple enough to go with most of the items in your closet.
But for shoes that profess to be comfortable, flats have given me some of the worst foot pain of my life. Even the pointiest stilettos can’t hurt me the way a stiff pair of leather ballet flats can. We’ve rounded up four pairs of flats with the best reviews to help you break the cycle of hope and bleeding ankles that so often comes with shopping for the perfect pair of everyday shoes.
Here are the best flats for women:
- Best flats overall: Everlane Day Glove
- Best travel-friendly flats: Allbirds Tree Breezer
- Best sustainable flats: Rothy’s Flat
- Best flats for wide feet: Margaux Demi
- Best luxury flats: M. Gemi Stellato Sacchetto
- Best ballet flats: Sam Edelman ‘Felicia’ Flat
Updated on 10/22/2019 by Connie Chen: Updated links, formatting, and prices.
The best flats overall
The hardest part of shopping for flats is finding a pair that combines comfort, style, and versatility. Enter: The Day Glove flats by Everlane.
This is it — the wear-with-anything shoe you’ve been waiting for all your life. Everlane’s leather Day Glove flat is an almost (but not quite) ballet slipper guaranteed to go with just about all your clothing, even workwear. It’s like the perfect “nothing” shoe. It’s cute enough not to ruin your outfit but plain enough not to make a huge statement.
Everlane’s product description boasts “a snug, glove-like fit” that “will give with time and mold to the shape of your foot.” Not only will the flats last, they’ll get more comfortable over time! The shoes also feature pull tabs, ventilation holes, and comfy insoles to eliminate some of the most common comfort-related issues flats pose.
The Day Glove flats come in 14 colors, including classics like black and white as well as some fun shades like Rose and Pale Lemon, and they cost $115. While not inexpensive, this is a great deal for shoes that will last you more than one season. Since the Day Glove flat first launched in 2018, it has become the number one bestseller at Everlane. The Insider Picks team wrote up a full review after test-driving these flats, and they remain an all-time favorite from the brand.
“Everlane’s Day Glove flats are much more comfortable than any other flats I’ve tried,” writes Insider Picks guides editor Malarie Gokey, “They actually fit my foot and move with me — not against me.”
The shoes also garnered several rave reviews on The Cut, and Bustle editor Olivia Muenter reported that 100 Everlane customers who tried the shoes before the official launch had overwhelmingly positive feedback: “While the 100 reviewers all had slightly different takeaways from the shoes overall, there was one description that came up again and again: that they actually fit like gloves.”
In addition to the original leather style, you might also consider the ReKnit version, which has a textured, breathable knit upper and is made from recycled materials. It’s not available in as many colors, but it is more affordable at $98 and is just as comfortable as its predecessor. — Erin Mayer
Pros: Molds to your foot shape over time cushioned insoles for support, ventilated, pull tab for easy slip-on
Cons: On the pricey side, reviewers noted that snug fit means you may want to size up, Everlane only has four retail locations so you’ll likely need to order online.
The best travel-friendly flats
You don’t have to resort to wearing sneakers when you travel thanks to the soft, pliable, and supportive Allbirds Tree Breezer.
Allbirds is probably better known for its Silicon Valley uniform-mandated sneakers like the Wool Runners and Tree Runners. But when you don’t want to wear sneakers but still need the same comfort and support, you’re better off with its flat silhouette, the Tree Breezer.
These are the flats you’ll want to pack in your suitcase because a) they’re very light and you can fold them up to maximize packing space, and b) you can walk around in them all day long.
Quell any fears you have of hobbling through a walking tour or calling it an early night because your feet have become one giant blister. The Breezers have bouncy outsoles made from sugarcane and soft, odor-minimizing merino wool-lined insoles. The knit collar wraps onto your foot securely, and the rest of the shoe’s knit body is breathable and feels silky smooth against your skin.
Since the style is more sleek and formal than Allbirds’ other shoes, they won’t look out of place in a dressier environment. Instead of packing multiple pairs of shoes, you can just bring your all-in-one Tree Breezer flats. If you don’t have a chance to try them first before you board your flight, don’t worry — most of the Insider Picks team didn’t need to break them in. — Connie Chen
Pros: First Allbirds style available in half sizes, lightweight, foldable, machine-washable
Cons: High popularity and limited stock mean many sizes or colors are often sold out
The best sustainable flats
On top of being versatile, lightweight, and machine-washable, the Rothy’s Flat is sustainably made, and comes in a pointed-toe silhouette. It’s the ideal shoe for the conscious consumer.
Shoe brand Rothy’s was born out of the desire to repurpose wasteful, single-use plastics into something beautiful and practical. All of its knit shoes are made from 100% post-consumer plastic water bottles, which are hot washed, sterilized, then fused into a fiber that is knit into yarn.
The insoles contain recycled foam, while the rubber soles are carbon-free. The adhesives used are non-toxic and vegan. Even the packaging is made from post-consumer recycled materials and is biodegradable.
The lofty challenge of reducing your impact on the planet feels more manageable when you start with the things you use in your everyday life. Thanks to Rothy’s, the endeavor won’t compromise style or comfort.
Rothy’s Flat is the choice for many modern working women because it boasts zero break-in time, a sleek look, and moisture-wicking breathability. You’ll feel the difference immediately after slipping your feet in; the flats are very light and flexible, with a bit of give, and there aren’t any uncomfortable seams or edges. They come in both round toe and pointed-toe silhouettes.
Keeping them in top shape is as easy as throwing them in the washing machine. You can also buy extra insoles to help prolong their life. After wearing them often (and you will because of their versatility), you might wonder if they’ll actually hold up. But we’ve been wearing and washing our pairs for more than a year and they look and feel as good as they did on day one.
As a Vox article highlights, some women are such fans of the look and comfort that they wear the flats almost exclusively. It’s also not unexpected to own multiple pairs since Rothy’s offers many different colors and patterns. Most of them have limited runs, so don’t wait too long on a style that catches your eye, and check back on the site often for new colors. —Connie Chen
Pros: Eco-friendly construction, machine-washable, don’t stretch out over time, good variety of rotating colors and patterns
Cons: Fit might be narrow (particularly the pointed-toe style), so could need to size up
The best flats for wide feet
Margaux’s Demi Flat comes in three different shoe widths, so you never have to miss out on a cute flat style because of your foot shape.
Ballet flats look deceptively simple. You know if you’re reading this guide that it’s hard to get the fit just right — some pairs gape, while others rely on uncomfortable heel elastics to stay on your foot.
You won’t encounter this problem with Margaux. It makes flats in a large range of sizes (from 3 through 14), including half sizes. Instead of suggesting you size up or down for wide and narrow feet, the company ensures fit precision by offering each size in Narrow, Medium, and Wide widths. There’s also a made-to-order option for a truly custom fit.
The Demi Flat from Margaux is a simple and elegant ballet flat that benefits from this sizing design. Editor Sally Kaplan, who has tried both Medium and Wide pairs of the flat, realized, “With all the walking I do, my feet end up swelling a bit, and the wide pair is more comfortable for long days out.”
They feature plush foam padding to give your foot some support, as well as a small heel so you’re not walking completely flat on the ground. The bow at the top of the shoe is adjustable in case you want to give your foot even more breathing room.
You can get the flats in two luxuriously soft and flexible materials, Italian suede or Italian napa leather, which each come in a small selection of colors that show off the materials beautifully.
Though they’re more expensive than average at $155 a pair, one online reviewer sums up the appeal of Margaux’s flats perfectly: “I’d rather own a single solid pair of ballet flats than a whole bunch of fun, but poorly made ones.” — Connie Chen
Pros: Available in half sizes and three widths, elegant design, high-quality construction
Cons: Smaller color and pattern variety than other flat brands, can take some break-in time at the heel
The best luxury flats
The Stellato Sacchetto flats by M. Gemi have the look of a loafer and a pointy flat combined, and they’re made of a buttery suede.
Cheap finds are amazing, but sometimes you want to shell out a little more cash for something that will really last. Flat shoes make a great style investment because they are more classic than they are trendy, and you can wear them with so many different pieces.
People online seem especially into The Stellato Sacchetto flats by the brand M. Gemi. Made in Toscana, Italy, these suede shoes feature an elegant pointed toe design. They come in eight different colors, from staples like black and cocoa brown to bolder shades like boysenberry and cerulean.
The Stellato Sacchetto shoes are made using the sacchetto technique, “meaning it’s formed from one piece of suede, sans the stiff insole.” Like the Everlane Day Glove, the brand claims these shoes will mold to fit the unique contours of your feet the more you wear them. Most things in life don’t bend to your will the same way, so I think that’s a major selling point.
Brit & Co. lists these shoes in its article “20 Pairs of Flats You’ll Wear Every Day,” and the flats have tons of glowing reviews on the M. Gemi website. “I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and craftsmanship of the shoe and adored the personalized packaging upon receiving it. Classy, elegant, comfortable and made in Italy at a reasonable price — need I say more?” says one customer.
“I love this shoe. I wear it almost everyday to work and will wear on the weekends when running errands cause it’s more comfortable than a sneaker (and way cuter 😉),” writes another, who notes that she’s had the same pair for three years running. — Erin Mayer
Note: Many colors are currently sold out. Add your name to the waitlist for an upcoming restock.
Pros: Sophisticated and elegant design, high-quality, comfortable, made to last
Cons: Not an all-weather shoe due to the suede material
The best ballet flats
The Sam Edelman ‘Felicia’ Flats are the perfect ballet flats because they’re not too prim and proper, but not particularly edgy, either.
You’re either a ballet flat person or you’re so not a ballet flat person. While any rounded toe shoe could technically be included in this category, I only count the ones with ballet-esque detailing as true ballet flats. It’s the former dancer in me — She’s bored and has nothing better to do than critique Natalie Portman’s technique in “Black Swan” and judge your footwear.
Sam Edelman ‘Felicia’ Flat really does look like a ballet slipper I used to buy at my local dance supply store, with its softly rounded upper and elastic bows on the toes. It comes in a ton of different materials and colors, from your classic black leather to mulberry suede. There are even a few patterned options if that’s more your speed.
“[T]hese flats felt like slippers from the moment I took them out of the box,” writes one buyer. “I’m so happy with them I am donating all my other ballerina flats that hurt but are cute. These were definitely worth every penny.”
Several reviewers said they loved these flats so much they bought them in multiple colors. The main con people mentioned had to do with sizing. The shoes run a little small, so consider sizing up. — Erin Mayer
Pros: Tons of color and fabric options, reasonably priced, comfortable
Cons: May not run true to size