Everyone has that one fashion item that excites them more than any other. Beautifully crafted handbags are a common favourite, as are wool coats and expertly tailored dresses. For me, it’s shoes — handmade, hand-stitched, buttery-soft shoes. And after spending far too much time in quarantine perusing this season’s selection of fine footwear, it’s clear to me that the ballet flat has a new look.
I first caught wind of the shoe’s makeover via an Instagram post by NYC-based brand Khaite’s creative director Catherine Holstein. Designed for the brand’s pre-autumn ‘20 collection, the Ashland Ballet Flat came up higher on the top than a regular ballet flat, had a squared-off toe, and was topped with a delicate string bow. I immediately wanted a pair. And given that the style in both white and black are almost completely sold-out — despite costing £560— I wasn’t the only one.
With a newfound love for the silhouette, I started spotting ballet flats with a high throat everywhere. I found myself yearning to buy The Row’s mesh slippers and Loewe’s crystal-embellished flats; I imagined walking into Mansur Gavriel’s millennial pink store in SoHo and leaving with a pair of Dream Ballerinas. Unlike the classic ballerina flats, this year’s selection is unexpected, with materials like mesh and more angular silhouettes, yet still timeless and versatile.
For someone like myself, whose collection of footwear consists of loafers and heeled sandals in the summer and a very tall pair of black boots in the winter, craving the comfort of a ballet flat came as a surprise. Alas, when shoes as good as these come along — especially given how little there is to get excited about these days — you embrace them with open arms.
See for yourself by shopping the ballet flats ahead.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
Khaite The Ashland Ballet Flat, $, available at khaite
Pêche Heize Ballerina Flats, $, available at Pêche
HEREU Puntera Pleated-Toe Pump, $, available at HEREU
Mango Gathered Leather Ballerina, $, available at Mango
Loewe Leather Ballet Flats, $, available at mytheresa
Jeffrey Campbell Ballet Flat, $, available at Nordstrom
Emme Parsons Brown High Throat Ballerina Flats, $, available at SSENSE
Neous Phinia Leather Ballet Flats, $, available at mytheresa
Porte & Paire Leather-Trimmed Fishnet Loafers, $, available at Net-A-Porter
Charles & Keith Ankle Tie Ballerina Flats, $, available at Charles & Keith
The Row Leather And Mesh Ballet Flats, $, available at Matches Fashion
Macgraw House Ballerinas, $, available at Farfetch
ASOS DESIGN Layer Leather Bow Ballet Flats, $, available at ASOS
Noon Studio Ballet Flat, $, available at Noon Studio
Schutz Arissa Square Toe Ballet Flat, $, available at Nordstrom
Martiniano Glove Slip-On Shoe in Beige, $, available at Need Supply
Mansur Gavriel Dream Ballerina, $, available at Mansur Gavriel
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