First of all, what are Tieks?
If you’re not on Pinterest or don’t keep up with Oprah’s “O List”, here’s the scoop on the new “it” shoe. Tieks by Gavrieli is a family-owned company that has been touted as the most versatile and comfortable designer ballerina flat-maker in the world. Tieks’ primary goal has been to adapt the iconic ballerina flat for the modern woman and I’d say they’ve been successful in doing so. Each pair of Tieks is handmade from Italian leather and takes three days and 150 steps to make, including hand stitching. Flexible is really an understatement; these flats are so flexible in fact that they can actually be folded in half and stowed in a purse. Every pair of Tieks feature the non-slip, signature Tieks blue rubber soles which supposedly make them both incredibly durable as well comfortable. As you might imagine, this luxury can get pretty spendy; Tieks range in price from $175 at the low end to over $300 for a higher-end pair so it’s not a purchase decision to take lightly.
The brand originally started gaining traction after Oprah was spotted wearing them and then featured them in her magazine. Ever since, Tieks has been building a larger and larger following among other A-listers as well as a mass of regular, everyday women, all of whom are apparently on Pinterest. Seriously, between Tieks itself and the many bloggers who have written reviews about them, these chicks were absolutely blowing up my Pinterest feed on the daily. After doing some researching of my own and being worn down over time by this barrage of pins, I eventually gave in and ordered a pair for myself.
One important note about Tieks: For god only knows what annoying reason, Tieks are only made in whole sizes. W.T.F. Seriously I know. As a woman who predominately wears a half size, I feel your pain. In my experience, given that they do stretch a bit with some wear, you will want to size down.
My Tieks Experience
Upon delivery of my Tieks I noted the impeccable packaging which consisted of a small blue box with a beautiful, sparkly pink flower on top. Honestly y’all, I’ve read several reviews from women noting that they were planning to repurpose that flower as a headband for their young daughters which is all good and fine but honestly, my DIY brain can think of a million ways for grown women to repurpose it as well. At any rate, some other reviewers noted that they thought the extravagant packaging was unnecessary and while I don’t disagree with that, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it.
I found my new pair of Silver Screen Tieks folded up inside the box along with a hand-written note (no joke), a small black bag which the Tieks fit into and another bigger bag in blue that is meant for putting your heels in when you change into your Tieks. As soon as I took my new Tieks out of the box, I unfolded them and put them on immediately. First things first, they felt too loose throughout and I worried they would slip off my heels though they never actually did. As you can imagine, I was a bit less than impressed given the price point.
Thankfully, Tieks has an excellent exchange policy and at my request, they shipped out my new Matte Black pair in a size 7 along with a prepaid return label for whichever pair I ultimately decided to return. The size 7 pair initially felt too tight on my toes right out of the box which was disappointing but thankfully, they did loosen up after a little bit of wear and have quickly become one of my most comfortable pairs of shoes.
I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical given all of the hype but surprisingly, the Tieks really delivered on the promise of being comfortable for long-term wear in a way that only one other ballet flat has been able to (Yosi Samra – post coming soon!) in my experience. I’m pretty hard on my shoes and with the exception of my Yosi flats and now my Tieks, wearing even my most comfortable pairs of flats extensively in the past resulted in a LOT of heel blisters and sore big toes or pinky toes. This is really a no-go for me particularly as a traveler because I don’t have the luxury of packing 12 different pairs of shoes in my carry-on; shoes I can wear from dawn to dusk and still be comfortable in the next day are an absolute must.
Now while I did get a blister on the bottom of my right foot wearing the first too-big pair of Tieks around night and day (see pic), I can report zero heel blisters/pain ever and no squeezed toes with the smaller pair after the initial break-in period.
My Yosi Samra flats (of which I now have about 4 pairs in various colors) were supremely comfortable as well and, in many ways, could give the Tieks a run for their money. The truth is that I love them both immensely and the Yosi Samra flats are about ½ the cost of the Tieks so that’s certainly a plus. That said, there is at least one very crucial difference between the two brands which is durability. Within just a few months of admittedly almost everyday wear, one of my Yosi flats has a hole in the upper and the sole which was much thinner than the Tieks to begin with, is much thinner and not likely to stand up to more long-term wear. On the other hand, the Tieks and their signature thick blue soles do legitimately seem to be a heck of a lot more durable. On virtually every pair of my Yosi flats, I have scuffs on the toes and heels already after only a handful of wears. Le sigh. Thankfully, this isn’t true for the Tieks which makes me a lot more confident about how they’ll hold up over time. Anyway, #firstworldproblems.
One last thing that struck me about wearing the Tieks was that they were recognized seemingly EVERYWERE and I was constantly being asked about them. I really think it’s the signature Tieks blue soles (in addition to the blue back stripe) that is so tell-tale; y’all would not even believe the sheer number of friends, colleagues and even perfect strangers who were able to pick them out from across a room!
So all of that said, will I wear these flats on a regular basis? Absolutely. Are they worth the investment? In my opinion, that’s a hands-down yes. I’m a fan ofTieks for their durability, the fact that they’re not only cute AND comfortable but also versatile enough to look just as good for casual wear with jeans as they do dressed up with a skirt or dress. For all of these reasons, I have to conclude that yes, despite the initial sticker shock, I will get enough usage out of them to justify the $175 price tag.
That said, whether or not Tieks would be a good investment for you will depend entirely on your own individual fit, preferences and how often you think you’d be able to wear them given your own wardrobe. If you do want to try them out for yourself, my advice would be to go ahead and order a pair as it’s really no risk to you if they don’t work out given Tieks’ excellent return policy. If you’re on the fence about what color to order, my best recommendation would be to choose the most versatile color you can to ensure ample opportunity to wear them and get your money’s worth, likely a neutral, matte black or one of the awesome metallics (see right; I wear wild copper nearly daily!). If you don’t see yourself getting enough wear out of them to rationalize the cost, you may want to consider buying a pair of Yosi Samra flats which, while less durable, are just as cute and comfortable for roughly half the cost.
Update: I even gifted a pair of Tieks to my sister who was 8 months pregnant at the time and in desperate need of cute, comfortable shoes that fit her sore and swollen feet. If you think about it, this is really like dying and going to shoe heaven if you find shoes that are comfy even when you’ve got a sizable little one on board. She’s been very happy with them thus far so I think I can say this with conviction: It’s Tieks for the win!
Do you own a pair of Tieks or have you been considering buying a pair? I’d love to know what you think of them.
For more information and to check out the Tieks ‘Boutiek’ (65 colors and counting!), visit Tieks.com.
Disclaimer: This product review is my honest opinion based on my own experience wearing Tieks. Tieks has not compensated me in any way for this post nor would I ever endorse any product I didn’t absolutely love and believe in.