Ballet flats are one of those classic styles that hardly ever feel dated. However, the past five years have seen this Audrey Hepburn-approved footwear taking a back seat to other easy-to-wear shoe styles: loafers, Chelsea boots, backless slides, minimalist and chunky sneakers. Well, I’m here to tell you the ballet flat is officially trendy again.
According to global shopping platform Lyst, searches for flats, specifically ballet styles, have been on the rise since the beginning of June, increasing by 24 percent week-over-week. In particular, shoppers are looking for Tory Burch and Salvatore Ferragamo and, of course, Chanel. Square toe silhouettes are also growing in popularity…perhaps to match our square-neck tops and dresses. But no matter if you prefer square, rounded, almond or pointy styles, the 2020 version of the ballet flat isn't limited to sweet dainty bows or Mary Jane buckles. Minimalist designs, gathered leather and textured fabrics all feel much more modern.
What’s the best way to style square-toe ballet flats so they look modern?
Swap your skinny jeans for ankle-baring straight or wide-leg trousers (even better if they’re made from a flowy fabric like linen or silk). Or, if you’re more a dresses and skirts kind of person, opt for voluminous tent dresses (both midis or minis will do) or a miniskirt in the style of your choosing. Now, onto the good stuff—here are 15 pairs of ballet flats to shop now and wear forever.
1. Staud Tuli Ballet Flats
The narrow front on these cocoa-brown flats is halfway between a pointed-toe and one that’s squared-off. But it’s 100 percent sleek and polished (and we could so see the Olsen twins wearing these).
2. Tory Burch Multi-Logo Elastic Ballet Flats
Tory Burch has a lot of timeless staples to choose from, but we’re partial to the multi-hued logo embellishment on this pair that adds a little extra interest to the toe box.
3. Franco Sarto Ailee Flats
Black-and-white snake print is just as versatile as plain black, white or beige. Plus, it and can (and should) be worn with summery prints like polka dots, stripes or even a coordinating neutral-hued floral.
4. Frances Valentine Josie Leather Flats
Mary Janes are another super popular style for 2020. For those worried they’ll look twee in a pair of single strap flats, try wearing them with cropped trousers or edgy dresses. Stay away from anything pleated or plaid, or you’ll look like a total schoolgirl.
5. Loeffler Randall Georgie Ballet Flats
One glance at your favorite white sneakers and you’ll remember just how much effort is required to keep them looking fresh. But if you just can’t get the idea of a crisp white summer shoe out of your head, opt for one made of smooth leather that can be easily wiped down after each wear.
6. Linea Paolo Presta Pointed-Toe Flats
The key to finding black flats that are chic and minimalist rather than plain or boring is all in the details. A simple pointy-toe style won’t exactly stand out from the crowd but the addition of a small V at the top of the toe box and suddenly you’re singing an entirely different tune.
7. Zac Zac Posen Vinte Skimmer Flats
Yes, square buckles can look fresh and modern. Just look for styles with sleek hardware and make sure the buckle itself is done up in anything other than black patent leather.
8. M.Gemi The Ballare Flats
M.Gemi’s goal was to create a pair of flats that you could wear right out of the box, no break-in period necessary. And, let me tell you, these Italian-made kicks with a smartly placed elastic strap hit the nail right on the head. The two-tone shoes are incredibly comfortable and fit like a glove—sans any uncomfortable rubbing or pinching. Blisters? We don’t know her.
9. The Row Ballet Square-Toe Leather Flats
If there’s one thing Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen know how to do (aside from starring in a compelling twin-based mystery set in an international locale), it’s to create effortless designs infused with sophisticated minimalism.
10. Christian Louboutin Mamadrague Square-Toe Ballet Flats
For those drawn to a true balletic vibe, these red-bottomed flats are directly inspired by the flat-ended toe box of a dancer’s pointe shoes.
11. Salvatore Ferragamo Varina Patent-Leather Ballet Flats
A grosgrain bow runs the risk of looking a little juvenile but not if they’re tied to lay flat with a sleek metallic buckle at the middle. A Ferragamo logo helps, too.
12. Schutz Arissa Square-Toe Ballet Flats
Light-hued shoes help elongate your legs to give you the Cindy Crawford-length stems you always dreamed of.
13. Everlane The 40-Hour Flats
These pointy-toe flats truly live up to their name by offering ample support for all-day wear (or multi-day wear, if you’re so inclined) that won’t leave your arches crying for an ice pack.
14. Italeau Mara Ballet Flats
If the gorgeous color and supportive footbed on these Italian-made flats aren’t enough to pull you in perhaps the fact that they’re waterproof will seal the deal.
15. Sole Bliss Luna Flats
This two-tone pair has a similar vibe to Chanel’s classic cap-toe style, just with a significantly more comfortable footbed. A roomy toe box and podiatrist-approved sole make these ideal for anyone with foot concerns who still want to hop on the ballet flat trend.
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