Mom Fashion

Ballet Flats Are the ‘It’ Shoe of 2023—Here’s My Honest Review of 6 Popular Pairs

written by JULIA BIRKINBINE POULTER

The Everymom’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

You gotta love the fashion trend cycle, right? It’s currently 2023, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it based on what’s “in” nowadays. From ’70s-style flared jeans and flowy silhouettes to ’90s-inspired chunky sneakers and tiny sunglasses, all of the items I’m adding to my online carts lately are reminiscent of the past. And, lucky for me, the latest trend to come back in style is one I was obsessed with during the early 2010s: ballet flats. 

Yes, that’s right, the ballet flat is having a major resurgence right now—and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Ballet flats were my go-to everyday shoe about 10 years ago for many reasons. But mostly because they’re comfortable enough for all-day wear and look chic paired with so many outfits in my wardrobe. From jeans and a T-shirt to classic dresses to business casual work attire, ballet flats are endlessly versatile. 

And like any “new” trend, the 2023 version of the ballet flat has been reimagined in a modern way that still looks fresh and exciting. Long gone are the days of bulky metal logos (RIP to my Tory Burch flats), colorful quilted fabrics, and toe cleavage (IYKYK). Instead, today’s updated flats feature squared toe boxes, supple leather in neutral colors, and dainty bows to create a polished look perfect for any occasion.

 

Best Ballet Flats: My Review of Six Popular Styles

 

Since ballet flats are the “it” shoe this year (much like clogs were last year), I decided to do a deep dive on six pairs I’ve been seeing everywhere. I chose one pair each from popular footwear brands including Everlane, J.Crew, Target, M.Gemi, Nordstrom, and Margaux. Here, I’m sharing my honest reviews of each retailer’s ballet flat and rating them on the following criteria: look, comfort, durability, cost, and the likelihood that I’d purchase them again (or buy a second color). 

So, without further ado, keep reading for my reviews of six popular ballet flats that range in price from a budget-friendly $19 option to a $248 investment pair—and a bunch in between!

 

1. Everlane Italian Leather Day Ballet Flats

Everlane Italian Leather Day ballet flats review

When I first tried on these ballet flats during a workday at The Everymom’s Chicago office, my initial (and uncensored) reaction was blurting out, “These shoes are so weird.” At first, I didn’t really love the look of these flats on my feet and thought they looked oddly like something one of Santa’s elves would wear. But what I couldn’t ignore is how insanely comfortable these ballet flats are—they truly feel like slipping your feet into plush leather socks. 

 

Their comfort remained a 5/5 (no break-in time needed) and they felt really well made, which was important to me given their $140 price point.

 

Admittedly, these shoes majorly grew on me as I continued to wear them. Their comfort remained a 5/5 (no break-in time needed). And they felt really well made, which was important to me given their $140 price point. Though I was at first unsure about the elongated style of the shoe’s soft, square toe, I later came to appreciate how contemporary and sophisticated they looked compared to the ballet flats I wore 10 years ago.

Perhaps the best part of testing out these ballet flats was that I received tons of compliments from my coworkers while wearing them. One of The Everymom team members even asked if I’d bought them in Europe because they were “so chic” and said she wanted to order a pair for herself, too. Overall, these were by far the best ballet flats of the six I tried and received high markings for their modern style, unbeatable comfort (buttery soft leather + a cushioned insole = a dream), and mid-range cost. Truly, the only negative thing about them is that I now want a pair in every color! 

everlane ballet flats
Everlane
The Italian Leather Day Ballet Flats

3 colors available

Shop now

 

2. Target Jackie Ballet Flats

Target Jackie ballet flats review

A little fact about me? I looove Target’s shoes—and their Jackie ballet flats were no exception. This pair looked just like my beloved ballet flats of yesteryear except they included the updated square toe, which was really flattering on my feet. Despite their toe box being shorter than the Everlane pair, they were still long enough to not show any dreaded toe cleavage, which I appreciated. They fit my wide-ish feet pretty well (they did gap a bit too much on the sides for my liking while walking) and were comfortable for all-day wear from the start. 

 

If you’re unsure if ballet flats deserve a more permanent place in your wardrobe, this budget-friendly pair would be a great way to test out the style.

 

Because these ballet flats are only $19, I actually bought them in two colors (beige and black) and loved both. However, their under-$20 price point also brings some cons, mostly due to the fact that they aren’t made of quality materials. I’m confident these flats would look great for a few months of regular wear and then be too worn out. If you’re unsure if ballet flats deserve a more permanent place in your wardrobe, this budget-friendly pair would be a great way to test out the style. And since they’re so inexpensive, you can buy them in multiple colors or have a replacement pair on-hand—just snag them before they’re sold out for the season! 

target ballet flats
Target
Jackie Ballet Flats

10 colors and materials available

Shop now

 

3. Nordstrom Ashton Leather Ballet Flats

Nordstorm Ashton Leather ballet flats review

This pair of ballet flats from Nordstrom is a very similar style to the Target pair above and also earned an overall rating of 4/5, primarily for their elevated look and budget-friendly price tag. While the Target shoes’ primary pro was their comfort and fit, I could only (sadly) give the Ashton a 3 when it came to their feel. You know when you put on a pair of shoes and instantly think, “Ugh these might give me a blister”? That’s how I felt when I first tried this pair because of their stiff leather construction.

 

The TLDR recap on Nordstrom’s ballet flats is: great look, price, and construction, but just a ‘so-so’ on the comfort scale. They’re worth a try, especially at $69.

 

The good news? Their exterior is made of leather (unlike the Target pair, which are 100% thermoplastic rubber, whatever the heck that is), meaning they’re definitely more durable and just need to be broken in a bit. Though these shoes didn’t feel as soft as I hoped right off the bat, they did have a very cushy insole and offered a nice amount of support. And considering they’re made with a more high-end material, their under-$70 price was a pleasant surprise. 

So, the TLDR recap on Nordstrom’s ballet flats is: great look, price, and construction. But just a “so-so” on the comfort scale. They’re definitely worth a try, especially at $69. 

nordstrom ballet flats
Nordstrom
Ashton Leather Ballet Flats

Although this style is currently sold out, you can find a similar style here.

Shop now

 

4. M.Gemi Danza Ballet Flats

M.Gemi Danza ballet flats review

If you’ve made it this far in this article, I hope you’re sensing that I take my self-designed rating system very seriously. With that in mind, this pair of M.Gemi ballet flats was easily a 5/5 in my book… except their hefty cost ultimately bumped them down a few notches in my ranking. At $248, these are the most expensive ballet flats on this list. But they’re well worth the price if your budget allows. 

 

These shoes include a subtle wedge within the insole heel to provide a discreet lift and increased support—it truly added a little something special while wearing them.

 

For starters, these shoes are gorgeous on. I was obsessed with the Danza’s soft tumbled calf leather exterior, square toe, grosgrain ribbon binding, and thick leather bow. They were truly so pretty on my feet and had everything I wanted in a modern ballet flat. And perhaps one of their best features is one you can’t even see: a hidden wedge. These shoes include a subtle, 20mm wedge within the insole heel to provide a discreet lift and increased support—it truly added a little something special while wearing them. 

All in all, these ballet flats were classic, feminine, and really comfortable—the only downside was their elevated price. However, these shoes are handcrafted in a father-son owned and operated workshop in Italy and the craftsmanship really shows. So, if you’re in the market for an investment pair of ballet flats, don’t hesitate to click *add to bag* on this pair. 

m.gemi ballet flats
M.Gemi
The Danza Ballet Flats

7 colors/patterns available

Shop now

 

5. Margaux Demi Ballet Flats

MargauxDemi ballet flats review

These ballet flats earned a solid 3 in my ranking, which, I’ll admit, is maybe a tad unfair. This pair is downright lovely, beautifully constructed, and comfortable… but they were just a little boring and more reminiscent of ballet flat-styles from the early 2010s. Since they’re not quite as contemporary-looking and higher priced at $225, they just didn’t excite me quite like the M.Gemi or Everlane pair did.  

 

This pair is downright lovely, beautifully constructed, and comfortable… but they were just a little boring and more reminiscent of ballet flat-styles from the early 2010s.

 

The Demi’s product description refers to the shoes as “French-girl chic” and they’re exactly that. They come in a ton of colors and patterns—the most variety of the six I tried—are soft inside and out, and really well made. The only negatives were their shorter and more rounded toe box (they showed a teeny amount of toe cleavage) and price tag. But if you’re looking for a less-trendy ballet flat that will become a staple in your wardrobe for years to come, this option would make a great purchase. 

margaux ballet flats
Margaux
The Demi Ballet Flats

10+ colors and materials available

Shop now

 

6. J.Crew Zoe Ballet Flats

J.Crew Zoe ballet flats review

Let me start this review by saying J.Crew is one of my all-time favorite retailers. And some of the most-worn investment items in my wardrobe are from this brand. With that said, however, I have never really found my footing (no pun intended) with J.Crew’s shoes. I’ve bought many pairs to try in the past—from loafers and flats to wedges and sandals—and they’ve all missed the mark for me. And, unfortunately, their Zoe ballet flats were no different. 

 

They have so much potential to be good but just aren’t, in my opinion.

 

My initial reaction when I put on these shoes was, “oh no.” They have so much potential to be good but just aren’t, in my opinion. First of all, I just didn’t love the patent leather material of this shoe compared to all the soft matte leather (or leather-looking) construction of the others I tried. Secondly, these ballet flats were really stiff and uncomfortable right from the first try-on. Of all the pairs in this review, they were by far the tightest on my feet. Even though I ordered a half size bigger than my usual. 

If you love the patent leather look, these ballet flats are really pretty and I thought their longer toe box and dainty bows were perfectly modern-yet-classic. Unfortunately, their lack of comfort was the immediate drawback for me. But they might have broken in nicely over time. As for cost and durability, they are really nicely made (like all of J.Crew’s items) and their $138 price felt right for the quality. 

Editor’s Note: Since this initial try-on, J.Crew has released several non-patent leather options in this ballet flat style!

j.crew ballet flats
J.Crew
Zoe Ballet Flats

4 colors available

Shop now
These 6 Pairs of Shoes Are the Only Ones You Need This Fall
SHOP NOW