A Timeless Classic

Ballet flats, flats, ballet pumps, ballet sneakers, dolly shoes. No matter the name, this modern shoe style has been around since the 16th century. Originally based on men’s court shoes, ballet flats were worn as far back as the medieval times by both men and women. Their popularity fluctuated throughout history with the advent of new styles like heels, sandals and boots, but truly gained momentum in 1957. The catalyst? A musical romantic comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire called Funny Face, where Audrey matches her skinny pants with a pair of ballet flats. Their drive to fame was further boosted by Brigitte Bardot wearing them in the drama And God Created Woman, which drove the modest ballet flat further to success. Equally popular among professional dancers, commuters, blue collar workers and businesswomen, ballet flats are worn for every occasion; from the everyday grind to lavish cruise weddings!

What makes a ballet flat? Similar to women’s ballet slippers, ballet flats usually have a very thin heel or none at all. The upper part of the shoe is typically constructed of leather such as napa, suede, or glossy patent leather. Mesh is sometimes used as well. Soles may consist of leather, rubber, plastic, and everything in between. Certain French style flats have no right or left-foot designation, and are similar to socks in the sense that one may put either shoe on either foot. Variations on the flats design include:

  • A decorative bowtie on the toe box which may be functional or not. In the case of the former, it essentially functions as a drawstring able to tighten and adjust the fit of the shoe.
  • Binding ties or an elastic band around the opening of the shoe to provide a more secure fit.
Considering its comfort, variety, and diversity in application, the immortal ballet flat has rightfully earned its place in the annals of fashion history.

1 comment

  • Andrea Girdler

    The most wonderful shoes

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