Thinking of purchasing a pair of Tieks but not sure if they’re worth the cost? This is my honest Tieks review after owning my first pair for two years and taking them around the world with me.
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When I first came across Tieks by Gavrieli from one of the many Tieks reviews on the internet, I scoffed. $200 for a pair of flats?! You’ve got to be joking me.
I was 23, working as a bartender in New Zealand, and although they looked beautiful and versatile I just couldn’t justify purchasing Tieks on a backpacker’s budget.
It took me four more years before I finally took the leap and decided to purchase my first pair of Tieks at the end of 2017.
If I’m being honest, I don’t think I had ever spent more than $30 on a pair of flats before I bought my Tieks.
I had also been a budget conscious traveler for a good six years and rarely purchased material things with hefty price tags because I always wanted that money to go towards my next trip.
So, when I hit the purchase button on the Tieks website for the Pacific Green Tieks, my budgeting anxiety went through the roof.
A whole lot of thoughts went through my head: will they be worth it? Will I regret spending this much on flats? Are all these reviews I’ve read really honest or are they just sponsored and/or trying to make a commission?
But, I was steadfast in my decision and eagerly waited for my Tieks to arrive in the mail.
I remembered the main reason I finally decided to purchase Tieks in the first place. Namely, I was fed up with cheap shoes that lasted for a few months before getting holes in them or smelling gross.
I had recently fallen in love with the French mindset when it comes to clothes and fashion – quality over quantity and purchasing a few versatile pieces that went with everything else in your wardrobe.
And since I lived out of a backpack for most of the year anyway, I wanted very few pieces of clothing/shoes, but high quality ones that would last for ages.
I realized if I could find a few high quality pieces that were versatile and comfortable, the investment would be better in the long term with how many cheap pieces of clothing I consistently have to replace.
Shoes are my weakness and I also walk for miles upon miles when I’m in a new city. This means that I wear out shoes like crazy because I’m always walking through various terrains and for hours on end.
It was time for me to find the best flats for walking these long distances and invest in a good pair that would last a while. With this in mind, it only made sense that my first high quality clothing purchase would be shoes.
I received my Tieks in the mail shortly after I hit that purchase button, and with a first look at the packaging my fears went away. These were some fancy flats and this brand clearly knew what they were doing.
I found a handwritten card welcoming me to my new Tieks and telling me to enjoy my purchase.
To my dismay, I soon found out they weren’t all that comfortable when I wore them on that first full day. In fact, they took me a lot longer to break in than I thought they would.
I know now it was because I ordered a size too small and leather ballet flats don’t stretch as easily as other types of materials do.
Even still, it was disappointing after reading so many reviews about how comfortable they were right out of the box.
I really should have returned them and asked for the next size up, but by that point I had already worn them outside and I wasn’t sure if Tieks would accept them back.
Once I broke them in, they quickly became one of my favorite pairs of shoes. I’d go so far as to say I wear them about 75% of the time now when it’s not winter.
This is especially the case when I’m traveling because they’re versatile and easily packable.
After two years of wearing my Tieks and taking them around the world with me, this is everything you should know before buying your own pair of Tieks.
This Tieks review will go through the main pros and cons and whether they’re really worth the price. Let’s dive in!
In November 2017, I purchased my first pair of Tieks ballet flats. I went for the Pacific Green Classic Tieks because I loved the color and I thought they would be versatile but still add a subtle color pop to my wardrobe.
I was right.
I’ve been able to wear these Tieks with pretty much every outfit, from dresses to jeans and everything in between. And after two years, they’re still going strong.
My Honest Tieks Review
Comfortable (Once Broken In)
It took a while for my Tieks to feel like the most comfortable flats for walking like everyone and their mom made them out to be.
I made the mistake of not exchanging them for a size up once I first tried them on and found them to be a bit tight around the toes.
Because of this, it took me a good few months before I could wear them all day without feeling uncomfortable pressure on my big toe.
I’m used to this problem since I wear a 9.5 in women’s, which is harder to find than you might expect, so I usually have to decide to either go a half size down or up and hope for the best.
This was the case with Tieks as well since they don’t offer half sizes.
From what I read in their FAQ and from other reviews, it seemed like it was better to size down if you’re in between sizes.
At least for the Classics, I would definitely recommend sizing up if you’re a half size.
However, since they use different materials for each style of Tieks, it really depends on which style you purchase (i.e. the patent leather Tieks are meant to be a slightly tighter fit than regular leather Tieks).
Once I broke them in, they quickly became my go-to comfortable slip on shoe that I wear all the time, from running errands to jaunting around the world in new cities.
Tieks take their craft of ‘perfecting the perfect ballet flat’ seriously.
It takes three days and 150 different steps to make a pair of Tieks, and they’re made from fine Italian leather and textiles (or miscellaneous high quality European textiles for their vegan ballet flats).
They are known for lasting a long time and although wear and tear, such as scuffing and insole peeling, becomes visible if you wear them a lot, they are durable and long lasting.
I’ve had my Tieks for over two years now and they still sturdy and only get more comfortable each time I wear them.
One of the aspects that first drew me to Tieks was their versatility.
I was looking for a good travel shoe that was comfortable, but also not the usual New Balance sneakers that every American tourist seems to own.
I wanted something fashionable, fun, and attractive, but I also wanted something I could walk in for hours on end.
And, if you go with a somewhat neutral color, Tieks can become shoes that go with everything.
They’re comfortable cute flats and good for walking long distances during the day, but also great for pairing with a nice dress and going out for drinks with friends at night.
Versatility is SO important when you’re a regular traveler because shoes take up valuable space in your backpack.
My goal when I initially purchased them was narrowing down the amount of shoes I usually pack for trip (around four pairs), and Tieks allowed me to do that.
There were some trips where I just wore my Tieks for the whole trip and found they easily matched with everything in my backpack.
I’ve even worn my Tieks to a fancy New Year’s Eve Party paired with a glittery dress because I’m not big on heels.
When I say versatile, I mean it.
Another aspect that I love about Tieks is how packable they are. They’re not only light, but fold up and easily fit into the smallest of spaces in my backpack.
Tieks are some of the best foldable flats I’ve come across, that somehow still keep their shape and structure intact even when rolled up for hours on end in a suitcase.
My other regular pair of shoes that I bring with me on trips is black Chelsea boots.
So, it’s nice to wear the boots when I’m in transit and pack my Tieks since they take up almost no space as fold up flats.
Don’t Get Smelly
I’m sure everyone is different in terms of foot odor, but after two years of regular wear my Tieks still don’t smell bad.
I was kind of amazed by this with how often I wear my Tieks (sometimes in very hot weather).
To be fair, I’ve never had a huge issue with foot odor.
However, I’ve had my fair share of cheap shoes that made my feet sweat like crazy and produced less than ideal smells after a few months of wearing them.
Perhaps it has to do with the quality of Tieks and the materials they use, but my feet don’t often sweat or smell when I wear them.
This is a big pro since bad odor is enough for me to throw out a pair of shoes (no one wants to smell that, myself included).
Free Shipping in the US
Since you can only buy Tieks online and they’re not the cheapest shoes, it’s a nice touch that they offer free shipping in the US.
This includes on returns and exchanges as well, so if you’re not happy with your Tieks and you want to send them back or exchange them for another pair, you don’t have to pay anything.
The one downside with Tieks shipping is that outside of the US it can be expensive. I’ve heard of some people having to pay around $50 for shipping if they’re located outside the US.
Great Customer Support
Besides offering a quality product, I really think Tieks has been so successful throughout the years because of their great customer service.
Tieks customer service is super quick with replying to any questions or concerns and happily accepts returns or exchanges as long as shoes haven’t been worn outside.
I’ve even heard of customers getting a brand new pair of Tieks if they report something wrong with a pair they’ve worn for a while (kind of like Apple), although I don’t know if this is the norm.
Regardless, it’s a nice feeling to have good customer support in case of any issues when you’re investing so much in a pair of shoes.
The biggest hindrance to Tieks is the cost.
Starting at $175, it’s a lot of money to spend on a pair of comfy ballet flats, even if they’re meant to be some of the best flats for women on the market.
It took me four years before I made the leap and purchased my first pair, and I can understand why most people don’t want to spend that much money on a pair of shoes.
With that said, you get what you pay for.
When I buy clothing now, I think of it in terms of investing. How much return will I get from this pair of shoes for the price?
I’ve worn my Tieks regularly for over two years, that comes out to $87.50 per year, and that will continue to go down the longer my Tieks last.
Even with just two years under my belt though, I probably would’ve spent that much on 2-3 pairs of cheap shoes throughout each year that would’ve worn out by now.
Once you hit the three year mark, the cost of Tieks goes down to $58/year and at four years, $44/year.
When you break the cost down this way and think of Tieks as a long term investment, the cost doesn’t seem quite as bad.
They Take Time to Break In
As I mentioned above, I went a half size down from my usual 9.5 and ended up with Tieks that squeezed my big toe uncomfortably.
Because I made the mistake of not testing them out properly before wearing them outside, I accepted that I was going to have to take some time to break them in.
It took me a good few months to be able to wear them for a long day and still feel comfortable.
With this said, I’ve heard of other people who have purchased Tieks who have been able to wear them out of the box with no problem.
This is why I stress really testing them out at home for a good week before deciding whether they fit well enough.
Tieks will stretch in time if they’re slightly too small, but it’s not worth it when the exchange process is so easy.
Each style also fits a bit differently, so even if you’ve purchased Tieks before, a new pair might have a different fit.
Always do the one week test at home with a new pair of Tieks before deciding to keep or send back.
Not Good for Rainy Weather
One aspect that I didn’t think about before purchasing my Tieks is the fact that they’re leather and therefore not meant to be worn in rainy weather.
Sometimes I still wear them in rainy weather, but you risk ruining the leather on the outside.
With that said, I just spent over a month in Mexico, and wore my Tieks most days when it was the end of the rainy season because they were my only shoes.
I accidentally walked through quite a few puddles when the streets flooded and my Tieks somehow dried without staining.
I’m not sure if I was just lucky or if that’s a testament to the quality materials they use. In any case, it’s best to not test it and to just keep your Tieks at home if it’s raining.
If you’re looking for good waterproof walking shoe alternatives, I wrote a whole post about my favorite comfortable waterproof shoes, which you can find here (including waterproof flats).
They Scuff Easily
One of the more disappointing aspects about Tieks is how easily they scuff around the toes and just above the soles.
To be fair, I’ve worn these shoes all over the world, so they’ve been through a lot. But, I still expected the leather to withstand scuffing a bit more.
This is more of an aesthetic thing than a practical thing (they still work perfectly fine), but they’ve become less versatile in terms of wearing them out to nice events as they’ve aged.
The scuffing makes them look more casual and slightly beat up.
My cousin, who is also a big fan of Tieks, recently told me about a specific type of leather cream that has become popular with Tieks owners to help cover up the scuffing. I haven’t tried this yet but I plan to soon.
It’s called Tarrago shoe cream and people swear by it to make their Tieks look almost as good as new.
After over two years of regular wear and travel my Tieks are fairly scuffed up now. Although not as aesthetically pleasing with the scuffs, they’re still going strong and don’t have any holes after the many miles I’ve walked in them.
This is another common issue with Tieks once you’ve had them for some time – the insole starts to peel.
This only started happening to my Tieks in the past few months, so they made it to the two year mark before the insole started peeling.
But, I’ve heard of it happening sooner for other Tiek owners.
Again, this is more of an aesthetic thing since it hasn’t changed the comfort of the shoes or the wearability, but they do look more tired when I take them off.
I also think it depends on how you use your Tieks and what climates you tend to be in while wearing them. I imagine they peel faster if you’re often in warmer and humid climates.
I’ve mostly warn my Tieks while being based in San Francisco, so they’re accustomed to temperate and a slightly cool climate.
With that said, I have taken them to plenty of other places around the world too. A few of these destinations include the UK, Portugal, Spain, Colorado, Quebec, Mexico, Arizona, all over the South in the humid summer, and more.
How Much are Tieks?
Leather Tieks start at $175 and go up to $195 and even as high as $345 for specialty Tieks. Vegan Tieks are all $175. They also just recently started selling children’s Tieks for $120-$135.
Why are Tieks so Expensive?
Tieks are expensive for a pair of cute ballet flats, but the tradeoff is investing in a quality pair of shoes that will last for years to come.
It all comes down to what is most important to you and your perspective.
If you’re looking at designer flats, Tieks are probably at a lower price point and higher quality than what you’d find from quite a few of the luxury brands.
Case in point – have you ever seen the price of Jimmy Choo or Tory Burch flats?
And in my opinion, Tieks are more comfortable and attractive than most flats I’ve seen from those designer brands. But then again, I’m really not into the ‘designer’ aspect of fashion.
So, are Tieks worth the price?
If you’re looking at them as just regular flats, the price probably seems extortionate and way too high.
As I mentioned above, it’s about whether you’re ready to invest in a quality pair of flats, and how many years you hope to wear them.
They’re made with high quality Italian leather, they’re a US based company, and they typically last for years (even when you wear them every day).
If those aspects are important to you, the investment might be worth it.
Where are Tieks Made?
They’re a bit hush hush about where they actually make the shoes.
From some good ol’ fashioned internet research, it seems like they’re made in factories in Italy, Brazil, and around Asia.
The assembly takes places in China and the final packaging happens in Los Angeles.
All of the design work and the brand headquarters are in Los Angeles, California.
Are Tieks Comfortable?
Yes and no.
In general, Tieks are the most comfortable ballet flats that I’ve come across, but it took a while for me to break them in enough to say that statement.
With the right size, I believe they’re a lot quicker to break in, but for the first few months I wore them they weren’t all that comfortable.
While I was still breaking them in, I kept wondering why everyone made it seem like these were the best walking flats ever. Cause they weren’t for me.
Once I got through the initial breaking in phase, I was able to throw them on and wear them for hours on end during long travel days with no issues.
The most uncomfortable aspect I came across with wearing Tieks, especially in those first few months, was tightness around my toes.
I also have slightly different sized feet, which probably doesn’t help, but the big toe on my left foot especially wasn’t a big fan of Tieks while I was breaking them in.
Besides the toe area, I never had any issues with blisters or uncomfortableness around the heel.
Color pops on a cloudy day in San Francisco.
They’re also great no slip flats. Meaning even when I was walking on those slippery tiles around Lisbon, they saved me from falling on my ass in public a number of times.
And, I’ve never had issues with slipping out of the flats, they’ve always been snug around my feet.
The only other thing I’ll note is when I walk in them constantly for over five hours (yes, I sometimes take that long of walks when I’m exploring a new city), my heel sometimes feels sore.
However, I can count on one hand the number of times my heels have felt sore after wearing Tieks, and, really, when you take five hour walks it’s hard to not feel a little soreness in your feet.
But, if you’re prone to sore feet and need a lot of support, I would look at getting thin insoles for additional cushioning.
The Tieks heels have a nice cushion to them, but after years of wear that becomes thinner.
Do Tieks Provide Enough Support?
Tieks are not going to offer as much support as traditional walking shoes since they’re roll up flats, but they are some of the most supportive flats I’ve come across that aren’t orthopedic.
As I mentioned above, the heel cushioning does wear down over time, but it’s easy to get thin insoles to remedy the reduced support.
The main issue with Tieks is the lack of ankle support.
If you have weak ankles and you’re walking long distances, it’s probably better to grab a pair of good quality walking shoes that support your ankles.
With that said, these are probably the best ballet flats with support and most comfortable women’s flats that I’ve come across so far.
Are Tieks Good for High Arches?
I don’t have high arches so I can’t speak from personal experience about whether Tieks are one of the more comfortable flats with arch support.
However, according to the Tieks website, Tieks shoes don’t have built in arch support.
Although they aren’t made as ballet flats with arch support, they are designed for comfort, durability, and molding to the unique shape of your feet.
They can also accommodate various orthotic inserts for additional support.
Are Tieks Good for Wide Feet?
Yes, Tieks are perfectly fine for wide feet.
It’s just recommended that you order a half size or full size up since the shape of Tieks can be on the more narrow side.
How Does Tieks Sizing Work?
One of the most important parts of purchasing the perfect pair of Tieks is making sure you get the right size.
If you’re a whole size, Tieks are generally true-to-size.
If you’re fall into the half sizes, Tieks unfortunately doesn’t have any half size options and you’ll have to decide whether to size up or down.
Sizing Up or Down
For my Classic leather Tieks, I decided to size down since that is what the Tieks website recommends and found myself with flats that were slightly too small.
If you’re going for one of the regular leather Tieks, I would recommend ordering a half size up (or your usual size if you’re a whole size).
The patent leather flats are meant to be even more snug, so a lot of Tieks customers recommend ordering a full size to size and a half up. So, if you’re a 9.5 usually like me, you would order an 11.
Even still, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone has different feet. Take advantage of their free returns and exchanges and try out a few sizes if need be to find the perfect fit.
Just make sure to not wear them outside until you’re 100% sure they’re the perfect fit for you.
How to Choose Which Color and Style of Tieks to Purchase
If you decide to take the leap and purchase a pair of Tieks, the hardest decision is figuring out which style and color you want.
There are over 60 different types of Tieks at any given time, with specialty limited time Tieks that are only in stock for a few months and then are gone forever once they’re sold out.
It all comes down to what you plan to use these Tieks for. Do you want them to be a statement piece in your wardrobe or a versatile flat that you can wear with literally anything?
For my Tieks, I wanted a mixture of both. This is why I went for a subtle color that had some pop, but was still neutral enough to go with most of my outfits.
I decided to go with the Classic Tieks because I wasn’t sure if the Patent Tieks would be too shiny. I chose to pass on the Patterned Tieks because they are usually more expensive and might not go with as much.
But, that was just me.
Everyone has a different style and taste. And when you’re making this big of an investment in a pair of flats, it’s worth it to spend some time thinking about what you really want from these shoes.
Here’s a look at the different things you should think about when deciding on which color and style of Tieks to purchase.
Choosing the Right Style of Tieks for You
Different Styles of Tieks
- Vegan Collection
- Girls (Kids’ Tieks)
Patent Leather vs Leather
The main difference between patent leather and regular leather is that patent leather is shinier. It’s usually coated in plastic, varnish, or lacquer.
Patent leather also tends to be easier to clean because of the plastic finish, whereas there’s more upkeep with regular leather.
I haven’t done this with my regular leather Tieks (which is probably why they’ve begun to look so worn), but it’s recommended to regularly oil, condition, or polish leather to keep it looking fresh.
With patent leather, you don’t need to do this. It’s usually enough to just wipe it with a cloth and a little water.
If you’re looking for a shinier shoe, go for one of the patent leather options. If you want a more subdued and classic leather look, go for the regular leather.
With this said, there are a lot of different options for leather styles with Tieks besides just regular leather and patent leather. These include, full-grain painted metallic leather, suede leather, leather with lace overlay, and more.
Vegan Tieks vs Leather Tieks
Instead of being made from the usual fine Italian leather that Tieks is known for, Tieks started offering a vegan line a few years back that is cruelty free and made from high quality European textiles.
There are currently five styles available in the Tieks Vegan Collection that all use natural, paraben-free dyes.
Choosing the Right Color Tieks for You
Unless you’re really set on having a statement pair of Tieks that are bright and colorful, I usually recommend getting a somewhat neutral color for your first pair of Tieks.
Because it’s such an investment, it’s nice when you can wear your Tieks with a lot of different options to really get the most for your money.
A few of my favorite more neutral Tieks that you can wear with everything include: Romantic Blush, Pacific Green, Lovestruck, Matte Black, Metallic Bronze, Rose Gold Glam (my favorite shade of gold ballet flats), and Silver Lake (vegan).
If you’re wanting a pair of Tieks for a color pop or to bring out for special occasions, that’s great too!
Tips for Breaking in Tieks
If your Tieks don’t feel like you’re walking on clouds right out of the box and need to be broken in, these are the best tips for breaking in your Tieks.
Wear Them Around the House for a Good Week
First and foremost, be patient and don’t immediately wear your Tieks out of the house once you get them.
Make sure to spend some time (up to a week), walking around your house to make sure you don’t need to exchange them for a different size first.
Put Corks in the Toes
The most common complaint with breaking in Tieks is the uncomfortable tightness around the toes. To fix this, take two corks and put one cork in each shoe where the big toe usually goes.
Then fold them backwards and place them in a narrow place (i.e. between two book holders) to hold the shape. Leave them overnight.
Do this for a second night and try moving the cork to where the other toes go. Again, leave it overnight.
Do this for 2-3 nights then try them on and see if they fit more comfortably around the toes.
Some Tieks customers try on their Tieks and they fit perfectly right out of the box, for others it takes a few months for them to feel super comfortable.
It all depends on how sensitive your feet are and making sure you get the right size in the first place. If your Tieks aren’t super comfortable to begin with, first ask yourself if you have the right size.
If you don’t, use the easy exchange service that Tieks offers and try out another size or two.
If you do and your feet just need time to adjust to Tieks, be patient and wear them in small spurts to begin with.
Eventually, wear them for longer period and all-day excursions until your feet are happy and comfortable in your Tieks.
How Long do Tieks Last?
This depends on how you use your Tieks and how often you wear them.
I’ve taken my Tieks on various adventures through different cities, terrains, and climates and they’re still holding up well after two years.
At the moment, they’re also one of my main shoes that I wear about 4-5x per week.
On average, if you wear your Tieks every day and you walk a lot, it seems like they wear out in about 3-5 years. If you wear them once or twice a week, they’ll probably last longer.
And there are other ways to make your Tieks last longer if you take the time to care for them.
Are Tieks the Best Travel Flats?
I haven’t tried every single flat on the market, but from my experience these are the best travel flats I’ve found.
Between how lightweight they are to their walkability, comfort, and how easily they fold up and pack into your bag, it seems like they were made with travel in mind. They’ve quickly become my favorite travel ballet flats.
They’re also super easy to slip on and off at airport security and they’re durable enough to take to pretty much any destination (assuming it’s not overly rainy).
They’ve also been some of the best ballet flats for walking long distances.
How to Take Care of Tieks
Because of how different each of the Tieks shoes are in terms of the materials they’re made from, I recommend heading over to their full guide for how to care for your specific pair on the Tieks website.
Where to Buy Tieks
Tieks can only be purchased online from the Tieks.com website. I was a little hesitant when I first discovered this since I don’t usually buy shoes without trying them on (especially when they’re close to $200).
The good news is with the company’s good return and exchange policy, it’s risk-free if your Tieks don’t work out. You just have to go through the effort of sending them back.
If you’re hoping to find a deal on Tieks, they unfortunately don’t offer any discounts or coupons.
Instead, you can try eBay or Facebook groups (just search for ‘Tieks buy sell trade’) for an almost new or used pair that is slightly less money.
How to Return or Exchange Tieks
If for any reason you’re not happy with your Tieks or you need a different size, Tieks offers super fast returns and exchanges. If you’re based in the US, shipping is free both ways.
And as long as your Tieks aren’t worn outside, you can exchange or refund them at any time. That’s right, there’s no time limit if you change your mind about your Tieks. Win-win!
So, Are Tieks Worth It?
In my personal experience, yes!
I was skeptical for a long time about Tieks and whether they were actually as good as everyone seemed to make them out to be.
This is why it took me four years to finally purchase my own pair and to see what all the hype was about.
And even right after I got them and the fit wasn’t perfect, I still wasn’t sold for a few months.
It was only after I broke them in and started wearing them regularly that I saw the magic of Tieks that makes so many people love them.
They have the powerful quadfecta of versatility, style, comfort, and packability.
If you have any other questions about Tieks, let me know in the comments below!
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