What the Fuss: Tieks Review

This is a new blog series in which I'm going to answer the question that plagues me around fashion, beauty, fitness and technology products: "What's all the fuss about?" Today, I'm talking about Tieks flats.

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Last week, James got a pair of Tieks for me to test out because I've destroyed all the ballet flats I tried out last summer and, frankly, he's tired of me complaining all summer long that I don't have any cute flats that I can wear for hours on end without dying of foot pain or ripping them to pieces.

I'm pretty merciless when it comes to my shoes. I worked for PUMA for years, and I don't have patience for footwear that can't handle all the walking, skipping, twirling and jumping I get into on a daily basis. I especially don't have sympathy for ballet flats, the most delicate flower in all the shoe land. Let's be honest. I just want to put my shoes on in the morning and not think about them again until someone points out how great they look.

In New York City, the dream was always to find a flat that I could wear to brunch, on errands, to and from work and on long walks with Biscuit. Over and over and over again. This is the plague of most female New Yorkers I know: We want cute shoes that can keep up with our lives. Even here in Nashville-- and maybe it's just the Yankee in me-- we tend to park-and-stroll as much as possible. The best way to see the city is at ground-level, in my opinion. And let's not forget everyone's favorite fur-monster, who needs long walks twice a day, lest she regress into a puppy-cyclone of terror and destruction.  

Enter: Tieks

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I'd always wondered: What's the fuss all about? Well, now I know. As soon as I tried them on, I was sold. I wore them all through my Sunday cooking routine (the day on which I prep and prepare all the food we eat during the week, so it's easily a 7-hour day on my feet). I opted for the matte leather, and went up half a size (they only do whole sizes) because I have wide, flat hobbit-feet in the front, with pointy, narrow little heels and high arches. It's a miracle I can find any shoes that fit, honestly. In no particular order, this is the list of reasons why I'm ordering at least two more pairs:

  • The back is not elastic. James will tell you, there is NOTHING worse than the moment we're out running errands and I decide that the elastic on the heel of my shoes is no longer comfortable. Why does it digress like that, from I'M TOTALLY FINE to IT'S CUTTING MY FOOT OFF in no time flat? Tieks aren't like that. They're well-built, sure, but more importantly, they're well-designed and hold your foot securely without pinching, pushing or rubbing against the Achilles tendon. 
  • The leather felt like butter straight out of the box. In fact, the only way I think I'd like them more is if they were made from butter in the first place. Mmm... butter. In all seriousness, I slid them on and they fit like my favorite shoes, except better because after two years, my favorite leather flats still need to relax a little before they're really comfy. It's the high-quality materials Tieks use. Nothing beats Italian leather, and though I assume it contributes to the price point up on these, I would argue that it's worth it. These are shoes you can put on in the morning, wear all day long and they still feel and look great when you take them off at night. So do your feet. Everybody wins.
  • The soles feel like sneakers. I'll be honest: teal is not my favorite color. The teal soles turned me off to Tieks at first, but then I realized... that's the part of the shoe I put on the ground. So who cares? (And for the record, in person it's actually a really pretty shade.) More importantly, those thick teal soles make these shoes feel like walking on high-traction clouds. I wore these while making chicken stock, which means I spilled easily a half-gallon of water getting the pot onto the stove and a half-gallon of stock straining the broth into its cooling bowl. The Tieks never once slipped (and our kitchen floor is a slick, hellish kind of linoleum, slippery at best even when it's dry). 

They also held up when I took Biscuit for a walk, which consists largely of digging my heels in while she lunges after bunnies/ birds/ shadows/ air. The heels didn't fray, split or scuff, and the soles didn't leave my feet feeling raw and unhappy (like most other ballet flats do). The traction the soles give also kept me feeling like I was in control of the shoe, NOT like my foot could slip out at any moment, which is often the case when I have to go up a half-size. They felt strong and stable and reliable. 

Post-walk carrot stick snack with the fur-monster.

Post-walk carrot stick snack with the fur-monster.

  • They come with two pouches: one for the Tieks, one for your heels. After ten years in NYC, here is the No. 1 Rule: Nothing that touches the sidewalk goes into your purse before being sterilized or contained. The fact that Tieks come with a pouch for the flats and a pouch for your heels shows that the team of masterminds behind these shoes has your best interests at heart. They fold up teensy, so you can drop them in your bag in case of an emergency, but honestly these are going to be my primary flats this summer. No stowing necessary. 
  • I felt good even after taking them off. After seven hours on my feet cooking, I was tired. They're not magic enough to erase hours of running, squatting, lifting, stirring, pouring, chopping, sifting, etc. But when I slid them off before crawling into bed, my feet didn't heave a sigh of relief. I usually wear my thick-soled, arch-support, non-slip running shoes when I spend a day cooking, and I'm telling you now, I didn't feel a difference in my hips, knees and back between the Tieks and my Nikes. A ballet flat that's as cushy as a running shoe? Yes, please.

Verdict: Totally worth the fuss. Worth every penny. I know they're expensive, to the point of being alarmingly expensive, but they're so well-built and so comfortable. If you want a shoe you can rely on, that fits well, looks comfortable, doesn't slip and looks great, Tieks are for you. 

You can find more information on features, design, construction and materials on the Tieks About Page and the FAQ Page. Check out their shop to order your own. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.  

What other products have you been wondering, "What's the fuss all about?"  Let me know and we'll see if we can't find out together.