Okay, let’s talk about Tieks.
For those of you who haven’t noticed or have blissfully ignored my constant Tieks updates over the past few weeks, first of all, what are you doing reading this? Second of all, some background on why I’m actually writing this.
First things first, I haven’t been paid for this review. I paid full retail for two pairs of shoes and am writing this review solely because I’ve had a million questions about them. (Though, full disclosure, if Tieks wants to throw a discount my way for my selfless service, I have my eyes on a Fuchsia and a California Navy pair that I would be happy to put that towards.)
Second, some background. I have a job where a few days every month, I’m doing floor support where I’m walking for about seven hours, typically on relatively.. well…. no, not relatively… distinctly low quality shoes because I’m cheap. Aside from my Toms phase, I make it a point not to spend more than $20 on shoes because I would rather spend that money on things like cute dresses, cardigans, and books. My poor feet have been neglected since ballet flats popped into vogue during my high school career ten years ago and I’ve been hopelessly devoted to unsupportive flats ever since. I’ve developed plantar fasciitis which has had me in tears near the end of the day on more than one occasion, but I’m far too proud to go the orthopedic route.
Enter Tieks, which I discovered from the Twitter feed of an author that I follow and upon investigation, found that they claimed to be the world’s most comfortable ballet flats. Pages of reviews singing the pages of these flats, also known as Blue Prints on account of their trademark teal soles. I was intrigued, but took one look at the minimum $175 price tag and died inside. Maybe later.
Later came sooner than planned. My feet were hurting more and something needed to give. Also, I finished up my first semester back at school with a full course load and a 4.0, all while working full time and moving to a new role in the process. I looked at Tieks again and tried my best to find a bad review of the shoes, a search that failed despite my most valiant efforts. I was convinced. I caved. I decided to treat myself. Two pairs- one in Matte Black to go with everything and one in Clover Green to match my purse. I wiped frugal tears from my eyes and placed my order. I got a message (on Facebook!) within 30 minutes that my shoes were en route.
The shoes showed up on my doorstep (err….in front of my apartment door, to be technical) a mere two days later, courtesy of free priority shipping. The packaging of the shoes is exquisite. The shoes come in a tiny (and I do mean TINY) teal box which is embellished with a glittery flower. The tiny box gives you a heads-up about how portable and compact these shoes are, but more on that in a second. Each shipment comes with a handwritten card from the team, which is a great touch.
The shoes come in their own little black bag and they are folded- THE SHOES FOLD- so that if you are in a situation where heels are a necessity, they are easily stowed in the bag, which can then fit compactly in your purse until you need the relief of flats again. Each pair also comes with a tote for your heels/other shoes for when you're walking around in your flats.
Tieks are made of Italian leather (accounting for a good chunk of the price tag) and smell amazing. They also have vegan shoes for the more environmentally-conscious of you. The shoes are structured in a way that they can fold without ruining the leather, which is amazing. But aside from the aesthetic materials, the real selling point for me as soon as I put on the shoes was the soles. The soles are reinforced and cushiony in a way that I’ve never felt from a ballet flat. They’re also applied in two parts on the bottom to allow more give so that you can move your feet as flexibly as is necessary. I put them on and instantly knew that these shoes were going to be dangerous for my wallet; I was going to be addicted.
Aside from the luscious soles, I was a little panicked because the shoes were tight. The shoes don’t come in half sizes so the Tieks site tells you to order down unless you have a wide foot. I do have a moderately wide foot but took my chances and was really worried about how snug they were on my foot. The other thing that worried me was that the heel hit a little lower on my … well… heel, than I normally encounter. This led to the exchange process, which I’ll cover in a minute, but first a word of caution. Don’t let the tight shoes concern you. They will stretch. I did exchange out for a size up and they ended up being too big and I stuck with the original 8s. They will stretch. They will mold to your feet within about three days of wear. As for the heel, this ends up stretching as well within about a week, so don’t let that put you off.
All of that being said, I called the company immediately after I tried on the shoes and they directed me to just about the easiest exchange process known to man. I went on the site, selected my order, and explained why I wanted to swap out. They even gave me the option to swap colors, so this is a choice too. I got a confirmation message in lightning speed again and was told that I had two weeks to hang on to both pairs so that I could try them on side by side to confirm fit. My card wouldn’t be charged until after that time and they were sending me a prepaid return label. Literally all you have to do is repack the shoes, put them in the box, slap on the label, and drop it off at the post office. That’s it. Super easy. And, for the record, when I got my exchanged shoes, the card in the package cited the reason that I had swapped them out. It's a small thing, but a huge personal touch that made me feel like they were actually paying attention.
In summary, if you are on the fence about Tieks but are worried about the price, please know that they are worth every penny. The craftsmanship is amazing. The customer service is the best I’ve ever had (which, as a customer service provider, I do not say lightly at ALL). They will save your feet and make you feel adorable. Make the jump. Treat yo self.