After a few days at the new job, I started a meaningful hunt for comfortable flats. Heels have never been a good option for me. Even knowing this, I tried some short heels a few times last month.
Confirmed: heels are not a good option for me.
However, I only had two or three pairs of flats I could wear into work because I’ve been freelancing for over a year. I have cycled out a lot of my office-appropriate clothes. But I knew where to find affordable, cute flats.
At this point, Tieks were on my radar but too expensive to justify buying. The cheapest pair comes in right under $200. That’s a LOT for any shoes, especially flats.
THEN I got a standing desk. And everything changed.
Standing in $10 flats for 6-8 hours is bad. It’s just bad. It’s a whole new level of discomfort and shoe-failure. So I began doing some in-depth research on Tieks.
I read a lot of blog reviews, scoured their site for information, and polled friends and family to see if any of them had input. What I read and heard was enough for me to take the plunge and buy the basic matte black to try. I figured if they weren’t as great as some folks said at least I could cycle them into the not-great flat rotation.
Nutshell: I’ll be buying more.
First let me say that I was prepared for excellent packaging. In fact, this seems to be almost a cult delight, online. Just do a search for “Tieks packaging” and see how many hits come back.
Bandwagon-jumper-on-er right here. The packaging was pretty, personal, and made it truly fun to unpack. It felt like a Christmas box that’s well-wrapped and has multiple little fun things buried inside.
There was a flowery elastic band around the box. If I had longer hair or kiddo girls I’d use it as a hair bow!
There were two different printed things inside the box. One was a little brochure, with a diagram of the shoe’s composition. It highlighted the soft Italian leather, the two-part sole, and the stitching elements. I’d seen all this on their website so I set it aside in favor of the handwritten note that was also packed in the box.
The handwritten note was unexpected. I have never ever received a product from a mass-production company that included a handwritten note. As someone who still tries to get out thank you notes after holidays and birthdays, this was a special (and super-positive) touch.
(Side note: Tieks plays up that blue-ish sole with use of the phrase “blue prints” as a stand-in for “footprints.”)
Matte black flats folded into a teeny pile came next, followed by a tiny bag that expanded into two bigger bags. Tieks says these bags are for shoe switches. I imagine this is for folks who wear much more complex or heeled shoes to events and things. I will not be one of those ladies so I might find another use for those bags.
I love how small that big bag can get when smooshed up into its little carrying sack!
By the time I put the shoes on I’d spent 10 minutes with the box, being delighted by the packaging. Definitely a good set up because I was already happy by the time the shoes went on my feet.
I walked around a bit, and was pleased. They stayed on my feet for an hour or so that evening and then I wore them to work the next day. This was the litmus test. I stand for most of the day, these days, and had been dealing with profound aches in my calves and hips by early afternoon every day (in my cheap flats).
Guys, no major aches or pains in the Tieks. I was sold after the first day at work, but I wore them again the next day to be sure.
What it feels like is closer to bare feet than any other shoes I’ve worn. The leather is very soft so my feet can spread out when I’m standing. The soles are supportive – this pair of Tieks is a better walking experience than my Dr. Scholl’s flats. What I personally really appreciate is that the back heel is rigid – not elastic. Every pair of flats I’ve ever tried with an elastic back heel has resulted in blisters. For as bendy as the Tieks are, that back heel is not bendy and I so appreciate it.
I wear a half size but I bought a size up (to the next full size) because Tieks only does full sizes. Tieks generally recommends going down if you are a half size unless you have a wide foot or you are kind of between a half size and the next size up. Because I knew I’d be standing, and my feet would need room to spread, I went up to the next full size.
Also, I have a bunion on one foot. It’s not too extreme but it gets in the way with narrow flats and can sometimes end up being painful, especially if it’s rubbing against a seam all day. I figured if I went with the next full size in the Tieks, the bunion would be a non-issue.
I haven’t noticed any extra pain or discomfort from that foot, which means the bunion is content.
One thing I will note, that other reviews have commented on, is that I can see my big toenail through this leather. It does look kind of weird, mostly because that’s the kind of thing I see in light slippers or house shoes, not flats or work shoes. However, for me it’s not too noticeable or distracting.
The reason that big toe is visible is because the leather is soft and has a lot of give. This is the same characteristic that allows my feet room to spread out while I’m standing and walking, and for me that is a fair trade. I suppose if I was wearing these as fashion (rather than as work attire) it would bug me more. As is, it bugs me zero percent.
So, to recap: I’ll be cycling out my other flats and replacing them all with various colors and styles of Tieks. I’m convinced that, for me, they are worth the price tag.
Hope that’s helpful. And do share in the comments if you have tried these shoes before. I’m still curious about other folks’ experiences.