Wardrobe

The Hunt: Ballet Flats

Just like every other preppy millennial female, I too have spent a great deal of time searching for the perfect ballet flat–a universal quest, it seems, just like the perfect day-to-night dress that somehow magically incorporates pockets. Ballet flats are a great basic (in both the colloquial and literal sense of the word), and while I am loathe to use the phrase “you can dress it up or dress it down,” well, you can.

I’ve tried them all, or at least all the mid-range, not-a-full-paycheck ones–Margaux, J. Crew, Stuart Weitzman, Sam Edelman, French Sole–and there’s been something off about each of them. They’re not comfortable or they’re too inflexible; they have awkward branding; the tie hasn’t been usable; and so on.

Enter Porselli, the Holy Grail of ballet flats. They are nearly impossible to find ready-to-wear; each pair is handmade to order. There are a handful of stores that stock them, like APC and, on occasion, Ann Mashburn; otherwise you can order them via Pierotucci. Pierotucci also has a small number in stock, but in most cases, you’ll have to special order your shoes, with a wait time of between eight to twenty weeks per pair.

So is the wait worth it?

YES. I’ve really rarely found a more comfortable pair of shoes. The pair pictured here are the “total flat” style, which don’t come with predefined left and right shoes, and have no heel and limited cushioning. I bought these before a trip and literally wore them into the ground over the next few years. They are (were!) the perfect color, were so comfortable, and after a few wears fit so perfectly it felt like I was walking barefoot, except far more comfortably, of course.

I had to toss these a few years ago as they had been worn beyond repair, so I just, finally, placed an order for a new pair, this time in black. I’ve found myself deviating a lot from my #navyornothing wardrobe, but I have no black shoes that are actually functional for everyday life. I’m trying the “ballet flat” style this time, which does have predefined left and right shoes and has a slight heel, as fall is approaching and these were in stock in my size. I’m eager to test them out, and will report back. If this style doesn’t work, I guess it’s back to an eight- to twenty-week wait… but it’s worth it!

7 thoughts on “The Hunt: Ballet Flats

    1. I am on the slightly larger end of a 37 (like 37 1/4), but find that after a few wears they are definitely true to size and very comfortable! I definitely would not size down. I actually recently stumbled across Leather Spa’s Shoe Stretch Spray and it is a true hidden gem. I have a handful of shoes from my grandmother that I needed to break in a little more, and this has been super helpful. Make sure to read the instructions first, but it definitely helps with the break-in process for shoes! Here’s the link: https://shop.leatherspa.com/product/shoestretch/2?cfa=gpl

      Other great things about Porselli: they will last FOREVER (I wore my first pair for over 50 miles of walking according to my Fitbit at the time…!), they are extremely comfortable (although the insole isn’t padded–I actually don’t like padded insoles generally, but these will mold to your feet and you will feel like you’re just walking barefoot, which I love), and they are elegant–no logo in sight, thank goodness! Just the perfect simple ballet flat, the one that you always look for and somehow never find. I also found the customer service at Pierotucci to be superb–they sent me tons of updates during the ordering and shipping process, and were very responsive with any questions I had.

      If you do purchase a pair, please let me know what you think! 🙂

  1. Dear Fewer & Better —

    Wondering if people refer back to your early blogs? Are they useful? Yes and YES!

    During no-shop January, I blame you and the Ann Mashburn sale (which I dipped into for the Kiki jacket — another F&B recommend!), which showed some ballet flats. Working mostly at home, but occasionally needing to feel polished but comfortable, I went back to look at the Porselli you recommended while considering Ann Mashburn’s sale. (Your search function worked beautifully!)

    January is almost over and my paycheck comes end-of month. This is all just in time for me to search Pierotucci for 1) what’s available and 2) which color will be most often used (fewer!).

    Have you a recommend for half sizes?

      1. Sharing their lovely and helpful reply for others’ use:

        “Hello Susan,
        thank you very much for your email and for contacting us,
        your question is very personal and the answer may change from person to person. I would prefer to have them a bit bigger than too small. You can place an insole or pull the laces to make them a bit tighter and let them fit perfect to your feet.

        Do not hesitate to contact us again for any further info you may need.”

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