If you love wearing ballet flats, then this post is for you. I've got dozens of pairs of Tieks ballet flats and have tried numerous insoles for flats to protect the footbeds from odor and color change. I'm sharing which insoles work best to protect your investment.
As you know, I am a huge fan of Tieks ballet flats. I’ve been wearing them for years now and I just love how comfortable and stylish they are. If you’ve never worn them, you should check out my Tieks review to see why so many women are obsessed with these designer flats.
One thing that I love about Tieks is the hand-stitched full-grain leather insole. It's so comfortable and the decorative stitching is a perfect touch for these designer flats. Over time, this leather insole will change color, or patina, as the leather absorbs the oils from your skin. This is a perfectly normal process and there is usually no odor associated with the color change. If you're familiar with high-end leather handbags, like Louis Vuitton bags with vachetta leather, you know all about leather patina. Some people don't mind this color change at all and think it shows the life or history of the bag or shoe, but I'm not one of those people. I prefer to protect my investments and prevent leather patina if possible.
When I got my first pair of Tieks about 3 years ago, I started wearing them immediately. I didn't use any insoles or try to protect them in any way (which is totally fine if that's what you prefer) and they started patina over time. Within a year or so the leather insole was very dark. Again, that's not really a problem and they weren't stinky, but I just didn't enjoy the way they looked when I took them off. That's why I started wearing insoles with most of my other pairs to protect the footbeds. On a related note, I've got a pretty large collection of Tieks now and most of them still look new thanks to wearing insoles and polishing with Tarrago when needed.
As I mentioned in my post about how to care for your Tieks, I've tried quite a few brands and variations of insoles for flats and have since tried a few more, so I wanted to give you some feedback about which ones work the best.
Best insoles for flats
Summer Soles were my very first shoe liners and I liked them, especially because they are super thin and hardly take up any room in my flats. They come in a few different colors/patterns and feel like suede. These liners can even help with mild to moderate sweaty feet. The only thing I didn't care for was the adhesive used to affix the insole into the shoe. The liners last for a few months but eventually, you'll need to replace them and they may leave behind an adhesive residue. If you’re going to continue to use them in the shoe it might not bother you, but for me, the point is to protect the footbed and for the insert to be removable.
As I mentioned, the Summer Soles are incredibly thin at only 1/16 of an inch thick. These are definitely the thinnest inserts or insoles for flats that I've found and they're also very narrow.
Shoeslulu were the next brand of insoles that I tried and they are still my favorites. These insoles are made from lambskin leather, which is comfortable and provides moisture absorption. And, just to show you how well insoles work, I've had this pair of Cobalt Tieks for about 2 years and have worn them several times and the leather footbeds still look new.
They're also perforated to keep your feet dry and have a breathable carbon bottom that helps control and prevent foot odor. When I first got these inserts, they had a foam carbon bottom. The new version that I just received has a diamond textured bottom that looks like it might be a little more durable.
These insoles are also ultra thin and measure 0.2" inches wide. Shoeslulu insoles are sized (European sizes) so you can really get a great fit. I tried size 41 my size 9 Tieks and they fit okay, but after ordering again, I found a size 40 is even better.
I love these inserts because they are so easy to pop out and put in another pair. I used the same pair for almost a year before it needed to be replaced. Another thing I really love about this insert is that it looks like the actual footbed of my Tieks. It’s a natural leather color and you can’t really tell there’s an insert in place. I highly recommend these inserts.
Odor Eaters Soft and Slim Insoles is another good choice. I've tried multiple Odor-Eaters insoles in the past and they've always been a bit too thick and I worried about stretching out my Tieks. These new slim inserts are soft and designed to help protect feet and shoes from odor and moisture. These were almost impossible to photograph sideways to show you the thinness, but I'd say they're a bit thinner than Shoeslulu inserts.
These are "one-size-fits-most" and can be trimmed to accommodate women's shoe sizes 5-13. I trimmed mine according to the size 9 marking and they fit perfectly inside my size 9 Tieks. I've been wearing them for a few weeks and have zero complaints about their functionality. I don't have a problem with foot odor, so I can't really comment too much about that part of the insole, but they did protect the leather footbeds in my flats well. I do wish they came in other colors besides black so they are a bit more discreet in Tieks, but that isn't a deal breaker.