Tieks by Gavrieli ballet flats are certainly beautiful, but why are women obsessed with these foldable ballet flats? I'm going to give you the lowdown on Tieks and show you why so many women are leaving blue prints around the globe. I've also got a full video review below! I originally wrote this Tieks review in 2016. It's now 7 years later and I wanted to share an update about how my Tieks have worn and whether or not I'm still obsessed with them too.
What are Tieks?
Tieks are a brand of luxurious ballet flats. If you aren't familiar with them, I'll break them down for you. Tieks are dubbed "the most versatile designer flats in the world." Each pair is crafted from the finest leather and textiles. It takes 3 days and over 150 steps to create each pair. They're specially designed to be durable, yet flexible so you can fold them and fit them into a purse.
I got my first pair of Tieks in 2015. I had been a fan of the brand for a few years so I finally took the plunge and tried them out. The attraction was immediate and I bought a second pair less than a month later. Fast forward to now, over 6 years later, and I'm the proud owner of dozens of pairs of Tieks in a variety of beautiful colors.
I am asked about my Tieks almost every time I wear them. Either people recognize the signature Tiek Blue stripe and soles, or they just think they're cool looking and want to know more about them. The conversation always ends up the same though. People want to know, "Are they worth it?" That's really what led me to write this. I get asked this question so often that I wanted to put it out there for everyone to read and hopefully demystify this obsession for you.
An Honest Tieks Review
Tieks start at $185 for women's sizes. I know, that's a lot of money for shoes. I get it. But, after working in healthcare for a decade and spending a lot of time on my feet, I'm willing to invest in a good pair of shoes; shoes that I can wear day after day for long periods of time without feeling fatigued or finding deep red marks or blisters afterward. For me, Tieks are those shoes. Some people say that they require a bit of breaking in, but I haven't found that to be the case. Every pair I've tried have been comfortable right out of the box. So, what do you get for $185 or more?
Check out my Tieks review video:
First, the packaging is superb. When you order Tieks, they ship via USPS Priority Mail and you usually receive them within days. They're expertly packaged in a Tiek Blue box that's wrapped with an elastic flower bow. The flowers themselves are gorgeous and are actually highly collectible.
Within the past 5 years or so, Tieks has started creating customized box toppers to accompany certain pairs of Tieks. You can check out my full post about Tieks box toppers to see the majority of them.
What's in a Tieks box?
Once you open your pretty Tieks box, you'll find quite a few things.
Tieks come with an insert about how to care for your new flats, two small pouches (one elasticized pouch to hold your Tieks and one fold-out tote bag to carry your heels after you decide your Tieks will be much more comfortable, and a handwritten thank-you note. Yes, HANDWRITTEN! That is simply amazing customer service from their Los Angeles-based team.
In 2016, I owned several pairs of "classics" and patent leather Tieks flats. For this post, I wanted a different style, so I chose the fun print called Electric Snake. They were even prettier than I imagined. The pairing of metallics, pink, aqua, and black is perfection. The details really make these flats stand out from the crowd.
Insoles and preventing leather patina
You can see that they have a hand-stitched full-grain leather insole that's super soft. Some discoloration of the sole over time is normal. The pairs that I wear most frequently (mainly Cardinal Red and Fuchsia), have significantly darker insoles now. This is probably because it's so hot here in Florida and my feet get a little sweaty from time to time. It's not really a problem and they don't smell at all, but there are things you can do to protect the insoles if you'd like.
I started using insoles for my Tieks and really prefer this method. These Odor-Eaters ultra-thin inserts have become my favorite. There's no adhesive so you can easily switch these thin insoles between your Tieks or other shoes.
This is a current picture of my Electric Snake Tieks. As you can see, I've got very little patina and they're in amazing shape. Granted, I do have a large collection of Tieks to rotate through but I've done very little to maintain the beautiful appearance of these shoes.
The Snake Collection features hand-painted Italian leathers that mimic snake scales. Since they're hand-painted, no two pairs are exactly alike. I think I struck gold because the print placement on mine is to die for!
Each pair of Tieks has a non-elasticized, cushioned back which means you probably won't end up with blisters on your heels. They also feature Tiek Blue non-skid rubber soles and a stripe on the back of each heel. I absolutely adore the look of the soles and it's one of my favorite features on these flats. You wouldn't think that Tiek Blue would match every color, but it does! Just scroll through their Boutiek and you'll see that firsthand.
My personal experience with sizing
Tieks have a cushioned instep and just mold perfectly to my feet. They run true-to-size and Tieks typically suggests sizing down if you're a half-size (unless you have a wide foot or find that you can generally size up in other shoes). I'm an 8.5 or 9 and the size 9 fits me perfectly. Don't be worried if you aren't sure which size to order. They have an incredible exchange policy. You just let them know you need a different size and they'll send them out right away, and even the return shipping is free.
Do they have arch support?
I get this question a lot. No, Tieks do not provide a great deal of arch support. These flats might not be the best If you have issues with that or Plantar Fasciitis. I have read that some people have good luck with adding arch supports so that may be worth a try.
Another question I get asked often is whether or not Tieks are comfortable for people with bunions. This will certainly depend on your unique foot shape and bunion placement. My mother has a pretty significant bunion. Tieks are the only flats she can wear due to the stretchable elastic. Some people have even stretched their shoes with a golf ball to relieve pressure spots.
How to Style these versatile flats
My Tieks are some of the most versatile shoes I own. I can wear them with shorts for a more casual look or with jeans and a simple t-shirt or blouse.
Of course, they also go perfectly with dresses and skirts. This is awesome for spicing up your business wardrobe. If you aren't sure about flats for formal events, let me assure you that they definitely work! Whether you want to wear flats with your formal dress right off the bat, or you want to swap out your heels later in the night, Tieks are exactly what you need.
How have my Tieks held up over the years?
As I mentioned, I have a large collection of these flats so I rotate them quite often. Of course, I have go-to colors that I wear more often. I've purchased a second pair of Cardinal Red (my very first love!) and Fucshia after about 3 years of wear. But, once I learned a few tips and tricks, I haven't had to replace any others.
The great thing about these flats is that you can do a little maintenance on them from time to time. This keeps them looking fresh. This is especially true for the classics and snake prints. I've got full posts on how to care for your Tieks and which polishes you should use for scuffs.
My overall impression
If you've been lusting after a certain pair of Tieks, I'd encourage you to take the plunge and see for yourself why these flats are worthy of a healthy obsession. And, speaking of obsession, you can see my full-blown Tieks obsession in my article about how to pick the perfect pair of Tieks shoes (I've got TONS of photos so you can compare the different colors and prints).
In my opinion, Tieks are 100% worth the price tag. Their return and exchange policy is amazing. So, you aren't risking too much by ordering them to see if it's true love. Just don't wear them outside because they need to be in their original condition to return or exchange). As a busy mom who still wants to retain some semblance of style, I just can't get enough of these ballet flats. I hope you love them just as much as I do.