What came first, the City Flat or the Tieks?

...More importantly, why exactly would I pay $130-$200 for 'designer' foldable ballet flats that look exactly like the ones I can get at The Gap for $39.50?  

Perhaps if I were determined to get a unique color, like turquoise or tangerine, or if I really wanted to have those nifty robins egg blue soles and the luxe gift bag, I'd go with the Tieks (pictured above).

But if I'm happy with basic black, metallic silver/gold, or red, then it seems the Gap's City Flat will do just fine.  That said, now that I'm working in the city and walking at least a mile or more every day, I love the idea of foldable flats that tuck into your purse or backpack, rather than the 80s working woman look of bright white tennis shoes + suit.  These flats, whether you prefer the high end or the mass-market, are so much more practical and modern!

UPDATE: Thanks to my friend Mario for this tip - there are two new UK companies, Rollasoles and Afterheels, that are selling these kinds of foldable, portable flats...but the genius twist is that the disposable flats are only GBP 5 and are dispensed from a vending machine!

9 responses
That woman. The tennis. Ankle socks. Oh my. Laughter and tears to the eyes.
Hi ladies,

I, along with my sister Dikla, am the founder of Tieks. Thanks for the post and glad you guys find this concept helpful. There's a significant difference between our flat and the Gap version that extends beyond the colors. Everything in Tieks, from the Italian leathers to the design and construction of the shoes, is of the highest quality. The new Gap shoes actually resemble our first edition shoe from our soft launch almost a year ago, and we've since made major strides in improving the durability and comfort of Tieks. Hope you all get to try them! If not, the Gap flats are a good affordable option. Stay tuned for a promotion on our site in the next few days.


@Jillian "that woman" is none other than Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame!

@Kfir thanks for the insight! It's great to learn more about the product straight from the source. I can certainly value quality craftsmanship, especially after learning how difficult it is to actually sew properly. The reality is, the vast majority of women won't be able to afford such a high level of quality, and you're right - for many people the Gap flats are a reasonable, if mass-produced, alternative. Way to stay on top of your brand - I'm impressed you found our post so quickly!

even before tieks and gap; lanvin, mui mui and other high end designers have been making a foldable flat. but who can really afford to shell over $500+ for a pair of ballet flats? i have a couple of gap's version and they might not be the highest quality, but they sure are comfortable and it's definitely affordable. love the idea—whoever thought of it first. :)
I agree about the price. A pair of tieks costs more than any piece of clothing I've ever owned. Wedding dress included. I just purchased a pair of cityslips to fulfil that dress flat obligation. For all day comfort in walking, especially outdoors, I turn to my heritage. You can't get more comfortable than buckskin slippers or buckskin moccasins/mukluks lined with sheepskin. You can get your own pattern as well as the materials for less than 30$. If you research and buy cheaply online you can even bead or embroider them.. even with semi-precious stones. Something else I never understood.. why is leather in Italy any better than leather from anywhere else?
Hi Sumlin, all good questions - and great suggestions on the buckskin slippers! I don't know if I'd be able to find the time to make my own, but I'm sure a pair can be gotten for a pretty good price at any big-box retail store. Re: italian leather, I think it's something about how the leather is treated and processed.
It's hilarious that the founder of Tieks defends how "MY SHOE IS SOOOO DIFFERENT OBVIOUSLY" even though it's blatantly a rip off of the Gap shoes with a new color slapped on the bottom (right down to the identically shaped split soles), but then attacks the Soto Massini ballet flats which look completely different, are made completely different, have totally differently shaped and colored (blue is not the same as turquoise or teal) soles, are designed for completely different purposes.... and tries to SUE Soto Massini because they're threatened by someone making a better product.... Pot, meet kettle. Well, Tieks certainly stands no chance of EVER getting my business after this bullshit lawsuit. I hope GAP sues Tieks for the blatant rip off of their design :)
I suffer from plantar fasciitis and was on the market for good looking and comfortable shoes When I read the reviews for Tieks I decided to give them a try and their color availability was veey exciting to me because I love bright colors. I bought my first pair and have had them now for over a year and I can honestly say that I have bought more comfortable inexpensive flats at our local retailer. I cannot wear my Tieks for more than 30 minutes at a time because the ball of my feet and my toe nails hurt/burn so much that I cannot keep on wearing them even if I wanted. My hope is that this legal issue with SM resolves soon enough so I can try their shoes. I am hoping these will be the shoes that I can actually wear comfortably.
I wear Tieks and I can honestly say they are the most comfortable flats I’ve tried, no breaking in needed. That’s why I am a fan, that’s why i spend more in shoes than bags cause when I’m walking I need to be comfortable. The appearance is secondary, I am paYing for comfort and I dont mind. Now, they are not for everybody for different reasons amd we should all be tolerant to that. There are all kinds of options out there and thank God we are free to choose! Peace y’all!