Ballet Flats Are the Shoe of the Summer

The early aughts staples are back. Here’s how to wear 2023's best versions.

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A lobster holding a Loewe knit ballet flat
Photograph by Chris Rhodes
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The last time we saw this many ballet flats on fashionable feet, smartphones were Blackberries and denim was boot cut, low-rise and occasionally bedazzled. While we’re unlikely to see the return of phones with mechanical keyboards any time soon, when it comes to trends, what goes around tends to come around. Ballet flats started showing up on runways last year and have trickled down to the sidewalks in a big way: We’re seeing them paired with loose jeans, tailored trousers or party dresses to great effect. The best styles eschew overt primness in favor of a bit of visual intrigue, in the form of materials like stretch netting, puffed-up satin and floral embroidery, or silhouettes enhanced with high vamps, surrealist toe boxes, ribbon ankle ties or crystal-encrusted heels. Of course, you can also keep it classic with a round toe and a sweet little bow. This time around, anything goes—you can even pair them with those early aughts jeans in the back of your closet.

A Preppy Classic

Sweet and Simple

The Right Amount of Edge

For Dancing All Night

Pointed and Punchy

Sexy, Summery and Sleek

A Forever Icon

Puffy Perfection

Neutral But Not Boring

A Bit of Heel

Pure Comfort

For Dressing Up With Ease

A Drop of Golden Sun

All Wrapped Up

For the Little Ones

Wedding Shoes, Anyone?

For a More Structured Look

The Cool Girl Calling Card

Non-Basic Black

Fluffy and Fabulous

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