It is no secret that I am a loyal Tieks customer. The stylish, foldable ballet flats frequently make an appearance in my Stitch Fix photos and in my kindergarten classroom. I wear my Tieks so much, that I often find myself answering a variety of questions about these fashionable flats and I'm happy to answer many of your questions today. As the owner of 4 pair of Tieks (and a customer that has returned several other pair), I have a lot of insight to share and I'll fill you in on my Tieks experiences.
This post is not sponsored by Tieks in any way, but it does contain affiliate links. We earn a small commision each time someone makes a purchase using one of our links, which helps to support the blog. All opinions are my own and we only promote brands and products that we truly love.
In the above photo, I'm wearing a pair of Romantic Blush Tieks – my newest pair. I love the light neutral color and the metallic snake print adds just a hint of texture and interest.
Do you really love your Tieks?
I'll just cut to the chase and answer your biggest question (in case it isn't already apparent). I'm a budget-conscious repeat customer that keeps returning to drop upwards of $150 on a pair of shoes.
Yes, I really do love my Tieks. They're comfortable (more on that in a bit), they look professional when I wear them to school, and they can easily be worn with a casual pair of jeans.
Does that mean they are perfect shoes? Of course not. No shoes are. Sometimes you get a pair that hurts. Sometimes they don't look dressy enough. Sometimes my feet sweat in them. Sometimes they stretch out. And every pair is expensive.
Despite all of that, I do really love them and I'll share everything I have learned from purchasing my own Tieks to help you decide if these shoes are right for you.
Are Tieks really that comfortable?
I am going to start off by saying that this is a loaded question. My Lovestruck pair is the most comfortable pair of shoes in my closet. I can (and have) worm those shoes all day long and if I know I'm going to be on my feet for an extended period, they are my go-to pair of shoes.
I think this pair of Tieks is so comfortable because I have worn them so many times. They are, without a doubt, the pair I wear the most frequently. They're delightfully stretched and never leave my feet in any type of pain or discomfort.
I know that you probably have specific questions about various features of the shoes so I will address each of those as well.
Do Tieks hurt your big toe?
It is worth noting that my other pairs of Tieks do hurt my feet after a particularly long day. Specifically, they put pressure on my big toe. I truly think this has more to do with me and my weird toes than the shoes themselves. But it is an issue for me and if your big toe sometimes hurts from too much shoe pressure it might be an issue for you as well.
Even my beloved Lovestruck Tieks caused this pain the first time I wore them. I recall the day vividly because it was the day Rob and I got engaged. We were in Chicago and I was just excited to finally wear my new shoes. I had no idea he was going to propose that day (nor did I know how many miles we would end up walking).
By the time we arrived back at our hotel (sporting my newest accessory), my big toes were both in a lot of pain and I had switch to sandals when we went out later that evening.
I read the comments of one blog post where a reader kept insisting that you could use a hair dryer and a round-edged rod (like the handle of a broom) to warm the leather and gently stretch it out. I tried it with my Tieks and it didn't seem to make any difference. But I honestly think that my Lovestruck pair is so comfortable now because I kept wearing them. So maybe there is some truth to that theory after all!
Do Tieks hurt your heel?
This question is easy. No, they don't. No pair of Tieks has ever hurt or dug into my heel no matter how much I wear them. This is one distinct advantage they have over the competition. All Tieks have a cushioned back, which allows them to sit gently across your heel and Achilles tendon. There's no painful elastic and the supple leather makes for a very comfortable experience.
Do Tieks provide enough support?
I get asked this question often. The support in Tieks suits my needs perfectly. My feet are never sore at the end of the day when I wear my Tieks (other than the big toe pressure.) I don't have particularly high arches or suffer from very much foot pain due to a lack of support, so these shoes provide enough support for my needs.
Tieks do offer more support than you would expect from a flat pair of sandals that folds in half. Rob and I recently had a weekend getaway in Saugatuck. I wore my Romantic Blush Tieks on a very long walk one day and didn't suffer from any support-related tiredness or pain in my feet.
The next day, I opted for a basic pair of flat sandals and could feel the effects of poor support on concrete sidewalks after about 6 blocks.
Do Tieks offer support? Yes, it's pretty good, but not amazing.
Is it better than the average pair of flats? Absolutely.
How do you justify the price of Tieks?
If you read the blog on a regular basis, you know that Rob and I are very money-conscious. We make a budget every month and stick to it. We also paid off $180,000 in student loan debt last summer and did a debt-free scream on the Dave Ramsey show. We account for every dollar in our budget and we don't take household expenses lightly. So how, exactly, do Tieks fit into my budget?
I view Tieks the same way that I do any item I want to purchase that costs over $100 – I look to see if there is room in the budget and if there isn't any room yet, I start saving. I don't buy a new pair of Tieks every month. I start setting money aside and dream about the perfect color to add to my wardrobe while I save. Sometimes I sell items from my closet to help me reach that goal faster.
I do occasionally get little flashes of guilt for investing so much in a pair of shoes. (Guilt comes so easily to Catholics.) But then I remember that we are debt free and we save like crazy. And if I know that we can afford them, then it's ok to splurge a little on something nice once in a while.
I also ask for Tieks gift cards around the holidays. Even if someone just gives me a $20 gift card, that is a contribution to my “new Tieks fund” and every little bit helps!
Do Tieks make your feet sweat?
I know this is a big question for a lot of people. And the question of “Do Tieks make your feet smell?” is of equal importance to people who worry about these things.
Let's start with the sweat question. No, I don't think Tieks make my feet sweat. Yes, my feet sometimes sweat while I am wearing my Tieks. I've read a lot of blog reviews about these shoes and some people claim that their feet have never sweat while wearing Tieks. I only think that's true if your Tieks are still pretty new and you wear them indoors with the AC on. Or if you cover your feet in antiperspirant ahead of time.
As a person who often goes out in the world while wearing my Tieks, I can assure you that sweat happens. Especially on hot summer days. I often wear my Tieks to school in the summer to work in my classroom and those are the days they seem to sweat the most. Because it's summer. And because I'm working so hard and those types of activities tend to cause bodies to sweat all over. Including feet.
The thing about Tieks is that they are made from 100% Italian leather. And since leather is a natural material, they breathe much better than synthetic materials (which is what all of my bargain flats are made from). As a result, my feet tend to sweat less while wearing Tieks than while wearing many other flat dress shoes.
Do Your Feel Smell when You Wear Tieks?
Now let's talk about the concern about smelly feet and shoes. Remember my Lovestruck Tieks? The pair I have worn so much that they are now insanely comfortable? My feet have sweat a lot in that pair of shoes. So much so, that the insoles are a different color. They used to be light brown, but now some areas have turned dark brown.
If you have a pair of Tieks that you wear as often as I do, your shoes might look like this too.
While my feet have sweat a lot in those shoes on multiple occasions (think of all the hot summer days in my classroom with minimal air conditioning), Those are the only days I have been aware of a smell when I took my shoes off.
But I know how important this question is to some of you.
The Lovestruck pair… well, they smelled like feet. Again, I haven't noticed a smell when I handle the Tieks to put them on or take them off on most days. Even today, I am only aware of a lingering smell after deliberately sticking my nose inside of them. So, no, they really don't make your feet smell that much and the shoes themselves don't retain a lot of odor.
How Durable is a pair of Tieks?
When I find a good pair of shoes to wear in the classroom, I usually wear them until they are destroyed. I recently threw away of synthetic black flats that my big toe eventually wore a hole into the top of. Other pairs have been discarded because I wore the rubber sole down so much, that the inner layers of the sole were revealed.
Needless to say, I'm pretty tough on shoes.
Since I've worn my Lovestruck pair so much, it's the pair I'm most informed about to comment on any durability issues with Tieks. You already know that the soles are discolored from a few years of foot sweat.
You can also see the crinkled leather is worn in the place where my big toe sits on each shoe. That area doesn't sparkle anymore and it is notably darker than the rest of the leather on the shoes. The leather on the inside is also worn down in those same areas.
With the leather showing visible signs of wear, I was pleasantly surprised to turn this pair over and examine the soles. Other than a little dirt worn into the crevices, these soles were in nearly pristine condition. I have walked miles and miles in these shoes from all the days I wore them in the classroom and the soles don't show any sign of extended wear. (I wiped them down with a Clorox wipe before taking this photo so you could get a better look at the detail).
I knew my Tieks were durable but I honestly didn't think the soles would hold up this well.
Do they sell Tieks at a local retailer?
You can only purchase Tieks online. I know how intimidating it can be to take the leap and purchase such an expensive pair of shoes online without trying them on first. I had a hard time with that too. The good news is that Tieks offers free shipping and free returns on all orders. Which means the you can purchase a pair risk free and see how it goes. If you love Tieks, keep them. If you don't, send them back free of charge for a full refund. That makes it less scary, don't you think?
Should I size up or size down?
Tieks don't come in half sizes, so people often ask if they should size up or size down if they typically wear a half size. The FAQ page of the Tieks website says you can go either way, but they recommend that people with wide feet size up. I typically wear an 8.5 and I always size up to a 9. Sometimes Tieks are so tight around my toes that I can't imagine how much worse it would be to try on a smaller size.
What if my Tieks arrive and I'm not satisfied?
Tieks has a truly amazing return policy. If you purchase one pair and you're unsure about them for any reason you can begin the exchange process online. Here's what makes it truly amazing: Tieks will let you hold onto the first pair of shoes so you can compare them to the new pair they send to you. And they won't charge you for the second pair while you decide which pair to keep. They just ask that you return the pair that doesn't work out in the same condition they arrived in.
Whatever you do, make sure you only wear your Tieks inside your house while you make your decision. Tieks won't accept returns of any shoes that have been worn outside. If you have any doubts, keep wearing them inside your house until you are certain that you plan to keep your Tieks.
Ouch! Are Tieks supposed to hurt this much?
The answer to this question is no, Tieks are definitely not supposed to hurt. The very first pair I ordered was a pair of Lavender Snake Tieks. I adored the print, but for some reason this particular pair was way too tight around my toes and they hurt so much! I exchanged them for a Mustard Yellow pair of Tieks and the new pair fit much better.
I have since talked to another teacher who purchased the same pair of Lavender Snake Tieks and hers fit comfortably from day 1. Perhaps it was just my pair that was a poor fit.
What's the packaging like for a pair of Tieks?
Opening up a pair new pair of Tieks is a lot like opening a gift on Christmas. And the signature beaded flower on top is better than any bow I've seen. Each pair of Tieks also comes with a hand-written note, a compact carrying case that you can slip your Tieks into while you travel and a larger tote to hold a pair of heels. You can read a detailed description of a Tieks unboxing in this post on my teaching blog.
Is it normal for my Tieks to squeak?
Every time I try on a new pair of Tieks, I notice that they squeak at first. It's different from the sound of wet tennis shoes on a tile floor. This squeak comes from inside the shoe.
I'm pretty sure the squeak is due to the fact that I size up and my feet slide a tiny bit inside of the shoes. When my feet slide on top of the leather, the friction and pressure make a squeaking sound. The good news is that the squeak is only temporary. It generally lasts a few days and gradually decreases throughout the day. As the leather insole softens and conforms to your foot, the squeak goes away.
Which Color Tieks should I Purchase?
If you are ready to invest in a new pair of Tieks, you have probably spent at least an hour scrolling through “The Boutiek“debating about which color to purchase. I know I did!
I know Tieks come in lots of beautiful colors and I once ordered a bright pair of Mustard Yellow Tieks because they looked so fun. After several months, I realized that I didn't wear that yellow pair often enough because they only went with a small fraction of clothes in my wardrobe.
I sold that pair on my @mariasellsthings Instagram account and put the money toward a new pair of Matte Black Tieks (which I can wear with most of my professional clothes.) I highly recommend investing in a neutral pair your first time around to maximize your use and really break them in. Then, if you love them, consider adding a “fun” color to your wardrobe later on.
Which color Tieks are in your closet?
I currently own only neutral colors of Tieks. I love that at least one pair pretty much matches anything in my closet. Below you can see the four pair of Tieks I own: Lovestruck, Romantic Blush, Matte Black, Ballerina Pink. Click any of the images below to see them on the Tieks website.
Which Pair of Tieks is your absolute favorite?
Even though they have seen better days, the Lovestruck pair is still my very favorite. They are so well broken-in, they feel like an old friend every time I put them on. I also love their depth of color and the fact that they are metallic is just an added bonus.
Share Your Thoughts and Questions
And there you have it! A very honest Tieks review with answers to just about any Tieks question you could possibly have. If you happen to have a question that wasn't addressed in this post, feel free to ask it in the comments. I will try my best to answer any additional questions that come my way. I'd also love to hear your thoughts about Tieks.
You may also want to save this image on Pinterest so you can refer back to it later.
Thanks so much to Brian from BTW Photography for taking such amazing photos for this post.
You already know that I'm wearing Romantic Blush Tieks in this photo.
I've added outfit details for the rest of my attire to the widget below :)