Taking the Plunge with Tieks

I'm don't remember exactly when or where I first heard about  Tieks. I just know that my life is now divided into two chapters: Life Before Tieks and Life After Tieks. ;) Gosh, that sounds dramatic, doesn't it? I don't mean that buying Tieks has been life-altering in the way that becoming a mom has been. Simply that there is a lot of learn about Tieks and I have now transitioned over to the enlightened Italian leather flat side, understanding why they are regarded so highly and having picked up tricks for caring for them and such. And I am happy to impart this knowledge to you as well. I encourage you to keep reading to learn about my experience with Tieks and feel free to ask me anything about Tieks. I'll do my best to answer your questions based on my personal experience with the company and shoes. 

I do remember that sometime around the late summer or early fall of 2016, Tieks became a buzzword that blossomed into a minor obsession among my friends. It was a similar experience to buying a green Honda and then suddenly seeing green Hondas everywhere. Only we weren't actually seeing Tieks in person. Mostly online sightings and reviews. Truly, the number of reviews to be sifted through on Pinterest would equal volumes of written pages. (Consider that most people, myself included, wouldn't take the time to compose a lengthy blog post complete with pictures if we weren't pleased with the product and excited to share our joy with others.)  

My friends traded stories about friends (more accurately friends of friends) who owned a pair of Tieks in a way that felt a little like those interviews in Mean Girls. "I heard that Gretchen Weiners has 3 pairs of Tieks." "Three?! That's insane. She must be so rich." "Do you guys know that my neighbor's best friend's dog just got a pair of Tieks?" Just kidding. They don't make Tieks for dogs. But they should! Because the Tieks-loving community would happily scoop up leather ballet flats for its furry friends! 

Back to those reviews... Personally I will shamefacedly admit to researching Tieks as thoroughly as (if not more than) I did a child care provider. Once my friends and I felt adequately assured that Tieks were comfortable, well-made, and beautiful, the conversation shifted to what color each of us wanted and how we intended to fund our purchases. 

What are Tieks? 
If you're reading this post, there's a good chance that you've already heard of Tieks, and maybe you've been considering investing in a pair. But just in case you haven't heard the hype yet, and you are only reading this because my mom put you up to it (bless you!), then here's the short version: Tieks are celebrated for being ultra-comfortable Italian leather ballet flats. They're flexible, durable, foam-cushioned, and foldable so that comfy shoes are always within your arm's reach. Tieks are sold online only and are available in 58 options including solids, patents, prints, and vegan styles. Three days of skilled work in the form of 150 steps comprises a single pair of Tieks. They retail for $175-345. If that price tag intimidates you, you aren't alone, hence the previously mentioned savings strategies my friends and I hatched. Also hence the countless reviews of Tieks on Pinterest, nearly all addressing everyone's burning question: Are Tieks worth the price?  

Because of the high price tag, I decided that I would use Christmas money to purchase my first pair. The downside? It was early fall, so Christmas looked awfully far away in spite of my friend Jodi's weekly social media posts that there were only single-digit Fridays left until Christmas. Patience just isn't my strong suit. Still, it was good for my character to endure the slow burn of anticipation. I am a better woman for having to wait for my Tieks.   

Choosing a Color
Once you know that you want to purchase Tieks, it helps to have a small sounding board of confidantes to help you reason out your color choice because deciding on a pair of Tieks can be very hard to do (think naming your child difficult. I discovered that I was really over-thinking my decision because of the added pressure of the expensive price tag. I kept feeling that I needed to pick the Perfect Color, the one that I would wear the most, the one that would go with the bulk of my wardrobe, the one that made the most sense (flashbacks to choosing a spouse all over again, amiright?).   

Then one day it wasn't so hard anymore. I was on the Tieks site for quite possibly the 500th time and decided to scroll through the gallery of customer-posted Tieks. As I scanned the images, I noticed that I kept being pulled toward the clear, bright cheerfulness of Cardinal Red. And that was the very moment when my decision-making anxiety evaporated. Red is one of my favorite colors and is my signature pop with most outfits. Friends saw this much sooner than I came to the realization, and they nodded emphatically knowing that it just made so much sense when I announced that I had decided on Cardinal Tieks. My point is this: ask your closest friends what color Tieks they think of when they think of you. You may just save yourself hours of deliberation.  

If I may offer you one more nugget of unsolicited advice, dear friend, it is this: Pick a color or pattern that you LOVE. Tell logic to pipe down for this one, and go with your emotions. Here's why: if you choose a color that you just can't stop thinking about, no matter how impractical (for the purpose of illustration, let's say Mint Patent versus a neutral), you will find yourself creating outfits to go with your Mint Patent Tieks, and you will be really excited about wearing them. If you love California Navy, get those. If Lavender Snake gives you goosebumps, that's your pair. Can't stop thinking about Silver Screen? There's a reason. My friend Emily is fortunate enough to own both Chestnut (a highly regarded neutral) and Fucshia. I've noticed that though Chestnut can be worn with anything and gets a lot of play, Emily really lights up when her Fucshia Tieks are on her feet. As a matter of fact, she wore them again today with a navy and white striped dress and she was really amped up about it.     

Tieks come in whole sizes from 5 up to 13. Many would-be Tieks buyers fixate on their inability to try on Tieks locally before committing to a purchase, and I surmise that plenty of them abandon their pursuit of Tieks for this reason. Don't give up! Tieks offers top-notch customer service, so they will allow you to exchange your Tieks for another size, so long as you have not worn them outside. If you can spare the room on your debit or charge card, order two sizes so that you can compare them, and then send back the shoe that just won't do. In general, half sizes are advised to order up a size. I wear a size 6 shoe and ordered a 6 in Tieks. Each pair wears a little differently out of the box depending on whether they are full-grain leather or patent or another material, so you may need to wear them around to stretch them out. They will mold to your feet as you wear them. 

Tieks arrive in a signature blue box with a sparkling flower on an elastic band, the color of which varies. My two favorite colors are aqua and coral, so to see a peachy-pink flower perched atop my Tieks box made my heart flutter. The little things, yeah?  

I'm actually using my flower to mark my place in my day planner. It's great to see it every day. Others use their flowers as adorable headbands for their sweet little girls. I'll probably let Iris wear mine at some point but right now it's bigger than her head. That's my story anyway. Sticking to it! ;) 

A hand-written note comes with each order. Hand-written communication is so beautiful and never goes out of style. I love when companies express gratitude for supporting their business. Recently I received a hand-written thank you from Tiny Prints for ordering birthday invitations for Iris's first birthday, and the gesture was so thoughtful and endearing to me that I immediately wanted to order something else from them. I didn't but I will next time I need paper goods. 

The presentation and packaging of Tieks is really lovely and beautifully branded. This may or may not matter to you, and I am sure that some of us would prefer to trade in pretty packaging for a lower price, but if Tieks is aiming to put its best foot forward (pun alert), then they do an admirable job of creating anticipation and a sense of luxury. 

Tieks actually arrive neatly folded and cradled in a small black drawstring pouch (not pictured). I forgot to take a picture of them in the pouch. It's really compact and incredibly stretchy for a snug fit, and the pouch takes up little real estate in your purse. Tieks also come with a foldable nylon tote bag. This is so you have a bag for your heels if you take them off in favor of your Tieks. I've not test-driven this yet. Generally, I just wear my Tieks if I know I will be walking a long way, but I can see the benefit of this if you are traveling for business or walking many blocks but need a dressier shoe upon arrival. 

The craftsmanship of the Tieks soles is a thing of beauty. Two separate non-skid patches in Tieks' signature blue keep you grounded, and the flexible mid-sole is made of brown leather. When I first slipped my Tieks on my feet, I was wowed by how substantial the shoe was while feeling like wearing my favorite Isotoner slippers.  

If you can believe it, I had to put my Tieks back in the box and pretend that they didn't exist until Christmas when we exchanged gifts at my in-laws' house. Again, it was a major character-building exercise for someone who gets impatient watching the microwave count down 30 seconds.  

Cardinal Tieks look amazing against Royal Stewart Tartan Plaid, making them a must-have for the holiday season. There really isn't a time of year when Cardinal isn't useful. Clearly, I have no regrets about my decision to get Cardinals. Whatever pair speaks to you, I know you will love and wear often. 

The soles of the shoes are both beautiful and functional.  


Proud Tieks moment: This is the very first flat lay outfit that I ever put together, and it is included on the Tieks website, which thrills me to no end. Were it not for this flat lay, I might not be blogging.  The bouquet sweater from LOFT has a very vintage, Anthropologie feel, and it was a steal at under $40 on sale. It looks like a much more expensive sweater than it was. There's even floral embroidery on the back. The skirt is a LuLaRoe Madison. 

This is my favorite cool weather Saturday errands outfit. I can wear my Tieks all day long and feel both comfy and stylish. 

This is a flat lay of a cute outfit I actually wore out grocery shopping, just for a nice change from athleisure looks. Our grocery trips are long and exhausting, and I'm happy to report that my Tieks were really comfortable for extended periods of walking. Also, I actually ran a quarter mile in my Tieks once. I was pushing Iris in the stroller and hubby breezed by on his Saturday run. Iris got so excited to see her dad that I decided to pursue him on foot for a few paces while she giggled. I was surprised to find that my Tieks were pretty darn comfy as a running shoe! If you see a news article about a girl running a marathon in Tieks in the future, the girl is probably me. If Tieks would kindly offer to sponsor me with all the colors on my wish list, then I will run every day in Tieks! 

Side note about Tieks: they support women entrepreneurs around the globe and have donated almost ten million dollars to women in business so far. You can get acquainted with the individual women and their stories  here 

What questions do you have about Tieks? Post them in the comments, and I will be glad to try answer them for you. 

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