A Tieks review, finally

A Tieks review, finally

For a while now, I’ve been meaning to spill some ink (of the digital variety) to talk about my Tieks, because I get asked about them a lot—by friends, by strangers, on instagram, in random blog comments.

The short answer: I love my Tieks.

But the emphasis on that sentence should be on the I part, not just on the shoe part. There are specific reasons I love them, and I don’t want you running out and buying expensive shoes just because they work for me.

The #1 reason I love Tieks is because they fit.

Tieks Shoes

my first pair, in tangerine

Shoes are hard for me. I have really long, really wide feet. (I try to find size 11E, but that is nearly impossible.) I can never be a woman with a serious shoe problem—the kind that requires custom-made shelves to hold 100 pairs, or 600 if we’re talking about those crazy reality shoes. Very few brands actually fit my big feet. That’s why shoes are something I splurge on: I’ve given myself permission to spend more money on the areas that give me trouble.

On to the next: I hate to shop. Especially for shoes; it’s demoralizing. But Tieks fit, and are versatile enough I can wear them nearly everywhere. I’ve gone traveling for a week at a time, on numerous occasions, and taken only two pairs of shoes, both Tieks. (I really only needed one, but they don’t take up much suitcase space.)

They’re also super comfortable. I’ve walked 13 miles a day in NYC in them, I’ve played ball with my kids in them, I walk the dog in them.

A few months ago Will and I attended a fancy black tie event. I always wait to put on uncomfortable heels until the last minute. This time, I forget to put them on at all. I realized when we arrived at the venue that my shoes were back at home, sitting right where I’d left them, by the front door.

It was fine. I was wearing my gold Tieks (starstruck, to be precise) and got compliments on my shoes all night.

tieks-on-the-tracks

on the High Line

Not a decision-making point, but fun all the same: Tieks are conversation starters. I consistently have good conversations with strangers because of my shoes. They’re not flashy but the turquoise heel makes them distinctive; usually people have seen them on the internet and want to know if I actually like wearing them.

Usually it’s the stranger striking up the conversation, but I was at a professional event this month and spotted a woman wearing what I thought were taupe Tieks, which is a color I was thinking about ordering—but I wanted to see them in person, and not on the internet.

So I asked her … and fifteen minutes later she’d told me all about her three book clubs, and I’d gotten her email address so she could be a guest on What Should I Read Next. Coming soon to a podcast near you.

ruby red tieks

Ruby Red patent Tieks: my happiest shoes

A few things I’ve learned about Tieks: 

1. Different styles have different comfort levels. My starstruck, lovestruck, and tangerine Tieks have all fit and felt fantastic from the start. My ruby red patent Tieks took a while to break in. I wasn’t expecting this, but customer service assured me (as I struggled to wear them for more than a few hours at a time) that this is normal. (I’ve had excellent experience with customer service.)

Several months in, they feel great. But word to the wise: be prepared for a less-than-amazing fit on your first wear. Do not wear them to Costco for the first time. And wearing them around the house with socks help you get that great fit faster.

stitch-fix-september-2015-plus-trunk-club-3

2. The styles fit me slightly differently.

Something to keep in mind when you order: the original leather feel different from the patent, which feel different from the more unique styles like the Brentwood. (Tieks customer service says if comfort is your #1 priority, go with the original leather. I would lump my stardust and lovestruck Tieks in with this bunch as far as comfort is concerned.)

I have a very wide foot, so I size up to a 12, and I never wear a 12. My friends with narrow feet sometimes size down. If you are a true half size with a normal-width foot, stick to the original leather and size down. If you need arch support, Tieks may not be for you—at least not without fancy inserts.

3. Returns are free and easy.

Free and easy returns make online shopping so much easier. When I’m not sure which size or color to get, I order several pairs and return what doesn’t work.

new closet shelves with tieks, books, and wine

pictured: the feather grey (on the right), during the one day and zero-wear time period they were in my house

4. Skin tone matters.

Tieks come in dozens of great colors, and would I like one of each. Yes please. At least that’s what I thought until I ordered some feather grey Tieks to replace a busted pair. (That happens; hang tight.)

I loved the way they looked in the pictures, and thought they would be a chic and versatile shoe for my winter wardrobe, which is largely black, navy, and grey. It turns out, the cool grey made my warm skin look like I was ill. Even though we’re talking about my feet and not my face! In short, they have tons of amazing colors; make sure you pick one that works for you. Check out all the options here.

5. Tieks are not invincible.

After about 14 months with my starstruck pair, I discovered I’d worn a tiny hole in the toe. Which soon became a not-so-tiny hole. I had worn them more days than not for 14 months, but still! Tieks are too expensive to just last a little more than a year.

I contacted customer service, which took good care of me, replacing my starstruck Tieks with a lovestruck pair. (At my request—I was ready for a tiny change.)

I also changed the way I wear my shoes. Tieks are durable, but they aren’t invincible, and I started showing them a little more respect. Do I still walk 13 miles a day in them in NYC, and 10 miles a day in them on a busy day about town? YES. But I no longer play ball with the kids, do yard work, or crush aluminum cans in my Tieks. (Was I truly doing all those things? Yes, I was—she says, hanging her head.)

thredup-clothes-in-closet-wide

that time I wrote a post about ThredUP and it looked like a Tieks ad

I hope this answers YOUR Tieks questions. Did I forget anything? Hit me up in comments. And this post isn’t sponsored or perked, although these are my affiliate links. I’m just a fan who’s happy to share.

Tieks on Modern Mrs Darcy:

7 things I’m choosing to splurge on right now. (In which I make the case to splurge on shoes.) – link to Spend to your weakness.

9 things I learned in April. (In which I ordered my first pair of Tieks ordered.)

6 things I learned in March. (I learned patent Tieks take forever to break in.)

What worked for me in 2015. (My Tieks really worked for me in 2015!)

My early fall uniform. (Tieks are a prominent accessory in my fall uniform.)

StitchFix lately. (It’s nearly impossible for me to find shoes that fit. Tieks are a lifesaver.)

 

Tieks review

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46 comments

  1. Nancy Wang says:

    What I never get about shoes like this and Toms, is how you wear them without them getting all smelly. At least Toms can be washed, but Tieks can’t. How is this issue with Tieks?

    • Jeni says:

      Shoes with real leather insoles do not retain an odor. TOMS do because they are fabric, but not my Tieks or Cole Haan’s do not😊 Another reason to pay more for well made shoes.

    • Jen says:

      I don’t think they get smelly like my Toms did. Washing my Toms just wrecked them and for their price for a canvas shoe they don’t get enough wear time. The thing I liked best about Toms is how they donate a pair of shoes to people who need them. If Tieks did that they would be the perfect company.

    • When my Toms start to get a little ripe, I put baking soda in a paper towel with a drop of a favorite essential oil and put a twisty-tie around it and put one in each shoe. Takes the smell right out and I can use the baking soda pouches a couple of times.

  2. Veronica says:

    Thank you for the review. I have problems getting shoes to fit, too. I used to do well with the Lands End Mary Janes, but either they have changed or I have. I may just order a pair of Tieks. My cousin, with the same feet I have, swears by them.

  3. Allison says:

    I ordered a pair of Tieks after reading about them on your blog, was it a year ago or 2 years ago, I don’t remember. But I had to send them back because I have really, really, really wide feet. I will say they have great customer service and the return was not a problem at all.

  4. I splurged and bought the classic red leather Tieks this summer when I was on crutches and couldn’t do my high heels. I love them-now. But, it was a long learning curve for my feet to love love and vice-versa. I think it is because they are real leather. I actually remember that from buying real leather shoes when I was a kid. I went with a bold color because, why not? If you are spending that much money, get a bang for your buck! =) I also have a wide foot, and go between a 9-1/2 and 10. I sized up to 10, and I think that was a wise choice for me. I am debating getting another pair, but we shall see what I decide to go with.

  5. Beth says:

    Thanks for this comprehensive review. I had no idea you had such big feet! (I say that as a fellow size 11 who also has a hard time finding shoes. ;-)) I long ago accepted I just have to shell out for comfortable shoes and every time I try to get A Deal it backfires. A few of my friends think I’m nuts and keep telling me how many size 11s TJ Maax and Marshall’s have (They don’t, I’ve looked. Or at least nothing I would wear.) but the normal feet size 9 people just don’t get it!

    Question: What is the arch support like for Tieks?

    My feet are on the wide size and freakishly flat. I’ve been looking for a pair of dressy casual shoes that aren’t boots or sandals and Tieks would be perfect. But I’ve been hesitant because of the support issue.

    • Amanda S. says:

      The Tieks do not have any arch support. If you need minimal-but-some arch support, I highly recommend the Born Julianne flat. While not available in quite so many colors, they are super comfortable and have a little pad for the arch. Smelly feet can be a problem since the inside is fabric, but they are definitely more cushy than Tieks.

      • Whitney says:

        Oh, that’s helpful. I bought the Julianne flat as a “let’s try the $60 leather flat before jumping straight to Tieks” shoe. One of the things I like about it is the support – I wouldn’t mind if there was more.

        Man, it was so much easier buying shoes ten years ago when my feet didn’t hurt. Ha.

  6. Liz Ekstrom says:

    The Pacific Green pair are calling my name. I’ve got to find a way to squeeze that $175 into the Christmas budget. Do they ever have sales? Maybe Cyber Monday?

  7. Jen says:

    People seem to either love or hate Tieks. I am a devotee. My husband buys me a pair at Christmas and so far i have 2 pairs,black classic and burgundy. It’s helpful that he picks the colors because it’s near impossible to choose, they are all beautiful! My burgundy pair were very squeaky for 6 months till I emailed customer service and they suggested baby powder or no show socks. The baby powder worked and no problems now. My black pair travelled to Ireland and were worn for walking all day on cobbled streets and in the rain. They held up perfectly and my feet did well. They barely look worn even. I can’t wait to see what color my hubs chooses this Christmas!

  8. Jeni says:

    I have to admit I am a little upset that they replaced your shoes after several months of wear. I bought two pairs several years ago for a trip to China. I wore the pewter pair almost every day of our trip and they were absolutely the most comfortable shoes for hours of walking. But after about 2 months of almost daily wear they looked like I had been through a war in them. I called customer service and all they were willing to do was give me a 30%off discount code to use on another pair. Lucky you for getting a replacement….maybe their policy has changed and I should try them again.

    • Jessica says:

      Jeni,
      My experience with their customer service was like yours – discouraging. I wasn’t even offered a discount; they suggested I take mine to a shoe repair store, which I did with limited success. I bought the Chestnut and perhaps that was part of the problem, they were too light in color to wear well.
      They are super comfortable shoes and great for travel, but I wasn’t impressed with their customer service at all. Glad Anne had better luck.

      • Anne I was wondering about this too. What did you say to customer service to get yours replaced? I got mine in January, and by September they had a hole starting in the toe, so I’ve stopped wearing them. I just assumed they weren’t as awesome as I’d thought and that I’d have deal with it, but seeing your post made me wonder…

        I also second the questions about smelly feet. I saw people say that leather shoes should not retain odor, but mine definitely did. Any suggestions for how to stop that?

        • Lori Brooks says:

          I ordered Gekks to wear inside my new Tieks. I am currently wearing no show peds, which work well, but I hear wonderful things about Gekks. So I want to give them a whirl.

          As far as the hole, I am not surprised, our toenails can stick up a bit and be sharp. I placed a piece of moleskin inside my Tieks, at the toe area to avoid this problem. Moleskin is super cheap, and I want to treasure my Tieks as long as I can. They fit fabulously and I LOVE them!

          • thank you! I hadn’t seen gekks before but just checked them out and they look awesome! Have you had success with them in shoes that were already smelly? Or only in keeping new ones from getting smelly?

            Great idea on the Moleskin! I’ll have to try that!

          • Lori Brooks says:

            I am still awaiting my Gekks. They are a small company, so I expect it to take a while.

            I hear you can swab your shoes with running alcohol and then use Gekks from then forward. It may depend on the shoe, as to whether or not it works to kill the smell. It’s worth a shot.

  9. Julia says:

    Thank you for this detailed review! I have one pair in regular leather (because I have very picky feet and I knew that kind was supposed to be the most comfortable) and I sometimes longingly look at the metallic leather or the patent. It is really helpful to know that you’ve found the metallic leather to also be comfortable!

  10. Melisa says:

    I have the bronze pair. Honestly took a few weeks to break in and was a little discouraged because of the money I spent. Still, I am a fan. They are super cute.

  11. Nancy says:

    Do you think there is room in these shoes for an insert? I need to use orthotics but can’t stand anything that puts pressure top to bottom on my feet. Wondering if they are “tall enough” to accommodate both an insert AND a foot.

  12. Liza says:

    I took the Tieks plunge a couple of months ago. I bought the mustard yellow. While I like them, I wouldn’t say I love them. They are great shoes and were comfortable right out of the box. The color is amazing. But they are already showing wear and tear on the heels. I’ve only worn them a handful of times. As of now, they are just as good as my $70 flats that I got last year (except last year’s flats are horribly beat up). There are more colors that I’d love to get, but I’m not yet sold on them being worth the price. I’ll see how it goes when I finally get around to contacting customer service and how they are for long-term wear.

  13. Natalie says:

    This a great Tieks review! My husband bought me my first two pairs a little over a year ago (ballerina pink and cobalt blue) and they were comfortable pretty much from the beginning with a little breaking in needed. My third pair he bought is gold, and those took longer to break in. I wore them around the house with thick socks for a few days before they stretched out enough to feel comfortable. My husband gave me my fourth pair for Valentine’s Day in cardinal red, and then my fifth pair for my birthday in navy. I also have wide feet and find it hard to shop for shoes. Tieks are expensive, but they are well made and so comfortable. I would say I am hooked!

  14. Jess says:

    Yikes! I feel like there has to be a better shoe with support and smelly feet issues than Tieks at this price range!! I just can’t justify that much money on what is essentially a ballet flat.

    • Natalie says:

      Jess,
      The soles are surprisingly thick, and I don’t know anyone who has had smelly feet issues with Tieks. Sometimes I wear “no show” socks with them but typically I wear them without. They really are great shoes.

      • Lori Brooks says:

        Someone above mentioned having smelly Tieks. I ordered some Gekks and can’t wait to try them. I currently wear no show peds. I want to keep my Tieks tip-top to treasure as long as I can. I am coveting my 3rd pair now, in less than 2 months. I am hooked.

  15. Gina says:

    I love ballet flats and would love to try a pair but alas they are too expensive for my budget. Thank you for all the information – great info if I save up some money and buy some.

  16. I can’t wear heels because of arthritis, and that also means I can’t stand shoes that put too much pressure on my toes. I have a few pairs of Tieks that I found on Ebay,and I love them. They stretch well and don’t kill my back or my hips.

  17. Guest says:

    I’ve been trying to think of a polite way of expressing my opinion about this so I hope I’m successful 🙂 I totally get that $175 and up is well out of budget for many people. I’ve been there myself.

    I bought Tieks because of Anne’s reviews in years past and I absolutely love mine. I had never paid that much for a pair of shoes. As someone who likes a fairly limited wardrobe (including shoes and accessories), the idea of a pair of flats I could wear often while holding up well was very appealing to me. I’ve had ankle/foot surgery and I LOVE how Tieks are comfortable straight out of the box. Additionally, I wear them almost every single day. I say almost because some days I stay in yoga pants and tennis shoes – haha. My cheaper shoes I can’t wear every day because they wear out and/or they get stinky if I wear them every day. If I calculate cost per wear, my Tieks cost me about .50 per day that I wear them. Again, not everyone can afford .50 per day and I get that. But if you can afford to buy a soda most days of the year, Tieks may not be as ridiculously expensive as they seem.

    • I totally agree with you! I love mine and feel like for the quality the price really isn’t that out there. I am having the problem Anne described with a hole forming in one toe, but, encouraged by her post, I’ve contacted customer service. They asked for photos and seem very helpful so I’m hopeful they’re as good about things as everyone describes. They seem pretty with it.

  18. Bonnie says:

    I bought a pair in black leather. It was (by far) the most I’d ever paid for a pair of shoes. I wear a 7.5-8 and ordered them in 8. They hurt! The top of my big toe hits the top of the shoe. I have never worn them outside the house as I can’t stand to have them on more than a few minutes. I don’t think I could wear them with socks. I am also pleasantly surprised (and, honestly, shocked) that they replaced your pair after a year of wear. There are reviews all over the place saying they wouldn’t replace theirs because they had been worn outside! I wonder whether they’ve had a change of policy? Anyone think I should try a size 9? In the meantime I wear my Sam Edelman Felicias, which I love.

    • Anne says:

      I have Sam Edelman felicias! I wore them right out! (B/c I wore them inappropriately, not b/c they are poor quality). Sooo comfortable right out of the box. I wonder if a quality repair shop could do anything for them.

      • Bonnie says:

        I find one pair of mine looking pretty beat-up, too. I wore them on repeat all summer. Polish has helped a little. 🙂 When the time comes, I may try out the shoe repair shop. FWIW, I find the regular leather to be buttery soft and much more comfortable than either the metallic silver/gold or the leopard print.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      I normally wear a size 8, rarely an 8.5 and I needed the 9 in Tieks. It may be because my foot is wide, but no way could I wear the size 8 comfortably. It is worth a try.

    • Bonnie says:

      Updated to add: I went back and re-read the review one of the reviews I referenced in my original comment. Since the reviewer had worn her Tieks outside, they wouldn’t REFUND her, but they offered to send her another pair, which she accepted. (She seemed to like the second pair better but still not enough to recommend them. She recommended Soft Stars.). I am intrigued by different people’s responses from customer service when contacting them–Anne and the reviewer got a new pair while others got a discount and still others got nothing. It would be nice to know their policy. $175 and up is a lot of money for most of us.

    • kirby says:

      yes, try a 9! i typically wear 81/2 – 9 & in tieks, 10’s fit perfectly (i do t wear 10’s in anything else). This, upon thinking ‘glad i tried, but these are clearly not for me’ – but CS suggested i try a size up free of charge & im glad i did.

  19. Maryalene says:

    Thanks for the review! I have to admit I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea something so flat could be so comfortable. Maybe I’ll have to try them sometime to see for myself!

  20. Heather says:

    How do the patent ones wear (as in scuff)? Are they hard to keep looking nice? I haven’t worn patent leather since I was a little girl, but I remember always having white marks on my black shoes. I love the color of the lavender patent shoes and wish they had that pale purple in the regular leather, but I’m thinking I’d be happier with the long term wear of the darker purple leather. Curious whether you find the you have to be more careful with the patent leather and if it’s harder to keep looking nice.

    • Tara says:

      I have patents in Coral and I’ve worn them all over wet Oregon and they’ve held up great. Super easy to wipe down, which is why I chose the patent leather; no scuffs on them! I was a pretty true size 7 when I bought them (prior to pregnancy), and I should have sized up to an 8. Also, after a couple months of daily wear mine REEK. Like, I can’t take them off in public because it’s embarrassing and I have to immediately wash my feet after wearing them because they smell so bad. This is the main reason I won’t purchase more in the future.

  21. Britany Arnold says:

    Are these only available for purchase online? I was hoping I could go into a store to try them on before diving into the deep end on these.

    • Anne says:

      Yes, only online. (That’s why I have so many conversations with strangers about my shoes–everyone wants to know what they’re really like. 🙂 )

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