Tieks: A Must-Have Shoe for Female Travelers?

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This is part of a new series on my blog all about my favorite travel accessories for the wanna-be-stylish female traveler. Also check out my reviews of Aroamas travel perfume sticksSpeakeasy hidden pocket scarves, and El Camino bracelets.

Travel accessories

I often get asked (mostly by my female friends) about my “staples” when I travel. And, to be honest, up until the past year, I didn't have very many of them. I didn't have one pair of pants or pair of shoes or favorite sweater that always made every trip abroad with me. I just didn't CARE all that much about how I looked — at least, not when I was traveling.

At home, things like cute dresses and far too many pairs of shoes populate my closet. (I'm a woman, after all; I think it would actually be more surprising if they DIDN'T.) But it always seemed quite freeing to travel abroad without worrying about color coordinating or fretting about which shoes would best match my jewelry.

Until I went to Florence last summer.

Florence

Now, I may sometimes travel like a backpacker, but that doesn't mean I always spend like one. I've long since been over hostel dorm rooms, and I'm not averse to splurging every now and then, be it on accommodation or experiences. And, in Florence, I wanted to buy a leather handbag. The city is known for its leather, and I spied a shop selling bags with vintage map prints on them while sightseeing around the Duomo.

I went into the shop the next day — decked out in a slightly-wrinkled skirt, droopy tank top, and hiking sandals — and immediately was aware of how out of place I looked. I was actually afraid that they wouldn't sell me anything. (They did, though, don't worry; I bought a beautiful bag and use it nearly every day.)




Since then (and especially when I travel in Europe), I've found myself more aware of my outward experience when I'm traveling. I don't want to spend hours agonizing over my outfit every morning, of course, but I DO at least want to make sure I can make myself look presentable on the road if I need to. There's nothing worse than getting dirty looks from locals because of what you're wearing.

Teva sandals
My go-to outfit for a day out in Europe.

And thus the “add nicer pieces to my travel wardrobe” project commenced. The first thing I bought was a little black dress — a cotton one from Old Navy that doesn't wrinkle too much when folded and is really comfy, but can be dressed up with a nice necklace. I also bought a decent pair of very dark-washed jeans, a few comfortable-yet-cute drapey balck tops, and some chunky, colorful jewelry.

Then came the shoes.

I will probably never completely abandon my hiking sandals (pictured above) on my travels, but I admitted that I needed at least one pair of go-to shoes that I could wear both casually and to dress an outfit up. And my sandals were not those shoes.

I turned to Tieks by Gavrieli, which refer to themselves as “the ballet flat, reinvented.” Made of soft Italian leather, Tieks are designer flats that are all at once fashionable, wearable, and versatile — they fold right up to fit in a purse!

Tieks

I've been coveting these shoes for years, and finally gave in and ordered myself a pair earlier this year.

What I love about my Tieks:

The quality. These shoes are STURDY. Which is crazy, considering you can fold them up and put them into a teeny tiny pouch. But nevertheless, they are high-quality shoes. I especially love the trademark Tieks-blue non-skid bottoms, which add both a solid feel and a grippy surface to the shoes.

The material and color. I went with the chestnut-colored shoes in Tieks' beautiful signature leather. I knew they would be good in all weather (and, in fact, I've even gone on an impromptu hike through a muddy forest in them), and also that the color would match everything — important for go-to shoes.

Tieks

The lightness. Tieks weigh almost NOTHING, which is brilliant when you're trying to pack light.

The look. My Tieks make my feet look long and lean — in an attractive way. They also just look classy; I wouldn't feel self-conscious wearing these to a fancy dinner or upscale hotel (you know, if I actually went to those places).

What I don't love:

The breaking-in. When I first put them on, my Tieks were quite tight across the top of my feet. After wearing them for a while, though, this has completely gone away and they now fit my feet like a glove. (And, BONUS, they don't rub the back of my heel AT ALL like some other flats I own do because of the cushioned backs.) But you MAY have to wear them for a while before they fit correctly.

Tieks

The arch support. I don't really expect a whole lot of arch support from ballet flats, so this isn't really a deal-breaker. While Tieks DO offer more support than most of the ballet flats I own, it's still not enough for me. I have terrible feet, so I could personally never wear Tieks as my full-time shoes.

Are they worth it?

That's the big question. Starting at $175, Tieks are NOT cheap shoes. But that's kind of the point. You can keep buying cheap flats over and over, or you can buy one pair of really good-quality shoes that will be appropriate for just about any trip you could want to take.

Before my Tieks, I would buy multiple pairs of flats each spring. I would get them from places like Old Navy and Target, and spend between $20 and $45 on each pair. How many pairs of those flats lasted me until the autumn? Very few, especially if I wore them a lot. They would get dirty and stinky and in some cases would just start to fall apart.

So far, I have had none of these issues with my Tieks. No scuffs, no smell. In fact, no real signs of wear even though I throw them on frequently.

And I haven't bought another pair of flats.

Tieks

So, are Tieks the must-have travel shoe for women? Well, they could be. Ask me again in a year to be sure, but so far, after a few months, these chestnut beauties have worked wonderfully for me. They've been to the Canadian Rockies, to Niagara Falls, and on an Alaskan cruise so far (not to mention many, many walks around the neighborhood). And they have many more adventures ahead!

So what do you think? Would you get a pair of Tieks?

 

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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84 Comments on “Tieks: A Must-Have Shoe for Female Travelers?

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  1. I am a pharmacist and commonly work 12 hour shifts. I used to wear Danskos to work, but I was looking for a lighter / more professional option since Danskos are so heavy. I got my first pair of Tieks in June 2017 and I love them! Even though the leather is super soft and supple, I did have to break them in. I wear a 7.5 usually, so I ordered a size 8 in these and I am so glad I did. My big toe tilts up at the end, so my toes were sore at first. I inserted rubber bouncy balls for a few days where my big toe tilts up in the shoe to stretch the shoes, and it worked great. I now wear these shoes to work every single day. They do get sweaty, and they do smell after a long day, so I try to wear tights or nylon shoe liners with them. I often also wear them on my days off all day, and I will find myself still wearing them even after I have been home for a while because I don’t even realize I still have them on. I am very hard on my shoes, so I have tiny scuff marks where my big toe sits in the shoe, but otherwise they are still flawless. I also love the non-skid rubber bottoms as I am running around the grocery store where I work.

    Anyone know of a thin arch support I could use in this brand? Love the shoes. I need arch support however.

    I have a pair of the Obsidian Black ones and a pair of the newish Bronze ones. They do not hold up well! I took the Bronze ones to Europe for a week right after I got them. They were massively scuffed up in the front. And I was very careful! I wasn’t hard on my shoes of smashing them up against things. I wrote Tieks and sent pictures and they were “this can happen with normal wear and tear.” Um, after a week? no. Also, now (8 months later) they have a huge “big toe” gap and the bronze has worn off that part. They are crap. And the Obsidian ones just tore (the blue part). I wrote Tieks and they said they would replace them for me “just this once.” Like i’m doing something bad by telling them! And also, like people have mentioned, they are NOT a walking shoe. They are not super comfortable. They are just ok. An hour here or there. But overall? nope.

    Great tips on clothing! I’m really gald I read these review. I have a bad low back (LOVE Danskos!) and the lack of support concerned me. With the whopping price tag I have decided to pass. And I am confused about why you need “break in” an almost $200. pair of shoes? I have read that elsewhere. Good to see an honest review on your experiences!

      The “breaking in” is because they’re leather. Leather that hasn’t been worn is always going to be stiffer, so they need time to mold to your feet. 🙂

    We are going to the UK this summer so I asked my husband if I could buy myself a Mother’s Day gift. He is thrilled to be off the hook! Ordered a poppy pair last night and am excited to try them! My fear is that I will love them, because there are so many colors to choose from! Great feedback on this blog!

    Is there a chance that Tieks might start being made in half sizes? The size I first ordered was too short (my toes were cramped and trying to punch holes in the toes of the shoes), and the next size up was too long (the shoes were on the verge of falling off with every step). A size in between those two would have been perfect.

      Unfortunately I can’t answer that since I have no connection to the company! It certainly would be nice, though.

    I’m interested in buying the chestnut coloured Tieks. I’ve had the lavender snakeskin pair for three years now and they’ve held up to much wear and tear, summers, falls and rain too. I definitely feel as though I’ve gotten every penny out of them. Just wondered if yours scuffed easily. Since there are so many colour variations in the skake, scuffs don’t really show.

      I haven’t had any super noticeable scuffs!

    I wear my black matte Tieks often to work in an office and the teal sole just became unstitched from the bottom of my right shoe. I’ve had them for 7 months, and other than the floppy sole they look pretty new so I’ve reached out to the company to find out about getting them fixed or replaced.

      did you get a new pair? similar situation just recently for me only I have had mine for a week :/

    Just wondering how they are holding up now ? I just bought a pair to wear for my wedding and they are a little tight around the toe part I’ve been wearing them around the house some in hopes of breaking them in

      Sometimes they do take some breaking in – I wish they made them in half sizes! Mine are still holding up great after mild wear.

    I love my Tieks for traveling! I’ve worn them all over Europe, and I always get the best compliments. They’re so much more stylish than clunky gym shoes, but they’re just as comfortable! Really, what else can you ask for in a travel shoe?

    Thanks for sharing! I absolutely love my Tieks 🙂 super comfy, stylish, and great quality!

    I noticed you wrote this article in 2014 so you’ve had the Tieks about a year now. I am a teacher and just bought a pair today to have some simple flats I can wear often. How did yours hold up?

      Mine have held up really well, but I’ll admit that they aren’t my everyday shoes, so they’re not worn constantly or anything. Usually just when I’m dressing up and not doing a ton of walking.

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