A Ballet Flat That's Kind to your Sole


Much unlike many a magazine editor who recommends you buy all sorts of crap that they most likely got for free, your Jezebel staff doesn’t get jack shit (other than books, unsolicited). And that’s how it should be. But on our own time, in our personal lives, we still buy stuff. So this is Worth It, our recommendation of random things that we’ve actually spent our own money on. These are the things we buy regularly or really like, things we’d actually tell our friends about. And now we’re telling you.

I love the idea of ballet flats — so gamine, so easy, so cute, so chic, so versatile — but the truth is, they can be terribly uncomfortable when they’re actually on your feet. I’ve had flats that rubbed sore, raw spots into my achilles tendons, flats that gave me toeknuckle blisters, flats that were just too flat — no arch support, just a laughably thin sliver of man-made mystery fiber between my tootsies and the cruel, unyielding Manhattan pavement.

But last fall, I discovered the Air Bacara Ballet by Cole Haan. It’s part of the Maria Sharapova line, which is weird, but whatever. What’s important is that this shoe has “Nike Air Technology” inside. When I went to the store to check them out, I pushed my fingers into the footbed. It felt cushy and springy. Hmm, I thought. This could work. And then I tried them on. They felt great. The fit wasn’t like a normal ballet flat — the shoe might have a weird wrinkle shape in the photo, but on your foot? Perfect fit. And the sole has rubber shock absorbers over the ball of the foot and the heel. The Cole Haan people call it ” ultimate cushioning and maximum support”; I call it necessary for survival in this town. I walked around the store a little and thought, okay. I’ll get them. What I didn’t know then is that I would end up wearing them almost every day, for months. I walk a lot. A lot. I’ve got fallen arches and I’m not skinny. And in these shoes, my feet don’t hurt. (I bought the black patent ones, which I think look good with jeans both black and blue, but this style comes in a bunch of fun colors — gold, silver, pink, cobalt, red.)

This summer, I wore a lot of sandals and flip flops, letting my toes hang out. But since the weather has just started to get cooler, I pulled my Bacaras out. They still feel great, although they look like they’ve had quite a few miles on them — but they’re in pretty good shape. Still, I am considering buying another pair, which, to me, is the sign of a Really Good Thing, something that’s definitely worth it.

Air Bacara Ballet flat, $148 at Cole Haan; also available at Amazon.com.

Worth It only features things we paid for ourselves and actually like. Don’t send us stuff.

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