This product review compares three pairs of foldable flats that I used on my travels. I highlight the pros and cons of each shoe and give my honest review and recommendations. If you are looking at foldable flats for your next trip, this is the review for you. Also, be sure to check out our post on choosing the right shoes for your trip.
Foldable flats + travel
Ballet flats are not my usual style so I have never been a connoisseur. However, when I read a review about the benefits of foldable flats in regards to travel, well now, that made me pause. I really liked the idea of an easily packable shoe to wear on airplanes or slip on at night to go to dinner. I had no desire to replace my sturdier boots and sandals, but I figured it would not hurt to look into a foldable flat for certain travel situations. With that in mind, I purchased three different pairs of foldable flats:
- Yosi Samra in gold shimmer
- Crane ballet flats in black
- Kigo Flit in gray
A note about Tieks
It does not take too long when researching foldable flats to come across the band Tieks. With their pretty turquoise soles, presence on Pinterest and a seemingly endless supply of positive views, it is not too long before you start questioning why you do not already own a pair (or 12). Of course, that reason is the price tag. If you are the kind of person who wears ballet flats all day, every day, well then Tieks are probably worth the investment. However, I am looking for a pair of shoes to wear during specific travel situations (e.g. airplanes, trains rides, dinner, etc.). Since I will not be wearing ballet flats down cobblestone streets during Christmastime or on a hiking trail on some remote island, Tieks cost too darn much (as do the foldable flats from Tory Burch and Coach). Even as someone who has no trouble paying good money for good shoes, I cannot justify the price for a pair of shoes I will only wear occasionally. In addition, I wanted to compare and contrast different brands/styles and one pair of Tieks would blow my whole budget. So I guess that is a long-winded way of saying that I will not be reviewing Tieks today. Sorry.
Choosing a pair of foldable flats
I was actually surprised by the number of options available for foldable flats. Do a search on Amazon and you will get over 8,000 results! However, I was looking for a quality pair of foldable flats that did not cost too much money (under $100). I wanted a pair with some support, made from quality products that would be easy to slip on and off while on a plane or train. Between the price I was willing to pay and the desire for quality, there were not too many options available. I read and watched many reviews before settling on Yosi Samra, Crane and Kigo. After I purchased my shoes, I started taking them on trips. Below are the pros and cons of each pair of foldable flats for the purpose of travel:
- These foldable flats come in a variety of styles and colors. Since I would be trying out my new pair on a Christmas trip to Europe, I wanted something a bit jazzier than I usually wear. I went with gold shimmer and called them my Christmas shoes.
- They a very cute. I wore them to Arizona for my birthday trip and my girlfriends both commented on how cute they are.
- These flats are perfect for a nicer dinner. They make you feel a dressed up but still allow for easy walking to and from the restaurant.
- I loved that these shoes were comfortable right out of the box and required no breaking in for me.
- Yosi Samra foldable flats arrive folded in a cute box with a black, drawstring bag. I am a sucker for cute packaging so this was a definite pro for me.
- A pair of these foldable flats costs around $100, which is a little steep for shoes you may only wear on the airplane. Luckily, you can often find them on sale and save a bit of money (try Tosi Samra’s website or Amazon). I got mine off of Zulily for half the price.
- Although these flats are fairly sturdy, I did take them off once we started walking around a lot. I do not feel like they mix well with cobblestone streets.
- These foldable flats are not the best winter shoes. They are thin and not waterproof at all. For an airplane (which is why I bought them), they are fine. For any sort of exploration, they will get wet and cold quickly.
Yosi Samra is a good choice for a foldable flat. I enjoyed the options for fun colors and I appreciate how comfortable they are. I will be taking these shoes on future trips, especially if I want to wear something pretty.
- All Crane ballet flats have pretty purple soles.
- The flats arrive folded in a very cute, purple box and come with a black, drawstring bag. (Again, I am a sucker for packaging.)
- The classic black color I ordered goes with everything.
- The shoes are good quality and made with well. I have not worn them long enough to test out exactly how long they will last, but at least they do not arrive looking and feeling “cheap.”
- These shoes are affordable. My basic black pair was $54. They also have a camouflage pattern for $58 and a textured pattern for $60. (See my note about shipping costs in the con section.)
- Although these shoes ship from the Philippines, they arrived quickly (more quickly than the pair I ordered from Zulily).
- There is no online store for Crane. You pursue the options available on Instagram. If they happen to have a color you like in your size, then you email them. After that, they send you an invoice and you pay via Paypal. At the end of the day, it was not all that difficult. However, it was not the usual way of shopping online. (Note: Crane says that an online store is coming soon, but it is not up and running yet.)
- Show selection is very limited in both sizes and colors.
- There are no returns and no refunds available. Luckily, you should not have any trouble reselling your pair if they do not fit (there is a following similar to Tieks).
- Shipping is expensive. These shoes are made in the Philippines and for one pair, it costs $42 to ship. If you order more than one pair, the shipping is a bit higher ($49 total, not per pair), so it is a better bargain if you can get more than one pair.
- I did not find the Crane flats as comfortable right out of the box (they rubbed my right pinkie toe a bit). I realize that most shoes require a break-in period, but since my gold flats did not, I was disappointed to discover that these did.
If Crane has your size available in a color you want, I say go for it. If they have two colors you want, even better! You will be taking a slight risk, but it is not too big in my opinion since reselling is an option. At the end of the day though, I would probably order a pair of Yosi Samra before ordering another pair of Crane ballet flats.
- My Kigo Flits were super comfortable right out of the package. There was no rubbing and no break-in period.
- They are very light, but also very sturdy—the best of both worlds when it comes to travel. This was the only pair of foldable flats that I feel comfortable doing some serious exploring and walking around in.
- At $75 a pair, these shoes are a decent price. Even better, I got mine on sale for $35.
- Instead of a traditional ballet flat look, Kigo Flits have a Mary Jane style that I like very much.
- The gray color goes with just about everything and the stitching is a periwinkle blue, which is a nice touch.
- Kigo shoes do not come in a cute box or with a drawstring bag. This is not a deal breaker, but when it comes to packing, you may need your own shoe bag for them.
- They have a more sporty look, which is okay for most situations. However, one of the reason I was interested in a pair of foldable flats for travel was so I could have a nicer pair of shoes for dinner. This pair will not always work for that situation.
- The only come in two colors: black and gray.
- These foldable flats do not fold up as flat as the others. They are more of a roll-up flat.
Two thumbs up for these shoes. Out of the three foldable flats I purchased, I have worn the Kigo Flits the most. I even wear them when I am not traveling.
Some final notes about foldable flats
I would recommend different foldable flats for different types of travel. For example, I recommend a pair of Yosi Samra if you are going to a lot museums and nice dinners in places like Belgium, Washington D.C. or a cruise. On the other hand, if you are going to be visiting places like Hawaii, the Azores and New Zealand, I recommend the Kigo Flits.
Before purchasing a pair of foldable flats, read lots of reviews—the good and the bad. These will help you make an informed choice.
I would like to point out that foldable flats do not take up any less room than regular flats. They just take up different room. I do enjoy having the option to fold them if the folded shape fits better in my bag. However, often just laying them flat is a better fit.
After traveling with three different foldable flats, I have found them to be a useful addition to my bag and I will continue to travel with them in the future. Who knows, I may even invest in some new colors.