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‘Are these shoes poorly made?’ is an easy question to answer. ‘Are these shoes good?’ is a much much harder question to answer. We can not ignore the lifestyle of a person when it comes to shoes. Do you have a heavy step ? Do you have wide feet ? How much do you weigh ? Do you have flat feet ? How much do you walk ? On what sort of terrain do you walk on ? Do you drag your feet ? How many other pairs do you own to rotate ? …. All these factors play a role. If you are fairly active, have narrow feet, dont like replacing your shoes by the year, this review might be relatable.

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SPOILER REVIEW:

No ! Leave them to the folk who own lots of shoes or the ones who can afford to replace their shoes very frequently. We the people need our shoes to be sturdier. Yes, they are handmade. I absolutely LOVE the shape of them on my feet. But the design and durability is lacking. “

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THE PAINFULLY LONG REVIEW.

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At what point during the time line of owning a shoe is one qualified to review it ? Definitely not first impressions unless you are a cobbler/craftsman/leather expert. Also, what has time got to do with it ? I have 16 pairs. Some of them get worn less than a dozen times a year. So I did a little mental count of the usage. They hit 100+ wears. And hence this review.

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First thoughts : High vamps ! I love that little bow in the front. Its like an actual ballerina. I have long fingers and toes. And don’t like toe cleavage. These ones have good coverage.They fit like a glove and mould to my shape. No rubbing. I caught myself posing as I stood, because I liked the shape they made on my feet. But where is the quality ? they look thin and flimsy. Whats all the hype about ? I was eager to use them and find out. But I like them so much that I ran to my cobbler and got a vibram sole put on the bottom. I tried to quiz him about his professional opinion on the quality. He didn’t think they were worth the money.

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Wear and Tear : The images above show the stress points of these shoes. The heel is wrinkling. The front of the shoe is peeling off. The leather is wearing thin and even my narrow feet are beginning to show their silhouettes through the leather. The rubber soles are detaching just like my good cobbler predicted – not enough leather sole to hold it.

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Review : They are delicate, dainty and make my feet look pretty. I would not expect a lot of run from them if you wear them outdoors. I am a fairly active person who walks/bikes. They provide zero shock absorption on the footpaths and parks when I walk the dog. The uppers are giving away. The leather is scuffing up in a very unflattering manner.  I got my answer to the question “where is the hyped quality?”. They are not hyped for their quality but for their heritage and being pretty. Its thin flimsy leather has caught up with time. The sole is so flat that there is no substance. Perhaps they would work for someone who walks very little ?

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Price: I purchased them from this European store when the euro was weak, for 140$. They are priced at 200$ on A.P.C and more on other US based e-commerce websites. They are definitely not worth the price.

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Care : I believe durability is subjective. You need to do your part and let the shoes do their part. I condition my flats once a month. I gave them rest between wears. I never got them wet. I wear no show socks. I believe I am doing my part. My Frye ballet flats have aged way better after a LOT more wear.

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Heritage:  Yes, they have been around for a long time. They are hand made in Europe in a 100 year old factory which explains the price. But it does feel like stale technique. Imagine Apple making iPhone 1 in a factory in California and selling them for 299$ in the year 2016 ! As of today, we know a lot about foot anatomy. Shoe making has advanced. But these guys still seem to find some flat thin pieces of leather and stitch them together. What is all the hype about ? They are comfortable leather socks that look like shoes. They aren’t durable. I was paying for luxury. 200$ leather socks anyone ?

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Pros: They are good summer shoes. Thin and airy. If you have a temperament that likes new shoes every season or year, they may fit the bill too. Beautiful shape. And very very comfortable. They are my naked glove shoes.

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Final thoughts: Have you heard of the term ‘ballet slippers’ / ‘house flats’. These shoes fall in that category. These arent made for the street. The right word : slippers. While I am disappointed, I still like them. They are too scuffed to wear them to work. I now wear them around the house, to walk the dog, evening walks, quick bike rides, etc. They don’t have holes as yet. If you read other reviews that rave about the flats, look through the comments. The authors confess to not owning the shoes anymore because they looked like crap after their initial review. ‘I like them but they are not durable’ is the consensus I find on the internet. If I was a millionaire and don’t care about sustainability, I would buy these shoes and replace them every year. Its like buying that paper thin tshirt from a certain famous designer for 100$. The stitches are done well, its hand sewn, fits great … but the material disintegrates in a few washes making none of that useful in the end.

The search for a good ballet flat continues. Repetto’s have a small vamp and give me toe cleavage. Ferragamos have that shiny bow in the front. Chanel has to put its ugly logo on top of everything in a conspicuous way. Chloe scalloped flats looked really flimsy. Lanvin have that elastic back which I don’t want. The search continues.