The History of Designer Ballet Flats

The “ballerina flat” is the one shoe that has transcended time to become an iconic accessory in every woman’s wardrobe. Learn how here!

 Ballerina slippers are flat, simple shoes. They are descendants from the footwear worn by ballet dancers since the 18th century, hence the name “ballerina” or ballet flats. In Spain there is a similar version called “manoletinas,” a nod to the shoes made famous by bullfighter Manolete, which are still the norm in the arena.Considered almost a mandatory accessory, it is a favorite of many designers. The shoe comes in all forms and prices based on the brand, designer or edition.We saw Audrey Hepburn wear them in the 50’s in Roman Holiday (1954) and in Funny Face (1957). Salvatore Ferragamo was commissioned to make them for the actress, who adopted them as her favorite footwear. To this day, Ferragamo still makes them, and Claudia Schiffer has made them more popular than ever.

Tory Burch

However, Audrey Hepburn was not the only celebrity to fall under their spell. By the 1960’s, French actress Brigitte Bardot wore them practically all the time. She favored flats designed by Rose Repetto, are available today for $200.


Thanks to Tory Burch, young people walk the world’s most fashionable streets in comfortable flats adorned with the designer’s golden logo. Reasonably priced at $190, style has never been more accessible.

Spanish brand Pretty Ballerinas’ Upper East Side boutique has become a must for many women. From $225 they come in all shapes, colors and textures. They are perfect for walking down Manhattan without sacrificing style.


The most stylish women in the world trust their feet to Lanvin. The French fashion house has reached record sales with the shoe, which starts at $445 and features an elastic edge and unmistakable toe.


Jimmy Choo has an entire line of ballerina flats with prices that range from $400 to $700. The brand’s trendsetting reputation is a reminder that the shoe has not gone out of fashion.

Marc Jacobs, Giorgio Armani, Michael Kors, Alexander McQueen, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Chloe, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Prada, MiuMiu, Marni, Burberry, Fendi, Valentino, Tod’s, Dolce & Gabbana, Diane Von Furstenberg, Nicholas Kirkwood, Maloles Antignac, Dior… The list of designers with a collection of ballerina flats is endless. If they bare the signature of Manolo Blahnik, they can cost up to $1000. If they are Christian Louboutin’s, the price starts at $700.

Tory Burch

But we are all indebted to Coco Chanel, who turned the shoe into a classic. In 1957, she revived this long forgotten footwear, with her elegant two tone model, a clean, simple design that reflected the designer’s philosophy of style. Today Chanel still revisits the original model with seasonal variations. The price for this design icon starts at $400.

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