Why are my ballet flats wearing out so quickly at the back of the heel?
December 2, 2013 11:38 PM Subscribe
My ballet flats seem to wear out at the back of one heel well before the sole goes. Why is this happening, and how can I stop it?
posted by lettersoflead to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
After only a few months of wearing my Tieks
ballet flats, they looked like this
at the back of the left heel.
Now, I haven't done anything out of the ordinary with them; I simply wore them a few times a week on city streets. The company's customer service, perhaps predictably, says my experience is not at all the norm and that most people have their Tieks for years without seeing anything close to this kind of wear.
I have a few questions:
- Assuming that it's true that many people eke years out of these relatively expensive and purportedly well-made flats, what could I be doing wrong? (Of course the company's claim isn't unbiased, but internet research suggests at least some people do wear their Tieks for years.) Could it somehow be the way that I'm walking? If so, why the left side only? Perhaps a sizing issue? In general, the rest of the shoe seems stitched together quite well and is holding up. For reference, here is the right flat, which shows almost no wear. I've inspected my older flats from other brands, and they all seem to have a pattern of more scuffing/wear on the left back heel, though not quite to the extent of this pair.
- Is there something preventative I can do when I first purchase flats to extend their life and protect against this kind of wear? I'm not a stranger to the cobbler -- I get boots and heels reheeled -- but I was told this kind of damage isn't fixable once it appears. I've read a lot of advice about preemptively adding protective soles or replacing soles once they've worn out, but in my case the problem is the part where the sole meets the upper at the back of the heel, not the sole itself. Can anything be done?
- If you believe it's the fault of the shoe and not a shoe-mangling gait that only I have, can you recommend ballet flats that truly do last for years in good condition, or at least can be repaired like other good-quality shoes over time to extend their life? I am interested in a classic, simple ballet flat shape, with as little of a heel as possible. Is there a particular feature of flats I could look for that would make them less susceptible to wearing down in the spot pictured above? I read through this thread, but again all the suggestions seem to be making the assumption that the sole will wear down first, which has never happened for me.
So far I've tried Bloch, Cole Haan, and now these latest Tieks, but do I just need to find better brands? (There are a bunch of Metafilter threads about buying good-quality shoes, and I've found that my better-quality boots do last, but my ballet flats get scuffed and ruined quickly no matter how much I spend.) I understand that I may be looking for the impossible -- perhaps ballet flats will always get worn out quickly because there's no heel protecting the shoe from rubbing against the ground.
What wisdom do you have for me? Please help me stop ruining my existing flats or recommend better-quality flats that won't wear down in this way. Failing that, tell me to give up and return to cheap disposables.