Looking for flats in all the wrong places
September 13, 2012 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Share with me your go-to brands and/or stores to find good quality, cute but relatively inexpensive flats (ideally less than $50).

I seem to have terrible luck finding the flats that I want with decent construction, comfort and price. What brands should I be looking at? No restrictions on size, etc. I'm a boring 8 1/2 regular. I like leather, cloth and patent. I do not like the flats that scrunch up when not worn. I'm not crazy about ballet flats and like a little bit of a heel.
posted by Leezie to Shopping (15 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Are you familiar with Sierra Trading Post? It's a great place to find last season's higher-end stuff... basically, the clearance rack from higher-end shoe stores. If you sign up for their e-mail list or like them on Facebook, they'll send you coupons, too. As far as specific brands go, I'd look at Clarks, Privo, Born, El Naturalista (I LOVE mine!), Tsubo, Born, Cushe, Jambu, J-41, Keen and Camper.
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:09 PM on September 13, 2012

I have a few Aerosoles that I've been happy with that I think fit your requirements. I will say their site has a lot of, um, homely flats, but they definitely have a few that are cute.

Also, Borns BOC line is more economically priced than regular Borns, and you can find them at lots of department and shoe/discount stores. I have these and love them.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 12:16 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love my Lacoste flats. They are comfortable, understated, and last me forever. I've only ever bought myself ones while traveling so I don't know how much they are in the US. They're usually only cloth, not leather though.
posted by ethidda at 12:17 PM on September 13, 2012

I'm a DSW footwear kinda girl, and also a Fossil shoe and bag kinda girl, and while I do have to search around a bit (since they're a discount store), I very often find Fossil flats on sale/clearance there for 50$ give or take a few. And they're all padded in the footbed and stuff. So comfy. Clarks is also a great brand for comfy flats but I find they run a little more pricey around here.
posted by takoukla at 12:26 PM on September 13, 2012

Best answer: Everyone's feet are different. I like DSW because I can go at my own pace, find what I like and try it on without someone hovering. Their loyalty program is nice too.

Some people swear by Tom's and Rocket Dogs, they cripple me.

I'm in love with my Puma Zandy flats. They're super comfy, look good with nearly everything and look as good today as the day I bought them.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:47 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would try to find flats on sale. I just bought a pair of French Soles flats for $60 (originally $100), and I've gotten similar deals in the past. I'm also a fan of Sam Edelman and Bloch flats, and I've never paid full price. Durable cheap flats sounds like an oxymoron to me, but I also hate spending more than $50-$60 for a pair of shoes. Stalk the clearance, and online shopping is your friend.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 12:50 PM on September 13, 2012

I love Nordstrom Rack stores for shoes. They're especially great if you're a larger size, but in general they have good brands and good deals- I think most of the flats I've bought there cost less than forty bucks.
posted by MadamM at 12:57 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Great suggestions so far - keep them coming!
posted by Leezie at 1:09 PM on September 13, 2012

With shoes, you generally get what you pay for (though I imagine you get diminishing returns above the $200-300 mark), and most good-quality shoe brands start at above $50. Your best bet is to look for nicer brands on markdown at stores like DSW, as well as sites like Sierra Trading Post and 6PM.

Rocket Dog is the one under-$50 brand I can think of that's decent quality, but I won't lie: My Rocket Dogs are a year old and looking shabbier than my three-year-old Clarks, plus they've given me some pretty mighty heel calluses.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:11 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

One data point - while Rocket Dogs are utterly adorable, mine fell apart more or less instantly. I'd look for good shoes on clearance rather than shoes that start OUT <$50.
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:15 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Modcloth and Urban Outfitters both sell cheap flats. Since they never last more than 1 year for me, I don't pay more than $30.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:18 PM on September 13, 2012

Is gently used and/or vintage ("new old stock," "NOS," being the thing to search for if you have a thing about not wearing used shoes -- FWIW, most shoes go through the washing machine great, but, I digress) an option? Non-disposable footwear on the cheap is pretty hard to come by otherwise.

But lots of people buy lovely shoes, wear them twice and decide it's not happening for whatever reason. Two months or twenty years later they are dumped at thrift shops, where horse traders like me buy them and sell them to you for a very reasonable price, etc.

I like "EUC" ("excellent used condition," but always scrutinise the pix & seller feedback) Delman, Kate Spade, and vintage (not the current incarnation; styling is different and quality is mall grade) Joan and David. All have cute flats, mostly leather soles (if a leather style, the upper will be all leather), and can be found "EUC" without too too much hassle for $50ish, and under.

If I was dead set on brand new, I would sign up for the e-mails from flash sale sites and bide my time. "Hautelook" sometimes fetches up first-rate stuff at +/- 80% off.

(More work than going to the mall -- also better for the environment, and, in the longer run, your credit card)
posted by kmennie at 1:40 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a pair of flats from Kenneth Cole Reaction that I think I spent exactly $50 on (Looks like they're on sale at Endless for $30!). I wouldn't call them the sturdiest shoes in existence, but they've held up okay and for me they hit the right sweet spot between price, cuteness and practicality. It seems like a lot of shoes in that line are often on sale for $50-$60.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:10 PM on September 13, 2012

I've had a few pairs of Blowfish flats... they fit me really well and are true to size and are quite cute... but never last me more than a year. The lining in my last pair started coming out/being constantly kind of damp (ew) and the soles were quite worn down. They have tons of styles in blacks, browns, nudes, etc. At about $45 a pair at full price, I'm willing to deal... IMO, not a bad price for shoes I typically wear at least once a week for most of a year. I linked to their site but I've seen their shoes sold at DSW and the like (probably department stores too).
posted by jorlyfish at 4:34 PM on September 13, 2012

I like Nine West flats. I usually find them on sale at Amazon for ~$40. Naturalizer shoes are also super comfy, but sometimes not the most stylish looking.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 5:37 PM on September 13, 2012

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