The Ballet Flat Has Just Entered A New Era – And You’ll Either Love It Or Hate It

Is this the most divisive shoe of 2024?

ballet sneakers

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

Ever since the great resurgence of the ballet flat, a shoe we left in 2010 (along with bag charms and low-rise jeans) we've been waiting to see the trend develop into something a little more, well, 2024. And it's finally happened. The ballet flat is entering a new era: introducing, the ballet sneaker.

We've seen designers embrace the ballet flat with open arms, with Miu Miu opting for a velvet version to lean into your true coquette-core self, while The Row's offering was, as you'd expect, a little more classic, featuring slight heels and rounded toes. The classic Chanel pumps, the ones that almost look like the type of shoe you'd wear in primary school (in a high-fashion, model, off-duty way of course) also reappeared on the runways and across our Instagram feeds. Now, the elegant silhouette is taking on a different form - and you don't have to look too far to see how the ballet sneaker came to be.

Iris Law Ballet Sneakers
©Getty Images/Arnold Jerocki

The past few years have been defined by countless collaborations between designers and sports brands in a bid to blur the lines between sportswear and luxury fashion; simply look at the success of partnerships such as Loewe X ON, or Sandy Liang's collaboration with Salomon, which stand as proof that comfort and fashion need no longer be separate, but instead, close allies.

Back to the ballet sneaker. Debuted first by Simone Rocha back in September 2020, who called the shoe a 'ballet tracker', the ballet sneaker features certain similarities to the classic ballet flats, but distinct differences too, namely thick platforms, and if Ganni's viral pair is anything to go by, Velcro fabrics and thick straps.

Em Rata Ballet Sneakers
©Getty Images/Ignat/Bauer-Griffin

It didn't take long for celebs to embrace the trend, either. Last month, emrata styled a low-key black tank top with light wash denim jorts, and a pair of ballet sneakers from made-to-order brand Foundry Mews. The good news is that not all ballet sneakers are made-to-order, but readily available in high-end and high-street brands such as JW Pei, ASOS and Salomon.

Shop the most divisive sneakers of the year below.

Shop: The Best Ballet Sneakers

GANNI Red Performance Velcro Mary Jane BallerinasGANNI
Price: £172.50 (was £345)

GANNI has created its own iteration of the ballet sneaker trend, which is so popular, it's almost completely sold out. It features a chunky sole and Velcro fastener, as well as the iconic GANNI butterfly logo.

Buffalo Binary Ballet Flat SandalsASOS
Price: £80 (was £107)

Chunky trainers aren't for everyone, and they need to be styled with caution. The best way to approach the styling of such shoes is with balance. Pair these with other delicate and more feminine clothes and accessories, for example a floaty top and a simple chain necklace.

Bershka Sporty Ballerina FlatsBershka

High-street brands are hopping on the trend too, with Bershka releasing a chunky ballet flat with a wide Velcro strap.

Salomon RX Marie-JeanneEND Clothing

In 2023 designed Sandy Laing collaborated with Salomon and changed the colour of the much-loved XT-6 Expanse style to a candyfloss pink. Now, Salomon has brought out a style of shoe that's extremely close to a ballet sneaker, heavily influenced by Laing.

Kickers Adult Women Kade Ballet Text BlackKickers
Price: £69 (was £115)

In a black shade that's sure to go with everything, Kickers ballet shoes feature an outsole they call 'straight from the 00s archives' and a delicate bow for a 'final touch of grace.' We love the juxtaposition in this one to help embrace your edgy elegance.

JW PEI Flavia Ballerina SneakersAmazon
Price: $99.00

These ballet sneakers really do look so similar to a pair of classic ballet shoes (except from the extra thick sole of course). These shoes are also available in other colours, like black, brown and blue.

How can I style ballet sneakers?

Ballet sneakers are the latest fusion of elegance and sportswear, but styling these hybrids may not always be so easy. For summer, the most foolproof method of dressing up the ballet sneakers is by throwing on a floaty midi dress with more feminine features (think ruffles or even a floral pattern) to juxtapose the boldness of the shoes.

Ballet Sneakers

For the colder months, pair your ballet sneakers with a flirty midi skirt and a fitted tee, adding a chunky knit or sweater vest to the ensemble as a cosy layering piece. A pop of colour in the sock is also a great way of drawing attention to the marmite shoes (you either love them or you hate them).

After all, that's what you want from a pair of shoes - one you can take through the seasons and have in your wardrobe forever.

Main image credit: @kimsterrrs

Gemma Lavers is a Fashion Writer at Bauer Media, writing for brands like Grazia, heat and Closer. Gemma specialises in all things clothing and enjoys outfit planning (especially for holidays), scrolling social media for the next trend and shopping (probably for a new coat).

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