Ballet flats have a long offstage fashion history. But if you grew up wearing them in the ‘90s and ‘00s, there’s a chance you were emulating Amy Winehouse (who supposedly wore her light pink slippers every single day, and they looked like it) and other famously stylish wearers Alexa Chung, Kate Moss and Sienna Miller. Or maybe you looked further back to Audrey Hepburn and Jane Birkin.

Let’s be honest – they never really went away, but seeing as the trend cycle moves at the speed of light, it’s inevitable that classics would cycle in and out of the cultural spotlight. And there’s no denying ballet flats are having a moment right now.

It goes hand in hand (or – sorry – foot in foot?) with the “balletcore” trend that’s been growing in popularity on both Tiktok and the runways at the international fashion weeks. After Miu Miu – often credited with kicking off mainstream trends – showed a literal interpretation of multicoloured satin slippers in its autumn/winter 2022 show in March, many other designers have followed suit this season including Balenciaga, Sandy Liang and MM6 Maison Margiela.

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Whereas previous iterations seemed ultra-flimsy and like you’re basically walking on the ground (described as “podiatrists’ most hated shoes” by Chloe Mac Donnell for the Guardian), you can find well-made versions from New Zealand and Australian labels that are both chic and comfortable.

Whether you pair them with leg warmers, a leotard and a pirouette is up to you.

This Melbourne-designed, European-made label has an elegant answer to the trend (that won’t date) with its leather Foundation Flat. Available in a range of colours from pale, pastel yellow to high-impact red and classic black, they have a square toe and a deep upper part that adds a good amount of coverage on the foot. They also ship to New Zealand.

With an almond-toed silhouette and sweet bow at the front, these ballet flats from Aussie footwear label Wittner are for people who love a classic. Made of leather, they’re available in black, a dance studio-ready beige tone and metallics.

Mi Piaci
The successful New Zealand footwear company has released a sturdy-looking version of the shoe this season, with its Itty Flat. The removable ankle tie and square toe add a chic element to the otherwise minimalist style.

This French footwear company was founded in 1947 and its ballet flats are arguably the most famous in the world. It makes actual ballet slippers and pointe shoes, but its everyday “city” styles have been a celebrity go-to for decades. The Cendrillon Ballerinas were originally made for Brigitte Bardot. In Australia and New Zealand, you can order Repetto online from Ssense and Shopstyle.

Some of the most popular ballet flat styles right now have a strap with a buckle across the foot – which is great for support and makes sure they won’t slip off your heel. These matte leather Mary Jane-style flats from Clarks are elegant yet left-of-centre, with a square toe and silver buckle.

Habbot Studios
Another Melbourne-designed label, Habbot Studios has a premium, Italian-made version of the ballet flat called the Rupert shoe. It has a long, slightly pointed toe and is available in a few different colours including black, camel and scarlet; it also has a two-centimetre heel height that gets your foot just high enough off the ground.

Country Road
Simple and no-frills with a small bow and round toe, Country Road’s Claudia Ballet shoes are a reach-for basic that will probably make you wonder what you wore before them.

Miu Miu
If you did want to splash out, you could always go for the slippers to rule them all. Miu Miu has myriad "ballerinas" on offer – even some with a hefty platform if you're after some extra height. You can also find Miu Miu’s footwear on sites such as My Theresa and Farfetch – or go for a try-on at your nearest store.