Fashion, Opinions, Trends

Can men wear ballet flats?

Gendered shoes are so last year.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Mar 31, 2022

The other day, my friend was wearing socks inside my home. However, I wasn’t downstairs when my mom let him in, so I didn’t know he took his shoes off. Instead, I thought that maybe he was wearing a really thin ballet flat. Which seemed a bit off-brand, considering he’s usually a sneakerhead who only wears Nikes or Jordans. Nevertheless, I allowed him to parade around the home with what I thought were ballet flats until we got ready to go, and I saw him slip into his Nikes.


But it got me thinking, “So what if my super masculine friend was sporting ballet flats?” Shoes, like clothing garments, shouldn’t be assigned a gender. Gendered shoes have no place in our society. Fortunately, clothing brands—big names and small independent brands—are increasingly growing aware of this and rebuking gender norms, either extending their size range in shoes or offering “out-of-the-box” colors and patterns, and letting each consumer choose what style and size works best for them.


Lately, the movement has been centered around heels with labels like Rick Owens at the forefront. This new genderless style of course started with fashion, as society began to embrace the unnecessary need to assign genders to everything. And we’re so happy that mindset has translated down to our feet. So yes, ballet flats can be wore by men or any gender that choose to wear them. Women have been allowed to wear ballet flats since the beginning of time. Why is the idea of men wearing them still somewhat of a new thought?


And if you think about it, ballet dancers, regardless of sex, have been wearing them as early as the 1940s. We’re thankful that fashion designers have embraced this idea with the Spring 2020 shows of Dries Van Noten, Rick Owens, Bode, and many more styled models with ballet shoes.


The nice thing about these traditional and modern flats is that they can be paired with a dressier type of outfit, or be seen as a slip-on for more of a minimal look. Today, you’ll see them at Masion Margiela, Tibi, The Row, and more. There are now many different iterations, where designers play with the toe-shape, fabric, and embroidery.


If you like the idea of wearing ballet flats, we say go for it. And in case you are in need of some style inspiration, we recommend you take a look on the runway. But in case you need immediate styling, we recommend blazers, trousers, and long socks with the flat.


Photo via Vogue