adventures in cardio: london sole

Friends, my love for a great ballet flat is well-documented in these pages. And I think you all know by now that my love for London Sole ballets in particular is right up there near “adoring fan” status. So when their San Francisco store invited me over to browse the shop and learn a little more about the brand, there was basically no chance I was going to turn them down. 


{All photos by me, for which I profoundly apologize.}

For all of the covetable flats you’ll find on London Sole’s website, there is absolutely no comparison to the experience of shopping the store. Walking into a storefront filled – quite literally – floor to ceiling with ballets, in every conceivable hue and style? It’s like being a kid in a candy store all over again, but this time, I’m armed with a credit card instead of the loose change I scrounged from underneath the sofa cushions. 

After I clicked my heels together, recovered from the initial shock and awe, and actually managed to look around a bit, I learned a lot about the brand. Like one of the many, many reasons I love their shoes so much is because they’re all handmade. (How that’s done at this price is beyond me, but this seems like one of those universal gifts you don’t want to question.) What that also means is that every style fits differently – in fact, sometimes, every pair fits differently.

I knew I loved the Henrietta, but as my adorable tour guide, Jae, pointed out, there are dozens of different fits because everyone finds their favorite style. Ever the exhaustive shopper, I was determined to make sure there wasn’t a better choice for me, so I tried a few others. 

The Pirouette was another favorite, and if you can trust in the wisdom of the no left/right shoe eventually molding to your feet for a perfect fit (Jae swears it’s a winner!), it may in fact be ideal. In the end, my love for Henrietta proved to be lasting, but I found some surprises. I learned, for example that the Ballet Sneaker, while perhaps not the prettiest girl at the ball, is so insanely comfortable that I’m willing to forgive it. And in metallic, she’s actually kind of cute. Truly the perfect “heading off for two weeks in Europe” shoe.

The best lesson I took away is that, while shopping online is a great experience, it just can’t match the knowledge and experience of the store. Some styles run large, some colors run small, and some fits just aren’t made for every foot. If you’re buying ballets and you’re not near one of their three locations, I can’t overstate the value of putting in a call to chat with these lovelies before you buy. They’ll happily guide you to the right fit for your feet, discussing arches, toe cleavage and leather vs. rubber soles to your heart’s content. Because they’re every bit as obsessed about these pretties as we are.

Above all, I learned that a girl can never, ever have too many ballet flats. So, which one(s) do you think made it home with me?


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