Fashion Quest: Gold Flats Edition

In 2008, Steve Madden began selling the greatest ballet flat known to womankind.  Simple, elegant and blissfully free of medallions, baubles and insignias, the Koobaa slip on was a fabulous shoe.  Women stopped me in airports, shopping centers and during Capitol tours just to ask who made my flats.  They were that awesome.

Once I realized that I’d found the Holy Grail of footwear, I bought four pairs of gold flats and wore them into the ground over the course of the next three years.  When my last pair blew a gasket in late 2011, I discovered that Steve Madden was no longer making my beloved flats.  Instead, he replaced them with some glitter-covered usurper. I mourned for weeks, and then I got proactive.

I scanned eBay religiously to no avail.  I called the Steve Madden corporate headquarters, no luck.  I tried on dozens of pairs of look-a-like flats but found them all lacking.  In my grief, I briefly flirted with the idea of switching to the Tory Burch Reva, but even if I could get past the gigantic medallion on the front advertising her brand (which I couldn’t) the elastic in the back pinched my heel something fierce.

But then, just when I was about to give up hope and go back to wearing heels, like a beacon from the heavens they appeared (cue the angels and divine illumination): 

Nine West Bertha Flat ($79)

Aren’t they dreamy?  The supple leather, the rounded toe, the lack of any unecessary accoutrements.  Why, yes, these are the perfect flats.

To restock my wardrobe, I intend to buy five pair of the leopard, five pair of the black patent, ten pair of the nude and 25 pair of the gold.  If only they sold a red pair, I’d be done with shoe shopping until I was 91.  

Unlike my waistline, my shoe size will never change, and a simple pair of ballet flats is always in style.  So while I may not have the means to buy the 45 pairs of shoes that would see me through until 2073, I will be buying at least a few pair, paycheck permitting.

Some people hoard food in preparation for the apocalypse, I hoard shoes.  Because once you find the perfect pair of metallic ballet flats, you’ll wear them with everything.  Now, I wonder if Nine West will lower the price if I intend to buy in bulk…


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  1. sai says:

    Belle, I had those same shoes (the Steve Madden gold flats) and lived in them until they wore out. You're right, they were perfect. Thanks for the Nine West tip!

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  2. V says:

    Just a heads up for anyone googling these – the style name is Berhta. Nine West also has a Bertha, but those are heels.

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  3. Tina says:

    You are so funny 🙂
    Love the flats, as well.

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  4. Adrienne says:

    Beware your shoe size changing. I dropped 20 pounds and went from a 9 to a 8.5. I lost another 15 and dropped to an 8. Who knows where I'll be if I ever reach my goal weight (another 35 lbs). I've yet to figure out the rhyme or reason of losing weight in feet (why can't it be my hips?), but it happens. This really sucked because I had finally started buying expensive shoes and had to replace everything once I got to an 8. You can walk around with slightly too large clothes, but it doesn't work very well with shoes.

    If you ever anticipate losing any amount of weight or having a baby, your shoe size can easily change.

    However, I am the same way with a pair of black heels. I have several in reserve. As long as I remain an 8, I'll be good.

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  5. Lindsey says:

    I like the Steve Madden Heaven flats for all of the above reasons. I've been wearing them for about 2-3 years now and can find them at DSW (and online) for $40 or less.

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  6. MA says:

    any suggestions on finding red ballet flats? for whatever reason, finding a reasonably priced pair has been impossible for me. J.Crew's are cute but $125? no way.

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  7. M says:

    I second the warning about fluctuating shoe size. I knew that a lot of women gain a permanent half size per pregnancy but had no idea that your foot size could go down when you lost weight. I lost 15 lbs last year and went down at least a half size if not more. I didn't even realize what had happened until the sales guy at Bloomingdales (who I kept sending back to get smaller sizes) asked me if I'd recently lost weight. He said he's seen people lose a size and a half!

    BTW, I love Bloch flats. A bit expensive but great when you can get them on sale. They're beautiful, comfortable and have a soft lining like Bloch's actual ballet slippers…which in practice means they don't get smelly. 😉

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  8. Lisatella says:

    I have tried (and liked) Steve Madden's Ulltra and Heaven flats. They're more recent than the Koobaa, and if you've tried them I'd be interested in knowing the differences that make you long for the older model. I definitely scoop up a few different colors of the same style if I know I'll be infinitely comfy in the shoe!

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  9. Lindsey says:

    I second the Lindsey above. I frequent DSW for the Steve Madden flats. The available colors rotate, but they always have black. I picked up a camel color pair there last week, and I also recall seeing black patent, black leather, and nude patent, as well as a few more colors I can't recall. The selection seems to vary by season; I've purchased gold and purple in the past at DSW.

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  10. MB says:

    Love these Nine West ones, and they look so much like my old Steve Madden leopard print calf hair ones… the ones that I literally walked holes into two pair of!

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  11. TXAtty says:

    After chemo and weight loss, I went from a size 7 shoe to a size 5. I've gained the weight back now, but my shoe size remains at a 5 1/2. I still mourn the beautiful shoes that I had to give away…

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  12. s says:

    @MA, I just noticed when searching zappos that you can save a search–maybe that will help you find a pair of red ballet flats you like?

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  13. No Drama Mama says:

    Another great flat is by Me Too. So darn comfy. You can usually find them on sale for about $30 at It took a year to run my current pair into the ground, so I'm buying more. Love them!

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  14. s-p-s says:

    Echoing the comments on SM heaven flats, I found a perfect deep-red patent pair about a year ago (which I added to my pale pink, nude, and black versions!) DSW seems to restock every season or so, so it may be worth checking occasionally if you don't find an equivalent elsewhere.

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  15. Kaylee says:

    This same strange losing weight-wearing a smaller size shoe phonomenon has happened to me. It's strange because, as far as I remember, I wore the same size show through college and early adulthood, despite gaining weight (a not huge, but not insignificant 20 pounds or so) during that period. But now I've lost about 15 of the 20 pounds I gained and I wear a smaller size than I started with. Strange.

    January 17, 2012/Reply
  16. Artemisia says:

    I've almost given up on flats because they hurt – the “right” size digs into my foot wherever there's an edge, and a bigger size falls off. Does anyone else have that problem?

    These are adorable, Belle. I'll try them – in the store at least! I agree with you on the elegance.

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  17. Alex says:

    Also, there's a reason the people wearing ballet flats skew younger and it's not because over 35s don't care about fashion anymore. Ballet flats will become less comfortable as you get older. They have no support for your foot at all. A bit of heel is better as you approach 91.

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  18. Morgan says:

    J Crew also has a beautiful metallic ballet flat :

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  19. nicole says:

    YES on the gigantic Tory Burch medallion. I know people swear that the Revas are so comfy, but it seems like the point of wearing Tory Burch flats is to advertise the fact that you are wearing Tory Burch flats. Plus, to steal one of your lines, you can't swing a Longchamp bag in this place without hitting someone wearing a pair. Snooze.

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  20. MidwestChic says:

    These are my absolute favorite flats! I continually restock mine so I never have to be without them! And I second the DSW purchases, they always have Steve Maddens in stock and on sale.

    January 19, 2012/Reply