Is J.Crew Scamming You With Their Ballet Flats?

The ubiquitous flat might not actually be worth it.


The Cece flat. | Photo via J.Crew.

When it comes to flats, there are a few main players: Tory Burch’s gilded logo versions (for the college/millenial crowd), Chanel’s classic pairs (for the deep-pocketed fashionistas), and—for literally everyone else—J.Crew’s rainbow collection of ballet flats. I think every woman I know has a pair of them in her closet, and for good reason: the shoes go with absolutely everything, they are bedroom-slipper comfortable, and they’re crafted in Italy of high-quality leather that stands up to heavy wear.

Well, at least, they were.

The particular shoe style in question is the Cece ballet flat—distinguished by its round elasticized topline, slight interior wedge and simple silhouette—which the company discontinued last year only to bring back in April after vociferous begging from J.Crew’s legion of devoted customers.

The problem is the quality of this resurrected style, which, according to customers, isn’t up to snuff. Business Insider reports that the flats haven’t been made in Italy since 2013 (one customer stated that they were made in Brazil). Several shoppers have complained about fit problems and lesser leather quality: “The leather is lower quality: not as buttery soft as before and stretches out too easily,” says one review on the J.Crew site.

For a $125 flat, problems like this shouldn’t be an issue—or, if the company was going to make significant changes to a shoe’s construction—which, for the record, they say they have not done—the price should be adjusted accordingly.

Have you recently bought a pair? If so, how do you feel the quality stands up to the old ones?