When I first started researching Tieks, among the mountains of glowing reviews, there were a few people who were less than happy with their Tieks. That didn’t surprise me at all — if a product is reviewed a lot, I would expect some people not to love them. Many of those non-Tiek-lovers recommended a brand called Butterfly Twists as a more comfortable and much less expensive alternative.
Now I am on record as loving my Tieks, and I stick by that completely uncompensated opinion. But I also wanted to try out the Butterfly Twists to see if they really were a comparable alternative.
What to do but order a pair? Butterfly Twist flats range in price from £30 to £60. I went with a basic pair that is apparently out of stock, though this one is pretty comparable to what I got. In addition to ballet flats, BT also has wellies and trainers, which range from £40 to £75.
I’ve actually had these shoes for a while and have had quite a bit of time to wear both them and my Tieks and see how they compare.
Bottom line for me: I prefer my Tieks.
The Butterfly Twists are fine. They’re a much more palatable price than the Tieks, and they are cute with a decent number of options, but I just don’t like the fit and overall feel as well. There are two main aspects of my BTs that make them an “every now and then when I want something trendy” shoe for me. First, they make my feet sweat. I hate that. The rest of my body may be shivering but my feet will inevitably be sweating in these shoes. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but I suspect it’s because they are 100% synthetic and have this cushier synethetic sole that does not breathe at all. By contrast, my Tieks don’t make my feet sweat. Those are 100% Italian leather and much more breathable.
Second, these shoes aren’t nearly as snug on my heel. That may not be an issue for everyone, but I have narrow heels and one of the reasons I love my Tieks is because they’re quite snug on my heel and I don’t get blisters. My BTs are fine for short periods or wearing to the office, but on the couple of times I wore them for a longer period or when I was going to be walking somewhere, I noticed distinct heel rubbing and my heels were quite sore. By contrast, I wore my Tieks walking all day around little Spanish towns, I’ve walked to and from my kids’ school, the park, etc. in them with no discomfort.
Sizing has been a little tricky for me on these as well. I ordered Eur 38, US 7, knowing that the materials were synthetic and wouldn’t stretch out and break in the same way my Tieks did. Because there was no breaking in process, they were pretty comfortable right off the bat, but I think they are a tad too big, which is why they are rubbing my heel a bit.
BT actually has a section on their website for “End of Line” shoes that are deeply discounted. If you have small feet, you can pick up some real steals. I do want to try these a size down and see if they’re better so I picked up these in a size Eur 37, US 6 for £12 (with the 20% Facebook discount). Just be aware, if your foot is bigger than a US 6, you won’t find much in the End of Line section.
What do I like about these shoes?
Well, first, I like the price. I admit that $175 is a lot to swallow for a lot of people. BTs are priced in a range that is far more accessible to far more people. For that reason, if there’s something that’s trendy that I don’t think will be around for more than 1-2 seasons, I will go for BTs over Tieks. When I’m spending $175 on a pair of shoes, I expect to wear them for years.
Second, I like that the sole is really flexible. So are my Tieks, so they’re really equal on this point. And with these shoes as well, if you are someone who needs lots of foot support, don’t get these. There is no arch support and the flexibility of the sole allows the foot to move naturally.
Third, like my Tieks, I like that these are compact. Either of these shoes is great to throw in a bag if you’re going out somewhere and want to have the option of changing into a more comfortable pair of shoes.
Fourth, while BTs don’t offer nearly the color and print range of Tieks, there are more options as far as the shape of the shoe. For example, BTs come with pointed toes, open toes, sandals, wellies, and trainers.
Will I buy them again?
Sure, here and there. Personally I will stick with Tieks for my everyday shoes, as they are inevitably the ones I reach for in the morning. But when I want something trendy or a different toe shape, I will go for Butterfly Twists. I’m not going to populate my closet with them as I’d love to do with Tieks, but they have their place.
Would I recommend them?
With the few caveats that I’ve mentioned here, yes. So long as you don’t spend £35 on a pair of shoes and expect them to be comparable quality to a $175 pair of shoes, there’s no reason not to be satisfied with these shoes. They’re pretty comfortable (if you don’t mind slightly sweaty feet) at a low price and therefore are a pretty good value.
And since I love side-by-side comparisons, here is one for the BTs v. Tieks: