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Over the years, I’ve become a big fan of the shoe brand Birdies. What began as a love affair with its iconic Starling Flats ($130) evolved into total brand adoration and a closet brimming with Birdies styles. And now, yet another new silhouette has captured my—and even Katie Holmes’—attention (more on that in a second): The Crane ($150).
Birdies, The Crane — $150.00
Sizes: women’s 5-12 (half sizes available)
Available in smooth nappa leather, pebbled leather, and suede.
- Incredibly comfortable out of the box
- Roomy toe-box despite having a slim silhouette
The Crane is a trendy ballet flat that’s neither rounded nor pointed. Instead, it has a true ballet slipper-inspired tapered, squared-off toe. This launch is particularly timely, as the ballet flat is forecasted to be one of the biggest women’s footwear trends of fall 2023, and provides a welcome, elevated nod to the ballet-flat frenzy of the early and mid-2000s.
Hence why The Crane has already landed on the feet of A-listers; just last week, Katie Holmes proved to be one of what’s sure to be many celebrities getting their hands on the new stunning yet simple flats. The Dawson’s Creek star was all smiles on an afternoon stroll in New York City, in which she was seen sporting the fawn suede Crane silhouette with a flowy midi dress and light denim jacket. And hey, if Katie can pull them off, I figured I could, too. So I snagged a pair and put them to the test.
My honest review of the Birdies Crane ballet flats
From the moment I removed The Crane ballet flats from their box, I was taken aback by their high-quality look and feel. They’re gorgeous. I tried the Port Leather option, which is a cool, chocolatey brown with slight oxblood undertones, making it a quintessential autumn shoe color. The Port Leather option is made of tumbled nappa leather but still seems like it’d hold up well to wear and tear. (This is notable because, typically, pebbled leather holds up better to scuffs.)
Looks aside, let’s talk about the fit. The Birdies Crane silhouette is said to run true to size, though I’m not totally sure what to think of this. Since fifth grade, I’ve been a size 10. In the past year or so, though, some 10s have started to feel a bit snug in some brands, including Birdies. With this in mind, I got The Crane in a size 10.5, hoping they wouldn’t be too big, and without socks on, I find that The Cranes fit well but are slightly stiff at the heel. At first, I took it to mean they were snug but since I ride the line between a 10 and 10.5, I think I just have to break them in. The good news is, all Birdies shoes come with a 30-day fit guarantee, so if they don’t fit quite right, you can return them and get your money back, no questions asked.
Speaking of breaking in: Birdies are renowned for being some of the most comfortable shoes on the market. They’re designed with quilted satin insoles crafted out of seven layers of cushioning, enhanced with arch support and additional heel padding, to mimic the feel of house slippers. The Cranes are comfortable; I especially appreciate the arch support under my feet on long days. But I do think they require some breaking in, at least in the Port Leather option. As someone with highly sensitive heels, I suggest some sort of blister prevention, at least for the first few wears.
Though The Crane fits somewhat snugly in the heel, the toe-box feels roomy enough on my feet, which I applaud. While the toes look a bit cramped—an effect from the pointe-inspired tapering—they feel quite roomy and billow out a bit when you walk, which allows for some stretch.
From the grown-up silhouette and durable materials to the super cozy insoles, the Birdies The Crane ballet flat is a wonderful addition to any business casual wardrobe. I say business casual because I think these ballet flats do look more refined—and because they feature a polished 11-millimeter heel for an ever-so-slight lift. That said, you can dress them up or down as little as you like, there’s no wrong way to wear them. Just look at Katie Holmes’, who proved they’re the perfect accessory for a “Meg Ryan fall.”
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.