Mesh Ballet Flats Are Still A Strong Style Move This Summer

mesh ballet flats
Reality Check: Are You Ready For The Naked Shoe?Getty Images

Welcome to Reality Check: a new regular franchise from the ELLE fashion editors that asks: how well do the season's biggest trends really work in the wild? This week, the Spring shoe trend your pedicurist will be thrilled about.

You must be familiar with the mesh ballet flat by now: this trending shoe has been creeping across both social feeds and the most well-pedicured A-list feet since late last summer (Jennifer Lawrence seemingly wears her Alaïas everywhere). But as we edge into a new season, the trend is only growing stronger, with the high street delivering some stellar options for those of us who don't have four figures to drop on a pair of delicate fishnet flats.

The whole exposed-toe situation started, of course, with The Row: a shoe so perilously fragile could only be born by the founding mothers of quiet luxury. Then came Alaïa’s season-defining take on the look, swapping gauzy mesh for linear webbing to create something subversive, slick and just sexy enough. Suddenly, the ballet flat had shed its good-girl reputation.

Thanks to the seasonal shift that has finally arrived with a bang, the mesh ballet flat is set to stick around, with everyone from Loeffler Randall to Cos adding their own viral hits to the mix. Mango is first past the post to offer up a high-street iteration that’s destined to sell out (if you spot your size, snap it up) while Dear Frances has studded its ultra-luxe Balla flats with glinting crystals, demonstrating the style’s ability to work for late nights (and wedding dancefloors). And the star of Reformation's elegant collaboration with the New York City Ballet is, of course, a fishnet flat, complete with buckled straps for extra edge.


So, we know we’re heading into the season of the sheer shoe – but how well do these peekaboo designs work in the wild? If you’re old enough to remember the ballerina flat’s early-aughts reign, you’ll know these supple, slender pumps aren’t exactly brimming with practicality, especially in climes as unpredictable as the UK’s. If the weather is looking shaky, you’d be wise to stick to those cowboy boots. And of course, considering the toe cleavage you’re going to be thrusting upon the general public, a pedicure is a wise move – coordinating nude lacquer is always a safe option, but consider a bold red for something racier.

Time your outings correctly, and the mesh flat ticks a lot of boxes, offering a major SS24 look that shines as well in reality as it did on those runways. Aside from the obvious comfort factor (you can take your trainers out of that commuter tote), a mesh flat offers a quintessentially London take on sensuality, feeling both casual and coquettish in equal measure. Like the naked dresses that are still dominating the festival circuit, they offer up a slither of skin that rejects the obvious, making them feel effortlessly cool.

Stylist Aimee Croysdill is one loyal convert to toe-exposing footwear. 'A mesh ballerina is the definition of quiet luxury,' she says. 'It’s a classic piece, but with a subtle twist that makes it more fashionable – more luxurious. The delicate nature feels ultra feminine, but without the sugary vibe of some traditional ballet flats.'

When it comes to styling, you’ve got plenty of options. Croysdill prefers a cashmere top and tailored trousers for an easy daytime look with edge. I can also vouch for the mesh flat’s compatibility with denim: as long as your jeans are cropped to the ankle, it’s a perfect match for transitional days. And finally, a see-through ballerina will work perfectly with a wedding dress – whether you’re a guest or the bride herself, they’ll see you from the first dance to the last with ease.

ELLE Collective is a new community of fashion, beauty and culture lovers. For access to exclusive content, events, inspiring advice from our Editors and industry experts, as well the opportunity to meet designers, thought-leaders and stylists, become a member today HERE.

You Might Also Like