Mesh Ballet Flats Are The Shoe Trend Of The Summer

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While mesh ballet flats are suddenly everywhere you look — lining the footwear pages on your favorite retail sites and scattered across your social media feeds — the shoe trend has been taking shape for years. For its pre-fall 2019 collection, Bottega Veneta introduced the toe-revealing look in the form of a heel, though the material had a decidedly more open weave. In 2020, The Row dropped a sock-like mesh slipper that no doubt inspired the styles you’re seeing today. And, over the past few years, no ballet flats have been more popular than Khaite’s Marcy and Alaïa’s mesh Mary Jane.
The newest iterations catapult the mesh ballet flat to its peak, with updates like chunky straps, ornate buckles, embroidered designs, and opaque cap-toes for those who don’t love the idea of a full-foot reveal. Ahead, we’ve rounded up the most-searched-for variations — including solid-colored mesh flats, Mary Jane versions, and pairs with rhinestone embellishments — at a range of price points. This way, you can decide just how committed you are to see-through shoes and play by your own rules. Our suggestion? Style them this summer with a dress, or tailored slacks and a simple tank. Finally, consider a monochrome palette to keep your outfit elevated and chic.

Black Mesh Ballet Flats

Black flats are an easy foray into the mesh ballet shoe trend. The darker material casts more of a shadow over your foot, so your toes aren’t quite as easy to make out. If you like the airy, lightweight feel of mesh but you’re still not crazy about fully exposing your toes, Jeffrey Campbell’s Releve silhouette comes with a patent cap toe that tames the revealing style. Meanwhile, there are more form-fitting examples that envelope your foot like a glove. Dainty bows at the upper add a touch of femme, while a leather trim leans more chic and understated.

White Mesh Ballet Flats

A white mesh ballet flat is perhaps the most divisive take on this popular shoe trend. Without a strap, the sheer upper hugs the foot like a transparent sock, essentially giving off a slipper vibe. Pair any one of these flats with a floaty summer dress or patterned pants for a casual moment — but be careful to wear them in good weather and clean surroundings only. The lightweight quality and thin fabric of these shoes would not fare well in the rain or dirt.

Mesh Mary Jane Flats

The buckle on a Mary Jane mesh flat adds both function and structure if you’re not about slipper-like footwear. You’ll also find that many of these styles (see: Zara, Sam Edelman, and Vagabond) are equipped with a capped toe to elevate the silhouette and provide contrast against the see-through fabric. To play up the schoolgirl nature of a classic Mary Jane style, look for unique hardware details that add personality. 

Mesh Rhinestone Flats

While there are plenty of mesh flats on the market with flower embroideries, exaggerated netting, and specks of glitter woven into the fabric, rhinestones are the most-searched-for adornment. Whether it’s delicate silver crystals aligned perfectly around the upper or pearls that evoke a potential bridal moment, stones add interest and draw attention to your footwear — all to let on that you’re not only comfortable but confident in the trend. 

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