I destroyed another pair of ballet flats. Admittedly, I wore them all through the winter and the last part before they died I walked in a rain storm from Liberty Village to downtown. I always have a collection of different flats to wear, but I like to have black ones at all times. The ones I ruined were my black pair so I had to head to Ardene's the next day. Sure enough they still offer tons of styles at 2 pairs for $20, so I have 2 new sets of black flats that will last me a few more months. Here is one of the pairs:
Firstly, you really can't tell the difference. Put my flats next to a more expensive pair and yes you can tell the other is made of leather but both pairs are still going to look cute, clean, basic, and nice. It doesn't make me look any less professional, stylish, cute, sexy, trendy, etc. Black flats are black flats, not really super exciting. So you can't see a difference and if you can that difference doesn't matter.
I can get 10 of mine for the cost of 1 of those. That means I get to go shoe shopping 4 more times! Since I get 2 pairs at once that means $100 gets me 10 pairs over 5 shopping trips - and I really like shoe shopping.
When replacing my shoes I only need to find $20 - but to get a nicer pair I would have to budget better and have $100 to spend on a pair of shoes, which happens only once a year or so and tends to be reserved for running shoes, boots, getting shoes for a wedding, etc.
I have the versatility of two different pairs at any given time and get to change styles frequently. I have had rounded toes, pointed toes, sparkles, different toe details, textures, bows, etc. Though a black flat is pretty basic no matter what.
I am hard on my shoes. I have no doubt that a higher quality pair would hold up better and last longer, but I still wear ballet flats about 95% of the time, all through the year. I wore them through the last two winters, partly because Toronto is pretty mild compared to Ottawa and also because I haven't found a pair of boots that I like. I also don't switch to sandals in the summer because my (very lax) work dress code doesn't allow for open toed shoes. Right now I replace my set of 2 black pairs about every 4 months, so $100 lasts 2 years - I would need the expensive pair to last that long, look fresh, not scuff, etc.
Lastly, and I feel most importantly, by some crazy luck/miracle I do not need to 'break in' a new pair of flats from Ardene's. Every style is perfectly comfortable - instantly (though I never get that strange kind that folds up because it has the elastic all around the top part - they look like they could be painful). I can buy a cheap pair and then wear them for 12 hours straight the next day. That might happen with a good pair too, but it might not. Sometimes shoes, even great ones, give you a blister somewhere at the start, or cut at your heel for a bit so that you need to wear a band-aid, etc. And in the end, for me, comfort is totally going to trump it.