These Lightweight, No-Break-In Leather Flats Are Finally Back in Stock After Thousands of Shoppers Begged for Their Return

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Like so many millennials, I used to live in flats. While ballet flats were my footwear of choice through much of college and my early 20s, eventually, I ebbed into loafer territory—and I stayed there even when it wasn’t exactly hip to do so. There’s just something about the classic silhouette that feels both timeless and fashion-forward.

Which is why I have half a dozen different loafers lining my closet (in rainbow, metallic, velvet—the list goes on). But see, that’s the thing: None of the loafers I own are neutral and easy to style with everything I own. Because of this, I was particularly jazzed when I caught wind of Birdies’ big news: The brand’s coveted leather loafer—The Starling—is back in stock in leather after being sold out for quite some time.

starling leather
Birdies, The Starling Leather Flat — $150.00

Colors (in leather): 3

Sizes available: 5-12


  • Little to no break-in period
  • Flexible leather
  • Easy to walk long distances in


  • Need to order a half-size up
  • Leather may wrinkle over time

What we love about the Birdies Starling loafer

What makes the Birdies Starling ($150) such a swoon-worthy shoe? A few things, really. The style features a non-slip rubber outsole atop a modest 10-millimeter heel, the uppers are soft and flexible, and the footbed is nothing short of a dream. It’s the latter that’s especially noteworthy. After all, the key characteristic of all Birdies shoes is the 7-layer footbed that’s designed to make it feel like you’re walking in slippers, not going-out shoes.

Due to their thoughtful design, the Birdies Starling Flats have become a cult favorite among shoppers, to the point that the brand regularly releases new iterations of the shoe. The flats, which are available in women’s sizes 5 to 12, are sold in 21 seasonal colors, textiles, and prints, as well as six classic options. For many footwear brands, it’s the seasonal shades that sell out the fastest. But for Birdies, the classic leather silhouettes, which are sold in black, tan, and brown shades, earned such high praise, the brand has had trouble keeping them in stock.

Naturally, I snagged a pair as soon as I saw they were available once more (after thousands requested Birdies bring back the leather loafer). My thought? How stellar can a plain pair of leather flats really be? Sure, I adore my velvet Starling flats, but can leather really compete—especially in terms of comfort?

starling leather flats
Photo: Rebecca Norris

Why yes, yes it can. From the moment I slipped my feet into these surprisingly lightweight leather flats, I’ve been a fan. The material is so buttery-soft that it flexes and bends with my feet, so I’ve not encountered any blister-causing chafing (despite not wearing socks), which I find is often par for the course when wearing most leather shoes. Meanwhile, the footbeds are just as glorious in the leather version as the velvet versions, though, potentially even more breathable. In the velvet Starlings, the footbeds have a satin lining; in the leather version, it has a cork-like appearance but is really just dotted leather.

As much as I enjoy the Birdies Leather Starling flats, there are a couple of things you’ll want to keep in mind. For starters, the brand says that you should size down if you have narrow feet or are in between sizes. After years of wearing The Starling, I have found that going up a half size works better. Another thing? Since the leather uppers are so thin and flexible, I feel like they could develop wrinkles over time. TBD on how they wear in the long-term.

All in all, if you’re on the hunt for a pair of comfortable, flexible leather flats that you can run to work in just as easily as you could go on a miles-long walking tour of a new city, the Birdies Leather Starling is worth considering. But act fast! They won’t stay in stock long.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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