When I first caught wind of Birdies—a shoe brand that prides itself on seven layers of quilted, memory foam cushioning for silhouettes that feel more like slippers than out-and-about shoes—I knew I had to give them a whirl. After all, if Meghan Markle loves these (exact!) flats, there must be something special about them. As someone with sensitive feet prone to aching heels, ankle and pinky toe blisters, and seriously sore arches and metatarsals after just a couple hours in heels (if that), I hoped that these simple-yet-stylish shoes, which are sold in 19 colors (including velvet and calf hair options), would be the reprieve my soles so desperately needed. And, as it turns out, they were.
I got my first pair of Starling flats ($110)—in a since discontinued velvet wine colorway—back in 2020, but it wasn’t until I took them with me on a Northeastern fall foliage tour with two of my girlfriends in 2021 that I realized just how game-changing they are. With little luggage space to spare, I wanted to stick to the slimmest shoe silhouettes possible, so I tucked my Starlings in for the ride. What I didn’t realize was that we’d be doing a miles-long Freedom Trail excursion in Boston—something I’d typically wear sneakers for. While velvet loafers might not seem like the greatest shoe choice for such an adventure, they turned out to be an absolute godsend for my feet, with no aching or blisters in sight.
Needless to say, ever since that experience, I’ve kept an eye on Birdies to see what other styles they launch. When they came out with The Roadrunner ($140)—a casual sneaker that looks great with jeans—I added not one, but two pairs to my wardrobe. And now, just in time for the holidays, the brand has debuted what I’m dubbing the perfect festive flat.
Enter: the Crystal Velvet Starling ($145). Available in black, royal blue, and maroon, the flats feature the brand’s signature seven layers of cushioning, non-slip rubber sole, and 10-millimeter heel, along with over two dozen shimmering crystal embellishments on each shoe. In that way, they’re like a Cinderella slipper—only if it actually felt like an impossibly cozy slipper instead of rigid glass.
Suffice to say, if you, like me, have long forgone days and nights strutting around in stilettos in favor of more comfortable silhouettes, but are hoping for something more elegant than chunky block heels or platform boots this holiday season, the Birdies Starling Velvet Crystal Flat is the perfect choice.
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