At first glance, you may be confused by Tabi ballet flats. They’re fantastical and eye-catching, for sure, but what we love most about the split-toe style is its holistic heritage: During the 15th century, split-toe socks were worn by the Japanese elite to bring internal and external balance. The split-toe silhouette’s holistic abilities quickly garnered traction and the style was transferred to shoes instead of socks. Flash forward to 1988, when Martin Margiela brought the statement silhouette to the modern day with the debut of the Tabi boot. It created waves in the fashion community for its ingenuity and quirky feel. Margiela then applied the same silhouette to ballet flats, and voila: the Tabi ballerina was born. Since, it has become one of the most beloved ballet flat styles, adored by fashion lovers for its quiet luxury feel—it’s one of those if-you-know-you-know accessories that adds a cool factor to an ensemble.
Where to shop for Tabi ballet flats: Maison Margiela is the only fashion house that offers true Tabi ballet flats. Thus, if the style has captured your eye, you have to turn to the brand to snag a pair. They’ve launched the style in a few different fabrications—leather, silk, and patent leather to name a few—as well as different colors.