The 10 Best Mesh Flats, According to Fashion Editors and Designers

They're the next best thing to being barefoot.

A guest at fashion week walks down the sidewalk in a pair of mesh ballet flats to illustrate a guide to the best mesh flats
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's a certain magic to an unconventional shoe. Maison Margiela's hooved-toe Tabis are considered a holy-grail find in fashion circles. Bottega Veneta's cartoonish Puddle rain boots celebrate the glamour of a galosh. Even the beloved Birkenstock taps into the ugly-chic spectacle: the granola slip-on shouldn't work as high-fashion footwear, but against all odds, it does. Now, there's a new polarizing shoe to ponder: the best mesh flats, as in sheer shoes that play peek-a-boo with your pedicure. And the technicalities aside (does it really count as a shoe if it's more of a see-through sock?), mesh flats demonstrate precisely what's so fascinating about head-scratching footwear.

The mesh flats trend began with The Row, as most recent all-consuming moments do. In 2019, the high-end label revealed its Mesh Sock Flats, a pair of diaphanous slippers that mimic the sensation of walking on air. But it's not just Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen embracing barely-there footwear. Alaïa now makes black netted Mary Janes, and Khaite carries sheer slip-ons bedazzled with Swarovski crystals. A-listers have also hopped on the trend in recent months, showing its unexpected popularity in 2024. Jennifer Lawrence, Dakota Johnson, and Dua Lipa both have an affinity for the aforementioned Alaia black mesh flats: Lipa wore mesh flats out for a casual day-date in Los Angeles. Johnson, for her part, wore the same ones while on a coffee run. Lawrence teamed them with a classic jeans-and-a-tee combination, proving that they can instantly improve an otherwise simple outfit.

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Jennifer Lawrence wearing her best mesh flats.

(Image credit: Splash by Shutterstock)

But what brought about the advent of the translucent flat? Jane Frances, founder and creative director of Dear Frances footwear, says mesh shoes live at the intersection of two trends: sultry sheer fabrics and the best ballet flats. "Ballerinas have been a key style in recent seasons, and mesh options offer a unique and sophisticated update," she tells Marie Claire. "[Mesh flats] are delicate and feminine, but also feel sharp and modern—a strong combination." These shoes are an intriguing paradox: surrealist yet simple. Earthy-crunchy and somehow elevated. Barefoot, but not.

Ahead, find Marie Claire's best mesh flats to add to your summer shoe rotation. Each pair was chosen based on material, styling potential, and reviews from well-dressed women (including Marie Claire editors). A gentle note, though: If you find a pair you like, act fast. These shoes may be polarizing, but they're selling out across all retailers.

Shop The Best Mesh Flats

Meet the Fashion Expert

Jane Frances
Jane Frances

London-based designer Jane Frances studied in London and Milan, where she learned from some of the most accomplished shoe designers in the world. After graduating, she spent her formative years in Milan, learning the intricate art of Italian craftsmanship under the guidance of her teacher and mentor, before moving back to London to establish Dear Frances. With a strong design aesthetic and great respect for artisan detailing, Jane brings a fresh approach to shoe design, with a clear and consistent focus on pared-back modern classics.

Emma Childs
Fashion Features Editor

Emma Childs is the fashion features editor at Marie Claire, who writes trend reports, long-form reported features, and shopping guides. Previously, she was Marie Claire's style editor, and wrote for The Zoe Report, Editorialist, Elite Daily, Bustle, and Mission Magazine. She studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University Lincoln Center. When she's not writing fashion deep-dives, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage, reading literary fiction on her Kindle, and baking in her tiny NYC kitchen.