This is generally my rule as well.

Payless recent(…ish)ly betrayed me by dropping their Chelsea flats — they were a nothing-fancy but fine basic flat, that didn’t hurt my picky feet and never cost more than $20. I have been experimenting with replacements but have not had any success as of yet. 
I have two pairs of thrifted J. Crew Cece flats(*really a very low wedge) that have been good, but they’re $100 plus direct from J. Crew, so they fail in that way.

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