The stroke of a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) stage suspended by a flexure mechanism and actuated by electrostatic comb-drives is limited by pull-in. A method to analyze the electrostatic stability of a flexure mechanism and to optimize the stroke with respect to the footprint of flexure mechanisms is presented. Four flexure mechanisms for large stroke are investigated; the standard folded flexure, the slaved folded flexure, the tilted folded flexure and the Watt flexure. Given a certain stroke and load force, the flexures are optimized to have a minimum wafer footprint. From these optimizations it is concluded that the standard folded flexure mechanism is the best flexure mechanism for relatively small strokes (up to ±40 μm) and for larger strokes it is better to use the tilted folded flexure. Several optimized flexure mechanisms have been fabricated and experimentally tested to reach a stroke of ±100 μm. The displacement of the fabricated stages as a function of the actuation voltage could be predicted with 82% accuracy, limited by the fairly large tolerances of our fabrication process.