Date Posted:10 September 2019
Buying Ballet Shoes: Put Your Best Foot Forward
Picking shoes that are comfortable and easy to dance in is crucial, whether you’re a beginner or an expert ballet dancer. When you first start shoe shopping you might feel overwhelmed - there are so many fabrics, colors and styles! This simple guide will help you find the perfect fit for a beginner ballet shoe.
When shopping for a beginner ballet shoe, there are a few basics that you need to keep in mind:
- Beginners always start in ballet slippers (as opposed to pointe shoes)
- There are two main types of ballet shoes: split sole and full sole
- It’s best to consult your ballet teacher for guidance on what style or colour of shoe you need to purchase - they may have specific preferences for students in their classes or performances!
Input from a professional instructor is invaluable. Over the years your teacher has likely seen hundreds of students, and they were once a beginner themselves, so they’ll have guidance on what works and what to avoid.
Split Sole vs Full Sole
There are some key differences between split and full sole ballet shoes. Split sole shoes flatten the foot line and allow for more flexibility and fluid movement, but they don’t provide as much arch support for the beginner dancer. Full sole shoes offer more resistance than the split sole, which helps the dancer build stronger foot muscles. However, full sole shoes are sometimes criticised for hiding poor technique.
Talk to your teacher to see what kind of shoe is best for your needs and your level, and try a few on to see what feels best!
Fun with Fabrics
You’ll commonly see ballet shoes made with three different fabrics: leather, canvas and satin.
Leather is lauded for being durable and for helping new dancers build foot strength. Canvas shoes, on the other hand, are easily cleaned and don’t take long to break in - after just a few classes your feet will be comfortable in canvas slippers. Satin shoes, which are commonly used in performances and exams, fit the foot well and pair nicely with competition wear. Lastly, satin shoes are dyeable, meaning you can easily change the color to match your dancewear.
Ballet Shoe Sizing Tips
Once you’ve settled on a style and fabric, it’s time to make sure that you choose the right size of ballet shoe - this is critical to staying comfortable and dancing properly in class as well as performances!
When shopping for street shoes, you often want to leave a little wiggle room near your toes so that your feet aren’t cramped. But ballet shoes should fit your feet like a glove, with no large ripples or puckers in the fabric. Measure your foot and try to find a shoe that fits tightly but doesn’t constrict your movement or impede blood flow to your foot. Your ballet shoes should be tight, but not painful.
Now to Buy your ballet shoes
Now that you know these helpful tips for ballet shoe styles, fabrics and sizes, it’s time to shop! Check out our extensive selection of ballet shoes here.