7 Tips On Buying Ballet Shoes

Last updated: February 19, 2019
Published 4:21 am

A ballet dancer wearing her pointe shoesMany girls, and even boys, start doing ballet at a very young age. The first step towards becoming a good ballerina is to have the right kind of shoes; they can give comfort and aid dancers in learning their craft easily.

Over the years, different kinds of ballet shoes for toddlers, kids, women and men have appeared for sale in the market. Buying the best ballet shoes isn’t really something straight forward. There are a number of things that you must to consider in order to get the most out of your dance and to avoid disappointment or injury. Here are some important pointers that you will need to consider if you ever want to get the right footwear for your dancing needs:

Our Advice On Ballet Shoes

#1 Sizing

Sizing is important when it comes to any type of footwear, but especially with ballet, they should fit like a glove to a dancer’s foot. A baggy or somewhat loose shoe can compromise a dancer’s performance preventing him or her from doing some basic movements. It is also imperative that the shoes are not too small for your feet. Another thing to consider is the sizing of the brand that you are looking into buying because some brands sizes may differ slightly to others. A size 7 Bloch may be different to a size 7 Capezio. Reading the “as expected fit” can aid you in making your choice, especially when purchasing online.

#2 Choose The Correct Material

Wearing ballet slippers and on her toesThe most common materials used range from leather to canvas. Canvas ballet shoes are generally easier to clean. You can simply put them in a washing machine along with your running sneakers to freshen them up, and later have it on a dryer for some time to dry out. On the other hand, leather ballet shoes require more tedious cleaning process including wiping with leather cleaning products. Also, you need to consider the finish of the dance floor when choosing the right material. If the dance studio’s floor you practice at is made of vinyl, it is a good idea to stick with canvas. On the other hand, leather works best on most wooden floors. However, if you are going to perform in front of an audience, you’ll most likely have to stick to satin ballet shoes. The ones you choose are perhaps down to personal choice, leather is more durable, and don’t expect the canvas type to last anywhere near as long.

#3 Choose The Type Of Sole

  • Full Sole – Are you the type of ballet dancer that needs to dance on his or her toes? For this particular scenario, you will need to go for full sole ballet shoes. These function similar to pointe shoes, however, this isn’t recommended for dancers that haven’t yet developed enough strength on their calf muscles i.e kids and toddlers.
  • Split Sole – Even though the split sole design is not new at all, split sole shoes are somewhat new in the world of ballet. Its popularity surged over the last two decades. The main difference of split sole ballet shoes is the fact that you typically don’t have leather, or any kind of sole in the midfoot area of the shoe. This makes it easier for dancers to point their feet and even make the moves more exaggerated.
  • Full Sole Or Split Sole? More often than not, adult and advanced dancers are usually going for split sole designs. However, it is imperative for toddlers and young kids to stick to full sole shoes in order to develop the increasing strength and developing technique that they will require for the succeeding years. As rule of thumb, a child should stick to split soles until he or she reaches at least 11 years old. That’s the time when the growth plates in the foot have fused together and they can then transition off if required.

#4 Elastics

It is very important to consider the elastics. This is the material that makes sure that the shoe is attached to your foot. However, there are ones that don’t have elastics at all. For those which come without elastics, it allows the dancers to sew the right elastics on their foot for the right customized fit. There is no right or wrong here, but if you want custom fit on your footwear, then stay away from ones with elastic pre-sewn.

#5 Other Types Of Ballet Shoes

Ballet pointe shoes for beginnersAlso, as a standard requirement you will need to be familiar with the other basic types which exist:

  • Soft – Soft ballet shoes are generally aimed at beginners. These are soft, slip on design, and typically these do not have straps.
  • Slippers – Ballet slippers are exactly as they sound, which are soft slippers with one strap over the upper foot area. Others have a wrap around which extends up to the ankle. Many people use the terminology for soft ballet shoes and slippers interchangeably.
  • Pointe – The more popular type, ballet pointe shoes allow dancers to balance on the tip of their foot. These are typically for the older and more experienced dancers as opposed to young kids and toddlers. This type was specifically made to support the toes and feet. There are ballet pointe shoes for beginners available on the market which are worth looking at if new to this scene.

#6 Durability

Durability is an important consideration when it comes to buying. If you are the type of ballet dancer who regularly visits the studio, you might as well invest on a durable leather pair as opposed to canvas to make sure that it lasts a long time.

#7 Price

Last but not the least, you also want to consider the price. Try to compare the price and the overall quality to make sure that you get the best bang for your buck. Spending a huge amount of money on footwear doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be getting the best, however spending too less can often mean cheap quality which will not last. Find a good middle ground for best results and stick to the well known brands which have been established the longest.


Buying your own ballet shoes shouldn’t be a complicated process, however, when you do end up with the perfect pair, it’s a wonder how it can highlight and emphasize your skills. Ultimately it is a lightweight tool that should help you perform your dance routine with ease. Take into consideration type of sole, soft, pointe, elastics etc. Make sure to follow the tips that we’ve mentioned above to get the best fit and style for your requirements.