Parents often ask me about the correct ballet shoes for class. There are many different brands and styles so how do you know which pair to choose?
With today’s squeezing budgets parents also do not want to spend a lot of money. Luckily ballet shoes are pretty inexpensive. You should be able to buy a good pair of new shoes for $20 or less. Brands such as Capezio, Bloch and Dancing Fair are some examples of good brands that will be very comfortable to you or your child’s feet.
How should shoes fit? Well, if you are a serious student shoes should fit “like a glove”. They should fit snugly but not too tight. If you are a recreational dancer and still growing I suggest parents buy shoes that are a little big so they are not buying many pairs within one season. Of course the shoes should not be so big that the little ones are tripping as they dance!
What material should the shoes be made of? Soft slippers come in leather and canvas. Both have their advantages and different dancers prefer different materials. Which you choose depends on if you are a male or female. What type of floor you are dancing on makes a difference. Also if you want to dye your shoes that will alter your decision. Please visit the leather and canvas pages for more information.
Is there a Right and Left? No. There is not a right or left shoe with either soft ballet shoes or pointe shoes. I try to decide which shoe I am going to wear on which foot when they are new. By the second or third time I wear them they are already starting to mold to the shape of each foot.
What about the soles? Some shoes have a full sole while others have a split sole. There is really not a lot of difference in which you choose. Some dancers prefer the full sole especially if they are going to use pointe shoes later. The full sole is closer to the feel of the pointe shoe and may help to develop the dancer’s pointe more. Other dancers prefer the split sole because there is more freedom of flexibility in the arch and can create a stronger point.
Do I have to sew on elastics? The elastics go over the top of the foot to secure the ballet shoe on to the foot. Most beginning ballet shoes come with the elastics already sewn on. Others you will need to sew on yourself. This way you can sew them on to fit your foot.
What about pointe shoes? Pointe shoes are for serious dancers that have trained in ballet for a while. Dancers must wait until they have some technique under their belt and their feet have developed before they start training on pointe.
The bottom line for beginners and pre-ballet students is buy a pair of shoes that is affordable and comfortable. The kind or color is not that important until you try a few and develop a preference. Unless your teacher requests a certain shoe go with what you like!
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