What You Need to Know About Ballet Shoes

Ballet shoes are soft, almost slipper-like shoes designed specifically for the ballet dancer. Unlike their predecessors, modern ballet shoes have no heel but instead a very thin highly flexible sole to allow maximum freedom of movement for the foot. The upper is very lightweight and usually made from leather, canvas or satin.

If you're new to ballet, you should be aware that your ballet shoes will form one of the most important elements of your ballet dance costume. They do not need to have a glamorous design but they do need to provide a good fit. The best way to check the fit of a pair of ballet shoes is to stand in first position with one foot pointed. When doing so, there should be enough room for a good pinch at the back of the pointed foot. A well fitting ballet shoe will also allow you to wriggle your toes a little - if they're forced into the front of the shoe then you need to try a bigger size. If you're not sure which size to go for, it's usually best to go for the slightly larger size rather than a pair that are too small.

Though your ballet shoes may look very dainty, you'll quickly find that ballet classes can be intense on both you and your shoes! You therefore need to make sure that the fabric from which your ballet shoes is made is hard wearing. Satin is usually a no-go for everyday ballet classes. Whilst it looks very attractive, it wears out very quickly and easily stains meaning its best to keep this for special performances.

Canvas is popular with many male dancers who find that leather shoes sometimes stick to the floor due to the fact that male dancers generally weigh more than females. The most popular fabric, however, is leather. This is because it is very hardwearing and can easily be wiped down if it becomes marked. The only downside is that leather is the most expensive of the three fabrics. However, you will find that in the long run the extra investment is worth it as they're very likely to outlast both other types of fabric.

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