Choose the Perfect Ballet Shoes

The golden rule of choosing dance shoes whatever the style of dance is comfort. This is absolutely essential in order to ensure you give your best possible performance. In ballet, having a comfortable pair of ballet shoes is no less important than any other style of dance.

With such a wide variety of ballet shoes available, it can often be very confusing knowing which ones to choose – especially if you’re just about to start learning. There is a plethora of styles available and if you’re a novice, you need to make sure that you choose the right ones. Most dance schools have a uniform and it’s highly likely that your ballet teacher will require you to buy a particular pair of ballet shoes so it’s best to talk to them first. For those of you who want to get a head start or don’t have a uniform, here are a few helpful hints to make sure you choose the best ballet shoes for you!

If you’re a novice, the first thing you need to know is that there are two different types of soles. These are split sole and full sole. A full sole reaches from the toe right down to the heel without a break. This offers the extra support required by beginners and encourages the foot to work harder in order to achieve “pointe”. Over time, this will develop and strengthen the muscles in the arch of the foot enough to allow the dancer to progress to split sole ballet shoes which have a break in between the ball of the foot and the heel. This allows the dancer more flexibility of the foot and also gives a much nice line which can help result in a more polished performance.

The next thing to consider is the fabric from which ballet shoes are made. The vast majority and most popular ballet shoes are manufactured from leather and canvas though satin ballet shoes are also available which are very attractive. Though ballet looks very dainty and delicate, ballet classes require a lot of endurance and your ballet shoes will need to be equally hard wearing. If you’re choosing a pair of ballet shoes for classes, you’re therefore best choosing either leather or canvas. Of the two, leather is preferable because it is easy to maintain, very hard wearing and it will mould to the shape of the foot making them very comfortable. If you’re looking for something a little cheaper than leather but still fairly hard wearing, then canvas is a good choice. Like leather, it’s breathable and flexible, but be aware that it does mark easily and can sometimes snag causing little holes. Due to the delicate nature of satin, ballet shoes made from this fabric should be kept for special performances and auditions.

Once you have decided on your chosen fabric and type of sole, you will be getting close to finding the right pair of ballet shoes. Before you make your final choice you will need to try them on. Once you’ve put on your ballet shoe, put your leg out straight forward with the toe pointed forward and touching the floor. There should be ample space for a good pinch at the back of this foot. There should also be enough room for the toes to wriggle around a little but not enough space for the foot to move around inside the shoe. If the toes are jammed into the end of the shoe, then you need to go for a bigger size.

In order to try on your ballet shoes it may be worth visiting a local dance shop. Alternatively, if you’re looking to get them for the best possible price, it’s worth shopping online as there are several specialist online dancewear retailers which offer ballet shoes at very competitive prices. Just be sure to make sure they offer a simple exchange policy so that you can easily exchange them for a different size if you need to.

Finally, you need to consider the elastics. Most ballet shoes come with elastics included but they may not be attached. This is because every dancer has slightly different shaped feet which means that the elastics need to be in a slightly different position. Some beginner shoes come with the elastics pre-attached which is great for novices. If the elastics you choose aren’t attached then it’s important to attach them to ensure that they offer your ankles better support and protection.

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