Ballet Shoes - How to fit ballet shoes

How to find the right size

When standing in first position with one foot pointed, there should be enough room for a good pinch at the back of the pointed foot. There should also be enough space to move around the toes rather than them being forced into the front of the shoe. If you’re not sure which size to go for, we suggest going for the slightly bigger size rather than going for a pair that are slightly too small.

Remember to bear in mind whether you’re buying your ballet shoes for practice or an exam. If you’re buying for practice, the teacher probably won’t mind a little bit of growing room. However, if you’re buying for an exam, the examiner will want to see the full expression of your foot so make sure your shoe fits well.

Should I go for leather, canvas or satin?

This is really down to personal preference or the requirements of dancing school uniform. Leather ballet shoes are slightly more expensive but they’re generally more durable and harder wearing than canvas or satin shoes. Some dancers feel that leather ballet shoes help accentuate the pointed foot and appear more elegant whereas others prefer the feel of canvas or satin.

Full Sole or Split Sole?

Children or students new to ballet usually start with a full sole as it offers more support to the foot. When the dancer becomes more experienced they may find that they prefer split sole ballet shoes. This is because split sole shoes allow the foot to create a stronger pointe, as the sole is split between the heel and toe. However, choice of shoe rarely makes any difference to dancing ability.

How to sew on your elastic

Elastics are purposely left off the shoe when purchased so the dancer can sew them on in exactly the right place. Here’s how to do it.

1. Fold down the heel of your ballet shoe flat against the lining and use a pencil to mark where the folded upper meets the binding.

2. Stitch one side of elastic onto the sock lining and binding but be careful not to stitch through the drawstring or the ballet shoe upper.
3. Put on the ballet shoe and pull the elastic over the instep, place a pencil mark where the elastic meets the binding and stitch the elastic to the other side.

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