For any enthusiastic or professional ballerina, ballet shoes are the most important part of the uniform. Choosing the right model and size is the first step towards becoming a good ballerina – they can provide you comfort and help you learn your craft easier. Fortunately, there are many styles and models of ballet shoes to choose from and even more ballet stores from where you shop. But as is with most things that matter, buying the best ballerina shoes for you requires some research on the matter and a few important considerations.
Sizing is always an important consideration whether you are buying ballet shoes or any other type of footwear. This is especially crucial when it comes to buying ballerina shoes as if they are not the right fit for you, they can negatively affect your performance, preventing you from doing even some of the simplest and most basic movements. Also, when it comes to sizing, consider the brand. Different brands can differ slightly in size than others.
The most common materials used for designing ballerina shoes are leather, canvas, and satin. It is important to know that they all require different cleaning procedures. As a ballerina, it is important that your ballet shoes are always clean and in good shape.
- Leather – If you want to buy leather shoes, keep in mind that cleaning them is more complex. For that purpose, you will need to buy special leather cleaning products and wipe the shoes with them.
- Canvas – As opposed to leather shoes, canvas models are easier to clean. You can even put them in the washing machine and let them air dry.
- Satin – Ballet shoes made of satin are the best choice for performing in front of an audience.
When choosing a material, what you should also keep in mind is the finish of the dance floor. If the floor in your local dance studio is made of vinyl, canvas shoes would be the right choice, while leather shoes work best on the wooden floors.
Type of sole
There are two types of ballet shoe soles:
- Full sole – Full sole shoes are ideal for ballerinas dancing on their toes. But if you haven’t developed enough strength in your calf muscles yet, you may need to wait for a little bit until you buy a pair of full sole ballerina shoes.
- Split sole – This design is not new at all, but in the world of ballet it somewhat is. The main difference in this design is that these shoes do not have any kind of sole in the midfoot area which makes it easier for dancers to point their feet.
Usually, advanced and adult ballerinas opt for a split sole design. Kids should also stick to split soles until they are at least 11 years because this is the time when the growth plates in their feet are fused together.
Type of ballet shoes
As a ballerina, it is important to be familiar with the different types of ballerina shoes.
- Pointe – These are the most popular type as they allow ballerinas to balance on the tip of their feet. Specifically made to support the feet and toes, pointe shoes are usually used by experienced dancers.
- Slippers – These are soft slippers featuring one strap over the upper foot area.
- Soft – Soft ballet dance shoes have a slip-on design, they are soft, do not have straps and are usually used by beginners.
When buying, try to find a model that meets your dance needs and you can afford. Compare the overall quality and price point to the ones in different stores so you ensure you get the best deal. Spending too much on ballet shoes does not necessarily mean you will get the best quality or vice versa. Your best bet is finding a good middle ground and sticking with brands that are already established in this field.