Ballet requires a lot of practice and perfect synchronization of the mind, body and soul for one to master specific steps and artistic moves. This is why practicing in the best ballet shoes is very important and unchallengeable.
In this article, I will provide you with the ultimate guide to buying the best ballet shoes and review the 5 best picks in 2023.
Types of Best Ballet Shoes
There are different types of ballet shoes. As complex as this dance is, you will need to have at least a pair of these to master the art of ballet dance:
Beginners mostly wear full-sole ballet shoes. This type of shoe comes with a full sole, just like a regular shoe, even though the soles are sometimes not as thick as regular ones.
They are the best for beginners because they offer good stability and arch support, which can be detrimental for beginners at this stage if missing.
Some professional dancers still rock full-sole ballet shoes. Nonetheless, it doesn’t change the fact that full sole is best recommended for an early stage of ballet dancing. After all, being a professional means you can use anything and still deliver the best performance.
Split-sole ballet shoes are the most used by professional dancers. They offer more support and stability and help strengthen your feet as you grow in dancing.
They come as heeled ballet shoes with a noticeable space or gap underneath where the sole is, which signifies the split sole. In the case of some shoes, most times, the splitting is not noticeable but feelable. Your foot will rest on two layers of thickened fiber that can either be leather or satin underneath the ballet shoes with a gap in the middle where your arch is.
The one turn-off for split-sole shoes is that they do not always come with recommended arch support. However, the presence of the gap between the sole and the absence of the arch support means you get extensity which is excellent for professional dancers but can be detrimental to beginners who decide to use split-sole shoes for learning.
Pointe ballet shoes come in split-sole and full-sole forms. Nonetheless, they are a no-go area for beginners!
Unlike other shoes, pointe ones display remarkable and exclusive craftsmanship. They come with a hard box, making it easy for you to balance on your toe. They are sometimes referred to as platform ballet shoes due to the flat part that allows you to dance en-pointe.
These are made for advanced male and female ballet dancers because of the kind of exclusive support and stability they offer. And unlike other shoes, you will require training to build your footbone on the journey ahead before you can wear pointe shoes.
As a beginner, it is possible that you might encounter a pain-free experience with the split-sole or the full-sole ballet shoes, but with the pointe ones in question, it is tough to avoid pain when you dance in them. Sometimes, the pain is inevitable, even for professionals! But that is a small price to pay for a perfect display of great and ancient artistic professionalism. No pain, no gain!
Key Characteristics of Ballet Shoes
Ballet is not like most of the dances we have today. This is one of the most complex dances ever invented, so it requires more time to master, and so do its costumes. Costumes are considered an essential part of a ballet, and you need to pay attention to these characteristics when choosing the best ballet shoes for an outstanding experience.
- Box platform
Drawstrings are common with flat ballet shoes. If you decide on getting a flat platform , you should ensure they have drawstrings, as this will allow you to customize their fitting. The drawstrings let you tighten the grip of your shoes to not have them from falling off or fitting loose and ruining your performance.
The sole of your ballet shoe should offer you a perfect grip on the ground you are dancing. You don’t want a slippery sole that will ruin your performance and might cause injury if care is not taken.
This is why ballerinas apply resin on the sole of their shoes to prevent them from slipping while performing.
The soles of ballet shoes are made with leather, satin or canvas. Whichever one of these you lay your hands on should serve just well.
Although this characteristic is limited to pointe ballet shoes, it is one of the most considered features when getting a professional shoe.
You should make sure the box is thick enough not to fall apart during a performance and that it is flat enough to offer you the required balance when practicing and performing.
The best ballet shoes come with good insoles. Your insoles should be able to offer you a fraction of support and a little bit of relief, regardless of the kind of shoes you use.
One good thing about insoles is that you can add them even if your shoes do not come with them since there are different kinds of insoles made for different types of ballet shoes out there. You can easily customize one that suits your needs, regardless of the shoe you use for ballet.
Ballet shoes are made with three known materials. These materials are satin, soft leather and canvas. They all share one thing in common: their “kindness” towards the skin of your feet. They are not hard enough to cause blisters or any form of injury when you dance in them.
Their texture is super soft, which is perfect for ballerinas. There might be other ballet shoes that are made from other materials. However, I recommend choosing among the three fabrics listed here for a better and safe experience.
Other Features to Consider When Buying the Best Ballet Shoes
Even though the characteristics mentioned above are the most impactful and should be considered at all times when getting new pairs of ballet shoes, these are equally important and will not go unnoticed if missing in the qualities your shoes come with:
- Sizing and fitting
For a more secure fit, your ballet shoes should come with ribbons. Ribbons are tied just around the ankle; if you have used them before, you will know that the feeling is a shot of adrenaline since you are certain your shoes will not come off! By the way, we have covered a step-by-step guide on how to tie ballet ribbons in our recent article.
Using just any kind of shoe for ballet is not professional, even though there are people who seem to feel comfortable doing so. Nonetheless, considering the weight of the shoes you use for ballet is another characteristic you should not joke with.
Ballet is stressful already, even though entertaining. You don’t need the extra weight!
This is why most ballet shoes are extremely light.
Sizing and Fitting
It will surprise you to know how professional ballet dancers go to get the perfect fitting from their ballet shoes: from sewing elastic onto their shoes to using ribbons and so on.
All these should show you how important it is that your shoes give you the best fitting. Keep in mind that ballet shoes are sometimes smaller in size and do not fit true to size like regular street shoes. But that shouldn’t be a problem because if you want a perfect fit, then going a half size down your regular street sneakers is the right way to go.
Our 5 Picks of the Best Ballet Shoes
Bloch Ballet Shoes
Speaking of the best ballet shoes for beginners and professionals, the Bloch Ballet Shoe is one of the most recommended with such multi-personality.
These shoes feature a full sole, elastic instep and a drawstring. All for an enhanced experience compared to what you used to have with other shoes.
They are strong. Bloch is one of the known manufacturers of strong dance shoes and their model of ballet shoes is highly recommended.
Pros – incredibly soft, made with full-quality leather.
Cons – they might run too big; keep this in mind.
Capezio Ballet Shoes
The Capezio Ballet Shoes feature a similar design to the Bloch shoes on the outer part. But believe me, that is the only similarity they both share. Capezio features an exclusive insole design that makes it unique and beautiful even for the eyes of spectators.
Aside from that, it is made with tanned leather suede, enhancing its durability. The drawstrings are visible, and so is the criss-cross elastic attached to ensure a perfect grip and fit.
Pros – they are constructed of the best quality leather and whimsical lining.
Cons – they run small.
These black ballet shoes are some of the most versatile ones out there. They are designed to withstand daily wear and not breakdown – a great example of a platform ballet shoe. Their uniqueness lies in their top line, which carries elastic – an assurance of perfect grip. They also feature a flexible outsole, which is ideal for ballet dancers.
Pros – they are highly versatile.
Cons – they are not the most recommended shoes for beginners who wish to practice en pointe moves due to their round-toe design.
Linodes Slip On Shoes
Split-sole ballet dance shoes are highly recommended for both professional and beginner dancers. They offer excellent arch support and a rare kind of stability only they have. The Linodes Ballet Shoes are highly versatile and are made with top-quality leather material. They are a few of the best ballet shoes with heels that will give you the best feeling when performing in them.
Pros – they are highly versatile and durable.
Cons – the arch support will wear out with regular use.
For your information, we have also reviewed the Linodes shoes in another article about choosing the best jazz shoes.
Pointe shoes are mainly used for outstanding performances as they come with a box platform, just like those featured in WENDYWU Professional Ballet Shoes. They are greatly recommended for professional ballet dancers only.
These shoes offer a rare kind of feeling when you dance in them. They are made with soft materials, both inside and out, and the arch support is visible even from the outside. Overall, they are the best on this list!
Pros – performing in them gives an exclusive feeling.
Cons – flat box platforms are not recommended for beginners and unprofessional ballet dancers.
How to clean ballet shoes?
Hand cleaning: A little drop of detergent on the shoes and a wipe with a soft towel dipped in clean water will restore them to their glittery form. This works for all ballet shoes made with any material.
Wash: If you must wash your shoes, then make sure to put them in a pillow or a lingerie bag to not tamper with their soft and light construction. This is not advisable for leather shoes, as they are likely to peel if force is used in cleaning or washing them.
How should ballet shoes fit?
Ballet shoes should not give you a compressing fit or a loose fit. They should fit you just like socks fit, or leggings. There should be just enough space for breathability and comfort so that you can perform without any discomfort. Hence, they are made with light and breathable materials and also crafted with strings, ribbons and elastic to ensure you get the best out of the fitting.
How long do ballet shoes last?
Ballet shoes are some of the most fragile ones ever known. They are expected to last just 10 – 20 hours of use by professional ballet dancers. The case may be different for those practicing as they do not put in the energy and hours professional ballet dancers do. Therefore, this can give your shoes a lifespan of 20 – 30 days of use, and you will have to change them as soon as possible.
What are the best ballet shoes for beginners?
The best ballet shoes for beginners are full-sole and split-sole shoes. Their advantage is that they give stability and the stamina to practice and master a step so they can execute the same even when wearing other shoes.
Ever since the stunning performance of the ‘Dying swan’ by Anna Pavlova – one of the greatest ballerinas ever, ballet has received a lot of attention from prospects who dream of living the lives of their role models.
Even though ballet can be complex and sometimes hard that you might want to give up as a beginner, it is one of the ancient dances you will enjoy if you master the art.
How to master the art? Get the best ballet shoes and costumes and put in the effort. I assure you, you shall see the results. Dancing ballet will be more effortless if you follow our guide in this article.
Whether you are a beginner looking to get the best ballet shoes for your classes or a professional dancer looking to replace your old ones, the shoes reviewed here are the best in 2023 and will serve you well!