Last updated: August 17, 2021

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Hello, we welcome, we hope that as in every article presented, all the information will be very useful for you to make safe and satisfactory purchases. This time we are going to talk about an element that allows you to develop a historical artistic expression, ballet shoes. The ballet, an art developed by dancers either in the classical or contemporary field requires the absolute use of the shoes, both to practice and to perform, it is their working tool, the equivalent of a guitar for a guitarist, or a hammer for a builder.

To buy your 1st or 3rd shoes it is of utmost importance to know everything about the product, especially if we are starting out; it often happens that we get excited buying what we think will work for us, but we make mistakes due to lack of knowledge. For this reason, we will explain everything about this product.




The most important things

  • Ballet shoes are the working tools a dancer uses to train their feet with the help of a teaching technique. They embrace the foot with their design, allowing the person to develop the skills necessary to develop in this art.
  • By their design and functionality, the shoes are divided into two: half pointe shoes or pointe shoes. Depending on the dancer's progress in her academic and professional level, the right shoe will be chosen.
  • In order to choose the right shoe we must use our previous knowledge and take into account any factor that will help us to make the right decisions, in this case for example: the parts of the shoe, the material, the rubbers, the split or running sole, etc.

The Best Ballet Shoes: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about ballet shoes

As we warned you, we are about to enter the world of ballet shoes to meet the purpose of knowing them in depth, we will touch the most relevant points throughout the text and this will allow you to act and make the decisions that best suit you without wasting your money.

Ballet shoes are one of the most important tools of any dancer. (Photo: lynnea / pixabay.com)

What are ballet shoes and what are their advantages?

Ballet shoes are a soft, lightweight shoe that adapts to different types of feet in girls and boys, men and women. They are a key accessory for the practical and professional performance of classical or contemporary dance. Achieving the technical skills required in this art demands a lot of commitment from the dancer, i.e. a lot of practice, commitment and effort, all of which goes hand in hand with having the right shoes for the level the dancer is at.

They are made of leather, canvas or soft satin. Although the most common colour is pink, they are currently available in other colours and sizes. Depending on the model, they may have elastics or ribbons which, in addition to adding a touch of elegance, help to keep the foot securely fastened to the shoe.

Advantages
  • Options for each type of foot
  • Different colours, models, brands and sizes
  • Facilitates movement and steps
  • Avoids slipping
  • Helps to improve technique
Disadvantages
  • Incorrect choice hurts and squeezes the foot
  • Causes falls and blisters
  • Deforms the toes and affects the spine
  • It is difficult to buy this product online

Mid or pointed toe shoes - what should you pay attention to?

Each element that makes up the shoe is important and has a function: the box, the wings, the folds or the outer sole are some of them and there are more (we will see some of them later), at the same time, these physical qualities give them their categorisation, dividing them into two types: the half toe and toe shoes.

  • MID-TOP. These are the first shoes of anyone who starts to dance and with which they will begin to train their feet. These shoes allow you to get used to the feel of a shoe before moving on to the pointe shoe. Their main characteristic and difference is that their toe box (where the toes rest) is soft and flexible with a full leather sole and their toe is curved. They help to strengthen the arch and instep before moving on to pointe shoes. You should never do pointe positions with these shoes.
  • Pointe shoes are those used by experienced dancers with years of training. To use them, it is essential to have well formed toes and a great technique and strength in the feet. These shoes are rigid, made of layers of paper and hardened fabric or plastic. It is footwear that although it has variations depending on the type of foot (and unlike the half pointe shoes), its flat toe box where the toes rest, has a reinforcement that allows the feet to carry the weight of the dancer when he/she stands on pointe.
HALF POINTS ON POINTS
Target Beginners Advanced
Features Soft, light and flexible Hard and rigid
Support Elastic or cross elastic Elastic or ribbon

What are the parts of ballet shoes?

As mentioned throughout this article, they have elements with a defined function. They are not like any other footwear that one sees it pretty, comfortable and we buy it. This accessory has a vital importance that will allow you to perform better if you choose correctly, so it is important to know the main parts.

  • Box. It is the part where our toes will fall, which would be the tip of the shoe. There are different shapes to adapt to the different types of feet that exist, either cone, column, oval cone or oval column. The most important thing is that the toes do not bend, flatten or leave space between them.
  • Wings. These are the sides of the box, they can be higher or lower depending on the model. If they are high and also reinforced, they help to keep the foot upright more easily, as it results in a reinforcement for the foot.
  • Crown and instep. The crown refers to the height of the instep when the foot is on the ground and is closely related to the pronation of the arch. The crown of the shoe should be neither so high that it leaves space between the shoe and the foot, nor so short that it squeezes the foot. The instep can have 3 lengths: short, medium or long which is related to the length of the toes.
  • Cleavage. Also called upper. It is the part of the shoe that hugs the instep, it can have a V or U shape and it is where many models place a thin lace that allows to tighten the shoe a little to give it a better fit against the foot.

Buying criteria

We are almost at the end, but we cannot let you go without talking about the buying factors that will give you a more sure guideline on what is on the market and what you could choose, knowing in advance that you will have to make decisions on certain criteria. The aim is always to get an excellent product for a fair price.

  • Material
  • Case
  • Rubber
  • Split or full sole
  • Size

Material

Trainers can be made from a variety of materials. The best one for the student or professional will be the one that they feel comfortable in, that their feet adapt to and that manages to cushion any pain they may feel. Among the most commercially available are:

  • Canvas. They are apparently the material preferred by men, but also used by women, they allow the skin to breathe, they cost less than leather, but wear out more easily. They may shrink slightly when washed, but not in length.
  • Leather. It is one of the most used materials since years ago, it is durable, although with the passage of time the leather becomes hard and stiff, which makes it less comfortable, on the other hand, washing them is not so feasible because the material is ruined. They help to keep the feet warm.
  • Satin. They are the favourite of women as it is a silk or cotton fabric that is characterised by having a shine that gives it distinction as well as being soft. They can be easily dyed to modify the colour to the wearer's taste.

Box

We have already talked about this point. Let's remember that the toe box is the place where the toes rest and can vary in length and/or width depending on the length of the toes. It is said that each foot is different and therefore there are no two identical shoes, however there are references that give rise to a guide according to their shape:

  • Cone. It is characterised by having the toe similar to a small circle and the back wider, just like a cone. It is useful for Greek feet (the second toe is longer than the others), conical toes, high arch and for Egyptian feet (the big toe is longer), conical toes and high arch.
  • Spine. Equivalent circular shape at the toe and back, resembling a column. Its inclination is minimal from the toe to the instep. It is recommended for all types of feet with a high arch.
  • Oval cone. Similar to the cone, the platform is oval, with a slight inclination from the toe to the instep that can be noticed if seen from the side. They are suitable for feet with a low arch, also known as a low crown.
  • Oval spine. Their platform has an oval shape. When viewed from the side, it can be noticed that it has a minimal degree of inclination from the toe to the instep. It is suitable for square or Giselle type feet (where all toes are the same size) with a low arch.

Elastics

These are satin laces and ribbons that are part of the shoe and that hug the foot better, preventing it from slipping out when you start dancing. There are different types, they can be laces to adjust the width or thin or thick elastic bands attached to the heel, or they can be attached in the form of a cross on the instep.

This kind of straps are responsible for giving security to the foot, to keep it in place without it slipping out of its place, but they should not be over-tightened either because instead of helping, they cause damage, for example to the Achilles tendon.

Split or full sole

The sole is another important part of the shoes, you can find them configured in a running sole or in a split sole placed in two parts, one in the front and one in the back. Each dancer can choose the one that suits them best. The split sole is made up of two parts, one part is placed on the metatarsal and the other on the heel, the arch area is left loose.

It helps to fit the foot better and makes it easier for you to work precisely because it gives freedom to the arch. The full sole, on the other hand, is a single piece that runs from the toe to the heel. This type of sole is recommended for people who are just starting out, as it helps them to build up strength in their feet and provides greater resistance.

Sizing

In order to choose the right size, it will be necessary to try on as many shoes as necessary until you find the most appropriate one for your last. Each brand has its own models and they can vary in width. To begin with, it is suggested to measure your foot and try on the size that results from the measurement.

To find the right size you should make a plié to verify that the longest toe touches the platform without bending or flattening. Then, by placing the foot on the toe, you can see if a toe fits between the heel and the shoe, if it does, then it is too long and is not the right size. A good result is for the heel to pinch the fabric a little.

(Featured image photo: Bjorn Beheydt/ 123rf.com)

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