How to Choose Ballet Slippers

Three Parts:Determining What You Need in a Ballet SlipperFinding Quality Ballet Slippers SuppliersAvoiding Common Buying Mistakes

Ballet slippers are lightweight shoes worn for casual ballet dancing and practice. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and materials. If you're starting dance class, or just need a new pair of shoes, it can be difficult to choose the right ballet slippers for your needs. Spend some time thinking what you want in terms of size and style. From there, find suppliers online or in your area.

Part 1
Determining What You Need in a Ballet Slipper

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    Decide between canvas and leather. Ballet slippers generally come in two materials: canvas and leather. You can buy quality ballet slippers in either material, depending on what you're looking for specifically.[1]
    • Canvas slippers tend to absorb moisture better. They can also mold more to the shape of your feet. If you dance a lot, or plan to dance longterm, you may want to invest in canvas slippers. Also, some people may have moral opposition to leather as it's made from animals.
    • However, leather can sometimes be more durable. If you tend to dance aggressively, leather may be a better option. Leather can also provide more traction, so quick-paced dancing may be better suited to leather flats. Also, leather tends to provide more support, so it's reccomended when choosing ballet slippers for children.[2]
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    Figure out your shoe size in ballet slippers. Ballet slippers tend to run slightly smaller than regular shoe sizes. Your size for a ballet slipper may be one to two sizes smaller than your regular shoe size. For example, if you're normally a size 6, your ballet size may be size 3 1/2 to 4. Sizes vary by company. If you're looking to buy ballet shoes from a particular manufacturer, you should see if their company provides a size conversion chart online.[3]
    • Figuring out your size can give you a rough range of what to look for in ballet slippers. You should always try to try ballet slippers on before making a purchase.
    • For some companies, children's sizes do not change between regular shoes and ballet slippers. If you are choosing a ballet slipper for a child, converting shoe sizes may not be necessary.
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    Decide between full-sole and split-sole. Ballet slippers come in two types: full-sole and split-sole. With full-soles, the sole runs through the length of the foot. With split-soles, there is half a sole on the heel of the foot and half a sole on the ball of the foot.[4]
    • For children or inexperienced dancers, full-soles are a good idea. They help with balance and also provide more support and cushioning to the foot.[5]
    • If you've been dancing for awhile, you may be able to get by with a split sole. For more advanced dancers, split soles allow you more flexibility. It may be easier to arch and maneuver your foot with a split sole shoe, which may help with more advanced dance moves.[6]
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    Pick the right color for your needs. Color is somewhat subjective when it comes to ballet slippers. Traditionally, it's pink for women and black for men. If you're planning to dance professionally, in a traditional form, you may want to follow this convention. However, ballet slippers come in a variety of colors. If you're just dancing for fun, do not worry about tradition. Select a ballet shoe in a color you like.[7]
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    Get professionally fitted at a local dance store. Online conversion charts can help you get a sense of your size. However, it's a good idea to get fitted at a professional dance store if you've never purchased shoes before. If your purchasing slippers for a child, you should get your child professional fitted as well. You should also get professionally fitted if you're switching styles or brands of ballet slippers.[8]
    • You or your child will stand on a platform or flat surface in the store. A worker will measure your feet and then bring you a range of sizes to try on.
    • Properly fitted shoes should feel snug, without being too tight. You will likely be asked to walk around some to get a sense of how well the shoe fits.
    • Your size may change depending on the brand and type of shoe you are buying. If you're buying ballet slippers for a child, the child's size will change as he or she grows.

Part 2
Finding Quality Ballet Slippers Suppliers

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    Determine the price range. Ballet slippers are fairly inexpensive, and are less pricey than other ballet shoes like pointe shoes. You can generally find a pair of ballet slippers between $20 and $30. If you're going with a bigger, better known company, prices may be slightly higher, but you should generally be able to get slippers within this price range. You should be wary of suppliers selling slippers well below the typical price range. These shoes may not be high quality.[9]
    • With children, ballet slippers will need to be replaced frequently. However, you should still look for shoes in the regular price range. Cheaper shoes may save money short term, but improper footwear can hamper your child's learning.[10]
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    Seek suppliers in your area. It's a very good idea to try on ballet shoes, walk around, and move some before purchase.[11] Therefore, you should look into local suppliers first. Ideally, you should purchase ballet shoes in store from a local business.
    • Professional dance stores should sell ballet shoes. If you live in a metropolitan area, there is probably a dance store in your area. You can look online, or in the yellow pages. If you're in a smaller area, you may still be able to find a professional dance store, especially if ballet classes are taught in your area.
    • Ask around. If you're taking a ballet class, ask your teacher to point you in the direction of shoe suppliers. You can also talk to your fellow dancers.
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    Find providers online. You may not always be able to find ballet shoes from a local source. If you do not live close to a local supplier, you can buy ballet shoes online from a wide variety of suppliers.
    • You may be able to find online buyers by asking other dancers. This is probably your best option, as members of the dance community will have feedback and insight regarding a company's reputation.
    • You can purchase ballet slippers from large retail sites, like Amazon, but it may be best to go to a supplier's website directly. You can look at size charts to determine the right size shoe for you, and there may be a number to call if you have any questions.
    • Check return policies when working with online companies. It's a good idea to make sure you're able to return any shoes you buy online. As you'll be dancing in ballet slippers, you want to make sure they're comfortable. If they don't fit upon arrival, you need to be able to return them.

Part 3
Avoiding Common Buying Mistakes

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    Work with reputable sellers, especially when buying online. You want to make sure any sellers you work with are reputable. When working with a local company, it's slightly easier to determine reputation. You can ask other dancers, and browse Yelp reviews. You can also get a feel for a company upon visiting and interacting with the staff. When buying online, take extra precaution.[12]
    • Online companies may have Yelp pages as well, which you can browse prior to purchase. You can also see if an online company allows user to leave reviews. One or two bad reviews among many good ones may just be one person's experience. However, an onslaught of negative reviews is probably a bad sign.
    • You should also look for basic signs that an online company is legitimate. The site should not be overrun by pop-up ads. There should be a physical address and phone number. Prices should not be unbelievably low. There should also generally be a privacy statement and a return policy.[13]
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    Understand the difference between pointe shoes and ballet slippers. Pointe shoes are probably more heavily associated with ballet than ballet slippers. These are shoes designed to help advanced dancers stand on pointe, which means on the tips of their toes. Ballet slippers, on the other hand, are lightweight shoes often used in dancing and practice. Pointe shoes have much stricter rules regarding sizing and style. If you're looking for pointe shoes, talk to a professional dancer or dance instructor about how to begin your search.[14]
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    Move around in shoes before making a purchase. The best way to determine if a ballet slipper works for you is to dance. When trying on shoes in a store, or trying on a pair you bought online, move in the shoes. Do a few basic dance moves. If you can comfortably feel the balls of your feet, and point your toes without feeling a pinch, the slippers are probably the right size and shape for you.[15]

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Categories: Ballet Shoes | Dance Equipment