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What are Ballet Shoes?

Ballet shoes are lightweight slippers that are worn for foot protection and comfort by ballet dancers when they are not dancing en pointe. They can be worn by toddlers all the way up to adult dancers. Ballet shoes are available in canvas, leather and satin, with either full soles or split soles. This guide will help you learn what the different uses are of the types of ballet shoes available to you and is especially useful for ballet beginners.

Which Ballet Shoes are Best?

At Move Dance, we sell ballet shoes online by the best brands. Our dancers love our own Move Dance ballet shoes, Alegra ballet shoes, Bloch ballet shoes (like their Pro Elastics)  and So Danca ballet shoes (like their SD16s). Determining the best ballet shoes depends on lots of factors, such as: whether you're looking for full sole or split sole ballet shoes, the colour (e.g. pink, black, white or nude ballet shoes), along with what kind of fabric you're shopping for. You'll also want to pay attention to whether the topline of the ballet shoes (the part around the opening for your foot) has drawstrings or elastics as this can often affect the fit of the shoes. 

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Why Choose Canvas Ballet Shoes?

Canvas is a vegan-friendly fibre that’s all natural, breathable and incredibly lightweight. Look out though, as a canvas ballet shoe does not necessarily mean that synthetic soles are used rather than suede which comes from animal hide, so the shoes may not be wholly suitable for vegans who care about ethical and sustainable dancewear. Our Move Dance Light Pro ballet shoes and Pro ballet shoes are made of stretch canvas - an innovative material to make ballt shoes from that allows a better and more aesthetically pleasing fit. Our Light Pro & Pro ballet shoes also come with elasticised arches so the canvas fabric is really hugged into the curvature of your foot for perfect pointing. A ballet shoe should fit your foot as closely as a sock would (without being too tight), so stretch canvas is always a smart choice.

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Why Choose Leather Ballet Shoes?

Leather ballet shoes are a favourite by dance mums for their choice of children's ballet shoes because they last longer than fabric ballet shoes, which is especially important for growing little dancers! Not only are they the most durable choice, but they also help to work the foot more as the fabric has a greater resistance. Ballet shoes made of leather offer a moulded fit over time that is often more comfortable in comparison to other materials. The other benefit of leather ballet shoes is that you can easily wipe them clean. 

When Would I Wear Satin Ballet Shoes?

Satin ballet shoes are the quickest material of ballet shoes to wear out and for that reason you will only wear them for shows, competitions and exams. Children tend to start off wearing satin ballet shoes; their glossy appeal may be the image you conjure up when you think of ballerinas.

What Ballet Shoes are Best for Beginners?

We typically recommend that a beginner ballet dancer should start out wearing full sole ballet shoes. This will help strengthen the feet and prepare the dancer to move onto split sole ballet shoes in later years as they advance. Remember that children and beginners at ballet might want to keep a low budget for their first pair as their feet will strengthen and maybe even grow, meaning another pair might be more suitable. We sell ballet shoes from £5.15 up to around £30 for heeled ballet shoes for teaching. 

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What are Split Sole Ballet Shoes?

Split sole ballet shoes have a gap in the sole (the outer base of the shoe) across the arches. They are worn by more technically advanced dancers as they enable a greater range of flexibility in the arches, which means that you can point your toes easily. A split sole means that a greater extension of the foot is possible and is worn by dancers who have practised pointing their toes and built up strength in their feet through ballet exercises and footwork. Split sole ballet shoes tend to be worn by teens and adult ballet dancers, which is why that our online ballet shoes tend to come in bigger sizes than children's. Be aware that a disadvantage of dancing in split sole ballet shoes means that the arch has less support because of the break in the fabric, which can be detrimental for a weak foot. 

Who Wears Full Sole Ballet Shoes?

Full sole ballet shoes are worn by ballet beginners of all ages, from children to adults. It's important to start out on split soles because they will offer support and help to strengthen your feet as you learn to dance. Full sole ballet shoes have a complete sole that runs fully down the base (the underside) of the shoe. 

What Colour Ballet Shoes Should I Buy? 

Ballet shoes are available in lots of different colours and come with other intrinstic benefits, like pink and nude ballet shoes helping to extend the legline by blending in. Female ballet dancers mostly wear pink ballet shoes and occasionally nude ballet shoes. Male ballet dancers wear black or white ballet shoes. You can also get ballet shoes in darker tones to match your skin perfectly. Check with your dance teacher if you're unsure about what colour to wear. Our Move Dance ballet shoes and those by Alegra are colour-matched to our tights for a seamless outfit. 

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How to sew Elastics onto Ballet Shoes

Most of the ballet shoes that we sell online at Move Dance come with elastics either fully sewn or part-sewn. Fully sewn elastics mean that you can take your ballet shoes straight out of the packet and wear them right away to dance, whereas part-sewn elastics will require you to stitch the elastics into the perfect place for your feet. You cannot wear ballet shoes without the elastics attached as they will not stay on your feet. The benefit of buying part-sewn ballet shoes means that you can choose the precise position that you want the elastics to sit to provide you with optimum support and comfort. We recommend that you use one of our stitch kits to ensure that the thread you use is durable. 

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