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Finding the Right Ballet Shoes
Choosing the proper pair of ballet shoes is an important and tricky process when taking ballet lessons. There are many different types of ballet shoes to choose from, so choosing your shoes wisely can be very overwhelming. Below are some hints on how to select the best ballet shoe for your foot and experience level.
Leather & Canvas Soles
A leather full-sole ballet shoe is the ideal shoe for beginning students. The sole, strong yet flexible, helps younger dancers build strong feet. Another good shoe for younger dancers with a bit more experience is a leather split-sole ballet shoe. The split-sole molds better to the foot than the full-sole and also gives a more flattering line. An alternative to this shoe is the canvas split-sole ballet shoe. This shoe hugs the arch to perfection and has minimal ridges under the metatarsal.
Canvas Ballet Shoes
There are also quite a few shoes to choose from for more advanced dancers. Some canvas ballets are made of soft canvas that molds to the foot. This reduces under-foot lumps and creasing when the foot is pointed. These shoes may also feature a heel seam cushion for a perfect line of the foot. Less expensive alternatives to the more advanced canvas split-sole ballet shoe are available as well. These canvas ballets are a little more basic, but are soft and comfortable while providing an excellent fit. Other canvas ballets provide more comfort for the foot and a better feel for the floor. A “sculpted” construction in some shoes works with the foot during motion and prevents bags and bunches when the foot is pointed. Canvas split-sole ballet shoes are by far the most popular shoes with more advanced dancers.
There are newer high-tech leather split-sole ballet shoes that are becoming more popular. Certain leather split-sole ballet shoes are made of Second Skin Leather with Lycra® for a sleek, snug fit that will “stretch and return” for longer lasting capability. Seamless arches and elastic drawstrings allow the shoe to completely conform to the foot without wrinkles or bulkiness. One newly developed ballet shoe has the center part of the shoe completely removed and replaced with an elastic framework. This allows the foot ultimate flexibility while maintaining the traditional appearance of a ballet shoe. The elastic bridges and supports the instep so the foot will be entirely secure.
You Can Find the Perfect Fit in Ballet Shoes
It is now possible to find the perfect fit for any foot with the many advances in ballet shoe construction. When ordering shoes, keep in mind that each shoe runs quite differently in sizing so it can be very tricky to find the perfect size. Most web sites should have sizing charts and instructions for each different type of shoe. To avoid the confusion of ordering shoes online, it is advised to purchase shoes directly from a retail store with employees who are experienced in fitting all types of shoes.
About the Author: Amber Heil has worked at Pampos Dance & Swim for over 4 years and has been a manager for over 3 years. With 16 years of ballet training, Heil is knowledgeable in other areas of ballet such as forecasting trends in ballet wear and how to find the right ballet shoe. She studied marketing at Louisiana State University (LSU) and graduated in December 2006.