Finding the Right Pair of Ballet Slippers

25 December 2011

Ballet Slipper
Split-Sole Ballet Slipper with Elastics sewn on.

If you have the luxury of being fitted a pair by your teacher or an experienced salesperson (not one who merely wants to get rid of their stocks or push for a popular brand), then go for it. But for some others who may not be as blessed, I have made an attempt here to help alleviate your woes. As you can also find out many more articles out there in cyberspace, what I’ll attempt to do here is to single out those “tougher” issues that most students ask.

Ballet Slippers

Ballet slippers should fit like a glove –> Not too loose (big) and not too tight.

Too loose, your feet will “swim” in it and difficult to maintain any position.

Too tight restricts blood circulation causing dancing in it excruciatingly painful and unbearable.

To test for tightness lengthwise, stand with feet together in parallel. Bend your knees without lifting your heels off the floor. This will cause your feet to elongate slightly. Does any of your toes feel scrunched up at the tip of the shoe? If it does, then, it’s too tight. If there’s still space, then it’s too big.

To test for tightness width-wise, the toes and feet should feel comfortably flat inside the shoe but not too comfortable enough that you can wriggle your toes freely with spaces in-between. Not too tight until your toes are crammed together and arches are forced upwards.

If you are unsure of the fit, you can always bring it to your teacher for his/her opinion. Make payment for the shoe first and let shop know you are getting your teacher’s opinion. If it is not the correct fit, you can always bring it back to the shop from where you purchased it and ask for an exchange.

Note: Exchanges are available only if you…

  1. Did Not sew anything on the shoe
  2. Did Not dirty it (anywhere!)
  3. Did Not pull the drawstring until it cannot get back to original position
  4. Did Not write anything on the shoe which renders it personal and un-resaleable.

// Possible Danger of Elastic Stretch Canvas shoes //
Of late, there has been an innovative elastic stretch canvas used for the whole shoe including the toe area.
When new, it's not an issue as it hugs the whole feet well.
However, I would like to caution you that when it's been well-used and over-stretched, over time it may lose its elasticity. When that happens, it becomes dangerous as it means your toes will be able to move around in the shoes due to the stretch material. During turns and pirouettes, you may possibly sprain your toes (as I found it out myself but stop myself in time short of a toe sprain).
Unless your toes are strong enough to hold them in place while turning, just be careful when using such shoes.
If the stretch material covers only the area behind the toes like the arch area and heel, it should not be a problem.