Are you about to buy a pair of ballet shoes for your child? If so take a read of this quick guide so you are armed with the information you need before walking into that store!
Having been a dancer and now as a dance mom I have had to buy ballet shoes for quite a few years now and the following are a few things that I have realized some of my fellow dance mom friends were not aware of before buying their kids their first pair of ballet shoes!
1. It’s All About The Fit of the Ballet Shoe
There are many different brands of ballet shoes out there for you to try and buy and each manufacturer has its own special design, cut and fit.
Some make wider shoes, others make thinner.
Some make shoes that come in for example size 1A, 1B and 1C with the letter representing a different width.
If buying online research the brand and reviews to find out information about the fit of their shoe and if it will be suitable for the foot shape of your child.
2. Buying the Perfect Size with a Little Room for Growth
On Adults, ballet shoes should fit like a glove. They buy a new pair when they wear out, not because their foot has grown.
Some dance teachers and dance stores you go into will tell you this and may try to sell you a pair in a size that you know your child will grow out of in two weeks. If this is in your budget – then buy the size that fits like a glove knowing that when your child’s foot grows, even if the shoe is in perfect condition they will need another pair.
However, if you would like the shoes to fit for at least the season then going up a half or full size from the ones that fit perfectly is fine!
As we mentioned in FIT, every brand of ballet shoe will fit slightly differently and this will also affect the size of the shoe you get. For example, your child might be a size 5 in one brand but a size 6 in another.
If you can go to a dancewear store that stocks a variety of shoes your child can try on different brands until you find the right fit. Even get your child to try on the pair at the local department store, as many of them sell toddler and kids ballet shoes and these may fit your kids perfectly!
For more information on how to measure, fit and buy ballet shoes for kids check out the article How to Measure, Fit & Buy Ballet Shoes for Toddlers & Kids: Complete Guide
Another resource will be your dance teacher as they will have many years of experience fitting themselves as well as their students for shoes.
3. The Type of Materials the Ballet Shoe is made from!
Ballet shoes are made from either Leather, Canvas, or Satin. So which one is right for your dancer?
Many ballet teachers recommend that new dancers wear leather shoes as they are more supportive of the foot and add more resistance for strengthening the muscles of the feet, but at the end of the day this is not gospel and there is no scientific proof, it is just what some teachers prefer.
Check with your teacher as to what they prefer or to make a decision yourself read How to Measure, Fit & Buy Ballet Shoes for Toddlers & Kids: Complete Guide
4. What Color Ballet Shoe do You Need to Buy?
Generally, you will be buying ballet pink shoes for girls, although some schools prefer they wear white.
For boys, you will be buying either black or white ballet shoes.
Make sure you have asked your teacher for this information before purchasing the red pair or the glitter ones because they are so pretty and just make your kid want to dance and dance and dance all day, because they may not be allowed to wear them in class.
5. Do You Need a Full Sole or Split Sole Ballet Shoe?
Ballet shoes come with a full sole or a split sole. If you are unsure of which to buy, buy a full sole for a beginner dancer. Their next pair can be a split sole and something you can tell them they are working towards owning.
Many ballet teachers prefer beginners and kids to wear full soles as they provide more support to the arch of the foot and create more resistance on the floor helping to build more strength in the foot.
Split sole shoes are used by advanced and professional dancers, however many beginning students also wear them.
6. Do Your Ballet Shoes Need Elastics or Ribbons?
Many ballet shoes come with an elastic already attached wither a single strip across or crisis crossed..
Some come with only one side sewn in so you can sew the other side depending on the top arch of your child’s foot.
Ballet shoes rarely come with ribbons pre-attached and if your dance studio requires them you will need to purchase and sew on ribbons separately.
For some tutorials on how to do this check out:
How to Sew Ribbons on Flat Ballet Shoes – Photos & Video Tutorial
Single VS Criss-Cross Elastic on Ballet Shoes? With Sewing Guide!
7. How Much Do Kids Ballet Shoes Cost?
Expect to pay between $15-$50 US for a pair of ballet shoes for a child depending on the materials, design, and brand.
Luckily ballet shoes tend to be the least expensive when it comes to dancing shoes in general.
Jazz and tap shoes can cost a little bit more.
The material the shoe is made from will determine largely the price of the shoes although if you buy the latest most technologically advanced shoes this will increase the price you pay as well.
But you need to keep in mind, that the cheaper the ballet shoes are, the less quality you will receive in return.
8. Jiffys are Not Ballet Shoes!
Make sure you buy ballet shoes and not jiffy’s.
Those type of ballet flats are fine to have at home but they are too slippery and slick to be used as ballet shoes.