Written and edited by: Lesley Mealor, BPA Dance Performance
So you’ve signed your child up for a year of dance classes! One of the first things you’ll need to do is purchase dance shoes. Just like when purchasing school shoes, you’re probably hoping to get the most bang for your buck when you buy shoes for dance lessons. But how long can you expect your child’s dance shoes to last?
Most dance shoes last 6 months to one year for growing children, but some dance shoes could last for many years if taken care of properly.
There are many factors that determine how long dance shoes will last. With our advice, you can rest easy knowing that your purchase will last through the dance season!
6 Important Factors To Consider When Thinking About Longevity of Dance Shoes
Dance shoes although all constructed very differently and have different lifespans, will wear out more quickly depending on a few similar factors!
- The Type of Material Are the Shoes Made Of?
- The Quality of the Shoe?
- How Often Are the Dance Shoes Being Worn?
- What Surface is the Dancer Dancing On?
- Is the Dancer Still Growing?
- How Are the Shoes Being Treated?
For a more in-depth look at why your dance shoes may be wearing out too quickly take a look at our article 6 Reasons Why Dance & Ballet Shoes Wear Out Quickly & What To Do About It!
How Long Do Ballet Shoes Last?
With proper care, children’s ballet shoes will last anywhere between 6 months to a year.
If your child wears leather ballet shoes, you might be able to squeeze a few more months out of them by loosening the drawstring, replacing the elastic, and stretching the shoes.
Canvas ballet shoes do not stretch, and because of the delicate nature of the material, will need to be replaced more often.
Pro Dance Parent Tip:
purchase your child’s ballet shoes no more than half a size bigger at the beginning of the dance season and have her wear socks (if the studio permits it) to take up the growing room.
How Long Do Pointe Shoes Last?
Pointe shoes are an anomaly in the dance shoe world, and how long they last depend entirely on the dancer and their personal level of ability, schedule, foot strength, and shoe type.
A beginner pointe dancer, dancing for an hour a week, might be able to get one year out of their pointe shoes if their feet do not grow.
More advanced pointe dancers often replace their shoes every few months, as they are dancing more often.
Some dancers have naturally strong feet, which can put a lot of pressure on the shank and box of pointe shoes. When the shank of a pointe shoe is broken, or the box becomes soft from wear, the shoes become unusable and must be replaced.
Pointe shoes are typically hand-made out of little more than paper, cardboard, glue, and a few nails. They are well constructed to support the weight and activity of a dancer, but pointe shoes are not indestructible!
Some brands of pointe shoes are constructed with more hardy materials like plastic, or have replaceable parts like the shank, allowing the shoes to last a bit longer than traditionally made pointe shoes.
If your dancer is en pointe, get ready to pull out your wallet more often! For a more in-depth look at how long pointe shoes last, and how to take care of them so they last longer, visit our article How Long Do Pointe Shoes Last? Make Yours Last Longer!
How Long Do Jazz Shoes Last?
Jazz shoes can last anywhere from 6 months to a year for a growing dancer.
Dancers whose feet have stopped growing might be able to get several years out of a pair of leather jazz shoes!
Some brands now make canvas jazz shoes. This material is less durable than leather, but with proper care might still last up to one year for a growing dancer. If you’re torn between leather and canvas jazz shoes, find out more about each kind here!
How Long Do Dance Paws or Foot Undeez Last?
Dance paws, or foot undeez, last around 6 months. These types of dance shoes fit the most intimately to the foot, absorbing sweat, dirt, and grime from the floor.
They are also usually made of little more than mesh and elastic, which makes them more likely to rip or tear during use.
If you have no idea what a dance paw is, learn all about them in our Ultimate Guide – What Shoes Should You Wear For Contemporary or Lyrical Dance!
How Long Do Tap Shoes Last?
Tap shoes will last up to a year for growing dancers, but can last for many years for dancers whose feet have stopped growing. With proper care, and maybe a few resolings at a cobbler, tap shoes are the one type of dance shoe that can last forever!
One caveat to the “forever” term – the taps that are attached to tap shoes are screwed on with tiny screws and glue. Sometimes, the screws get “stripped” from wear and tear, and can no longer grasp the sole of the shoe.
This is one of the main reasons for tap shoes needing to be replaced for dancers whose feet have stopped growing. If the taps can’t stay on, there is not much you can do but purchase new shoes!
Pro Dance Parent Tip:
Tap shoes can also be purchased half a size bigger at the start of the dance season.
Have your dancer wear thicker socks until they grow into the shoes. Learn more by reading our article How To Choose The Right Shoes For Tap Dance Classes!
How Long Do Character Shoes Last?
Character shoes can last years for dancers whose feet have stopped growing! For dancers who are still growing, you can expect character shoes to last around one year.
Similar to tap shoes, if taken care of properly, character shoes can have a long lifespan. If they are hard soled, you may consider re-soling them if the sole is worn out.
If your character shoes are suede-soled, you can make them last longer by taking good care of the suede in between classes. Use a How To Choose The Best Character Shoes for Dance Lessons
How Long Do Dance Sneakers and Dance Trainers Last?
Dance sneakers and trainers last up to a year for dancers who have stopped growing, but can last many years for adults and teens.
Most dance trainers are constructed similarly to street shoes and can withstand more wear and tear than other dance shoes. It’s still important to take care of them properly and not wear them outside of the dance studio to get the most use out of them.
For more information about dance trainers check out our article about How To Choose the Right Dance Shoes For Jazz Class!
Hopefully, we have covered all your questions about the longevity of all types of dance shoes! With the right care and a bit of pre-planning, you can get at least a year out of most dance shoes.