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Ballet Talk for Dancers
LiterateGriffin

Let's talk shoes

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LiterateGriffin

When we first started ballet, we'd go to buy shoes and be asked, "Full, or split sole?" 

At my confused look, the clerk would answer themself, "Ah... full", and we'd move on with getting her fit.

When we changed schools, I asked her teacher about this. He said that -- at this age (Ballet I) -- he likes to keep them in full soles because it gives better traction. They can self-transition to split-soles later.

And then, naturally, when we went to buy new shoes, we couldn't find any full-soles in her size. (She wears size 3 street-shoes.)

Now, to be fair, we happened to be hitting up the dance-shop on the LAST DAY of a month-long shoe sale. So the selection wasn't the greatest.

But does anyone know of a brand that carries full-soled shoes in "larger" sizes? Or are we just going to be in split-soles from now on?

 

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L_One

I know that Capezio and Sansha carry full sole shoes in adult sizes, I imagine that Bloch probably does as well and possibly So Danca. My daughter has big feet and was in full sole leather slippers until age 10.

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LiterateGriffin

OK. In the past, she's always been in full-sole leather Bloch slippers. This time, the particular store didn't carry the Bloch in her size, and they only had about 3 styles of full-sole on display. (Split seems more popular.)

So it sounds like the options are out there, just perhaps not at that store. That's OK... there's more than one Dance Store in town! 

Her full-soled leather shoes tended to last until she outgrew them... These new split-sole canvas are worn out after barely 3 months of class... I think we're going to try to hold out for the full-sole (and leather) as long as possible. 

Edited by LiterateGriffin
Fixing typos

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lyricalp

My understanding is that full sole is better for strengthening the arch and ability to point the foot harder. 

My daughter has always worn full sole. I have seen a few other girls in split sole, and a few in canvas as opposed to leather. We have never tried split sole. Is there some benefit to it?

My daughter will be looking for a new pair as her Bloch Dansoft in 1.5C are getting a bit tighter. We always fit and get shoes at our local store. I think 1.5 is the end of child sizing and she will need a small adult size this time. 

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LiterateGriffin

My understanding is that split-sole is often a more "hugging" fit (because they're usually strech-canvas), and that they show off the arches better.

Our old studio was extremely small, so I spent a lot of time sitting around while the older girls killed time between their classes, and I got to be there (and ask questions) during a fitting... generally speaking, they didn't like leather or full-sole. Leather "feels gross" and grabs differently on the floor (these were all advanced students, who were en pointe in ballet, and took a number of styles besides ballet). And most of them were involved in competition, so how things LOOKED was very important.

I'd love to hear a more knowledgable discussion on the subject, because what I've typed is literaly everything I know on the subject! (I'd also love anyone to point out where I"m wrong.... I've got no "stake" in things, I'm just trying to learn!)

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lyricalp

Interesting, I read an article online that says that some feet look better in full sole and some in split. My original understanding was only that split dole was easier to point in, but it sounds like there may be benefits to some dancers. 

We rushed to get new slippers Saturday right before her show since the old ones were quite tight. I don’t think she realized just how tight and that’s why she never said anything. I can’t believe she even thought she’d gotten these this year, she’s been squeezed in these probably for months!  She had to go a full size up to 2.5C. Still leather full sole for now :)

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TinydancersNJ

my daughter's SO/DT told me to start buying split sole shoes when she was around 8/9 between ballet 2 and intermediate ballet.  I was trying to get away with cheap shoes for as long as I could and she called me on it.  I was happy that her favorite shoes are only $5 more than the "cheap" ones I was buying but now since they are canvas, she goes through them much more quickly.  I think the canvas split sole ones look much prettier and more mature than the leather full sole, you can see the full arch from her toes through to her heal.

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lyricalp

I can ask her regular teacher about it maybe later in the year if it makes sense. As long as she is comfortable now I am not worried about style. We can look into it with her teachers if there is a recommendation for them. :) 

Thank you for the insight :)

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Amie

I asked DD18 and she gave me some insight to why the older dancers wear canvas.  She wears a 4 ways stretch canvas shoe that really allows her to feel the floor and spread her toes in relevé, the material and split sole hug her foot and don't wrinkle/fold in weird places which is more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, the material allows her to turn better,  finally they come in multiple colors and also can be pancaked to be the same same color as multiple skin tones which is necessary for some performances.  Notice these reasons are not really important for young students.  She also says that there are some dancers who still prefer leather, it is a personal taste thing, but they everyone she knows prefer the split sole.

 

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lyricalp

Hi Amie,

Thank you, that is helpful to know!

We will evaluate ballet slipper options a little more when it’s time for the next pair. 

I am sure the next few years will include preparatory work in strengthening for possible future pointe work. 

:)

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