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In search of: a better soft shoe

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I started out with a pair of leather Bloch Dansoft slippers. They fit pretty well but since leather stretches and I've ended up with a huge baggy spot under my arch which is uncomfortable and looks pretty terrible. I have a very high arch and instep, an extremely narrow heel and a relatively wide forefoot. I have a pair of split sole Bloch canvas shoes (Pump, I think?), but I don't wear them very much because the pad under the ball of my foot irritates me. Those are the only 2 kinds of shoes I've worn so far. I've been wearing the Dansoft to almost every single class but they're disintegrating quickly. I seem to be hard on shoes. My only other complaint about them is that it feels like they have too much leather in them and now I can understand why people say they can't feel the floor in certain shoes.


Does anyone know of a good soft shoe that will stay snug in the arch? I'm looking online at the Bloch Prolite II Hybrid, the (infamous?) Elastosplit, Capezio's Cobra, Sansha's 3L or Grishko WCP. I mostly like the ones with a canvas insert under the arch because it looks like it would help them keep their shape better. But I've never tried them, so I don't know if that really works. I'm also intrigued by the Elastosplit, and I plan on doing a search because I think there was a rather lengthy thread on them when they came out.


There aren't many dancewear shops here and they don't have much of a selection, so I can't try much of anything on. I hate to buy without trying on because my feet are somewhat hard to fit. I could make a special drive to Chicago, though, if anyone knows of a good dance store there.


I would appreciate any shoe buying advice. I found that the Dansoft worked great when I first started ballet, so I stuck with them, but at this point I'm starting to get a little pickier about shoes. :wink:

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  • missvjc420


  • Laschwen


  • AmyKL


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It was because the leather always stretches that I moved to canvas - with leather slippers you either end up baggy or start out tight and uncomfortable. My favourites now are split sole Bloch or Sansha - both have elastic drawstrings which helps fit, and so does the split sole. Also you can wash them in the machine (see the other thread!) which keeps them snug. But I agree it takes a bit of getting used to the feel of the sole if you're used to a full sole.

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Guest pink tights

If you sew the elastic end to end (the pieces that are not attached to the shoe), you ean loop it around your foot, thus eliminating the sag. Are you only looking at leather or are you interested in canvas?

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I don't know if you are interested in canvas, but I LOVE the Sansha Pros. Awhile ago I went on a search for a shoe that flattered my foot even better than they do, but I couldn't find one. I love them.

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I'm an Elastosplit convert after years of wearing Sansha Pros and another Sansha model that I can't find anywhere- it has a diamond shaped patch in the arch area and is all canvas- I got them because they didn't have that annoying bunched fabric under the ball of the foot. I really like my Elastosplits, they feel good, look good, and come in 3 colors. The only problem I have with them is I can't find them locally, but I mailorder them from Florida, the dancewear store that my nieces go to stocks them. I really like the way leather looks, but can't turn as well in them on marley.

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I have a very hard time adapting to just one kind of soft shoe. I actually go back and forth between a few styles: the Bloch pump which I've previously had a great time with, but have suddnely started developing very uncomfortable blisters while wearing it, the Sansha Pro which has great heel padding and usually leaves my feet feeling great, and the infamous elastosplit. The elastosplit took me a while to warm up to, but my teachers really seem to like how it looks on my foot, since it really does form to it. I have some slight slipping in the heel with them, especially when jumping or leaping, but that's the biggest issue.


For flats, I have to say that I tend to swear by Bloch. The dansoft was the first flat I ever had and the serenade was my first pointe shoe when I still danced on pointe. Usually, my pumps work great, but I think I may be having issues with them since I'm wearing a canvas pair instead of the leather I normally wear. Most of the time, no issues. Just the right amount of stretch.

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Am I the only one that gets horrible squeeking with leather slippers on Marley flooring? They just seem to stick to the floor and when I try to turn, then comes the squeek...

Meanwhile, With a wider foot at the front and narrow heel the Capezio Juliet seems to work fairly well. I fit the description fairly well even though I am narrow throughout. They have a lower profile than the Pump and look nice at my arch. I like the extra wiggle room they give my toes while still fitting at the metatarsals. They are pretty square.

I only wore mine once so far in class. They were still a bit wide and the heels were slipping around in class so I came home and re-did the elastics until they held still. Now I have tight pointe shoe elastics on them but they won't be sliding backwards as I move my foot forward through first position on ronde de jambe. (or vice versa)

The also have some very comfortable cushioning in the bottom of the foot.

I don't know yet how they will hold up. They are really meant to last until I get some special order Russian Pointe slippers in, in about 8 weeks...at least. I just long for the short "V" shaped vamp they offer. Most others go halfway up my foot.

Happy hunting.



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My teachers always say to "Wear canvas on marley, and leather on wood floors"...I don't like leather shoes on marley because they do make it harder to turn!

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My teachers say the same thing, Laschwen, however it get hards because for my college classes, the floors are being replaced, so 2 of the 4 studios have Marley floors and the other 2 are wood! At my studio, all the floors are Marley and I can feel a distinct difference in the difference between the canvas and leather shoe. I personally feel like I have a better grip on the floor, if you will, and am able to feel it better in my leather shoes, but it does make things like turns and pirouettes harder for me.

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I just wanted to check back in to say thanks for the replies, I am reading all of them and making a list. I haven't had a chance to really reply.


My first 2 toes went all the way through the foot on my Dansoft slippers so I'm either going to have to tape them up or wear the Pumps to class tomorrow. Something feels lumpy in them, but they seem to fit slightly better than the Dansoft. I think that my next shoes will be canvas, so I may end up getting a pair and then a backup for in case they go bad.


I'm still searching online, but it's nice to have some suggestions to go off. There's a ballet shop right by me that I didn't even know existed so I might drop in tomorrow to see what shoes they have.


Thanks a lot for all the advice! :wacko:

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I like the canvas pump by Bloch. The Sanshas always had that lump that hurt. I notice some of the women I dance with wear leather shoes (on Marley). They have gorgeous feet and I wonder if the leather shoes really help with using the feet strongly and decisively.


For me, I often prefer socks at the barre. My feet turn out easily, but my hips don't (BAD for my poor knees). So I find that with socks, I'm really training my turnout without any forcing from my feet. There's no traction, so I have to really hold it properly best I can.


If I ever started teaching...do you think it would be too weird to want beginners in socks for barre? Is there any validity to this? I kind of feel like it helps me.

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I really like Grishko canvas split-soles -- they fit well, there are several widths available, and best of all they don't have any lumps under the ball of the foot. And they hold up well in washing :) I also liked Sansha pros but found that the lumpy sole was irritating one of the sesamoid bones in my foot.


Lampwick -- my PT also suggested wearing woolen socks for barre, specifically to work on rotation and placement. I think it has helped a lot, especially with my turnout issues... and the woolen socks are wonderful in this climate for getting the feet warm and articulating well :blushing: My teachers also seem to like the results.




- Sanna

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I like socks at barre in winter, and I did notice the lack-of-traction thing. One day, though, one of my teachers was pointing something out that couldn't really be seen with the socks, so I took them off, at which point I was asked if I was going "all Isadora Duncan". Tee hee.


One problem with leather is that it can be absolutely dreadful on marley in humid conditions--yikes--I once literally got stuck to the floor.


About teaching beginners: the sock idea is good _in principle_ but _in practice_ it might be hard to get people to wear "appropriate" (ie snug fitting and thinnish) socks...

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I have a class where we can wear socks or go barefoot if we choose, but it hurts my feet so I usually don't. I had to wear the Bloch Pumps to class and I had forgotten the other reason I never wear them, the vamp is so high it literally comes up to my instep and the heel feels like it's sliding off all the time. They're really uncomfortable on me, but I've seen a lot of people say they like them. I think it's harder to find shoes since my heel is extremely narrow but my forefoot is really wide. That usually makes them either too tight in the toe or slippy in the back.


I ended up running over to the dancewear store and getting a pair of Sansha Pros to hold me over for the next couple weeks. There wasn't much of a selection. They're not my perfect shoe, but they're getting closer. I actually like them, but they don't come in half sizes and I could probably stand to go down just a half. But they'll be fine for a while.


I may order the Capezio Juliets or maybe something with a V-shaped vamp. I don't mean to be such a shoe weirdo, but I have trouble concentrating if I'm fiddling around with them all of class or they hurt.

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