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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Best Shoes for the First Class


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What shoes would you all recommend for the first Ballet Class? I have seen online catalogues and will be visiting a dance store later this week.


But I have seen a variety of shoe styles and am a little confused. (The only thing I am relatively sure of right now is that I probably prefer not to buy pink... )


Am I on target assuming I need a split sole canvas? Does the shoe need a strap? (I have seen both styles.)


Any brand suggesitons? I have heard Capezio is best but more expensive and that Bloch is just as good and a little less. Is this true?


Does anyone have a favorite shoe (name of brand and model name) to recommend to a beginner?





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When I went into the shop to get my first slippers the assistant recommended leather full sole slippers. Leather wears better. I was also under the impression that a full sole made you work your feet more.

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Guest ingve



It is a matter of taste.


I really love the new non leather (canvas?) split sole, skin colur from Sansha.


I do not know where you train, and what is the fashion where you live, but in Europe (I do not know about Great Britain) there are hardly anyone training with leather shoes anymore. Since you cannot wash them, they really stink quite fast.



If I should recomend, I would recomend not to buy Capezio or Bloch. Capezio is to expensieve and my experience with Bloch is that they are comfortable, but they also break much too fast.


Good luck

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David - awesome! Please let me know how it went! I could use the perspective of "a first day".


Please use my email below of you'd like:



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I've seen men wearing a variety of slippers in adult classes. I think it's just much more about personal preference than what is "best." My advice is to try on both canvas and leather, split-sole, whole-sole, Bloch, Capezio, whatever else they have. See what feels best for you. Most sales clerks at dance stores will be helpful in keeping you away from anything totally inappropriate.


Personally, I wear black leather split-sole Blochs. They feel like racing gloves on my feet. They seem to be lasting better than I expected. I wear very thin socks with them but some prefer no socks, others have footed tights. I think straps come with just about all of them but you sew them on yourself, either one across or two crossed. Most seem to use two but I use one. Not sure why but it works.

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If it's at all possible, I think this is really a time when you should be fitted at your local dance shop. You will likely pay a bit more ($2-10 overall), but that extra money is really going towards the expertise of the person working there. Ballet shoes fit differently than your street shoes and feel kind of weird your first few times wearing them. Left to your own devices, you'll likely buy something too big. Try on a few brands and styles in a couple of sizes and see what's most comfortable. Wear tights if you have them, super thin trouser socks or knee highs if you don't.

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It really boils down to your preference. Some teachers and studios do have rules/recommendations regarding shoes. When I started, the owner of the ballet studio I go to said that she recommended a full or split-sole Bloch leather shoe, which I happen to love, but many of the people in my class wear canvas shoes, or Capezios, or really whatever model they prefer. It may take a while for you to find your favorite type. It is true, however, that you might benefit from assistance from the employees at your local dance shop. They should be able to help you find a size that works for your foot.

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just thought id let you know on how i got on, the shoes were very comfy could hardly tell i was wearing them (which i think was the point) id imagine leather would be more stiff and would require more wearing in, but yeh they were great :) knowing me ill probably buy all the different types to try them all out though :P

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I've seen men wearing a variety of slippers in adult classes.


One of my male teachers wears black split sole canvas sometimes, and white split sole canvas at other times. I've just seen a whole evening of new choreography where both the men and women wore flesh/pink split-soled shoes.

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I am with the folks who suggested leather. My experience with canvas is that it doesn't quite mold to my feet as well as leathers. I've also started with full-sole to give my feet that extra workout. Now that I know how to keep my feet pointed, I am using split-sole leather shoes. Brand-wise, I've used Bloch only because the schools here recommend it, down to the style number. I've used Capezio Daisy too, but I like the slightly firmer leather that Bloch uses.


I keep my shoes clean, and do so with a dishwashing pad that has both the sponge and scouring sides, and a small dab of dishwashing detergent. I wet clean the pink leather parts and elastics, but only dry-brush the sueded leather soles.

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I just wanted to say that for my first class when I re-started ballet I bought leather full soles because I thought it would be economical due to duration of leather compared to canvas and due to the advices on "full sole makes your feet work harder" but I was not able to use them because I was feeling my muscles over-working (and even hurting) when I pointe my feet etc. so I had to buy a pair of canvas split soles just after 1 month (with the encouragement of my teacher; she said that I was not able to pointe my feet completely with those things so it was breaking my lines and balance etc.).


Now my canvas pair has been frayed and I feel comfortable in my leather pair because I've been stronger. But it's highly personal and many teachers recommend that so I'm not advising anything here. I'm just giving my 2 cents =P

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I've seen men wearing a variety of slippers in adult classes. ... Most sales clerks at dance stores will be helpful in keeping you away from anything totally inappropriate.


You must have a wider variety of stores than I do! My store has only one style of men's shoe, and usually only in the medium width; they may have expertise in fitting women's shoes but they see very few men at all.


I started with Bloch, and eventually bought several styles to try them out. Now I know what I like and the store will order them for me; then I can try them on before forking over the money. I'm reluctant to buy shoes sight unseen.


I find leather stickier, and necessary for wooden floors; canvas works much better for me on Marley. But everybody's different...

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