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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Buying Men's Ballet Shoes


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Typically you would think that buying shoes is a simple task - well not when it comes to men’s ballet slippers!


As an adult man beginning dance and looking to purchase ballet shoes at local shoe stores I’ve had a tough time. Usually stores have a very limited selection and the very nice sales staff try to find you something that ‘works’.


There are some specialty dance supply stores that feature a wider selection of ballet shoes where many dancers shop but again for men it's like buying a truck tire at place that primarily sells tires for sport cars. They can order them for you and you can come back and try them out; repeat until it works. -- It didn’t work.


The best option I thought next was to shop online, where a large variety of ballet shoes are available in every size and style. At first it was what I could find after some trial and error which led to a series of challenges (heel slippage, curled toes, too much material in the front, elastics slicing into me, etc...).


This has lead me to spend a lot of time and money buying shoes and using them that turned out to be wrong in size (length & width) or not comfortable.


Cycling is my primary sport and it’s all about the gear. When you’re cycling you don’t want to have to think about the gear – just the ride. I’m feeling same way about the fitting of the shoes now.


I’ve purchased at least 10 different pairs of ballet shoes for my size 10 foot and I think I’m dialed down to a few pairs that are the perfect fit. Just gets frustrating.


So which one? How do you know what works? I've spent a small fortune on black ballet shoes since I started ballet this year.

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Every foot is different, and the more Ballet you take, the more your feet will change in shape and size.


I would contact an online dance store and ask for their return policy. Or go to a big city and try on several makes and sizes.


Sansha and Bloch are my favorites. Sansha actually offers a variety of widths.


Canvas will shrink but never stretch, leather stretches. Pirouettes are a bit easier in Canvas. Partnering is easier in leather.

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Once you've been fitted properly, either in a store or by trying things online you are pretty easily set to reorder until they discontinue the line or the maker passes. You don't say what kind of shoe you are actually after. I've got some split sole flats and some 'dance sneaker' and some jazz shoes. Some I got in the local store, but others I just got from one of the bigger NYC stores by mail order.

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I agree that the first step is to be fitted properly and once you know what your needs are then you can start adjusting styles accordingly.


I am dancing using these three right now:


All three are stretch ,have elastics pre-sewn, no drawstring and are split sole. Capezio is my favorite so far since it's stretch cotton (opposed to stretch canvas) ,has a sock liner attached on the inside and fit well on my heel(no bunching).


Capezio Hanami 2037W Size 13W

Russian Pointe Vivante for men Size 11M

Bloch Men's Black Synchrony Ballet Shoe Size 9C

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  • 11 months later...
On 10/25/2016 at 2:37 PM, MJ said:

Canvas will shrink but never stretch, leather stretches. Pirouettes are a bit easier in Canvas. Partnering is easier in leather.

Just out of curiosity: How does the shoe material influence partnering?

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