As the innovation leader in ballet shoes for nearly a century, BLOCH understands the importance of a high-quality, durable and beautifully-crafted ballet shoe. This is why we still make all our pointe shoes by hand, and we continue the tradition of listening to dancers, understanding what they want and what they need.
Whether you are just getting started in the process of choosing your first ballet shoe or searching for your next performance pair, the BLOCH Ballet Shoe Guide is packed with information to assist you in your search.
From the types of ballet shoes to choosing the right size for you, here is our buying guide to ballet shoes.
Types of ballet shoes
There is a diverse collection of ballet shoe styles in the dance world. All styles are specifically designed to meet a range of needs, material preferences, skill levels and foot sizes of different dancers. Ballet shoes are often offered in split sole or full sole options.
Full sole ballet shoes
Full sole ballet shoes have a continuous sole on the underside of the shoe. The sole typically is leather, canvas or suede. Choosing a full sole ballet shoe style will allow the dancer to build strength and muscle, as the style is very structured.
A full sole ballet shoe doesn’t allow for much flexibility since the base of the shoe is coated in one layer of material. However, this style shoe includes more resistance beneath the arch of the foot. If you are a beginner in ballet or looking for a ballet shoe that is sturdy, the full sole style is a favourable choice.
Split sole ballet shoes
While a full sole shoe has a continuous sole, a split shoe ballet shoe has a split sole under the ball and heel of the foot, which are known as the sole pads. The lack of padding underneath the arch of the foot makes the shoe more flexible and can emphasise a dancer’s arch, point and line of foot.
The flexibility of a split sole ballet shoe is seen as an advantage because it allows the dancer to execute correct foot technique and form more easily. However, split sole shoes do offer less structure beneath the foot, which is why this type of ballet shoe is better for well-trained or advanced dancers.
Pointe shoes, often considered a type of ballet shoe, are worn by highly experienced dancers when performing pointe work. These shoes are very different from flexible ballet shoes as the box and the shank of the shoe allow dancers to go en pointe. Please visit the BLOCH Pointe Shoe Guide for more information on pointe shoes and choosing the right one for you.
How to choose ballet shoes
Whether you’re choosing your first or twentieth pair of ballet shoes, there are important considerations to make when determining which sole, style, colour and material will make the perfect pair for you.
We recommend consulting your dance teacher regarding which ballet shoe is best for you or your child, as they can offer insight into the material and sole that is best suited for their dance level, as well as any colour preferences.
Buying ballet shoes for the beginner
If you are purchasing children’s ballet shoes or beginner ballet shoes, a full sole shoe with a durable material is a great place to start. For example, full sole ballet shoes in leather will provide a beginner with a solid foundation for improving foot strength. The Children’s Arise Leather Ballet shoes are an introductory full sole design, perfect for young girls and boys beginning their dance journey. The Ladies Arise Leather Ballet Shoes are also ideal for new dancers.
Once the dancer can safely execute proper form and technique, a dance teacher may recommend a more flexible split sole ballet shoe.
What size ballet shoes should I buy?
Like all dance shoes, ballet shoes must fit accurately to serve the dancer properly. Ballet shoes should feel snug on the foot without compromising comfort.
Below is advice and frequently asked questions on choosing the right ballet shoe size.
How to measure width for ballet shoes
At BLOCH, our ballet shoes come in four different widths, A, B, C and D, so you can adapt your footwear to your size. A is the narrowest fit, while D is the widest. Our size guidelines are based on a medium foot width, so if you have wider feet, we’d recommend sizing up by a half size.
If you’re measuring the width of your foot for ballet shoes, measure at the widest point. This is usually where the toes meet the foot.
Buying ballet shoe sizing
If the ballet shoe is hurting the side of your feet, that is a good indicator that the shoe is too narrow. If toes are bending, curling or overlapping when a ballet shoe is worn, that indicates the dancer needs to try a bigger size. If there is extra material in the shoe, especially near the toes, then the shoes may be too large.
The elastic strap or straps on a ballet shoe should hold the shoe onto your foot securely. It should not dig into the top of the foot or ankle uncomfortably, impact the foot’s circulation or prevent you from pointing and flexing.
When choosing a pair of BLOCH ballet shoes, we strongly recommend visiting a local retailer with knowledge of BLOCH ballet shoes. If that’s not possible, please get in touch for fitting advice.
Are ballet shoes true to size?
The size ballet shoe you will need varies greatly from brand, style, material and more. In addition, foot shape, width and length of toes can change how a ballet shoe fits each individual.
While it’s always best to be properly fitted by a professional, you can find more information on sizing and conversion charts on our BLOCH UK size guide.
How to buy ballet shoes
Now that you understand the different types of ballet shoes and which style is best for you, it’s time to make a purchase!
To find the perfect pair of ballet shoes that will stand the test of time, we recommend researching different dance shoe brands and the materials these brands use. Also, ensure you purchase from a highly regarded, industry-leading ballet shoe company.
For example, BLOCH ballet shoes can be found on the feet of professionals across the globe. BLOCH provides superior materials and craftsmanship in dance shoes—perfect for beginners, students, teachers and professionals.
BLOCH ballet shoes promise high performance, the perfect leg line and exceptional comfort for beginners to professionals. From simple ballet slippers to stunning tonal designs, our ballet shoes offer the ultimate in style and functionality.
We have a wide selection of dance and ballet shoes for men, women and children in a variety of materials and colours. Filter by your skill level, or simply browse all BLOCH ballet shoes to find the perfect pair today.