Parents’ Guide to Ballet Shoes
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.
The decision to sign up your child for ballet classes was probably an easy one. But now do you need a little guidance for shopping for the right ballet shoes? They are a little ballerina’s tool, after all, so finding the right fit and style is important.
Young girl ballet students should wear pink ballet slippers. This matches the pink tights and makes for one clean, continuous line from the top of the leg to the toes. Boys can either wear black or white ballet slippers, depending on their dance studio's dress code or teacher's preferences.
Ballet shoes do come in different materials, such as leather, canvas and satin, but young dancers should wear leather slippers, like the Capezio Daisy®.
"Leather is a natural material, which allows for the feet to breathe," says Carol Baskinger, director of Dance Designs Studio, a center for dance and the performing arts in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and a studio that trains dancers as young as two years of age. "They also stay looking good for a longer period of time as compared to other surfaces."
Satin slippers are generally only worn for special events such as weddings.
Young ballet dancers should wear shoes with full soles. "A full sole helps strengthen the beginner dancer's feet, more than a split sole, which is easier to point in but does not give the beginner the resistance that helps build the pointed foot," Baskinger says.
Ballet slippers should be bought a half size larger than the child's street shoe size in order to allow for growth, but no larger than this. They shouldn't be too baggy or too constricting; they should fit like a glove.
All ballet slippers should have elastics across the arch of the foot, as elastics have a functional purpose of holding the shoe on to the heel and also supporting the ankle and foot while dancing.
Capezio slippers come with the elastics already sewn on. If not already on the slipper, however, the elastic should be placed by bending and folding the back of the shoe in and sewn from where the shoe's seams are located. No ribbon is needed for the function of the shoe.
Baskinger always recommends Capezio's Children's Teknik® Ballet Shoes, a style that meets all the above criteria and one that is both comfortable and durable for the young dancer. Other suitable and popular options include the Daisy® style (with cute daisy print inside) or Love Ballet® style, which is designed to grow with your child. Love Ballet® features a specially designed power mesh growth packet and adjustable instep strap with sweet heart buttons.