Ballet, And The Shoes We Wear


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Okay, so I’m an adult and I do ballet. I am not a professional, and I never will be. I do not mind.

Now something about adult dancers, especially adult beginner dancers is that we wear flat shoes. Yes some people work up to pointe. But not everyone is able to, or even has the desire. I think there are a lot of people who think if you’re an adult, and you do ballet you must wear pointe shoes. But that’s not always true, and there’s a lot more to ballet than just pointe. Yet most ballet blogs talk mostly about pointe, and pointe shoes. There’s hardly any attention ever given to flat shoes and that’s really sad.

Flat shoes are just as important, if not more important. Why? Because every ballet dancer uses them, boys, girls, men, women- they all wear them at some point and some do exclusively. Yet there are nowhere near as many makes and models. Now I know pointe shoes have to be super specific, and flats less so. But it would be nice to see a bit more variety- as well as sizes. I wear a size 10.5 street shoe, and finding shoes that even come close to that is hard. Some brands and models don’t even go past an 8. With the internet you can find plenty of stuff online. But it’s dance wear so you always get stuck paying shipping both ways if they don’t work out.

Right now I wear Bloch Prolite II hybrids. They were okay for the first few classes but now they’re starting to get slippery. They also stretched out a ton. Most leather shoes will stretch half a size to a full size, but these feel like they grew even more. They don’t really give a great line either. They have so much extra room in the toe now you can hardly tell I’m pointing my foot. I bought another pair when I was in Boston. I think they’re the Bloch Pro Elastic canvas shoes but they look a little different from what’s on Discount Dance. They fit great when I was in the store. Super comfortable, hugged the foot just right. But since I’ve been home they just don’t seem to fit the same way. I would even go as far as to call them painful. Maybe it’s the heat here and my feet are a bit more swollen than they are on the mainland. All I know is that I’m frustrated. I’ll save them to try again when I move back to the mainland but I feel like I wasted $27. I have the biggest size they make in that brand too, so it’s not like I could swap them out.

There is another brand I’m hoping to try, MDM. I’ve already tried their leather shoes, the Elemental. Unfortunately they were so tight across the metatarsals they had to go back. Back then they were listed as adult shoes, now they’re “child large”. I wanted to try them on before I bought but Discount Dance didn’t have them in store (that’s because they have hardly anything in store).

I contacted MDM about their fitting info (which cannot be found online), and this is what they told me:

Thanks for the email.  We currently do not have dance retailers in Boston or
New York.  We are a new and growing company trying to expand our network to
brick and mortar dance retailers.  If you work with any dance stores in your
area please let them know about us.

I would like to explain in a little detail the fit of the two ballets.  The
canvas and leather ballets fit differently because they are made on
different shoe lasts and are designed for two different types of dancers.

The Canvas ballet is made on a shoe last that was designed for the mature
professional dancers foot that has many hours of time on her feet.  The fit
is wider and is designed for a pointe and/or post pointe foot.

The Leather ballet is made on the mdm kids ballet last and is designed for
the young dancer that has a women’s length, but is only 9-13 years old.  (A
9 year old with a size 7 ladies foot).  This shoe fits narrower to
accommodate that growing foot that is pre-pointe.  I would suggest fitting
this shoe up a width.

I hope this helps and if you have any additional questions please feel free
to contact us.

Thanks,
Matt

So I think I’m going to give them another shot. Discount Dance now recommends going up a width as well on their site (something I told them about). I wish I had another buying option, DDS made me pay return shipping when I feel the fault is on them. They didn’t list proper fitting info online and didn’t have them in store to try on. So far as I’m concerned I did my part. But despite them being a bit too narrow they really were a well made, comfortable shoe. They were just the right length, just a bit tight (in a good way!) and came to my “perfect” spot on my heel (I’m fussy about that). Also they came in a cute little satin carry bag and the elastics were sewn on- always appreciated! They’re so pretty too!

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I’ll probably wait until I get home from my next trip but you can be sure I’ll take a few photos to share on here when I get them. I’ll also share any other shoe purchases I make in the future. I really hope sharing the companies info on these will help others out. It isn’t out there anywhere else.

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2 thoughts on “Ballet, And The Shoes We Wear

  1. I’ve always thought ballet slippers were so pretty. I never realized how difficult it can be to find a good fit. Once you find the perfect shoe,
    it may make sense to purchase a few pairs.

    • I prefer to buy one pair at a time. As you can see they change over time, so can your feet. If I have more than one pair it’ll be because I have one for home practice, one for class, and one for travel.

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