Buying a pair of ballet shoes may sound simple, but there is really quite a bit of detail that goes into selecting the perfect pair of ballet shoes. If you are taking ballet classes, your instructors will probably ask you to purchase a specific type of ballet shoes, and possibly even a specific brand and color. They may even tell you what store to go to.
If your instructors have requested that you purchase a specific type of ballet shoes, then you should absolutely purchase those ballet shoes. If they have not specified a certain type of ballet shoe, then your choices are unlimited. If you are taking beginner classes, you need basic ballet shoes, as opposed to pointe shoes. Pointe shoes are for more advanced students – not beginners.
You should select ballet shoes that have real leather soles. Imitation leather does not hold up well. If you are light, leather will work well for you; however, if you are heavier, you may want to consider canvas ballet shoes. Leather soles often stick to the floor, and canvas does not. When you stick to the floor, not only will your ballet shoes wear out faster, but you may also injure yourself.
Find out if your ballet instructor prefers an elastic band or ribbons on the ballet shoes. Elastic bands that are sewn across the top of the shoe are typically preferred for children, while ribbons are usually reserved for recitals, and elastic bands are preferred for practice. Again, find out what the instructor prefers before making this selection.
Also, before making a purchase, put the shoes on and try a few basic ballet steps to see how the shoes feel. Remember that you will not just be walking in your ballet shoes! If the shoes are rubbing you the wrong way when you do ballet steps, try a different brand or size. Do not assume that you will 'break them in.' Ballet shoes are soft and really do not need to be broken in – and if they fit you correctly they should be quite comfortable.