Which Ballet Shoes Are Best For Beginners?


Which ballet shoes are best for beginners is a question that people often struggle with, but if you are a beginner, a pair of full sole ballet slippers is what you should be wearing.

Why Full Sole Ballet Slippers Are Best

Now you know ballet slippers are what you’re looking for, you should get to know the two different types you’ll have to choose from. 

One type of slipper has a split sole and the other, a full sole.

Full sole shoes are generally considered the preferred option for young dancers between the age of 4-7 years old, as they help to build up strength in the foot. 

Dancers then move on to split sole shoes when they reach around 10 years old.

Always ask your teacher for advice if you have any doubts.

Why Does The Full Sole Build Strength?

The simple answer is the full sole shoes are slightly heavier, meaning they act as a small weight on the bottom of the foot. 

This helps you to build strength in the muscles and tendons over time. Then when you become more advanced, your feet will be strong enough for split soles, which will allow you to point your foot and show your arch more easily.

What’s Different – Full Sole and a Split Sole 

A full sole shoe will provide you with more support while forcing the muscles in your foot to work harder, helping you to build muscle and strength in the feet and legs. This will help you acquire muscle memory and learn the proper technique that’s required for barre and centre work.

Spit soles provide the dancer with less support but offer the foot far more flexibility, which means you can perform cleaner footwork.

Split soles are mostly worn by dancers that are highly confident in their balance and technique.

Difference between canvas and leather ballet shoes?

Leather ballet shoes are more durable as they’re made from a thicker material but may not be as flexible as canvas shoes.

Many dancers prefer to use canvas ballet shoes as they are more lightweight, fit more snugly to the flexibility of the foot while accommodating wider feet.

How should your ballet shoes fit?

Unlike a normal shoe, ballet shoes should hug the foot without leaving any space at the toes. A term to more accurately describe this is, they should fit like a glove.

Ballet shoes that are too small

The first thing you will see if the shoes are too small is the big toe joint is bent.

One thing to note is that ballet shoes are often sized differently from normal shoes. Different materials such as canvas, leather, and satin can also result in different size requirements.

Ballet shoes that are too big

You should not need to pull the shoe in excessively with the drawstring to get it to fit correctly. This is often a sign the shoe is too big for the foot.

If the shoe fits perfectly in length, but you still need to pull excessively on the drawstring, it may be time to check out shoes from a different brand.

Shoes that are too big will also leave excess material at the toe while the foot is pointed.

Ballet shoes that are the correct size

A good fitting ballet shoe will be comfortable to wear, not leave excess material at the toe, and the big toe joint should not be bent.


  1. Start by placing a piece of blank paper on a hard floor.
  2. Stand on the paper.
  3. Holding a pencil vertically, mark the end of your heel.
  4. Mark another point at the top of your longest toe.
  5. Do this again for the other foot.
  6. Measure the heel-to-toe mark in centimeters to get your size.

How do you put ballet ribbons on shoes?

  • Once you’ve bought the two and a quarter metre ribbon bundle, you’ll have to cut it in half and then in half again. This will give you the four lengths you need, one for each side of the shoe.
  • Take one piece of the ribbon, then at one end, fold one centimetre over once, then fold it over two centimetres again
  • To attach the ribbon at the correct angle, fold the back of your shoe forward and down, now mark each side of the shoe on the cotton lining, in the angle made.
  • Now place the folded end of the ribbon at the marked position and sew onto the side of the shoe, through the cotton lining, while not going through the satin.
  • The ribbons can be angled forward if you’d like to hold them on more securely.

You can sew the ribbon further down the ballet shoe, closer to the inner sole for added support.

Don’t sew the ribbon through the binding as you’ll not be able to adjust the drawstring and the binding may pull away from the satin.

The chord that’s inside of the binding is to adjust the tension of the width of the upper which should be adjusted while on the foot. It is best tied in a double knot and the excess chord should be tucked into the shoe.

Don’t cut off the excess chord because if the knot comes loose, it could end up lost inside the binding of the shoe.

Do I need to wear tights?

Many dance studios won’t have a strict dress code and allow you to wear what you feel most comfortable in. Some studios allow their students to wear yoga pants and shorts, while others will require everyone to wear tights.

If there is a strict dress code in place, the teacher will let you know.

Even if you are not required to wear tights for your classes, it doesn’t mean you won’t need to wear them for recital or a show. This is why say it’s preferable to wear tights all the time, as doing so, will help you get used to wearing them while dancing. 

Wearing tights also help show your body line to the teacher, which will make it easier for the teacher to correct your ballet technique if needed.

Tights are part of a dancer’s uniform and by wearing them, you will be paying respect to the traditions of ballet.

I hope this answered many of the questions you had and makes buying your first pair of full sole ballet slippers easier.

We have lots of great dancewear and footwear here at dance and fitness. Please feel free to have a look.

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you found it useful.