Ballet shoes are a type of footwear designed specifically for dancers. They are lightweight, flexible and designed to support the foot during ballet movements.
There are several types of ballet shoes, each of which has a specific purpose and look.
Pointe Shoes: Pointe shoes are rigid ballet shoes that allow a dancer to stand on their toes for extended periods of time. These shoes have a hard sole and box-like toe to provide extra strength and support to the dancer’s feet. Pointe shoes often have ribbons attached that wrap around the ankle and tie in a bow to keep them securely on the feet.
Soft Ballet Shoes: Soft ballet shoes, also known as slippers or pumps, have a soft sole and leather upper with an elastic strap across the arch of the foot to ensure they stay secure during performance. Soft ballet shoes are usually meant for beginning dancers who are still learning basic steps and terminology.
Split-Sole Ballet Shoes: Split-sole ballet shoes have two pieces of leather sewn together at the sole, which allows for more flexibility in movement as well as better grip on the floor. These types of shoes can be used by both beginner and advanced level dancers, depending on their individual needs.
Character Shoes: Character shoes differ from regular ballet slippers in that they have heels instead of flat soles. The heels are usually made from wood or rubber and can range from 1” – 2” in height. Character shoes are worn when performing dances that involve more intricate footwork such as folk dances or jazz routines.
Ballet is an art form that requires special footwear to maximize performance and minimize injury risk for its dancers. Although all types of ballet shoes share certain common features, such as lightweight construction with flexible soles, there are several different kinds available depending on the level of expertise or style being performed.