What Are the Three Types of Ballet Shoes?

Ballet|Ballet Shoes

Ballet shoes are a type of soft, flexible shoe specifically designed for use in the practice of ballet. The design of the shoes allows the dancer to move more freely and easily, while protecting their feet from injury.

Ballet shoes come in three main types: flat split-sole, full-sole, and pointe shoes. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages for dancers.

Flat Split-Sole Shoes

Flat split-sole ballet shoes have no heel, and the toes are separated from the sole by a thin leather divider. These shoes are lightweight, allowing the dancer to move quickly and easily with minimal restriction.

The lack of a heel also allows for greater flexibility when pointing or flexing your feet. However, they do not provide much support and can cause discomfort if worn for too long.

Full-Sole Shoes

Full-sole ballet shoes have a thicker sole that extends all the way up to the toes. These shoes provide more support than flat split-soles, making them better for long rehearsals or performances where you will be on your feet for a long time.

The thicker sole offers more protection against impact and makes it easier to balance on one foot without slipping. However, they may be less flexible than split-soles.

Pointe Shoes

Pointe shoes are designed specifically for en pointe dancing (dancing on one’s toes). They have a box at the toe that is filled with stiff material such as cardboard or resin to help support the foot while en pointe.

Pointe shoes also typically have ribbons sewn into them which wrap around the ankle and help keep them securely in place while dancing en pointe. Pointe shoes can be uncomfortable at first due to their stiff construction but many dancers find that they get used to them over time.


Ballet dancers need to choose the right type of shoe depending on their skill level and what kind of dancing they will be doing. Flat split-sole ballet shoes offer lightweight flexibility while full-sole ballet shoes provide more support and protection against impact. Pointe Shoes are designed specifically for en pointe dancing and feature a box at the toe filled with material to help support the foot while en pointe.