What Is the Difference Between Pointe Shoes and Ballet Shoes?

Ballet|Ballet Shoes

Pointe shoes and ballet shoes are both integral pieces of equipment for any ballerina. While similar in many ways, there are some distinct differences between the two types of footwear.

The most obvious difference between pointe shoes and ballet shoes is their sole. Ballet shoes have a full sole which helps to provide protection to the dancer’s feet while Pointe shoes have a split sole which allows the dancer to stand on their toes. Both types of footwear also provide arch support but Pointe shoes are specifically designed with a thicker layer of material on the metatarsal area, which gives added support and cushioning when dancing en pointe.

In terms of construction, Pointe shoes feature toe boxes made from either leather or cardboard that are designed to help support the dancer’s toes and shape their foot correctly for pointework.

Ballet shoes typically have a softer sole that is made from either canvas or leather, providing flexibility for the dancer when performing jumps and turns.

Another significant difference between Pointe and ballet shoes is that Pointe shoes require more maintenance than ballet slippers do. Due to their hard construction, dancers must frequently check their Pointe shoe ribbons and elastic to make sure they are secure, as well as glue down any loose parts so they don’t come apart during performance. Ballet slippers, on the other hand, just need occasional cleaning with warm water and soap before performances in order to make sure they look presentable onstage.


Pointe shoes and ballet slippers both have their own unique features that make them essential tools for dancers. While both types of footwear provide arch support for the dancer’s feet, Pointe shoes feature a split sole that allows them to stand on their toes as well as toe boxes made from either leather or cardboard that give added support when performing en pointe. Additionally, Pointe shoes require more maintenance than ballet slippers do in order to keep them in good condition for performances.