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Types of Ballet Shoes

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There is something about a pair of ballet shoes that can make any woman feel graceful and beautiful. It could be the softness of the fabric, the way they hug the foot or the delicate way they lace up. Whatever the reason, ballet shoes have been a fashion staple for centuries, and their popularity is only increasing.

The history of ballet shoes is a long and varied one. The first ballet shoes were actually made of leather and had wooden soles. This was back in the 16th century, and they were very different from the ballet shoes we know today. The style of ballet shoes has changed very little since then.

What Are Ballet Shoes Called?

The word “ballet” in French means dance. The word “shoe” comes from the Old English word “scoh,” which means “to cover.” Thus, “ballet shoes” literally mean “covering for dancing.”


There are different types of ballet shoes, each with its own specific purpose. The most common type of ballet shoes is pointe shoes, which dancers wear when they work on pointe shoes.

Pointe shoes have a rigid toe box and a rigid cuff, or support, running along the sole of the shoe. The inside of the shoe is padded with soft materials to protect the dancer’s foot.

Another type of ballet shoe is the character shoe, which is a heavier shoe with a leather or canvas upper and a thicker sole. Character shoes are worn by both men and women when performing dances that require more support, such as character dances from ballets like Swan Lake or Giselle.


Parts of Ballet Shoes

Below we will understand what ballet shoes are made of.


Drawstring is a type of fastening used to secure ballet shoes. It is usually made of elastic or ribbon and is tied in a bow at the top of the foot. The drawstring provides a snug fit and helps to keep the shoe in place while dancing.


Elastics are an important part of ballet shoes. They help keep the shoe snug on your feet and prevent them from slipping off. Without elastics, your shoes would constantly be falling off and you would have a difficult time dancing.

Elastics are usually made of elastic material, such as rubber. They are sewn into the shoes at the heel and toe. Sometimes, elastics are also sewn into the sides of the shoes. This helps keep the shoes from slipping off your feet when you are dancing.



The ribbon is a type of fabric that is often used to make ballet shoes. It is usually made from silk or satin and is used to create a smooth, shiny surface on the shoes. The ribbon is also used to create the straps that go over the foot and around the ankle.


Sole is the leather or canvas that covers the bottom of the foot in a ballet shoe. It is generally a thin layer that is glued or stitched to the inside of the shoe. The sole provides traction and grip for the dancer while performing. It is also responsible for the shoe’s shape and helps to protect the dancer’s foot.


The box is the term used to describe the box-shaped toe of the ballet shoe. The box helps the dancer to maintain balance and control while performing.



In ballet, the platform is the raised, flat surface on the toe of the shoe that provides extra support and helps the dancer execute certain movements. The height of the platform can vary, and it is often covered with leather or suede to match the shoe. The platform helps the dancer to maintain balance and control while performing certain movements, and it can also help to create the illusion of a longer, leaner line.


In ballet, the vamp is the part of the shoe that covers the toes and the top of the foot. It is usually made of leather or canvas and is attached to the sole of the shoe with elastic. The vamp is important because it helps the dancer to keep their balance and to feel the floor while they are dancing.


Insole or Shank

The insole or Shank is the stiff piece of material in the arch of the shoe that gives support and determines the shape of the arch. It is usually made of leather, though can be made of other materials such as paper or fabric. The insole is what the dancer stands on and is what supports the arch of the foot.


The throat of a ballet shoe is the V-shaped opening at the front of the shoe. This is where the toes of the dancer go. The throat line can be shallow or deep, depending on the style of the shoe. Some shoes have a higher throat line to help support the dancer’s foot when they are en pointe.



Wings is a type of ballet shoe that has a leather or canvas upper and a split sole. The split sole allows the dancer to have more flexibility and range of motion in their feet. Wings also have ribbons or elastics that go around the ankle and help to secure the shoe to the foot.


The cover is a term used in ballet to describe the material that covers the toe and the inside of the shoe. It is usually made of leather or fabric and is available in a variety of colors. The cover helps to protect the dancer’s feet from the friction of the floor and the elements.


How Many Types of Ballet Shoes Are There?

Ballet shoes vary from the ordinary canvas slipper to the expensive leather pointe shoe. Usually, ballet shoes are designed for specific purposes. Here is a list of different types of ballet shoes.

Ballet Slipper

The ballet slipper is the most common type of ballet shoe. It is worn for both class and performance. Some brands are designed to be worn with socks, while others are designed to be worn barefoot.

Ballet Boot

The ballet boot is worn for class and not used for performance. It is ideal for dancers who suffer from foot pain. It is also warm, so it is a good option for dancers who practice in the winter.



Turnout shoes are worn for more advanced classes. They have an open toe and a split sole to allow greater extension.


Canvas shoes are used for practice. They are made of canvas, so they are light and comfortable.

Character Shoes

Character shoes are used for productions, such as The Nutcracker. They are more decorative than practical, but they are still fairly comfortable.


What Materials Should I Choose?

There are many different materials that can be used to make ballet shoes. The most popular materials are leather, canvas, and satin.

  • Leather ballet shoes are the most popular type of ballet shoe. They are made from high-quality leather and are very durable. They are also the most expensive type of ballet shoe.
  • Canvas ballet shoes are the most affordable type of ballet shoe. They are made from sturdy canvas and are perfect for beginners.
  • Satin ballet shoes are the most delicate type of ballet shoe. They are made from luxurious satin and are perfect for experienced dancers.

How To Clean Your Ballet Shoes

Ballet shoes should be cleaned after every use to remove any dirt, sweat, or other debris that may have been collected.


To clean your ballet shoes, you will need:

  • a bowl of water;
  • white vinegar;
  • a sponge;
  • a soft cloth.

After you get everything ready:

  1. Fill a bowl with water and add a few drops of white vinegar.
  2. Soak the sponge in the bowl and use it to clean the shoes.
  3. Wipe the shoes with a sponge to remove any dirt or sweat.
  4. Use a soft cloth to dry the shoes.

Different Types of Ballet Shoes

There are several ballet shoes types, which can be categorized by their purpose.

The first type of ballet shoe is the “traditional” ballet shoe. It is characterized by a soft, leather upper, and a hard, wooden sole. It is typically used for training and performances.


The second type of ballet shoe is the “character” ballet shoe. It is also made from leather but has a softer sole and a more flexible upper. This type of shoe is used for performances of character dances, which are typically more folk-oriented than classical ballet.

The third type of ballet shoe is the “jazz” ballet shoe. It is made from a softer, more flexible leather, and has a rubber sole. This type of shoe is used for jazz and Broadway-style dances.

The fourth type of ballet shoe is the “pointe” ballet shoe. It is made from a stiffer leather and has a hard, wooden sole. The toe box is elongated and tapered and is designed to support the dancer’s toes while they are en pointe.



What type of ballet shoes are best?

Choose the type of ballet shoes that best suits you. They can be made of leather, canvas, or synthetic materials. Leather is good for quality and durability but can be a bit heavy. Canvas ballet shoes are lighter and more flexible, but are also made with low-quality materials and can break easily. Synthetic shoes are a good balance between the two, with a lightweight and high durability.

How many different types of pointe shoes are there?

There are many brands and many different ballet shoe types on the market. The biggest difference between pointe shoes is the hardness of the shank and the stiffness of the bottom sole.



There are few things more important to a ballet dancer than their shoes. A good pair of ballet shoes can mean the difference between successful performance and a disaster.

Ballet shoes are designed to be soft and pliable, to allow the dancer to move freely and without restriction. They are usually made from leather or canvas and have a soft sole that is covered in fabric.

In this article, you learned about the different types of ballet shoes. If you have any questions, please write in the comments.

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