For a dancer, ballet is very much your bread and butter. It will add to pretty much anything you do- with the exception of street and hip hop (unless we’re talking Hiplet, but that’s a different post!) So the first thing you need is a good pair of ballet shoes, and for most of us that needs to be at a reasonable price. Of course there are also times when we want a more specialised pair and for that we spend a little more. But don’t worry, whether you’re feeling thrifty or splashing out, I’ve got you covered. And either way you’re getting all bases covered for the best possible shoe.
So if you’re looking for cheap ballet shoes, that also have the necessary craftsmanship needed for the serious dancer, let me introduce:
First things first, I highly recommend going for canvas over leather. Growing up, I always trained in leather ones. It wasn’t until I got to choose my own shoes as a teenager and got my first canvas pair that I suddenly realised how much harder I’d been making things for myself. Canvas is a lot more obedient, it will shape to your arch of your foot when you point in a way that leather is too clumsy to. This shoe also has plenty more advantages:
- Being made of canvas as opposed to leather, it co-operates with the floor much more easily. Needless to say that for tendus and glisses this makes a world of difference, (it’s hard enough to keep a tight fifth at all times, so it helps to make things easier on ourselves, right!)
- They flatter your feet. Providing you get the right size they will accentuate your arch nicely- this is a nice bonus when you’re spending hours in class in front of a mirror. This may be a dancer thing, but if my feet look good while I’m training I feel better about class and my dancing.
- They wear extremely well. Providing you look after them (a shoe bag may also help with keeping them clean,) they should last you a good long while. This will depend largely on how often you’re doing class so I don’t have a crystal ball, but provided you look after them they should remain hole free happy shoes for a decent amount of time!
- Also a nice added bonus, we all know studio floors are renowned for getting dusty- with canvas you can chuck them in the wash!
- The split sole advantage is another delightful pro to these shoes. Whatever your choice, opting for split sole ballet shoes will make you a force to be reckoned with. Not only does it allow you to only have support where it’s actually needed (the ball and heel of the foot) and create a much lighter better feel for contact with the floor, but also it will show off your natural point!
- The elastics are already pre-sown so they pretty much arrive good to go. I much prefer the double cross elastics like these have. Not only are they much more secure allowing the shoe to fit more snugly, but also more flattering too.
All of these features can be found in the Capezio Canvas Cobra Split Sole Ballet Shoes retailing at £9.25. And if your worried about compromising on quality by buying cheap ballet shoes, I hope all of the above points have reassured you that you won’t be!
For my second alternative, and I confess these are my absolute favourite (if you’re willing to go slightly more expensive) is the BLOCH Women’s Pro Elastic Ballet Shoes. These have all the same features as the Capezio (that’s right ladies, split sole ballet shoes for the win,) the only exception being the drawstring.
The BLOCH shoe instead has elastic running the outskirts of the shoe. It is relatively thin but also of decent width. This means that it really just hugs to your foot which in my opinion increases the fit and just makes them so comfortable. It doesn’t even really feel like you’re wearing shoes! They really are a dream. And depending on how often you’re doing class, especially if you’ve worked your posterior off to get where you are, then you deserve the extra comfort right? Or as much comfort as you can have whilst working hard doing ballet anyway :P. These shoes are a little more dear but still very affordable, ranging from between £13.95- £22.42.
Now whilst this post is essentially a shoe recommendation, as I’m here it makes sense to talk dance tights. Perhaps at some later stage I will dedicate a separate post to this topic but for now, seeing as the world of adult dance tights can be a little overwhelming and as we’re talking ballet I thought I’d throw this one extra suggestion your way.
First of all, a few things to bear in mind while buying dance tights.
- Believe it or not a slightly more expensive pair of tights is actually an investment. I too have opted for the cheaper ones on a budget only to get one or two wears out of them and end up back where I started. A good pair of tights however will contain more elasticity and therefore not only be stronger, but also much less likely to ladder. It can make the difference between you having to buy 2-3 pairs a year rather than a month.
- I would also always advise going a size up. The fact of the matter is, if you’re a medium and you go for a large they’re probably still going to fit, but they will be less likely to ladder which can go in your favour. Obviously this can vary from brand to brand and you’ll learn what you like through trial and error but generally if you go a size up, you probably won’t be disappointed.
- Also try and keep a spare pair. It saves on that immediate stress of your tights laddering during a performance and not having time for your new ones to arrive before your next show. Bearing all these in mind here’s my recommendation.
Now perhaps I am slightly biased. I love Capezio, so of course Capezio dance tights for me is an obvious choice, but for good reason; generally I’m never disappointed by them. These tights are middle of the range in price so they’re not going to ladder easily but they also won’t break the bank.
They come in either pink or tan so you can choose according to your need (although in the case of talking ballet as with this post you would be choosing pink.)
A word of warning, these tights run small so my advice would be to go at least one size up from normal. And 2 sizes up probably wouldn’t hurt if you want to make them last.
So there you have it. Hope these recommendations are helpful, and as always if you have any questions, please comment below.