3 Different Types of Ballet Shoes and their Pros and Cons

3 Different Types of Ballet Shoes and their Pros and Cons

Jun 29 , 2021


Tags - Types of Ballet Shoes


Dancers work incredibly hard and after years of intense training, they take to the stange with beauty and grace.

When it comes to dancing there are different types of ballet shoes and choosing the right pair is important for maximum comfort and support.

After all, ballet shoes should be the perfect extension of a dancer’s line and form and so if ballet shoes are not comfortable it will be difficult to perform the moves.

Not all shoes are appropriate for all dancers, therefore the types of shoes suitable depend on the dancer’s experience.

Let’s discuss the 3 types of ballet shoes as well as their pros and cons so you can understand which one is the most suitable for you.

1. Split Sole Ballet Shoes

With split sole shoes, the ballet pumps have two portions of the sole, i.e. it is split into two.

On one side it’s leather or suede which is at the heel of the shoe and another larger section covers the area between the ball of the foot to the toes.

To put simply, split sole ballet shoes have a heel pad and separate a toe pad and the centre does not contain a sole at all; instead the bottom is made of soft material that protects the foot.

With this feature, split sole ballet shoes offer great flexibility which lowers the risk of getting an injury. 


  • Greater flexibility, making it easier to point your feet
  • Better traction on difficult surfaces
  • Allow the wearer to feel more connected with the ground, which dancers find useful


Overall, split sole shoes must fit properly - too loose and they may not be as flexible and too tight will cause discomfort.

As such, ensure you try them on before performing to see how you can move your feet, curve and point them and how the shoes respond.

2. Full Sole Ballet Shoes

Full sole ballet shoes have the sole (usually made from suede or leather), running the full length of the shoe and are appropriate for those who are starting off in the dance world

Moreover, these force the dancer to work the foot and muscles whilst building strength through the feet and legs, which enables them to learn proper techniques and retain muscle memory for when you reach a more advanced level.

Sometimes though, even the most experienced dancers prefer full sole ballet shoes for the added support.


  • The resistance provided helps early dancers to build strength
  • Flexible and comfortable
  • Manipulates the entire length of the foot
  • Lightweight 


  • Not appropriate for advanced dancers

3. Pointe Ballet Shoes

Pointe ballet shoes are recommended to those dancers who perform point work and are mainly worn by highly experienced ballerinas because they provide maximum support to the feet and ankles.

In fact, these shoes are fitted perfectly to the feet to ensure all moves are performed on point - literally!

What’s great, is these shoes help dancers to appear weightless on their feet and if you can master balance perfectly on your toes, your dance will no doubt be mesmerising.

Even though pointe ballet shoes look dainty, they aren’t - they’re points are made from densely packed layers of material and cardboard hardened by glue to give it that sturdiness, and the rest of the sure is typically leather, cotton or satin.


  • Great support and comfort
  • Helps with balance


  • Have to be broken into
  • Recommended for advanced dancers only

Concluding Thoughts

Now you know about the 3 types of ballet shoes you should be able to select the perfect one for you, depending on your dance movements and what level you are at. If you’re still struggling to see which ones will be best, speak with your dance teacher as they will be able to advise the perfect fit for you.

Please get in touch to find out more.

In the meantime, check our extended ranges of  Ballet Flats and Ballet Pumps.

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