• Are budget ballet shoes really a bargain?

    When I was a child getting new ballet shoes was a special occasion. I lived in outer suburban Melbourne and getting new ballet shoes, meant a trip into the city. That was something I did only a couple of times a year. Ballet shoe day and to see the Christmas windows at Myers.

    We would arrive at Martins Ballet Boutique, which at the time was a pokey little store down one of Melbourne’s inner city arcades and up a tiny staircase, but it always seemed to be a magical to me. I loved seeing all the white boxes with dancers’ names on them piled neatly on the shelves. This was to ensure Australian Ballet School students always had access to pointe shoes in their size. I dreamed that one day there would be a box on the shelf for me. And there were always gorgeous leotards and beautifully decorated tutus on display and it was a place of dreams.

    I felt like a princess sitting there on the special shoe fitting chair having one of the ladies trying a variety of ballet shoes on my feet, getting the right length and width. Checking she could just fit one finger in the back, whilst I was pointing my foot. Having me stand, so I could see how they looked in the special shoe mirror. Showing me how to make minor adjustments with the cords. “These are only for minor adjustments, if you need to pull the cords tight, the shoes are too big”. They were cotton then, and they’re elastic now, I still believe the cotton was better.


    Do you need new ribbons? Many people used to take their ribbons off one pair of shoes and recycle them. My Mum always let me have new ribbons with my new shoes, which made me feel special. Every class I tied my ribbons carefully and tucked the ends away neatly. Nowadays most ballet shoes come with elastic already attached. Ribbons are mostly used on shoes for performances, competitions and exams.

    Postman Shoes

    Over the last couple of years, students have begun turning up to class in a variety of different brands of ballet shoes. Initially I called them postman shoes, because children would come to class proudly showing me their enormous new ballet shoes. I would ask “Did you go to a dancewear shop and get fitted for your new shoes”? The answer would always be no…..the postman brought them…..aaargh! (they would have growing room for the next 3 years). And now department stores are selling them too.

    Are the cheaper? Yes. Are you getting value for money? No

    Mostly they don’t fit. I recommend Bloch or MDM ballet shoes because the are both quality ballet shoes and the length goes up by half sizes and there are four different widths for every length. Bargain shoes usually come in whole sizes only and one width, so the chance of getting a well fitting shoe is small. When taking a classical ballet class you need snugly fitting shoes. You use you feet to push through the floor, you need to make attractive shapes with your feet. An ill fitting shoe prevents this. It’s like a race car driver wearing gardening gloves, he can still drive his car, but he would do so much better wearing snug fitting racing gloves.

    Often they are the wrong colour. Some are too dark, some are too light. So if you do a performance or an exam you need to colour change them.

    We sell both Bloch and MDM branded ballet shoes, at their recommended retail prices. And you will be fitted correctly. They generally last well and you will have quality shoes to sell secondhand for $15.00 to $20.00

    Or you can buy ballet shoes at a chain store for $20.00. A can of ballet pink colour change is also $20.00. The cheap shoes often don’t last very well. And you have a limited secondhand market. Please also be aware you will have spent money on dance classes that your child has been unable to dance as well as they could because their shoes did not fit.

    I don’t believe bargain shoes are worth it. Please put your child in Bloch or MDM ballet shoes. After purchasing your ballet shoes, please have your teacher check them, before wearing them in class.

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