Soccer players wear cleats, tennis players wear tennis shoes, and dancers wear dancing shoes.
One of my worst frustrations before starting my business was finding a great quality, affordable pair of shoes online only to see there was no sizing guide. Finding the right fit shoe for your little girl is the first challenge, but knowing to take care of the shoe is the next.
As someone who’s been dancing for over 30 years, I’ve learned all the do’s and don'ts of dancing shoes. And the first question mothers may ask themselves is …
Do I need to buy her dancing shoes?
If she plans on dancing regularly, especially in ballet or jazz, then yes.
I never realized how much of a difference dance shoes can make until I started using them.
On average, dance shoes are more flexible, durable, and lighter weight with a suede, microfiber or leather sole.
The structure of a well-designed shoe can help with balance, reduce pain/friction, as well as adapt to different dance floors.
Which Shoes are Right for My Dancer?
Canvas or Leather?
Definitely check your dance school requirements before buying a pair - but if it’s up to you, then take some time to consider what material is best.
|Tend to fit the foot easier (especially for wider feet)||Tend to be more durable|
|Don’t take as long to "break in"||Can strengthen a beginner’s foot|
|Easier to clean - machine washable||More traction on wooden floors|
Split versus Full sole
A full sole is when the suede covers the entire bottom of the shoe, while a split sole breaks the sole into two parts - the heel and the ball of the foot.
Split sole ballet shoes are typically a Canvas shoe because the material shapes to the dancer’s foot and helps to accomplish the split sole’s purpose of supporting arches. Alternately, full sole ballet shoes are usually leather and made for beginner dancers since they are more resistant.
How do I find dance shoes that fit when shopping online?
Fitting shoes to children is tricky since they are constantly growing, so a sizing guide is always a good first start. For example, at Dancina, we offer a sizing guide based on your daughter’s foot length. Quick tip - if one foot is larger than the other, then go with the bigger size.
Steps to measure the length of your child's feet
- Have her step barefoot on a piece of paper taped to the ground, as flat as possible
- Use a pencil to draw around the foot
- Measure the length from heel to toe
When trying on ballet shoes in particular, it is important that you look for a different fit than a street shoe.
With street shoes, you want a bit of wiggle room, but with ballet shoes, you want them to fit like a pair of socks without any extra material pinching at the top. Although, make sure your daughter can dance comfortably in them because if they’re too tight, it could cause serious injuries.
How to clean dance shoes?
Once you get the proper fit, it’s important that you learn to take care of a good pair of dance shoes. You’ll save money in the long run if you ensure the shoes can tackle every competition, performance, and practice.
Most dance shoes have suede or leather soles, and my best friend when it comes to cleaning them is a good, wire brush. Simply drag the brush along the bottom of the shoe, and watch the scuffs and scruffs disappear.
Cleaning Leather Shoes
Always hand wash leather shoes, which you can do with a damp cloth and a small drop of regular laundry detergent. If you want a less-chemically clean, try mixing olive oil and an essential oil like lemon.
Don’t overdo it with the liquid! You don’t want to create too much moisture.
Cleaning Canvas Shoes
You can either hand wash or machine-wash or canvas ballet shoes. To machine wash, set your washing machine on the delicate cycle and use cold water. If your washer doesn’t have a delicate cycle, be sure to place the shoes in a laundry bag so they don’t fly about the machine. Do NOT place them in the dryer.
To hand wash, you can simply use a light soap and water. You can use a sponge/or rag to spot clean or if you need a deeper rinse, put the shoes in a basin and scrub while in water.
You can freshen up freshly dried shoes with a bit of baking soda as well! It can reduce the odor.
All of our dancing shoes at Dancina are made to last, but learning the right sizing and care for them will ensure your little princess can continue to dance the night away - and then some.