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Best Ballet Shoes For Kids And Toddlers – A Buyers Guide 

 June 23, 2020

by Sydney

So, you’ve decided to enroll your kiddo in ballet classes, great! You couldn’t have chosen a better activity for a young girl or boy. Ballet is great physical exercise (for running off all that extra energy little ones seem to have), but it also teaches discipline, focus, good posture and manners.

However, if you haven’t taken ballet classes yourself you’re probably at a loss for what your child will need. A good start would be; leotard (for girls), t-shirt (for boys) tights, and of course kids ballet shoes!

*Note on vocabulary: ballet shoes can have a few different names (ballet shoes, slippers, and flats), we will be using all three interchangeably throughout this article.

best girls ballet shoes uk 2020

The slippers are by far the most important item, as ballet requires feet to do most of the work! Ask any dancer old or young and they’ll assure you the shoes are what they give most consideration to when purchasing dance wear.

Thus, you’ll want your kiddo to be outfitted properly. It can be quite overwhelming to choose the correct pair of children’s ballet shoes.

Lucky for you, in this guide we’ve broken down what to look for in a pair of children’s ballet flats, different types and features and for those of you with little spare time, the top kids ballet shoes in the UK right now!

What to look for in a good pair of ballet slippers:

Fit

As with most shoes, especially ones used in athletics, fit is going to be the most important aspect. It can be easy to get caught up in how beautiful a pair of ballet slippers look, especially when choosing a pair for your kid. Don’t get sidetracked, make sure the shoes feel right on your child’s feet.

Ballet slippers aren’t worn with socks, but tights, so it’s always a good idea to have your son or daughter wear a pair of tights when slipper shopping. If you don’t have tights handy or forget, no worries barefoot is okay as well, just no socks!

Ballet is all about details and fancy footwork, so you don’t want the slippers too tight and restrictive. If your kid’s toes are curling under that means the shoe is too tight. If there’s a lot of extra material that’s a sign of too loose of fit.

Best practise is for it to fit like a sock, no looseness and no pinching. It’s best to have your child point, flex and even jump in the shoes to get an idea of fit. If anything pinches or hurts that’s a red flag, and if the slipper looks sagging or to be falling off, that will also be a no.

Sizing

Size is also important and can differ from regular children’s shoe sizes.

Some kids ballet shoes may follow regular children’s shoe sizes and you’ll be able to order exactly what you would for “street shoes”. Some may follow a slightly adjusted size chart, and some may just recommend ordering up or down a size or half size. Make sure to check the fit guide for each product and read reviews to get an idea if a particular shoe runs smaller or larger.

Width

Also note that kids ballet shoes will come in a variety of width options; narrow, normal, medium and wide. Most shoes only have one choice (which helps a lot – if your child needs narrow shoes, don’t buy ones that only come in the medium width), however some may have various width options. Check your order carefully to avoid poor fit!

*Please note ballet slippers, especially canvas (more on that in a sec) tend to stretch out, so when in doubt a bit snug is better than a bit loose.

best kids ballet shoes uk

Leather vs. Canvas Ballet Shoes

The age old debate, and honestly neither is “better” than the other, it just depends on your kid’s feet and preference.

As mentioned above, canvas slippers tend to be more flexible than leather, and for many children (especially those with wide feet) can be more comfortable.

Leather on the other hand, is much more durable and can be a better choice if your child will be taking multiple ballet classes a week, or has particularly strong feet that wear out slippers faster than normal (it may take a few weeks or months of classes to figure this out).

Historically, satin has been reserved for pointe shoes (which your child shouldn’t start wearing until they’re older, have fully developed feet and built up the necessary strength). However, in recent years some manufacturers have been making soft, flat toddler ballet shoes out of satin.

This isn’t very common, although if your child isn’t too thrilled with either leather or canvas, it may be worth a try.

In the end it’s up to your kid to tell you what feels best, and it may take a few tries in the store or in class to figure out the best fit.

*Please note this section refers to the outer material of the shoe, the sole (more on that in a sec) will more often than not always be leather.

Split sole vs. full sole

Another ancient debate in the ballet world is between full sole ballet shoes (usually a single strip of leather on the bottom of the slipper) or split sole ballet shoes (a leather piece on the heel and a separate piece on the toe).

Full sole ballet shoes tend to be more common in kids ballet shoes. You’ll have to trust your little one to tell you what feels best.

The argument for full sole is that it provides more support for children’s underdeveloped muscles. A good point, however, your son or daughter may have naturally strong feet and not need a full sole and actually prefer the split sole (more common in adult slippers).

The full sole helps with resistance and stability that will build strong ballet muscles for later in life when they switch to split sole and eventually go en pointe. However, many kids may prefer split sole, which is increasingly becoming more common in UK children’s ballet shoes.

Single or Double Band

So far we’ve discussed the sizing and fit of ballet shoes, the outer material options, and the choice of sole. Another important component to children’s ballet flats is the elastic band (or bands) that stretch from one side of the shoe to the other, across the width of the foot.

Typically there are two main options; single band or double crossband.

The single band is one elastic that stretches across the width of the foot. The double crossband are two elastics that stretch diagonally, crossing over each other to form and X over the foot.

Like the leather versus canvas (or satin) debate, you’ll need to trust your child to tell you what feels best.

Pre-sewn or “sew-yourself” & what about a drawstring?

Most elastics will come pre-sewn on children’s ballet shoes, however make sure to read the product description carefully if you’re not much of a seamstress!

As your child grows older they may prefer to have the elastics sewn later to their preference, as the one downside to pre-sewn is they can’t choose where the elastic is placed.

Another feature that differs between kids ballet shoes shoes – the drawstring. Some slippers may have a string that circles the entire shoe that you can tighten or loosen and tie at the top for a better fit. However, not every shoe comes with one, so read carefully if your child prefers this flexibility!


Our Top Children’s Ballet Shoes

We’ve reviewed some of the best children’s ballet shoes in the UK. Check out our thoughts below on our top picks.

In no particular order:

1. Skyrocket Canvas Ballet Shoes

No products found.

The Skyrocket ballet flats are made for a variety of activities including; ballet, ballet/barre fitness, dance, etc., making them a great versatile choice!

The soft canvas outer material and cotton instep provide extra comfort and padding. This combination allows the feet to breath and prohibits sweaty feet, always a hinderance in ballet, click here to read more.

This makes the Skyrocket a great choice, especially if your kiddo is just starting out. Their feet will be well supported and cushioned whether they’re leaping or just warming up at the barre. Not to mention they will mold to your child’s feet for an elegant appearance.

For those of you looking for a great “starter” slipper for your child, we think the Skyrocket is a great choice.

No products found.


2. Toromax Leather Ballet Shoes

TOROMAX Ballet Canvas Dance Shoes Gymnastic Yoga Shoes Flat Full Sole Leather Ballerina Girls Ladies Children's and Adult's Sizes

The Toromax ballet flats are handmade, high-quality leather slippers perfect for little feet. The single cross-band elastic is pre-sewn (meaning less work for parents) and provides support without feeling restrictive, while the drawstring feature allows for tightening/loosening of the fit as needed.

The soft leather material is comfortable, but more durable than your typical canvas flat. The inner cotton lining provides cushion and comfort to allow for maximum support when dancing.

These are an especially good choice if your child prefers leather slippers, as the Toromax are made to last. However, even if your child typically goes for canvas, the Toromax might just win them over enough to switch to leather permanently. As they’re durable and don’t require any sewing necessary, that should be music to your (the parent)’s ears!

We think the Toromax is a great fit for all children who have a bit of experience dancing and prefer leather shoes. Also a great choice for parents that don’t have time to “prep” the flats.

Toromax Leather Ballet Shoes
103 Reviews
Toromax Leather Ballet Shoes

  • Leather outer material
  • Soft cotton lining
  • Medium width
  • Single cross-band elastic
  • Drawstring top


3. Soudittur Canvas Ballet Shoes

Soudittur Girls Ballet Shoes Canvas Split Sole Dance Slippers Yoga Flats Gymnastic Shoes for Children/Kids/Women/Adults/Boys/Toddler

The Soudittur canvas ballet flats are lightweight and durable (always a selling point for canvas shoes) and are perfect for a variety of activities. Your child can wear them to ballet, jazz, modern, gymnastics, yoga and more!

The pre-sewn double elastic and drawstring top provide great support while allowing for flexibility in fit. The cotton canvas material makes the Soudittur just as durable as any leather flat, but with the comfort and cushion associated with canvas.

The Soudittur runs a bit big, so make sure to order a size down, but this makes it perfect if your child’s feet run a bit large.

We recommend this product for children with a variety of dance activities, as it is versatile and durable and comes in a choice of 4 colours!

Soudittur Canvas Ballet Shoes
443 Reviews
Soudittur Canvas Ballet Shoes

  • Canvas outer material
  • Split sole, anti-slip
  • Double, pre-sewn crossband elastic
  • Drawstring top
  • 4 colours (pink, white, black, beige)


4. S.Lemon’s Leather Ballet Shoes

s.lemon All-Round Elastic Canvas Ballet Dance Shoes Stretch Ballet Slippers for Girls Kids Women

The S.Lemon leather ballet flats are durable and especially soft for leather slippers. All the durability of leather shoes with the comfort and breathability of canvas!

The pre-sewn elastics and drawstring provide maximum adjustment for fit. The detailed pleats on the toes are wonderful for reducing stress on your child’s feet – very important in ballet where they’ll be “on their toes” often.

The S.Lemon is great if your child has picky feet that have difficult finding comfortable shoes. The leather outer material will ensure maximum support, while the drawstring and pleats will provide elasticity to prevent pinching and discomfort.

We recommend this product for children with sensitive feet that need a bit of extra support.

S.Lemon's Leather Ballet Shoes
98 Reviews
S.Lemon's Leather Ballet Shoes

  • Leather outer material
  • Stress-reducing shoe pleats
  • Normal width
  • Pre-sewn cross straps
  • Drawstring top


5. Bezioner Satin Ballet Shoes

Satin Ballet Dance Shoes Split Leather Sole Pink Ballet Slippers Flats with Ribbon Gymnastics Shoes for Girls Women

The Bezioner flats are some of the flashiest and most beautiful on the market. Made of high quality satin, they have a unique feel and look perfect for any aspiring ballerina in your life.

The outer material is satin, with double crossband elastics and ribbons for a full pseudo-pointe shoe look. But the Bezioner is not all about looks, the elastics and ribbon provide extra support for your child’s feet, and ensure the shoe won’t slip off during class!

The satin material is a step away from the typical leather/canvas debate, but once your kiddo tries these there may be no going back!

The Bezioner is unique in look, feel and construction, thus we recommend it for slightly more experience children who have dreams of dancing en pointe one day.

Bezioner Satin Ballet Shoes
296 Reviews
Bezioner Satin Ballet Shoes

  • High quality satin material
  • Split sole, anti-slip
  • Double crossband elastics
  • Ribbons for extra support
  • Cotton lining


6. Roche Valley Leather Ballet Shoes

Roch Valley Ophelia Full Sole Leather Ballet Shoes

The Roche Valley leather ballet shoes are a big crowd pleaser, and it’s easy to see why. The “back to basics” shoe is reliable and classic. The durable leather material and pre-sewn single elastic make it ready-to-wear for class.

The full sole provides extra support for your young aspiring ballet dancer, ensuring muscle development will be gradual. Click here for more information on the benefits of full sole for children.

We recommend these flats for beginner children who need a basic shoe and the support of a full sole.

Roche Valley Leather Ballet Shoes
605 Reviews
Roche Valley Leather Ballet Shoes

  • Leather outer material
  • Full sole
  • Single, pre-sewn elastic
  • 3 colours (white, black, pink)


7. Bloch S0209 Arise Ballet Shoes

Bloch S0209 Arise Leather Ballet Shoe Black

The Bloch S0209 Arise is one of the most versatile ballet slippers out there. With a range of sizes, and choice of width (not very common in ballet shoes for children), you’re guaranteed to find a good fit for your child!

Made of high quality leather outer material and soft cotton lining the inside, the Bloch S0209 Arise will be both durable and comfortable on your child’s feet.

The single elastic band is soft and doesn’t pinch, offering support and flexibility, while the front drawstring will help adjust the fit. The full sole provides support while your kiddo builds those ballet muscles!

We recommend the Bloch S0209 Arise for almost any child, as it’s versatile and has a choice of fit. Whether your child is about to take their first ballet class or has been dancing for years, these bloch ballet shoes are sure to provide support and comfort!

Bloch S0209 Arise Leather Ballet Shoes
210 Reviews
Bloch S0209 Arise Leather Ballet Shoes

  • Leather outer material
  • Full sole
  • Drawstring top
  • Choice of width
  • 3 colours (white, pink, black)


8. Bloch Arise Ballet Shoes

Bloch Arise Leather Ballet Shoe Pink

The Bloch Arise ballet flats are a classic and great choice for any aspiring dancer. Made from durable leather with a supportive full sole and drawstring top, you can’t go wrong the the Arise flats!

These shoes come highly rated and recommended by buyers. With a choice of width and colour, they’re great value for quality. They differ from the S0209 above as they’re especially made for ballet, while the newer “cousin” shoe is more versatile.

Thus, we recommend these shoes for children who are primarily interested in ballet and just starting out.

Bloch Arise Ballet Shoes
984 Reviews
Bloch Arise Ballet Shoes

  • Leather outer material
  • Full sole
  • Single elastic
  • Drawstring top
  • Narrow option width


Tips & FAQs for Use

Washing ballet shoes

This is not typically recommend unless your kids’ ballet shoes become especially dirty (stains, something sticky spilled in the dance bag, etc.), but if necessary follow the instructions on the box (always keep the shoebox!) carefully.

In general you’ll want a gentle wash with cold water and to air dry so they don’t shrink.

Sometimes before recital the ballet teacher may ask for all the students to wash their shoes. Make sure to do this at least a few days before performance to give the slippers time to air dry.

Size Choice

When trying a new shoe, always order two sizes; what you think is the correct size and a half size bigger/smaller depending on how the shoe runs (read reviews) as this varies between toddler ballet shoes. This ensures options if the first size choice doesn’t work out. Same goes for width if you’re conflicted between two options.

Remember patience with sizing is key, especially if your kid is just starting out. It may take a while to find the best shoe and fit.

Where to store ballet shoes?

No matter how breathable the shoe may be, your kid is going to have some smelly feet after a ballet class. Thus you probably want to be careful where you keep their slippers.

It’s generally a good idea to have a “dance bag” to lug your child’s gear from the house to class to recitals and everywhere in between. We HIGHLY recommend leaving the flats there and washing the bag every few months.

Our top picks!

Item
Good For Experienced Kids
Bezioner Satin Ballet Shoes
Our Top Pick Overall!
Bloch 20209 Arise Ballet Shoes
Preview
Satin Ballet Dance Shoes Split Leather Sole Pink Ballet Slippers Flats with Ribbon Gymnastics Shoes for Girls Women
Bloch S0209 Arise Leather Ballet Shoe Black
Material
Satin
Leather
Sole
Split
Full
Top
Double cross band
Drawstring
Price
Price not available
Price not available
Good For Experienced Kids
Item
Bezioner Satin Ballet Shoes
Preview
Satin Ballet Dance Shoes Split Leather Sole Pink Ballet Slippers Flats with Ribbon Gymnastics Shoes for Girls Women
Material
Satin
Sole
Split
Top
Double cross band
Price
Price not available
Buy now
Our Top Pick Overall!
Item
Bloch 20209 Arise Ballet Shoes
Preview
Bloch S0209 Arise Leather Ballet Shoe Black
Material
Leather
Sole
Full
Top
Drawstring
Price
Price not available
Buy now

For children who are just starting out, we really like the Skyrocket canvas slippers. They are versatile, comfortable and supportive, everything you’re looking for in a great kid’s slipper without any extras that may or may not be helpful. They’re designed for ballet, but can be used in other dance styles should your child choose to branch out.

The Bezioner satin shoe is our favourite pick for the child who’s had years of lessons already and knows they’d like to stick with ballet and eventually dance en pointe. The Bezioner mirrors the look and feel of a pointe shoe while maintaining the stability of a flat shoe.

And our best overall pick? The Bloch S0209 Arise leather shoe, for durability, versatility and choice. The S0209 has all the durable leather and cotton breathability of the regular Arise, but with versatile support so that children can wear them in a variety of dance classes, not just ballet. Not to mention in addition to colour choice, you can choose a variety of widths, always a plus!

Last update on 2020-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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