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Ballet Shoes - Should I Choose Satin, Canvas or Leather?

Ballet shoes are available in leather, canvas and satin. They're very lightweight, have a thin sole yet are required to go through a great deal of strain throughout dance classes, rehearsals and performances. This article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each of the fabrics.

The most aesthetically pleasing ballet shoes are made from satin. However, it's usually best to avoid satin shoes for everyday use and keep them for special occasions. This is because the fabric is hard wearing enough to withstand the daily rigour of ballet classes. Satin also lacks any give, which means it is unable to stretch and mould to the shape of your foot.

Canvas has several advantages over satin. They're fairly durable and will outlast most pairs of satin shoes several times over. Shoes made from this fairly stiff fabric will retain their shape though they can sometimes snag and form holes. They're often preferred by male dancers who sometimes find that leather shoes stick to the floor, as they generally weigh more than female dancers. Canvas does not suffer from this problem. Another benefit of canvas shoes is that they are machine washable making them easy to maintain. Some dancers also feel that canvas shoes allow them to better feel the surface of the floor through the shoe than other fabrics.

Leather ballet shoes have many advantages over those made from canvas or satin. The main benefit is that leather is particularly hardwearing which means that it will usually last much longer than any other of fabric. Other benefits include the fact that they require the dancer's foot to work harder to stretch which helps develop the strength of the muscles in the feet and legs. Though the one major downside of leather is that it is more expensive than canvas or satin, the benefits it offers make it worth the investment.

If you're not sure which ballet shoes to choose, leather is almost always the best choice. However, if you're not ready to spend that little bit of extra cash just yet, it's a good idea to start off with a pair of canvas ballet shoes. If you decide that you enjoy ballet classes, then you can always buy a pair of leather ballet shoes when your canvas ones need replacing. Remember though, before you go out and buy any ballet shoes, check with your teacher to see whether there are any particular shoes they recommend.