Ballet shoes, or ballerina slippers, are the shoes a ballet dancer wears at the dance studio or on stage. Two basic types of ballerina slippers can be worn by a dancer. One is the general ballet shoe, a basic ballet slipper that is worn by both men and women. The second type of slipper is the pointe shoe, a shoe designed to allow the female dancer to stand on her toes.
Ballerina slippers that are basic ballet shoes are made from canvas, leather, or satin. Leather shoes are the most durable and expensive shoes to buy. Canvas shoes are less durable and most often worn by men. Satin ballet shoes are usually worn by women and can be dyed various colors.
Canvas, leather, and satin ballet shoes possess flexible soles and a piece of elastic that holds the foot inside the shoe. The slippers in this style come in several basic colors: pink, white, black, or tan. Girls in beginning ballet class are usually required to wear soft pink slippers, while boys most commonly wear white.
Advanced female dancers wear ballerina slippers in the form of pointe shoes, but men may also wear pointe shoes when dancing a role in a particular ballet. These shoes are manufactured in a variety of colors, but the most common shade is pink. These slippers are comprised of two basic parts: the box and the shank. The box of a pointe shoe is made of burlap that is hardened with glue.
This box helps to support the dancer when she rises onto the tips of her toes. The shank of a pointe shoe is comprised of layers of hardened material that are placed along the sole of the shoe. Its purpose is to support the arch of the dancer's foot as she rises onto her toes.
The pointe shoe is tied around the ankle with ribbons. An elastic band goes around the ankle to prevent the shoe from slipping off when the dancer stands on her toes. Both the ribbons and elastic are sewn onto the shoes by the ballet dancer. Many female dancers break in their shoes by slamming them inside a door, hitting them against a hard surface, or using other special methods to make them more comfortable and quiet as they move across the floor.
Pointe shoes are ballerina slippers that should only be warned by advanced dancers with the necessary strength in the feet and ankles. Those who attempt to dance using pointe shoes without being properly trained can risk serious injury. Ballet shoes are ballet slippers that can be worn by both beginning and advanced dancers, as wearing these types of slippers does not require special strength in order to use safely.