difference between ballet shoes and slippers

difference between ballet shoes and slippers

In Fashion Blog, Outfit Ideas & Style Tips by shubham JL

Choosing the right ballet uniform for your budding ballerina can be stressful if you have no idea what to look for. One of the things most people struggle with is differentiating between ballet shoes and slippers.  If you’ve never taken a ballet class before, there’s a great chance you’ll end up grabbing the wrong pair of shoes.

The words “ballet shoes” and “ballet slippers” are used interchangeably and mean the same thing. However, the proper term for ballet footwear is ballet shoes. Unlike the fuzzy house shoes commonly referred to as “slippers”, ballet shoes are made of leather or canvas, not satin, and they fit like a glove.

Apart from the design of the shoes, you’ll also notice that the slippers come in different colors, and the quality varies from one manufacturer to another. Therefore, it’s crucial to know what to look for so that you get the best shoes for your little ballet star. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Are Ballet Slippers Called?

Ballet slippers are called ballet shoes. These shoes are lightweight and have thin soles to offer maximum flexibility. What’s more, the shoes feature an elastic band that’s meant to secure the shoe tightly to the foot during the entire performance. A proper ballet slipper should also offer a snug fit, like a glove.

These shoes also come in different materials, including satin, canvas, and soft leather. Satin is the least durable and is mostly used for formal performances. Compared to satin, canvas is way more durable and affordable. However, if you’re looking for a durable pair of ballerina slippers, leather is the way to go.

Ballet slippers also come in different colors. The common color is a tan skin-like color that’s meant to give a barefoot look. However, in most cases, male ballet dancers (danseurs) wear black or white-colored ballet shoes, while female ballet dancers (danseuses) wear pink ones.

You should also know that it’s quite challenging to find the right fitting ballerina shoes. Because dancers have different shaped feet, toe lengths, and feet arch flexibility, a one-size-fits-all design often doesn’t work. For this reason, most ballerina shoes have to be customized to the dancer’s feet. This said it’s not impossible to find a quality pair of ballet shoes, especially for a beginner.

Source: Dance Facts

The 5 Best Ballet Slippers Available Online

Buying ballerina shoes may seem like a fairly easy thing to do if you’ve not yet begun the process. All you have to do is to find the right size and fabric, right? Not necessarily. Thanks to technological advancements, there has been a major evolution in how dance shoes are created. Today, manufacturers are providing shoes that offer more comfort, stability, and durability. As a result, you’ll have a plethora of options to choose from, which only makes narrowing down to one pair of ballet shoes harder.

Fortunately, you won’t have to go through the hassle. We scoured the internet and identified the best ballet slippers on the market.  Here are the top 5 we think are worth investing in.

STELLE Premium Authentic Leather Ballet Slipper

If you’re new to ballet dancing or your loved one has shown interest in the dance, you won’t go wrong with the STELLE Premium Authentic Leather Ballet Slipper. One of the best things about this slipper is that it forms to the foot. This is an important feature for a beginner because the dance can be quite exhausting on the feet.

We also appreciate the manufacturer’s attention to detail and quality. The exterior of the slippers is made using soft leather material, which offers incredible durability. The shoes also feature a soft suede sole, which further boosts the durability of the shoes.

You also get a variety of colors to choose from, which is an excellent feature for beginners who are yet to know which colors they prefer. They can play around with different designs until they know what works for them.


  • Beginner-friendly
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Comfortable


  • Too wide
  • Not the best for experienced dancers

Bloch Dance Women’s Synchrony Split Sole Stretch Canvas Ballet Slipper/Shoe

The brand is everything, even when it comes to ballet shoes. You need a brand you can trust and one that has a reputation for manufacturing quality ballerina slippers. You can’t go wrong with Bloch. The company has an excellent reputation for producing top-notch ballet slippers for beginners and experts alike.

The Bloch Dance Women’s Synchrony Split Sole Stretch Canvas Ballet Slipper/Shoe isn’t an exception. These slippers offer great flexibility and durability. Featuring canvas material with a blend of elastic, you can rest assured these ballet shoes will remain put throughout your dance performance.

The sole is also made of full canvas with a combination of leather and elastic to offer durability and flexibility. However, this ballet slipper only comes in one color—pink.


  • Affordable
  • Flexible
  • Durable
  • Leather sole
  • Snug fit


  • Elastic may wear out
  • Only comes in one color

Capezio Women’s Daisy Ballet Shoe

There are many manufacturers that tout themselves as the best, even when their products are subpar. But if there’s a product we’d bet our money on, it’s the Capezio Women’s Daisy Ballet Shoe. If you’re looking for a comfortable traditional ballet shoe for your recital, you won’t go wrong with this one. These slippers are impressive in and out.

For starters, the slippers are made of 100% leather. This speaks volumes about the manufacturer’s dedication to providing a quality product. Leather is the best material you can use for shoes. It’s durable, comfortable, and offers excellent flexibility – everything you need in ballet shoes.

And that’s not even the best part. The slippers also feature an ID tag with your name on it. Therefore, if you misplace your shoes at a recital or class, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding them. Now that’s worth paying for!


  • Top-notch quality
  • Features an elastic drawstring
  • Has an ID tag
  • Comfortable


  • Hard to adjust
  • Wide

Swan Speakers Pro High-Count Cotton Canvas Ballet Dance Slippers

These Swan Speakers dance slippers are the epitome of expert craftsmanship and quality construction. The slippers have a simple design, but the execution is perfect. One of the things we love about these slippers is the fact that the manufacturer added a thicker sole than you’d normally find in most ballet shoes.

This is an excellent feature because it offers additional comfort and maneuverability, especially for beginner dancers who are still learning the dance. The slippers are also made using a combination of quality materials, including suede, leather, cotton, and canvas. These materials offer comfort, durability, and flexibility, which is what every ballet dancer needs.

The only downside of these slippers is the fact that they come in one color. However, based on their incredible features, this should deter you from grabbing a pair.


  • Thick sole
  • Versatile
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable


  • May not be very durable
  • Strong odor

TXJ Sports Women Ballet Shoes

The TMJ Sports Women Ballet Shoes are also an excellent choice, especially for beginners. One of our favorite things about these ballet slippers is the fact that they feature comfortable insoles. These insoles provide incredible arch support, which is crucial when you’re just getting started.

What’s more, the slippers feature a non-slip leather sole that keeps you grounded throughout your performance. The shoes also feature elastic bands to keep the slippers tightly snug on your fit throughout the entire performance.

And that’s not all. These slippers also have a cotton lining that wicks sweat away, thereby providing maximum comfort. And if you love to have choices when it comes to color, these slippers come in 3 different colors.


  • Comfortable
  • Quality materials
  • Provides arch support
  • Breathable


  • Elastics may widen
  • Not machine washable

Your Ballet Slippers Questions Answered

So what should you expect when you go shopping for ballet slippers?  Is it the same as buying any other type of shoes? Can you use the shoes for other purposes other than dancing? Here are the answers to these and more questions about ballet slippers.

Can You Wear Ballet Slippers Outside?

No. It’s not a good idea to wear ballet slippers outside. Because these shoes don’t have an outdoor sole, you risk damaging them when you wear them outside. If the shoes get wet inside, there’s also a great likelihood of damage. Not to mention, you’d be dragging dirt and grime inside the studio.

If you forgot something in your car and you need to rush outside to get it in your ballet shoes, that may be acceptable. But avoid using your ballet shoes anywhere else apart from the dance studio. The dance floor is designed to be soft and easy on your ballet shoes compared to the rough terrain outside.

(If you need a good pair of shoes to wear with skinny jeans, then ballet slippers aren’t the best thing. However, we’ve listed some good ones in that link!)

Do Ballet Slippers Have Left Right?

No. Ballet slippers don’t have a left or right. When you buy them, you should test out the fit to see which one feels most comfortable on which foot. Next, mark each of the slippers as either left or right so that you know which one to wear on each foot. Over time, the slippers will mold to the natural shape of your feet.

Source: WishUponABallet

When Should Ballet Slippers Be Replaced?

How often you replace your ballet slippers will depend on the quality of the material. Canvas is among the least durable materials and will require replacing about every 30 or so days. Using the slippers longer than this may lead to bacteria build-up. With materials like leather, you’ll probably get more life from them. You can replace the shoes when they start becoming ill-fitting or showing signs of visible wear.

Source: GetBalletBox

Can You Wear Socks with Ballet Slippers?

Yes. Most ballet dancers who are not comfortable wearing tights wear ankle socks with their ballet slippers. It’s a great idea to wear socks or tights because it protects your ballet shoes from damage from sweat and bacteria build-up. However, you can still get away with wearing your ballet shoes barefooted.

Final Thoughts

If you are not in ballet classes yet and you want to learn this beautiful dance, you can achieve this even from the comfort of your home! Check out the best online ballet courses to start learning and get ready to use those ballet shoes.

That’s everything you need to know about ballet shoes, which are commonly known as ballet slippers. As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing ballet shoes. However, the most important features are flexibility, comfort, and fit. So make sure you try on a few pairs before parting with your hard-earned cash.

(Maybe you just need some comfortable shoes for being on your feet all day. In this case, ditch the ballet slippers and head over to that article to find the perfect shoes for all day use!)