How to Measure for Ballet Slippers

By Valerie Taylor
A good fit helps to support the foot and prevent injuries.

The best way to fit a ballet slipper is to try them on in person. Because this is not a realistic option for families who are short on time, or who don't have a dance supply store in their area, many retailers offer ballet slippers and other dance necessities online. Ballet slippers come in a variety of styles from canvas to leather or vegan, and with split or full soles.

Place a blank piece of paper on a flat surface and tape the sides to keep it in place.

Ask the dancer to stand with one foot placed flat on the paper. If the dancer wears tights with her slippers, she should wear tights during measurement. Measure bare feet if the slippers are worn without socks or tights.

Trace the outline of the foot. Mark the farthest point of the heel and the longest point of the first or second toe. Measure the vertical distance between the two points in centimeters.

Repeat with the other foot. One foot may be smaller than the other and it may be necessary to order two different slipper sizes for a snug fit.

Use the sizing chart to determine U.S. shoe size. For example, a foot that measures 22.5 centimeters will wear a size 6 U.S. street shoe.

Check the shoe manufacturer for their recommendations about what size slipper to order. For example, Bloch ballet slippers for children should be ordered in the U.S. street shoe size, while women's slipper sizes are two to two-and-a-half sizes smaller than their U.S. street size.

Determine the width of the slipper. Adult dancers who don't know their width should try a medium width of C or D. Choose B, or narrow, for children's feet. A foot that needs extra-width should go up one slipper size.

Order the ballet slipper in several different sizes so the dancer can personally fit the shoe properly at home. Return the slippers that are too small, and consider keeping larger slippers for young dancers who will need to replace their slippers often due to growth and wear.

Fit the slipper so each foot is snug without causing the toes to curl. When the toes are pointed, there should be no space between the arch of the foot and the slipper.

Tip

Plan ahead and order four to six weeks early.

Make sure the retailer has a user-friendly return policy.

Warning

Don't order bigger slippers for growing feet. Loose shoes may lead to accidents and injuries. Most slippers need to be replaced a few times a year from wear anyway.

About the Author

Valerie Taylor holds a master's degree in ancient history and a bachelor's degree in education and literature. She coauthored an article on Spartan religion for the "Journal of Sparta" in 2010 and has written numerous, history-related articles for Internet publication. Taylor enjoys hiking, gardening and running half-marathons.