My New Shoes!

Haha, that's not my shoe! It's the free keychain that came with one of the pairs of shoes.

Haha, that’s not my shoe! It’s the free keychain that came with one of the pairs of shoes.

This past monday, since there was no school (ballet class or otherwise) for me, I took the opportunity to  make the long-anticipated 2-hour-plus drive to the Big City to check out a dancewear store. So much to see! 3 hours of rummaging  and trying things on later I came out with 2 pairs of shoes, some leotards, and a few other goodies.  This post will focus on the shoes; more to come on my other finds later.

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about trying out split-sole shoes.  On the day that I forgot my shoes for evening class I had the opportunity to try out some cloth split-sole shoes and I really liked how the arch is way more apparent.  When I got my first pair of ballet shoes back when I started ballet I knew nothing about ballet shoes – or ballet, for that matter – so I had just gone with the first thing that fit. Actually, I have a confession: my first ballet shoes came from Payless Shoes, not a real dance store! To be fair, at the time I had no idea that I would still be doing ballet this much time later.

It’s about time that I got some “official” ballet shoes (tangent: is it pretentious or just plain innacurate to refer to them as “shoes” rather than “slippers”? Is the term “shoes” reserved for pointe shoes? Are both terms actually interchangeable?).  Also, for a while now I’ve been wondering, is it me or is it the shoes. (Answer: A little from column A, a little from column B)

image

Anyway, at the dance store I picked up 2 pairs of these shoes, by Sansha. The store had a pair of each size to try on, so I didn’t open the pairs I actually got until I was home.

Brand-new clean shoe!

Brand-new clean shoe!

Bottom view - split-soles!

Bottom view – split-soles!

The first thing I was struck by – besides how pristine and clean and pink they were – was the fact that the elastics were not sewed (sewn?).

Unsewn elastics

Unsewn elastics

I told Boyfriend “Look! The elastics, you have to sew them yourself! These shoes are legit!”

And he’s says, “Wait, it’s a good thing that the elastics are not sewn? Isn’t that, like, bad craftmanship or something?”

“No! It means they’re real ballet shoes! These shoes are for reals!” I seriously couldn’t get over the fact that I now own some real ballet shoes from a real dance shoe manufacturer (which looking back now seems kind of a dumb thing to get over-excited about. Ballet tends to make me giddy and regress my age by about 25 years. Whatever.).

So while I was thrilled with the new shoes, then came the challenge of actually sewing the elastics.

My sorry excuse for a sewing kit

My sorry excuse for a sewing kit

I used safety pins to pin where I thought the elastics should go, all the while hoping that I wouldn’t stab my foot or something.  Boyfriend suggested I use a Sharpie to mark off on the elastic where I need to sew, but I didn’t want to risk staining the shoes before I’d even worn them. That would’ve majorly sucked.

Safety pins near foot, perhaps not the wisest idea...

Safety pins near foot, perhaps not the wisest idea…

My final sewing job was not perfect, but I was really eager to get these on my feet and practice in them. So I may have rushed it a bit. It did not help that even though I was all “Yay, I’m sewing elastics like a “real” ballet student! LOL, at the same time I was in a hurry since rather than responsibly sewing them the night before I forgot and and had to rush through it before practicing time. I’m still not sure if I sewed them right, and Boyfriend said they look lopsided. But they are staying on my feet, so that’s the important part, I think (I hope?).

I wore the shoes to wednesday evening class. Compared to the thick leather (possibly pleather?) material of my last shoes, it felt like there was nothing between my foot and the floor. But not the same as being barefoot, either. So odd at first, but then I’ve just grown so used to my last shoes, and will probably continue to use them as well. For now I’m mostly going to use the new ones and see how I’m feeling about it by next class on monday.

Even if I decide that I prefer my original slippers, at least now I can say that I’ve tried them and sometimes it’s the opportunity that matters. The choice.

All done!

All done!

And I really like how they came with this little mesh bag for storing them, or taking them to class! Super cute and convenient.

I'm in love with these new shoes!

  “Real” ballet shoes have their pros!

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10 thoughts on “My New Shoes!

  1. annalienor

    Congratulations on your first pair of ‘real’ shoes. I used to love getting new ones and sewing on the elastics just right. Now the task has lost its charm and I’m glad mine come pre-sewn.

    Something worries me, though: They look MUCH too big in the picture (if that’s your foot). For safety (not to mention aesthetic) reasons, ballet slippers should be snug. Yours certainly look too wide and also too long. Don’t you slide around in them? If you want to make them smaller, try washing them, then put them on for a moment when they are wet to let them take the shape of your foot and then let them dry. They usually shrink after washing.

    Reply
    1. flowergirlkit Post author

      I agree about the width – when I pull back my toes they do look somewhat baggy around where the elastic is sewn. I figured it just had to do with my sloppy sewing job. Lengthwise they feel ok, in fact, whe I tried them on for the first time they felt like my toes – well, my big toe at least – were a bit squeezed in. In the picture I hadn’t adjusted the drawstring elastic yet, either. I may also take out the stitches and resew the elastics.
      If they stretch out any more though I may wash them to shrink them, thanks for the tip.

      Reply
  2. wedoballet

    Yay for real slippers. Sansha Pro1C were my first canvas slippers back in the day and what I put BoyMowgli in for the first year when he insisted on shoes that looked liked the grown-ups. 🙂 I would probably resew the elastics, I think you’ll be happier. Aim for the vertical seam on the lining (where the tag is) and pull it a bit tighter. Have fun with them!

    Reply
  3. asgolbeck

    Hi! I just wanted to tell you how much I love reading your blog – you’re a great writer! I can really relate to some of your experiences as a beginning adult student – I’m 22 and I just started taking ballet and tap this past summer and as much as I love them, I’ve really been struggling with feelings of inadequacy. I’m currently in a general adult tap class (it’s a small, family-owned studio so the adult classes have no levels) that’s way too difficult for me. Even though here’s no specified level, it’s definitely not a beginner’s class. After a particularly rough class last week, I’m going to try an adult/teen beginner’s class at a different studio and I’m hoping to try a beginning adult/teen ballet class as well (it may just be that tap isn’t my thing lol!). I’m pretty shy and I don’t have a lot of friends, but I feel less alone after reading your blog posts. I look forward to reading more!!

    Reply
    1. flowergirlkit Post author

      Hello there! Thank you for the kind words 🙂
      Yeah the whole levels thing in dance classes is weird – like what do you mean people that have been doing this for 4 years are beginners?!
      The good thing about community college dance classes is that everyone starts off at the very beginning (at least for the first few weeks); I would have been so lost if I’d started at my open-level class.
      While I’ve never tried tap, I’ve had this feeling that ballet – while extremely hard – would somehow be the easiest for me; something about the way all the moves are set in stone, as opposed to the “freedom” in other styles of dance.
      It’s good to meet a fellow shy person. My first ballet teacher said that ballet appeals to shy people for whatever reason…

      Reply
      1. asgolbeck

        Thanks for replying back! 🙂 I guess I just meant that with the levels, I need to find a class with people that are absolute beginners like me (I don’t think that people that have 4 years’ worth of experience are beginners!). Otherwise, I just get embarrassed and frustrated. Over the summer, I tried a ballet class that was “supposed” to be a beginner’s class, but I ended up being the only beginner and the rest of the class were advanced dancers who were taking the class as a supplement to their advanced lessons. Needless to say, I didn’t last too long there lol.
        I think I may try and get back into my community college’s ballet class next semester…you’re right, it’s really nice when everyone is at the same level, especially in the very beginning. Plus, it’s probably a good social opportunity for us shy people! I have heard that before – that shy people are attracted to ballet. Have you seen/read Misty Copeland’s autobiography? I didn’t finish reading it, but apparently she’s pretty shy and quiet. Who knows, maybe these traits even help people succeed in ballet?! 😉

      2. flowergirlkit Post author

        I agree that 4 years of experience should not be called “beginner”; I’m starting to think that in ballet anything other than beginner means ex-pro! I’m still really apprehensive about trying out any studios besides the one I currently take class at, and school. Never know what is meant by “beginner”…
        The community college classes start at the same level, but around midway in the semester the difficulty increases quick. After my first semester I took a break and worked on the moves at home (with the help of youtube). Don’t know if I would recommend that – people always go on about learning bad habits – but it’s what I did. From what I’ve noticed by now, it’s almost expected for first semester students to not be so graceful and all that, though my first semester I felt like the only one…
        I wish I could say that it’s been a good social opportunity, but unfortunately in my experience it hasn’t. To be fair, I am extremely introverted at times – and sometimes people think I look too serious, or worse, unfriendly – but I haven’t really befriended any of my classmates. There no talking rule in ballet may have to do with that as well, but even before class while we stretch no one is super friendly. For all I know they’re shy also…I don’t have any other dance class experience, but from what I’ve seen while leaving, the student/dancers for other types of dance are somehow, I don’t know, rowdier. Perhaps the shy gravitate towards ballet because of the “quiet” vibe.
        I haven’t read Misty Copeland’s book, but if I ever stumble across it I’ll be sure to pick it up. Her experiences must be interesting to read, as a shy person as well as a “curvier” than usual professional dancer, and woman of color (as am I).

  4. Ilde

    Hi! I agree about your shoes looking a bit big/loose, but there are ways and means around that, as you’ve seen. And I still get a kick out of new shoes and sewing them – ribbons even more so, because you do feel like a “real” dancer then! I prefer canvas to leather (I use Grishko), mainly because I feel “closer” to the floor, like my feet can articulate better. The split-sole arch-lifting thing is a bonus!

    Reply
    1. flowergirlkit Post author

      My feet’s shape – long, sort of thin and bony, with uneven toes (and my smaller toes have a tendency to curl at rest) – make finding a pair of shoes that fit correctly somewhat difficult. The smaller size I tried on made my big toe feel scruched up, so I didn’t want to get something too tight. I’ve tried wearing too tight (non-ballet) shoes before and the result was an ingrown toenail and limp. Not fun!
      Probably better to just shrink to fit through washing, or make sure my elastics are sewn correctly.
      I like the articulating; the “closeness” of the floor is different at first, but I imagine once I get used to it I’ll wonder how I ever did ballet in the thicker leather shoes.
      Sewing ribbons – I’m not there yet, but I can imagine feeling ultra dancer-y!

      Reply

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