Leather Vs. Canvas–the final Debate

The long lasted debate as to what shoe to buy for ballet: canvas or leather…  I’ve outlined below all the facts, but I’ll first tell you my advice:

If you are just starting out, buy leather to get stronger.  After your second year, switch to canvas, you’ll learn faster as it will be easier to dance.  Then when you get into Intermediate and Advanced dancing (unless you are a man or a more built women) use leather for technique class, and canvas for shows and rehearsals.  This is the Cardinalli technique to shoes. 

I always prefer split sole, regardless of the fabric, or age of performer.


Perks of the Canvas:

  • Doesn’t scuff as easily
  • Comfortable
  • Easier to turn
  • Shows the arch better
  • Not as overwhelming to buy
  • Breathable
  • Machine Washable (gentle) (air dry)
  • Make your foot look better
  • Preferred by men
  • Better for Marley floors (better for tougher floors)

Perks of the Leather:

  • Lasts longer
  • Strengthens feet (great for beginners)
  • Molds to the foot, can stretch a little
  • Can stick to the floor
  • Makes your foot stronger
  • Easier to hand-wash and clean (air dry)
  • Better for wooden floors (better for slipperier floors)

Downside to the Canvas:

  • Gets holes
  • Doesn’t last as long
  • Does not stretch
  • Have to get used to the ball of the foot for many brands
  • Will need to buy more often
  • Get dirtier

Downside to the Leather:

  • The top of the shoe appears to be more worn, and beat up.
  • Work harder
  • Can bunch up
  • Changes with wet weather
  • More choices of style
  • Weighs more
  • Have to break it in

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