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Fit Options for Dance Shoes

Not everyone wants their shoes to fit the same. Once you find your FootID™, you can customize your shoe size choice to get the exact fit that's best for you…

Comfort Fit

This is the recommended fit in our FootID™ system and by most dance educators - not too big, not too small. There is growing room, but not so much that the articulation of the foot is compromised with too much additional material and length.

For a Comfort Fit, simply choose the recommended shoe size which corresponds to your FootID™ number on the product page of the shoe that you're about to buy.

Competition Fit

A snug fit designed to accent the workings of the foot and arch, the Competition Fit lets dancer’s show off their hard work and technique! A dance shoe fit this way allows teachers to see the mechanics of the foot and put in correction and is how dance shoes were designed to be worn. This fit is recommended if the dancer is competing, performing, auditioning or doing an exam in the near future.

If you want a Competition Fit, go down one FootID™ number.
(i.e. if you're an ID 20, choose ID 19 for a Competition Fit.)

Maximum Growth Fit

Just like the name says, the Maximum Growth Fit allows for the maximum room to safely accommodate growing feet. This fit may be too sloppy for some dance educators, so check with your teacher before wearing the shoes to ensure it is appropriate for your studio.

If you want a Maximum Growth Fit, go up one FootID™ number. (i.e. if you're an ID 20, choose ID 21 for a Maximum Growth Fit.

Dance shoes are made from soft materials often without a full solid sole. If you are not familiar with dance shoes, the different fits can look exactly the same. (We know as our graphic designer asked why we sent them all the same pictures.)

Photos of jazz and ballet shoes in Comfort Fit, Competitive Fit and Maximum Growth Fit

How to test the fit of your shoes

Testing the fit of soft dance shoes

With soft shoes such as ballet slippers and jazz shoes, you need to test the size sitting down, as the foot slides to the front of the shoe when standing, as you can see in the pictures above. While sitting pull the heel as far back in the shoe as possible. The max growing room size will have approximately a thumb width of fabric in the end. The comfort fit, about a half thumb and the competition fit 1/4 of a thumb or less. 

Testing the fit of hard dance shoes

Tap, character and jazz sneakers can be measured like regular shoes: you want them to be comfortable when standing without the heel slipping. Do not have more than a thumbs length of extra room in a tap shoe or the dancer will not be able to get over the taps and beginners especially will  slip when trying to make the new tap sounds. 

Characteristics of each fit type

Comfort Fit

comfort fit dance shoes

  • Some wrinkling of material.
  • Room in toe.
  • Some extra material in arch.
 Competitive Fit

competitive fit dance shoes

  • Material pulled out and formed to foot.
  • Toe reaches the end of the shoe. (Allows for stretch of the shoe.)
  • Arch is fully outlined and articulated.
Maximum Growth Fit

maximum growth fit dance shoes

  • Lots of extra material and wrinkling of material.
  • Extra room in toe.
  • Arch appears lower with extra fabric.

Fit Tips

  1. With some canvas ballet ballet slippers the fabric stretches, so give it a good pull to determine how much actual room is in the shoe.
  2. The drawstring in the ballet slipper should gently be pulled to snug the shoe in length and width. You can knot and trim the drawstring, but not too short. The drawstring can be loosened if the dancer’s foot grows and the shoes becomes too snug. Loosening the drawstring will give a little more room in the length.
  3. Leather dance shoes will stretch 1-2 sizes.
  4. Try shoes on with tights. It dramatically changes the fit of the shoe. Even thin socks have thick seams that have ballet slippers and jazz shoe fit in an odd way. A microfibre trouser sock is recommended if tights are not worn (Bare feet in dance shoes will result in VERY stinky shoes.)