Good ballet slippers to buy?
November 28, 2005 6:22 PM   Subscribe

I need to buy ballet flats for a gift. I know nothing about them. Help!

I need a pair of black size 5 adult "ballerina flats." Please help me with tips, brands, places to buy and features to look for. They're for an anonymous 12-year-old girl I've never met; It's for a charity gift exchange at work.
posted by JDC8 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are these actual shoes for ballet dancing, or just the flat women's shoes known as "ballet flats"?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:25 PM on November 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

Just FYI, ballerina flats and ballet slippers are not the same thing.

A bit of Goooogle would show you that the former is a casual shoe style, for example.
posted by kcm at 6:26 PM on November 28, 2005

Ballet flats are shoes like this:

They're not actual ballerina shoes but rather a casual style based vaguely on shoes actual dancers wear. They have a flat sole and round toes and.. look like that. They've been popular for a while and are pretty ubiquitous. Payless, Wal-Mart, Target and any department store will have them. For online shopping, I would generally reccomend Their selection of ballet flats in size 5 is not so great, but these or these are nice and not expensive. Here are even cheaper ones on Don't get her those sequined flats; they're ugly. has these adorable shoes deeply discounted, but maybe they're still too expensive. (If you wanna get those, don't get the lime. Ick!)
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:49 PM on November 28, 2005

Here is a super cute pair on ebay.

These are nice too.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:13 PM on November 28, 2005

Anyway, just make sure they're flat and have a round toe and no strap. And they should be really cute.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:16 PM on November 28, 2005

Everyone is right-- "ballet flats" refers to real shoes, not shoes used to dance ballet. The look approximates the dancing shoes style, though. has a tutorial/recommendations list. None of these may work, but now you know all about the style.

Good exemplars are this pair and this pair by Hollywould, an extremely overpriced designer who most 12 year olds would never recognize anyway.

You don't have to spend nearly this much, of course, but please do not get anything from Payless or Target. 12 year old girls, especially those who ask for things like ballet flats, are very brand conscious. Better to go for a brand you've never heard of than an obviously Target/Payless brand.

These from Urban Outfitters are cute, but I would maybe stick with the requested black. Then again, these are only $18, so you might even throw the pink ones in just for fun...These are cute, but not strictly ballet flats, exactly. Well... kinda...These are cute, too and are on sale on $19.

Actually, the best thing to do, probably, is to go to the mall, go to all the teen-bop shoe stores (Steve Madden, The Wild Pair, etc.) and ask for the salesperson's advice. They'll know exactly what you're asking for and probably have several suggestions. These are very in this season. Clothing stores like Gap, Express, H&M, Forever 21 all sometimes carry shoes, and look at what we turned up just from just Urban Outfitters!

Also, if you go for an obvious chain store, she'll probably be able to use a gift receipt if the sizing is off, as it often is in trendy shoes. Maybe go for a softer, more flexible material (like the first shoes from Urban), just in case?

Also check out amazon's section on Ballerina flats and
posted by lalalana at 7:19 PM on November 28, 2005

Oh yeah, you said black. Oh well. Those slutty red ones were so adorable. :/
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:48 PM on November 28, 2005

I've got a pair of pink ballet flats from Payless, and while I get a ton of compliments on them they scuffed quickly and aren't so cute anymore. So you might avoid the very cheapest brands (if you're willing to spend more than $15).

Like everyone above has said, it should be incredibly easy to find this style of shoe in almost any store. Try DSW if they have a store near you -- they've got cheap prices and great selection. I'd stay away from anything overly-decorated (like the sequin-covered ones, although my little sisters love those), but try for something that's not completely plain -- something with a little bow or texture.
posted by katieinshoes at 7:48 PM on November 28, 2005

If ballet slippers are actually what was meant, I would suggest buying a gift certificate at you local dancewear shop as proper fit of the slippers on a growing 12 year old would be snug but with a thumb's width of space at the heel when she points her foot. Not that easy to do with just a number and no width.

She would also be able to choose whether she prefers leather vs. canvas and full sole vs. split sole.
posted by romakimmy at 8:14 AM on November 29, 2005

simply: capezio dance.

They have their flagship store here in midtown NYC. If you can't visit, go to their website, which i've used before to order remotely.

Keep in mind that ballet shoes always run 2-3 sizes smaller than your actual foot. For instance, I wear a size 6.5 USA shoe, but for ballet, I wear a size 4.
posted by naxosaxur at 9:28 AM on November 29, 2005

Ballerina/ballet flats are not ballet slippers.
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:48 AM on November 29, 2005

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