Why are ballet shoes so expensive? (5 IMPORTANT tips!)

Ballet shoes are a specialized type of shoes that are designed for a specific purpose and are quite expensive for a beginner to afford to buy on a regular basis. 

The question is since the shoes don’t last long like other shoes, why is it so expensive for people interested in ballet to afford them without paying through their noses? 

This article walks you through all the reasons why ballet shoes are so expensive and factors to consider in other to have your ballet shoes last longer.

Why are ballet shoes so expensive?

Ballet shoes are expensive because of several factors which include the cost of making each pair, demand and supply principles, availability of good brands, cost of shipping as well and other factors that will be discussed in this article. 

Since ballet shoes are specialised which requires the attention and experience of an expert shoemaker to supervise the handmade production process, the cost of the shoe usually goes high due to all the above factors which other shoe types like Mary Janes lack.

Another factor to consider is that ballet shoes can’t be mass-produced in a factory by machines because a simple mistake or error can make the shoe worthless and unstable to a ballerina.

9 Reasons why ballet shoes are so expensive.

The following are both the major and minor reasons why ballet shoes are expensive.

  • How the shoes are made. 
  • Demand and supply principles. 
  • Availability of a few reputable brands. 
  • Fewer people play ballets. 
  • Custom made. 
  • Short life span. 
  • Cost of materials. 
  • Inability to recycle them. 
  • Cost of labour and shipping.

How the shoes are made.

The difficult process of making a pair of ballet shoes is the first factor that made their cost on the high side.

The majority of ballet shoes are handmade in the factory which requires a lot of manpower, expertise, and energy costs as well as the minimum chance of mistakes which can be costly if it happens. 

Ballet shoes cannot be mass-produced because they may end up being rejected by the ballerinas which will cause the company producing them to incur huge losses since the shoes have near zero ability of recycling.

The procedure of making ballet shoes is long, difficult and time-consuming which is why the shoes cannot be at a relatively cheap price if the makers want to keep the business for a long time.

Demand and supply principles.

Ballet shoes are not general shoes that can be purchased by anybody in the market.

It is a special shoe with a saturated number of customers that exist only in a specific category of people.

The higher the demand for the shoe in economics the higher the prices of the shoe but the case is different with ballet shoes.

Because there are only a few companies producing that type of shoe, the demand from ballet groups, companies and individual ballerinas is always on the high side.

Availability of a few reputable brands.

There are few companies producing ballet shoes that can be categorized as reputable brands capable of producing shoes that are reliable and qualitative to the satisfaction of professional ballerinas.

Fewer people play ballets.

Another factor that forces the prices of ballet shoes to be on the high side is that there are only a few people in the world who are actively engaged in ballet-related activities compared to other aspects or sports.

The few people playing ballets prove that the market for ballet shoes is very small and requires lots of effort, marketing skills and awareness before the ballet manufacturers can be able to make enough sales that will lead to profit generation.

Custom made.

Most Ballet shoes are custom-made to suit the needs of some specific ballet groups and influencers which will help boost their sales and improve brand awareness globally.

Any ballet shoes that come with customized specifications have a limited number of target customers which makes the price jack up higher than what it should be.

Cost of materials.

The cost of the materials that are used in making ballet shoes is another reason why the prices are a bit higher than usual.

The materials sourced for making the shoes are sometimes very hard to procure for the ballet shoes to be produced.

This will be reflected in the final cost of the ballet shoes produced.

Inability to recycle them.

Ballet shoes are not recyclable like other types of shoes.

The inability of the manufacturers to recycle the shoes makes them unattractive and shores up the prices of the shoes.

Cost of labour and shipping.

The cost of labour and shipping the shoes to various destinations around the world comes at a significant charge which includes custom duties, demurrage, transport, haulage,  container hire as well and clearing the shows at the port of entry.

These charges if you sum them together are significant which makes the shoes priced higher than they should in reality.

Short life span.

Ballet shoes have a very short lifecycle that can only last for a few days to a professional ballerina depending on the frequency of usage.

How do ballet dancers afford ballet shoes?

Many of you have been wondering how ballerinas afford to buy ballet shoes for their practice and actual performance.

This is how ballerinas afford ballet shoes:

  • Paid for by the company.
  • Sponsorships.
  • Personal purchase.
  • Support from families.
  • Part-time jobs.

Paid for by the company.

Some companies provide free ballet shoes to all the ballerinas working for them.

Companies find it more convenient to buy ballet shoes in bulk and for the benefit of their ballerinas.

If ballerinas are allowed to choose and buy their ballet shoes themselves, it will be more chaotic and will not be from the same brand which will not look professional enough to the reputation of the company involved.

To avoid issues of uniformity and high individual prices of ballet shoes, the company usually decides to buy the shoes in bulk and stock them while giving the ballerinas new pairs based on their individual needs.


Sponsors of ballerina groups or companies sometimes take the responsibility of buying ballet shoes in exchange for having their logos displayed or having the ballet company serve as ambassadors marketing their products. 

Just like in most sporting activities or any activity that involves having spectators and supporters backing them, you will find out that many companies and brands are competing to sponsor their activities in exchange for more visibility which will translate to more revenue and awareness to the company involved.

Personal purchase.

Individual ballerinas also buy ballet shoes when the need arises without waiting for companies or groups to do it for them.

Moreover, some ballerinas have no group or company with which they work.

Some beginners or those who took ballet as a part-time hobby usually buy ballet shoes with their resources.

Meanwhile, even some ballerinas working with a ballet group buy extra ballet shoes for their personal use or to give as a gift to some people from their personal resources.

Support from families.

Another means through which ballerinas can afford to buy ballet shoes is through donations, gifts and support from their family members especially parents who want to their child succeed in life.

Some families appreciate and nurture the talents of their children which can either be ballet or other activities.

Buying them ballet shoes signifies encouragement and serves as a moral booster to the confidence, happiness and zeal of their children.

Part-time jobs.

Some ballerinas also work part-time jobs to support their ballet careers and to give them the ability to buy new pairs of ballet shoes for themselves.

Since it is only the professional ballerinas that are usually working full time on the job, beginners and other categories of people that wants to engage in ballet practice must look for adequate means of supplementing for new pairs of extra ballet shows so that they won’t be added in case of the shoe breaking.

You can buy all your ballet shoes if you work part-time at private or public organisations in your community.


Ballet shoes are so expensive as a result of several contributing factors such as how the shoes are made, the demand and supply principles availability of few reputable brands, fewer people playing ballets, custom made, and short life span. 

Cost of materials, inability to recycle the shoes as well as cost of labour and shipping charges which forced prices to appear here than what you can get if they are produced locally.


How Much Are Ballet Shoes?

Ballet shoes and flats Farfetch


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