Why are ballet shoes sticky? (EXPLAINED! )

Ballet shoes are beautiful and the experience of the ballerinas is wonderful for people watching their performance either in a studio or through their electronic devices.

However, when the shoes are sticky, the experience is usually unpleasant and will easily disrupt the performance of even the most experienced ballet dancers when performing on stage.

This article explains various ways through which ballet shoes become sticky and an easy step-by-step method of avoiding unpleasant situations.

Why are ballet shoes sticky?

Ballet shoes are sticky because of several factors such as sweat, floor conditions, materials used in making the shoes, a dirty sole, poor quality of the shoe or studio, dampness, wear out or overuse of a pair.

All of the above are factors that can cause a ballet shoe to become sticky and make the person wearing it uncomfortable if it is not quickly addressed.

It can also result in preventing a good performance because of the discomfort or lack of easy means of manipulating it through the flexibility of an experienced ballerina.

Let us see why ballet shoes are sticky.

The floor of the studio.

The floor of the studio is the first culprit when you find your ballet shoes to be sticky.

The condition of the floor of your studio if wet, damp or dirty can cause your ballet shoes to become sticky and prevent you from performing optimally as a result of the hindrance it may cause you.

Something sticky got into your shoe.

When something sticky in nature gets to your shoes like chewing gum, it will affect your ballet shoes as well as your ability to conduct your activities with relative ease.

Sweat from your feet into the shoe.

When performing for a long period of a day, the possibility of having sweat from your feet into the ballet shoes is very high and due to the nature of ballet shoes, it will cause some stickiness into it.

Lack of breathing space in the shoes.

Most ballet shoes have no breathing ability and trapped air and sweat into the shoes while preventing air from going into them.

This aspect of ballet shoes makes them prone to becoming sticky when it is used for a long duration.

Materials used in making the shoes.

Ballet shoes are made from either light leather, satin or other materials that easily develop dampness and retain stale air, sweat and bacteria from both a ballerina’s feet and the surface it is on.

These materials contribute to the stickiness ability of ballet shoes across the ballet industry.

Dirty sole.

When the soles of your ballet shoes are dirty, they will start sticking on your feet when you wear them during training or performance in either a studio or in your room.

Dirty soles are also trapped in all sorts of bacteria that are not conducive for you to use them without washing or changing them.

Lack of adequate ventilation in the studio.

A studio is supposed to be equipped with an adequate ventilation system that can keep the place in good condition without negatively impacting the ballerinas, pieces of equipment or the floor of performance.

A studio that lacks adequate ventilation mechanism will result in a stuffy environment with less circulation of oxygen which will in turn force the ballerinas to become sweaty and affect the shoes as well.

Dirty floor.

A dirty floor in the ballet studio will cause the area in contact with the floor surface to become sticky which will also reflect in your performance.

Wet ballet shoes.

Wet ballet shoes can make your ballet shoes sticky and also help in making them disintegrate faster than necessary.

Wet ballet shoes can make the person wearing them uncomfortable as they will not only become sticky alone but will make a squeaky noise that is terrible to hear when dancing alone or with other team members.

The wet floor of the studio.

A floor that is not dry can also make your ballet shoes sticky.

Because ballet shoes do not have big soles like Mary Jane shoes, putting them on a wet floor will get the dampness penetrating through the shoes and making them sticky.

Poor quality of the shoes.

A ballet shoe that is of poor quality is also likely to become sticky than a ballet shoe of high quality.

That is why buying shoes of questionable quality because they are cheap is never a solution to a ballerina even though all ballet shoes have short lifecycles.

Worn out.

Wearing worn-out ballet shoes on the verge of disintegration is also likely to cause stickiness because they may have been unable to retain or expel unwanted things easily as a new ballet shoe can.

Dependence on a few shoes.

The chances of having your ballet shoes sticky are high if you have been using only a few amount of shoes that you have been using for practice.

Some ballerinas who are not professionals have to buy their shoes and they usually keep them longer than necessary because of how expensive the shoes are for them to just throw them away.

How to make ballet shoes sticky-free?

Since sticky ballet shoes are not good for you to experience, the following are some of the methods you can use to avoid having your ballet shoes become one:

Wash appropriately.

To avoid getting your shoes becoming sticky, you must wash your ballet shoes appropriately.

However, ballet shoes are different from Mary Jane shoes that can be put inside a washing machine, if you fail to properly wash them using only wet towels and rags not putting them into water, you may end up damaging the ballet shoes beyond repairs.

Change the sole with a new padding.

Most of the time, the reason why ballet shoes become sticky is the sole which is either dirty or worn out.

Changing the sole with new padding will help prevent it from having that nasty experience again.

Use a very good studio.

When you want to train, conduct rehearsals or perform on stage, use a studio that is in good condition.

Going to a studio that has a sound and well-maintained floor for training and a performance stage, you will not experience dampness or wet floor that will seep into your ballet shoe at all.

Clean and check your ballet before using it.

Every time before using a pair of ballet shoes on your feet, make sure you clean them in and out and check for any materials that may have found themselves in the shoes.

This will ensure that you track anything early and have no issue with dirty soles or ballet shoes as a whole.

Try to limit sweaty shoes.

If you are using a ballet shoe for like three hours In a stretch and it starts trapping sweat in it, remove it immediately and replace it with another pair which will help the first one to dry and prevent you from using it in that condition as well.

Buy more ballet shoes.

The most important advice to a ballet dancer is to have at least 3 pairs of shoes at any moment.

This will help in keeping all on good feet and reduce the effect of relying on one even if it is sweaty.

Buy from a reliable brand.

Before buying your ballet shoes, consider buying only from reliable manufacturers even if the cost is higher.

This will help you get a shoe that is made to last and breathe which will you get rid of dampness and stickiness.

Get a good ventilation system.

This is for the management of your studio to get a good ventilation mechanism that will ensure adequate oxygen in and out of the facilities without any significant problems.

Clean the studio.

Make sure that your studio is always clean before using it.

The studio is the most significant place in the career of a ballerina, when you leave it dirty, it will impact your performance and career negatively.

That is why making sure it is in good condition will always help you avoid stickiness.

Dry your ballet appropriately.

When your ballet shoes are sticky, damp or wet, the most potent method is to dry them every time after you use them in other to preserve the integrity of the shoes and improve your performance as a ballet dancer.


In this regard, the reason why Ballet shoes are sticky can be categorised into the following:

  • The floor of the studio.
  • Something sticky got into your shoe.
  • Sweat from your feet into the shoe.
  • Lack of breathing space.
  • Materials used in making the shoes.
  • Dirty sole.
  • Lack of adequate ventilation in the studio.
  • Dirty floor.
  • Wet ballet shoes.
  • The wet floor of the studio.
  • Poor quality of the shoes.
  • Worn out.
  • Dependence on a few shoes.

Moreover, the best method to avoid having your ballet shoes sticky is to conduct one of the following methods clearly:

  • Wash appropriately.
  • Change the sole with a new padding.
  • Use a very good studio.
  • Clean and check your ballet before using it.
  • Try and limit sweaty shoes.
  • Buy more ballet shoes.
  • Buy from a reliable brand.
  • Get a good ventilation system.
  • Clean the studio.
  • Dry your ballet appropriately.




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