The Stretch Ballet Shoe

“Not all stretch shoes are created equal”

 – MDM Dancewear

The stretch ballet shoe is all the rage and why not. It’s easy to fit at the store, easy to stock in terms of space as stores don’t require as complex a size run, it’s easy to wear arguably making the foot look as good as a particular foot can look and, depending how it’s fit might even allow for a bit of extra growing room which keeps parents happy. And yet …

While there are indeed many benefits to the stretch ballet shoe the truth is likely that most have been developed as performance shoes with professionals in mind and not designed to be worn by young, growing feet as a class and/or rehearsal shoe.

The reason is simple. Young, developing feet and techniques don’t necessarily have the foot strength to cope with the extra pressure on the front of the toes which comes from that lovely snug fit. What happens to many young dancers is the extra pressure causes them to claw their toes when in the flat or pointed positions. This may not be immediately evident in store nor necessarily straight away in class, but over time and particularly as the shoe tightens, it does because their toes aren’t sitting comfortably flush against the floor. 

These shoes aren’t designed to be worn for the 99% of a dancers time that is spent in class and rehearsals. They’re performance and exam shoes, designed for that purpose; for that 1% of the time when you’re wanting a shoe that makes your foot look as good as it can, possibly at the expense of some technical and/or physiological functionality. 

But just as young boys don’t require protein powders to build muscle, nor weekend casual runners benefit from $200 compression tights, nor our youngsters derive any special benefit from sports drinks over simple tap water after an hour of weekend activity, yet these items are sold to the general public because the general populace is the bigger market. Companies don’t make enough money merely selling to those who actually might benefit i.e. professional athletes seeking anything promising to provide a .01% edge over their competitors. 

Likewise some stretch canvas shoes are promoted to young students as a class shoe, or at the least not actively dissuaded from wearing them, when such a shoe is best worn for limited times when the optimal foot-line is deemed an increased priority i.e. performances, competitions, eisteddfods and exams.


At MDM we’re excited to announce that after two years of intense development MDM are releasing our Intrinsic Profile Ballet shoe and Curve Jazz shoe. These are superior stretch shoes made of a material specifically developed by MDM that offers the perfect balance of support, alignment guidance, comfort, beauty and elasticity to meet performance and exam needs.

With our Intrinsic Profile 2.0 and Curve you’re getting even more ease and exceptional fit as found in a stretch shoe, coupled with the superior benefits of the MDM patented technology. Our Dance Base Support ensures that every foot is being properly supported, guided and protected and that the potential line of your arch is fulfilled.

With the Intrinsic Profile and Curve styles, you can be confident that your children and/or your students are getting all the benefits of a stretch shoe, plus the benefits only MDM provide along with the professional expertise and genuine care and guidance that lets you know when and where it’s best worn.

At MDM we’ve developed a range of shoes that have specific relationships. Our canvas Intrinsic or leather Elemental is ideal for our youngest dancers working in class and rehearsals, while our Intrinsic Reflex and Elemental Reflex is the perfect shoe for those with developed mature foot strength working in class and rehearsals. And now our Intrinsic Profile and Curve for Jazz mirrors our beautiful Elemental Reflex Performance satisfying all your needs for performances, exams, competitions and Eisteddfods.

MDM – Supporting Every Foot, Every Step

Timothy Heathcote
CEO, Founder and Footwear Designer at MDM

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