Ballet flat

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Ballet flats

Ballet flats, Dolly shoes, or simply flats, are similar to/inspired by a woman's ballet shoe, with a very thin heel or the appearance of no heel at all. The style sometimes features a ribbon-like binding around the low tops of the slipper and may have a slight gathering at the top-front of the vamp (toe box) and sometimes a tiny, decorative string tie. Ballet slippers can be adjusted and tightened to the wearer's foot by means of this string tie.


The essence of the ballet flat has existed since at least the 16th century, when men wore a similar shoe, then known as pompes. In medieval times ballet flats were popular with both men and women. They only went out of fashion in the 17th and 18th centuries when the high-heeled shoe came into fashion after Catherine de' Medici requested that her cobbler add 5 cm (2 inches) to her wedding shoes. Heels went out of fashion quickly after Marie Antoinette walked to the guillotine in a pair of heels. Functional shoes – sandals, boots, and flat shoes – prevailed in the 19th century. Ballet flats took off again when Audrey Hepburn wore them with cigarette pants in Funny Face in 1957.

In 1947, Rose Repetto hand stitched her first ballet flat for her son, famous dancer and choreographer, Roland Petit. Once actress Brigitte Bardot donned a pair of Repetto's flats, variations of ballet flats became wildly popular and returned as a fashion trend.[1] They are also often referred to as ballet pumps or ballet sneakers and designed for outdoor wear, using a variety of fabrics and usually with a rubber sole.

Ballet flats are especially popular for women and girls of all ages, being worn as a fashion trend and as a more comfortable alternative to high heels with everything from casual wear to formal wear and everything in between from jeans, shorts, skirt, dresses, shortalls, and leggings. They now come in a wide range of styles and colors including the popular black ballet flat either plain or with a shoe string bow or other decoration at the upper toe part of the shoe.[2] [3] [4] [5] Not all but a number of school allow ballet flats as part of the uniform requirements and many school bands require ballet flats in black as part of the dress requirements for performances. Examples.. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]


  1. ^ Casa Couture. "The History of the Ballet Flat". December 2012. November 2016.
  2. ^ Nast, Condé. "15 Pairs of Flats That Are Way Cooler Than Heels Will Ever Be". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  3. ^ Sourcing, 11 21 2015 | Fashion Fabric (2015-11-21). "Fashion Archives: The History of the Ballet Flat". StartUp FASHION. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  4. ^ Stimpert, Desiree. "Shoe Glossary: Ballerina Flats". LiveAbout. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  5. ^ "Tieks & Rothy's Alternatives: 6 of the BEST Cheaper Ballet Flats". Smart Family Money. 2019-01-14. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  6. ^ "Arizona Girls Willow Ballet Flats Slip-on Closed Toe". JCPenney. 2019-07-29. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  7. ^ "Concert Dress". Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  8. ^ "Concert Attire Expectations". HILLCREST Middle School. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  9. ^ Program, Stevenson Instrumental Music. "Student attire requirements - Dec 5 Concert". Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  10. ^ "Weddington Middle School Band: Concert Dress". Weddington Middle School Band. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  • N. Rexford. Women's Shoes in America, 1875-1930. Kent, OH: Kent State University, 2000. pp. 65
  • W. Rossi Why Shoes Make 'Normal' Gait Impossible Podiatry Magagement, March 1999: pp 50–61. 25, Oct. 2006.
  • P. McGinnis. Biomechanics of Sports and Exercise, 2nd ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2005. pp. 139.
  • Thompson and R.T. Floyd. Manual of Structural Kinesiology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004. pp. 232.