Can You Wear Ballet Shoes Outside? (Explained)

Wearing ballet shoes outside is tempting. First of all, they’re cute. Second, life is one giant hustle, and time to keep changing in and out of shoes just to cross the parking lot or grab a coffee around the corner is a pain in the derriere. Then there are times dancers get booked for a street parade or an outdoor matinée. But even if dancers avoid stepping in the horse manure, are the shoes ruined?

Ballet shoes can be worn outside, but it shortens their lifespan. Also, ballet shoes that have been worn outdoors can no longer be used on a studio floor. The suede sole of ballet shoes picks up tiny pieces of dirt and grit that will scratch expensive dance flooring and create hazards.

Ballet shoes can be worn outdoors. Feel free to strut them down the street if wearing them out doesn’t bother you. Maybe you don’t even dance; you just think they’ll look adorable with your outfit (they totally do). Maybe you upgraded your studio shoes, so you’re now wearing your older ones out and about, which is great. But for safety reasons, they can never be worn for indoor dance again.

Can You Wear Ballet Shoes Outside

What You Need To Know About Wearing Ballet Shoes Outside

Ballet shoes can be worn outdoors. But like wearing socks outdoors, there are consequences. The dirt and grit will break down the suede soles faster, and the oils picked up from the streets and being out and about will be hard on the leather. Silk ballet shoes for en point already wear out quickly, but if worn outdoors, they will have the lifespan of a gnat.

But the real reason you should avoid wearing ballet shoes outdoors is that it means you can’t wear them in the studio or indoor performances. People do, but it is selfish and puts the health of their fellow dancers at risk.

Why You Never Wear Outdoor Ballet Shoes In A Studio

Street shoes, including ballet shoes that have been worn outside, do not belong in dance studios or on a performance stage. It doesn’t matter if you or your family can afford to replace the shoes faster than most people. It is because it wrecks the floor and can subsequently hurt dancers.

Dance studios and ballet theaters invest a massive amount of money into the floors. The surface needs to be smooth enough to allow turns and elegant slides but grippy enough that dancers are not falling. A dancer tutu up might make an amusing photo, but she could end up in the hospital if she’s dropped from 6-feet in the air due to a slip. Careers can be ruined due to a skid or being stopped short.

But even dance studios catering to the more everyday dancers, who are never going to be professionals, protect their floors. Cheaper studios don’t have a Marley or Marley-type sprung hardwood floor that is essential to preserving the joints of professional dancers. But more affordable studios are still sinking as much as their budget will allow into the floor because it is crucial for safety.  

Scratches on the floor can catch the suede or the edge of the silk. Grit on the floor can cause the landing of a leap to skid. Sometimes these missteps are just unfortunate “mistakes,” but they can also be a twisted ankle, jammed knee, pulled muscle, or a damaged tendon.

Thus, for safety reasons, ballet shoes for classes and indoor performances should never be worn outdoors. The dirt and grit tracked in from outdoor shoes are a hazard, and the damage done to the floors creates another hazard. Don’t wear your indoor dance shoes outdoors, even to dash across the parking lot. It’s not fair to the other dancers or the person who pays for the floor.

Can Point Shoes Be Worn Outside?

Point shoes will be shredded outdoors and should not be worn outside. In the event they must be worn for outdoor performance and survive the experience, they must not be worn inside the studio again. Outdoor shoes wreck studio and theater floors.  

Can Jazz Shoes Be Worn Outside?

Jazz shoes can be worn outdoors, but it will impact their grip. Thus, it is advised that if you need a pair for outdoor performances to regularly check their condition to prevent injury to yourself. You cannot wear your outdoor jazz shoes for indoor studio work or performances. All outdoor shoes are bad for studio floors and can cause hazards for dancers.

Can Dance Sneakers Be Worn Outside?

Dance sneakers can be worn outdoors, but they will impact their grip and lifespan. Some gyms will allow outdoor dance sneakers on the floors, as they are built for various shoes, including outdoor running shoes. However, you must check your gym’s policy first. However, if you have classes in a proper dance studio, your dance sneakers must be indoor-only.

Also, wearing dance sneakers as an alternative to regular sneakers is not advisable. Dance sneakers are designed for dancing. In order to achieve a sneaker flexible enough for pointing toes, arch support and other stabilizing features found in running shoes have been sacrificed. Thus, while you technically can walk and run in them, they are not built for it. So, wearing dance sneakers as your walking or jogging shoes risks injury or developing chronic foot issues.

Can Ballroom Shoes Be Worn Outside?

Wearing ballroom shoes outside can lead to injury. The unique soles are easily damaged could lead to slips and falls. In addition, unlike ballet or jazz shoes, women’s ballroom shoes have a high heel. Thus, a small slip outside could damage the ankles and knees. Therefore, while you technically could wear them outdoors, just like you technically can wear socks outdoors, it is not advised.

Like any other dance shoes, ballroom shoes that have been worn outdoors should never again step foot in a studio or performance surface. This could wreck the floors or leave debris that other dancers will slip-on.


Ballet and other dance shoes are generally acceptable to wear outdoors to look cute, but they won’t last long. However, once a dance shoe has stepped outside, it should never return to a dance studio or theater. Outdoor shoes, even former dance shoes, will wreck dance floors and leave debris, creating a hazardous dancing environment.

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