How To Get Pretty Ballet Feet

Not all of us are born with pretty ballet feet, but there is a lot you can do to improve both the shape of your foot and the strength of your feet, and if you are a dancer, you know just how important your feet are to your craft.

So what does the ideal foot for ballet look like?

The ideal ballet foot has a high arch and a high instep. Having a high arch is beneficial for a dancer because it makes it possible to get to a high demi-pointe in soft ballet shoes, and over the box if she is dancing en pointe. However the ideal looking ballet foot can also be a weaker foot, so the highly arched foot will need extra strengthening to avoid injury.

These exercises will also benefit you if you don’t dance, as we often tend to neglect our feet, which is a mistake as our feet are going to take us far in life, and you want them to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. They always support and work hard for you, so they deserve some special attention and some respect.

pretty ballet feet

Ok we all know that there is no such thing as pretty ballet feet, as a dancer’s foot normally looks like it has been through the wars, but if you look after your feet and work on strengthening them, they will look a lot better, especially in pointe shoes, and they will also be a lot better off and strong enough to handle the demands of ballet.

If you don’t have naturally perfect feet, don’t worry. Most dancers aren’t born with them. However, even though you can’t change the bone structure of your arch or instep, there are things you can do to improve the overall look of your feet.

Here are some simple exercises that anybody can do to strengthen their feet and get a prettier shape to the foot.

Let’s Work On Those Pretty Ballet Feet

Playing The Piano

You can do this exercise either standing or sitting, as long as your feet are flat on the floor.

Start by lifting up your toes while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Now starting with the baby toe, lower one toe at a time to the floor ending with the big toe. Repeat this a couple of times. Now try and keep all your baby toes on the floor and lift your big toe.

Next, keep your big toe on the floor and lift the other four toes.

For a challenge try and drop your toes one at a time to the floor starting with your big toe and ending with your baby toe.

Throughout this exercise, make sure that the toes stay lengthened as much as possible.

Stretching Those Arches

In a seated position, place your one foot over your knee and grasp the top of your instep with the underneath hand and use your other hand to push your heel in the opposite direction.

Make sure your foot is not sickled or winged when you do this. Hold the stretch for a few seconds. You should feel a good stretch in both the arch and along the top of your foot. You may even feel a few toes pop as well!

Toe Stretches

Balancing with your weight behind you on your hands and your bottom off of the floor, lift your heels off the floor as far as you can, stretching your ankles forward. This stretch stretches your arches by forcing a strong three-quarter point (as far as you can go without rising onto full pointe.) Once again make sure your feet go up straight and don’t fall to the right or the left.

Aladdin Feet

Some ballet teachers refer to this stretch as “Aladdin feet.” Point your foot in front of you just off the floor. Now l pull your toes back toward your ankle while keeping your foot stretched. Concentrate on the opposing stretch you feel your ankle pushing forward while your toes are pulling back.


This one you can do either sitting or standing and is excellent for flat feet.

Keeping your outer foot as flat as possible on the floor, shorting the arch of your foot by bringing the big to closer to the heel while keeping it on the floor.

It is more challenging to do this exercise standing up, because there is more weight on the feet. For even more of a challenge try doing it on one foot.

So in other words, you are shortening the foot without the heel moving. Here is a video that explains the exercise perfectly.

Now try to dome the foot, hold the contraction and lift the heels about two centimetres off of the floor. You will see just how many muscles in your foot need to activate to hold this pose.


Simply doing rises with the feet parallel does wonders for strengthening the feet. Try to put the power into your rise on the way up and resist on the way down.

Try placing a book under your heel to vary the height at which you lower your foot. You could also try standing on a step and lower your heels with control lower than the step.

Do on one foot and two feet. Make sure the toes remain flat on the floor at all times and don’t curl up.

Here are some more exercises you can use to improve your arch and get pretty ballet feet.

6 thoughts on “How To Get Pretty Ballet Feet”

  1. I have been looking for exercises to strengthen my toes and feet, and specifically my big toe, as I have a bunion and was told to do toe exercises to strengthen my toes. So I am so pleased that I came across these toe exercise. They might be aimed at ballet dancers, but I can see how they can help me with foot and toe strength.

    How long do your recommend one does these foot and toe exercises every day? Should one do all of them in a sort of routine, or vary them? Thank you.  

    • Variety is the spice of life they say, but I would definitely look at the toe lifts every day if you are looking to get stronger feet, as well as the rises, but on a soft surface. A few minutes a day will suffice, as you will see your feet will tire quickly, especially with the rises. You need to listen to your own body with regards to how much you do.

  2. Ballet can cause foot pain, injuries, and in some cases even foot damage to dancers. This mostly happens to dancers who practice the pointe technique and dance in pointe shoes.

    Non-pointe ballet dancers can also experience pain in the foot, lower leg and ankle. If left untreated, it can lead to injury and even long-term damage to the feet.

    • Most of the time injury is due to working incorrectly or not being strong enough to go up on pointe in the first place. Many dancers have no injuries from doing pointe work, because they know how to work through their feet with the correct alignment.

  3. Helpful and Interesting. Thanks for the beautiful article Michel.

    I’ve always been interested in how ballet dancers train, as I see in many films here and there that the training is rigorous. It’s quite surprising that ballet dancers think and aspire to have pretty ballet feet. I first took that as having beautiful, unblemished feet that sparkle when I look at them, contrary to my expectations, as I had an idea of how tough and challenging it was for anyone learning and practicing ballet. Then I read on and found that it was indeed the ideal ballet feet that make it easier for the dancer to do ballet as a whole. I was reminded of how big a part our feet play in our lives as they basically carry and support us throughout, but they are mostly left unattended to. I believe it is because we mostly look at what’s in front of us and not at what’s beneath us, which is our feet amongst others.

    Little did I know that we could do not only a lot using our feet, but we can do much more to take care of them, regardless if you dance ballet or not.

    All the best.

    • You are spot on Johnny. Many of us take our feet for granted. Some love and care, as well as a good exercise routine to keep them strong is vital for anyone.


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