Ballet Shoe Review: Body Wrappers A45 “Wendy”

Dancers are always looking for a reliable ballet shoes that will show clean lines and provides optimum comfort. The Body Wrappers A45 Wendy is a good start and tries to incorporate a lot of good new ideas, but overall it missed the mark for me.

The last, constructed of what they called TotalStretch canvas, was not as supple and comfortable to me as I had hoped but instead seemed just average. Which is fine, but I’m not sure why they marketed it as special. They say that it “supports and protects muscles.” While they did line it with a thin foam, I wish they provided info on what they are basing that claim on. They also claim to be antibacterial, which I do really like and I’m guessing was achieved by incoporating a chemical treatment to the fabric.

The last is curved for a right and left fit. The peachy pink color matched BW’s theatrical pink tights pretty well. It’s a prettier color than a lot of other brands have created. I liked how that extended the line, but they were still too light a pink to keep from looking gray after a few classes got them dirty.

I found the elastic drawstring to be a bit too thin, made thinner by its own stretchiness. I am not a fan of elastic drawstrings because they never seem strong enough to actually do anything. (Not that I love cotton either, considering that they offer almost no give – can’t we have a happy medium?) The problem was the same here. I did like the “lingerie elastic” binding and found that part really soft and pretty – it has a hint of shimmer to it. It did get a little fuzzy and frayed in the course of normal use.

My main gripe with these shoes had nothing to do with these superficial issues though and everything to do with the foam-padded heel. I love a shoe that incorporates impact absorption, but this heel pad was a huge impediment to proper fit of the shoe. It seems that BW did not calculate properly for the additional fabric at the heel that would be needed to include the heel pad, so the heel sat about an eighth of an inch below where is should – perfectly placed to irritate the Achilles tendons as much as possible and cause the shoe to come off the heel during jumps. This is just a terrible construction issue. What are the two main things a shoe must do? Stay on the foot and allow proper movement. Because of the poorly thought-out construction of this shoe, it could do neither. Tightening the drawstring only worsened the irritation and loosening the drawstring at all meant the shoe would pop off even more easily. Ironically, the packaging instructs that the shoes fit so well that most dancers won’t even need elastics.

All of this said, if you are a dancer who needs a lower heel – and I know there are plenty of you out there! – this might be the ideal shoe for you. Body Wrappers certainly had some great ideas, and I look forward to checking out their next try. I will continue to post reviews of the many shoes I have worn. Have you tried the Body Wrappers A45 Wendy shoe? What did you think?

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6 thoughts on “Ballet Shoe Review: Body Wrappers A45 “Wendy”

  1. roriroars says:

    I did try them. Posted on it here: http://roriroars.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/slipper-woes/

    I never did get around to returning them and my director was asking for a pair of slippers she could paint for one of the pieces I’m in in an upcoming ballet. Reading your review, however, I’m thinking this might not be a great option seeing as that particular dance involves a LOT of jumping. I hadn’t given the low heel a thought on that front, so I’m glad you mentioned the potential peril. Overall, I agree with your assessment… they incorporated some great ideas in this shoe, but the execution still needs work.

    • ClassicalBalletTeacher says:

      I loved reading your post! I’m a total Princess in the Pea when it comes to ballet shoes but I am also just like you in that I have more than once bought a shoe or leo out of not wanting to hurt the salesperson’s feeling – I’m getting better about that though!

  2. candice says:

    My heels, they fall out of shoes too (pointe shoes in particular). So annoying. I’ve worn the bloch pro-elastic and it stays put, but when I went to replace it (with the same size+width) the replacement is a little too narrow and that is no fun at all.

    Hi. You and I are kind of local; I went to mandeville in the 90s and knew a bunch of apetrei girls but was not one. 🙂 Husband is a tulane grad and we live in nola.

    Cheers!

    • ClassicalBalletTeacher says:

      Lovely to meet you and thanks for reading! I tell you what, I’ve never before had this heel problem – they were just cut so low with that heel pad in the way.

      Do you take any local dance classes? I visit Nola sometimes for the Saturday morning class at NOBT (in MOMA) or New Orleans Ballet Academy on Magazine – my rickety body is only in shape for demonstrating to students, but even that takes some upkeep. 🙂 Let me know if you ever want to buddy up for a class.

      • candice says:

        Cool! I take class twice a week at the studio on magazine; usually sarah jane’s intermediate class after work. I’m not morning-person enough to handle the Saturday classes with any regularity there.

        What’s the skill level on the NOBT class? It being summer I’ve been lacking a third class (was doing beginner pointe) in the week and it’s tough to keep up sometimes.

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