Shoes – part III: Bleyer
I am giving Bleyer shoes their own post because I own two different pairs and have used them quite extensively. Bleyer has several different styles on offer for bellydancing, including some half-sandals quite close to those used in lyrical dancing, and a few models more in line with the typical oriental dance slippers. The two styles I own are from this second group, and for the most part, the construction details are quite similar. I own a pair of Stretch Satin Oriental Dance Shoe, and one pair of Sportis
Bleyer’s are made in Germany, I believe, and use European sizes, so again, be careful when ordering. Bleyershoes.com in the UK does list equivalences. Unlike other dance shoes companies, Bleyer runs theirs true to size with generous width, so this is one case where you will want to order your actual size, not one size bigger. I normally wear 7 1/2 wide, need 8+ from other companies, but when I got Bleyer’s size 8s, they were a bit too long. Still very usable, but if I could have exchanged them, I would have done so.
Both models have identical internal construction: there’s a good suede bottom, quite soft, the whole interior of the shoe is lined with absorbent fabric, and there’s a hint of a cushion on the sole.
Their Stretch Satin Oriental Dance shoe is the most expensive one in the line, and comes in black with either silver or gold embroidery. The “satin” feels plasticky to the touch, and is a bit too shiny to be real satin. The embroidery is pretty and tasteful, but the thread used for stitching the sequins is rather flimsy, and you might want to at least reinforce the ends so they don’t start unravelling.
The Sporti is at the other end of the line, the cheapest, and come in plain silver or gold. They are a bit more pricey than Egyptian slippers purchased locally, but this difference is not significant. The synthetic upper feels soft, and you even have the option of suede or rubber soles.
When sized properly, these are incredibly comfortable, and will stay on your feet no matter what, even if they are running a touch bigger. There’s the advantage that they are made in Europe, so the sizing runs higher than Egyptian sizes, which tend to only get up to (a rather small) 41, so if you’ve got bigger feet, they might be your safest option. If they made these in different colours I would certainly get more to complement my costumes.
I currently alternate between the Sporti and a pair of Egyptian slippers that I got around the same time, and I can say that the difference in performance is minimal. I feel *slightly* more comfortable in the Bleyers, because they fit better around my feet, but I suspect this has more to do with differences in shape and cut rather than actual differences in manufacturing quality. The extra lining in the inside of the Bleyers means that if your feet tend to sweat, you might be better off with these, as the Egytpian slippers are not good for drawing out the moisture. I prefer the material on the upper Bleyers, but the golden colour on the Egyptians, so I can’t really say which one is better of the two, and if asked I would say “either”.