Today’s post, in continuing with our morning theme this week of stretchy ballet shoes, is on the “Wendy” and the “Maria” stretch ballet shoes from Body Wrappers and Angelo Luzio.
Body Wrappers, in conjunction with Angelo Luzio, was the first to come onto the market with a stretch canvas ballet shoe (to the best of our knowledge)—the 246 “Wendy”. This shoe was so wildly popular and so well designed—it sparked a whole new era of innovation in flat ballet shoes! Prior to these shoes coming out, most of the “stretch” came from either a neoprene back half (I think Leo’s had that design), an insert in the arch (multiple brands), or different seaming (Fuzi comes to mind). I think it’s important that we define what “stretch” actually is. We are using it here to describe the arch-hugging qualities of the shoe. Usually if the shoe hugs the arch—it tends to also hug in other places (toe, heel, etc).
My husband and I were fortunate to meet Luigi Luzio, the creator of these shoes, a few years ago. Luigi really thinks about the design of the shoe in relation to the foot. A few things that I remember in particular about our conversation was that the shoe is constructed with an arch so that when the arch inverts, the shoe wants to push up against the arch.
Luigi also designed it with specific right and left shoes to be more anatomically correct than most ballet shoes (which are designed to be worn on either foot). They also designed this shoe to stay on without elastics, which it actually did! However, most dancers really like the security of elastic straps, so they added them back. Both models are wider in the toe box than most of the stretch ballet shoes currently on the market. This model proved to be so popular, that they released the 247 “Maria” with some differences to better accommodate the different preferences of dancers (and yes—there are as many preferences as there are people in the world!).
So—what’s the difference between the Wendy and the Maria? Let’s start first with the similarities.
Both are made of machine washable, antimicrobial and moisture wicking canvas. Both are made specifically for the left and right foot. Both have an elastic drawstring, have a short front sole with long pleats, a spongy (and squishy) cotton heel insole, and are STAIN RESISTANT (wait… yes… you read that right).
The main differences between the two:
Wendy (246) has a higher vamp (vamp is between the drawstring and the end of the toes/tip of the shoe) than the Maria (247) and has elastics attached at the heel. The Maria (247) has gripper elastic inside the heel for an extra secure fit and pre-attached elastics at both the arch AND the heel—a.k.a. – your criss-cross pattern. Wendy is also available in more colors (peach, black, white, and tan) and sizes, and the Maria is only available in peach (your normal “pink”).
If you’d like to purchase them, please visit us in our store or go to our webstore here:
Wendy (246) and Maria (247)
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