Now I'm a grown-up and the choices are almost endless! Well, mostly 3 colors (white, black, ballet pink/tan-ish), but the types/models are so diverse. As are the brands, too. I've narrowed my testings on three brands, Sansha - Bloch - Capezio. These days we have still only one brand & model in our town, but luckily it's easy to go to Helsinki or Tampere to get what I want. Or just order online! That way it's also cheaper (but one really has to know what size is good, before ordering). (Or at least I have to, it's boring and tiring and everything to send stuff back and get the new size... In my opinion! :D)
Now, here's a collage of what I've tried and what I'm using.
1* Top left corner -> Sansha - Silhouette
2* Top middle -> Sansha - Pro 1C
3* Top right corner/right side -> Bloch - Pump
4* Below left corner -> Capezio - Juliet
5* Below middle -> Bloch - Prolite II
The perfect soft shoe for me would have qualities from all five types. They do have one thing in common: material (which is canvas). I've never even tried leather ones, probably never will. For some reason I like canvas more. (Frankly I wouldn't be able to say that as I haven't even tried the other option, but let's not care about that. For now.) Let me tell you the other (good) things I've found about these.
1. Silhouettes are a bit more snug fitted than the Pros, but they have a good suede/leather patch under the ball of the foot (the demi-pointe area). It's stiched over the pleats, so I find it more flat and stable. (Some might say that the pleats are uncomfortable there "inside" the shoe, but I don't feel them.) I have to wear a bigger size from Silhouette (12) than from Pro.
2. Pro was the first model I bought after starting ballet over again. Got a pair of black ones, but they were too big, eventually. When fitting in the store they felt good, but after half a year or so I got used to tighter feeling around the foot and heel. To be honest, the black pair is size 13 and the pink pair (I've got now) is 11! But I love how the pinks feel, not squashing my toes or anything. Also I got black cotton ribbons for the first pair, but after that it's been 2 elastics crossed over the foot, always. Feels much more firm. What would I take from this model to my perfect shoe? Maybe the overall fitting. They feel good. (But what I certainly would Not take, is the fairly thick elastic drawstring, just Too thick I'd say.)
3. The newest model for me is the Pump. Some friends have been praising it, so last month I finally got my first pair ;) I've only been wearing them at home, but will try next week as I'll get back to ballet class. But I can tell what I like already: the heel. It's just So comfortable and stays put. Also I like the sides of the shoe, they feel lower than in others - revealing maybe a bit more, but still stay put (like the heel.) I'm a bit iffy about the size. I've had 6,5 on Bloch pointes and 7 felt "quite" snug on the Prolites, so I felt secure enough to get size 7 on Pumps too. But now it seems that the 6,5 could be right on these. 7 isn't too big, but there's some space I probably could live without. Well, next pair smaller then... Maybe :) (Yes, I'd take the whole heel from Pumps to the perfect shoe. Also the sides.)
4. Capezio's Juliets were a quick purchase, they were on sale and I didn't even try them on. How clever is that... Anyway, I'd been wearing Capezio's pointes (Glisse) half a size bigger (and they are too big), so I figured these wouldn't be too small at least. And they were actually okay. What I like about them? The lightness of the material, the middle of the sole is just Lovely (no seam there, me likey), inside sole has fabric under the heel and ball/toes, but not in the middle, so it gives a nice look for the arch. What I don't like? The fabrics I just mentioned, well, they tend to rip off very easily. But if you put some glue in there or sew them with few stiches, they'll be okay. (For the perfects -> the middle of the sole. No seams.)
5. ProliteII's are the ones I can get from the "local dealer". The only problem is that they seldom have my size. But they'll order when asked to. And as I go to the local dance school (my "alma mater"), there's a small discount, yay! At first I got one pair of blacks and one pair of ballet pinks (more like tan), later on a pair of whites. They come with only one elastic (not pre-sewn), so I always have to buy or have at ready some extra. (Silhouettes, Pumps and Pros have 2 elastics, probably Juliets too, if I remember correctly, some even pre-attached.) Good things are as follows: the overall feeling/fitting - very comfortable, also the inside sole - which is sofffft suede leather. And that's what I'd take for the perfect shoe.
A short summary:
* Leather patch (outside) under the ball of the foot -> Silhouette
* Overall feeling of the shoe -> Pro and Prolite II
* Back and sides of the heel -> Pump
* The "slim" elastic drawstring -> Bloch models
* Sides of the shoe (and probably the vamp, too) -> Pump
* Middle sole (especially outside) with No middle seam -> Juliet
* Insole/sockliner (soft suede leather) -> Prolite II (or Juliet, if they'd stay put better ;))
That's it. Almost. The canvas material could be something between the stuff they use in Sansha and in Bloch models. Padding/leather patch under the heel (outside) something between Juliet and Pump. Maybe.
Anyway, it would be so great and Interesting to get a shoe with those features. But I never will, so it's just dreaming and varying between models :)
p.s. The color would be between Bloch and Sansha (ballet pink).