1974/ The beginning of the adventure.

The history of Merlet started in 1974 in Limoges. Shoemaker, Roger James Merlet, had always worked with shoes.

When he decided to develop ballet shoes, it wasn't by chance that he met Roger Béchade. This famous violinist was married to a principal dancer for whom he was making the pointe shoes. From this meeting, the passion for ballet was born.

1976/ Merlet for dancers “Etoiles”

Slowly, the reputation of Merlet grew and spread over the region. Roger James Merlet made ballet slippers for some of the most famous dancers including Yvette Chauviré.

1978/ An apprentice (not like the others) joined Merlet.

This year, a young man of 17 years old joined Roger James Merlet. This man is Pierre Lassenne. A real professional and human alchemy which will be the start of a long and nice collaboration.

1980/ The 'stitch and return’: a technique which will change the ballet shoes for ever.

It’s in the small workshop in Limoges, rue des Belges, that the team develops the shoes with the comfort of the dancers in mind.

At this time, around 50 pairs of pointe shoes were made every day.

It’s also at this time that Roger James Merlet and Pierre Lassenne discovered the stitch and return technique. This technique will bring a new way of dancing and comfort.

1985/ Innovation: a real importance for Merlet

Concerned about the perfection and the slightest detail, Roger James Merlet and Pierre Lassenne studied with professors from the Limoges hospital. The aim was to really to understand the anatomy of the dancers in order to guarantee a perfect product adapted to each dancer.

1990/ An end and beginning

It’s 12 years since Pierre Lassenne joined the company. During those 12 years that Roger James Merlet gave his savoir faire and knowledge.

When the time came for Roger James Merlet to retire, it was natural that Pierre Lassenne took over the company.

R.J Merlet will always keep tabs on the company.

1991/ Merlet: ballet shoe precursor

Innovation and knowledge are really important to Pierre Lassenne. He has developed pointe shoes using new material

Another innovation is the use of the polycarbonate in the manufacturing of pointe shoes. It’s really flexible and unbreakable. This discovery extends the lifespan of the pointe shoes.

The patent was so innovative the competitors took back this technique

1992/ Elisabeth Maurin: principal dancer and model for Merlet

This first collaboration with a dancer “Etoile” at the Paris Opera was with Elisabeth Maurin and lasted two years. During these two years, the dancer was the model for Merlet.

1994/ Merlet: International

Since Pierre Lassenne started to head the company, he travels all around Europe and meets with the most famous ballet companies. Merlet is developing pointe shoes for many dancers… The brand becomes more and more famous with the most prestigious ballet companies: Vienna, Lyon, Bonn, Paris, Berlin, …

1997/ Merlet launched its first ballroom shoes collection

With its “savoir faire” and many years of experience, Merlet decides to develop ballroom shoes. The first one of many is “EVA” which is still in the collection today.

1998 / Marie-Claude Pietragalla and Nicolas Le Riche: two “étoiles” meet Merlet.

This year was born a real important collaboration with the principal’s dancers from the Paris Opera between Marie-Claude Pietragalla, Nicolas Le Riche and Merlet. This collaboration will last 7 years. Pierre Lassenne worked with and developed many products with the two dancers

2000/ A company enjoys worldwide renown

10 years since Pierre Lassenne became director of the company. The knowledge of his team and his insight allows Merlet to increase its turnover by 7 times. Exports reached 20% of the turnover. Nowadays it’s around 50% of the turnover.


2001/ Merlet launched its first soft ballet shoe

Merlet expanded its range and for the first time launched two models of soft ballet shoes. ECLAT and ENVOL joined the Merlet catalogue.

2002/ The leading product of Merlet is born: the pointe shoe Prélude

Thanks to the collaboration with Marie-Claude Pietragalla, Merlet develops its new leading product: the Prélude pointe shoe.

This pointe shoe was developed after many years of study. A fabulous pointe shoe which allows the children to dance on a point shoe without hurting the body.

2004/ A new soft ballet shoes collection

Merlet re-develops its soft ballet shoes collection and introduces the models Solène and Initiale, for professional dancers.

2007/ A new range of products: Jazz shoes

Merlet innovate and develop a range of jazz shoes

2010/ A new beginning for Merlet

With Merlet, tradition goes with innovation… with its new corporate identity, Merlet offers a young image. This image is also keeping the tradition and savoir faire that Merlet is known for.

2010/ Merlet launched its new pointe shoe: N2

Merlet launched its first pointe shoe with an inside microfiber for a better comfort and look. N2 is also new for its inside in pink.

2011/ Merlet renews its ballroom shoes collection.

Merlet renews its entire ballroom shoes collection. It’s a great success!

2012/ Death of Roger James Merlet

In 2012, Roger James Merlet left us. Pierre Lassenne continues to perfect this knowledge. Now, it’s his turn to pass on this experience to his team and with great pride the continuing Merlet tradition.

2012/ Merlet is looking to the future!

Julien LASSENNE, the son of Pierre LASSENNE, starts his apprenticeship as Master Shoemaker. Julien was 22 when he joined Merlet. Coming from a background in "Automated Machine Design", he chose to learn the art and craft of making pointe shoes and dance shoes. Passionate about tradition and innovation, Julien contributes to the development of new products and manages the production of our French pointe shoes.

2013/ Merlet changes its look!

Merlet changes it’s look with a new logo.Designed around a lively and energetic colour  our new look reflects our positive spirit and our desire to constantly drive forward and create new ways to support our dancers needs...


2014/ Merlet celebrates its 40th anniversary!

Merlet has always preserved and passed on its know-how betweenMaster Shoemakers. Always at the forefront of new technologies with a team that grows year on year, Merlet is proud of its history and how we got here today.

2015/ Merlet starts its collaboration with the Opéra national de Paris

Created in the 17th century, the ballet of Opéra national de Paris, the oldest academic dance company in the world, has always known how to develop its art. The same goes for Merlet, master shoemaker who is inspired by steps and techniques, which are constantly being renewed. Working closely with the dancers, Merlet improves the comfort, aesthetics and elegance of professional dance shoes.

2016/ Creation of a workshop of excellence

Merlet creates its workshop of excellence in Limoges, France, for the development of pointe shoes and the technical training of shoemakers. The development and artisanal manufacture of all our new points take place in Limoges in our workshop.

2017/ DIVA is born

DIVA is the first pointe shoes from our French workshop. A high-end pointe shoes, aesthetic tip with a polycarbonate sole and anti-deformation platform for longevity.

2018/ The birth of CLOE

CLOE is an innovative pointe shoe with a cryptonite sole for more flexion and arch support giving excellent durability.


2019/ BELLE

Designed especially for beginners, BELLE offers comfort, protection and stability. Merlet has worked closely with the medical professions to provide a pointe shoe which protectsa childs growing foot. BELLE facilitates the roll and stability on pointe while protecting our little dancers feet.


2019/ SOLO

We launch SOLO, our stretch canvas half-pointe shoes developed especially for men dancers in collaboration with Julien Guillemard, dancer at the Paris Opera. We designed a  new asymmetrical shape to "glove" the foot and without extra thickness under the pleats.



2020/ Year of global changes

2020 is marked by a new Sales & Marketing Department with the arrival of Jessica Legrand Pasques in the management team. Merlet gives new dimensions to international projects and aims to  give our brand the visibility it deserves worldwide

Merlet North America Inc is launched with a brand new distribution center in Miami to serve our growing number of  partner resellers in the United States.

LISA - our latest inspired creation and the birth of a new generation of pointe shoes. A revolutionary "all-in-one" pointe-shoes that adapts to our dancers thanks to its multitude of shanks.