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.
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
1990/ An end and beginning
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
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, …
1998 / Marie-Claude Pietragalla and Nicolas Le Riche: two “étoiles” meet Merlet.
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
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.
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.
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.