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All Things Ballet...Part 1: Pointe Shoe Fittings

Sneakers, flip-flops, boots, sandals, pumps, espadrilles, wedges, flats and the list goes on and on of all the things we love to put on our feet (did I mentions slippers and cozy socks?). If you look on the other side of our closet you will find a different set of footwear that belongs solely (yes, pun intended) to Emily. Ballet shoes, pointe shoes, jazz shoes, lyrical shoes and half soles, which may or may not be called footundeez. Here are some with rhinestones!

As we have mentioned before, pointe shoes are as personal to your feet as a bra is to, well you know. Unless your feet have stopped growing and you have found THE shoe that checks all the boxes, a fitting at your local dance store is a must. A good fitting will take time and, yes let’s just say it, money because pointe shoes are an investment that you will contribute to about three times a year. A good fitting will consist of trying on about a dozen different shoes if not more. Someone who has mad skills at fittings will check for MANY things and be completely involved with feedback, suggestions and recommendations. Here is the VIP checklist:

1. Are you able to get over your box and, if so by how much. If you can’t get over your box at all, chances are that you won’t be able to even after breaking in the shoes. This means the shank is too hard for you.

2. The fitter will most likely pinch the back of your shoe when you “releve” for a size check. Shoes MUST be an exact fit, or your feet will pay for it later.

3. Toes should not bend or curl and when you “plie” there should be no digging on the back of your heels.

4. Vamp is important (no, not short for vampire and I don't think pointe shoes were even shown in the Twilight movies). Make sure that, from your bunion to your pinky toe there is no smooshing. If so, the vamp may not be right for your foot (vamp is actually the length from the toe platform to the opening of the shoe).

5. Finally, comfortable will not be a word used when trying on pointe shoes. However, if you are experiencing numbness then run for your life from that pair and move on to the next!

If you are already in pointe shoes, it is a good idea to bring your old ones with you because these fitting wizards can look at your shoes and see magical things by the pattern of the wear. Since we are not wizards of this sort, we cannot share what it is they see but it can steer them towards a better fitting! Also, clip those toenails, yes, it is essential to the fitting and to wearing pointe shoes in general. So, make an appointment, clip your toe nails, grab your old shoes and go find that brand new pair of pointe shoes!

On a side note, after you have paid out in a big way for those pointe shoes, make sure to get them approved by your teacher before you even take them out of the box, or you can’t return them. Once approved, the sewing begins with elastics, ribbons and maybe a pricked finger or two. HINT: Emily uses floss instead of thread (we recommend not using flavored floss). Following is some of our favorite accessories from Discount Dance Supply (Sale? Yes! Free shipping? Yes! Free returns? Yes! All through January 20th).

Toe pads: https://bit.ly/2SVdbCF

Tights in ballet pink, of course: https://bit.ly/2RO1LU3

More Tights in ballet pink: https://bit.ly/2HgTp2Z

Stitch kit: https://bit.ly/2VWTts6

Ribbons and elastics may be provided with your pointe shoes. Click here if those items are needed (HINT: Emily likes non-stretchy ribbons): https://bit.ly/2Rv9k2B

Pointe shoe bag (for proper storage): https://bit.ly/2QVOc0a

Pointe shoes (if you already have and know your dream pair): https://bit.ly/2S0dQpn

This blog is just a “pointe” of view from a dancer and her mom. Watch for Part 2 on auditions coming soon!


Kristin and Emily


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